Friday, March 20, 2009

Ode to my sewing machine

Some years ago I bought a brand new Singer sewing machine at Wal-Mart. It lasted maybe two years before completely seizing up and refusing to work any more. Admittedly, I did a lot of sewing with it, but I still expected it to last longer than two years. I have an antique Singer sewing machine that still runs. It's similar to the one in the first pict. It has a small motor (that needs to be replaced, so I haven't used it for a few years) that was attached some time after being manufactured so it can run on electricity. I've also got a table I can set it up on so it can run on a treadle. I'm not sure how old it is, but probably late 1800's to early 1900's. In any case, it still runs, and Singer machines used to be good quality.

After my plastic piece-of-crap machine died, I decided I would be better off finding an older machine, one that was metal, not plastic. After doing some research, I found a Singer 403 that was built in the 50's or 60's. It totally looks old school and un-cool (unlike the sleek, plastic piece-of-crap), but after 40 or 50 years, it's still running great. And it cost less, even after shipping, than the plastic piece-of-crap. Can't beat that.

One of the things I want to do once we move and get settled and get a dedicated sewing/craft area set up is some quilting. Real quilting, done properly, not eyeballed like the ones I've done up to this point. In an effort to learn more about proper quilting, I checked a couple books out of the library (my answer to everything!). The most helpful one was 'Foolproof Machine Quilting' by Mary Mashuta. It talks about different attachments to use to have it turn out properly. One of the things mentioned was a 'walking foot', which allows the fabric layers to feed through evenly. Since this has been a huge problem for me, I checked ebay for a walking foot for my sewing machine.

While doing the search, I came across other attachments for my machine, as well as an original product manual. I bought the manual, which was very informative regarding all the things my machine can do. All this time I thought my machine was only capable of straight and zig-zag stitches, but I discovered that there are discs/cams that can be inserted into the top of the machine that change the stitch. And there's around 15 or so, so I actually have quite a few choices of decorative stitches when I get around to quilting. After I buy the discs, of course. So neat that it can do so many cool things! I love my sewing machine....

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