Saturday, November 15, 2008

...and how many sewing machines do you have?

From reading the last post, it's clear Beth is sewing machine challenged. C'mon girlfriend, you can do better than that! It's time to join the ranks of the sewing machine crazies.

Last year my guild asked its members "How many of you have five or more sewing machines?" About 2/3 of the members raised their hands. Then they asked "ten or more"; the number dropped to about one third. "Twenty-five or more?" maybe ten members still had their hands up.

I'm in that first group, if you count my rarely-used serger. Sewing machine #1 is my circa 1975 Kenmore; not a fancy machine, but built like a tank. It was my only machine for over 20 years, and I still use it regularly. Number 2 is my Brother serger. Bought at the height of the serger fad, I never quite got the hang of serging, and it's been carefully packed away for over ten years. In 2003 I bought a Janome QC6125. I use this for most of my sewing and quilting. If I'm working on multiple projects requiring both sewing and quilting, I also fire up the old Kenmore so I'm not constantly changing threads or feet. My third machine is a mid-1960's Dressmaker. I paid $3 for it (in working condition) and a bag of sewing books at a yard sale on my way to work. It's obviously a low-end machine, but it will stitch a decent straight stitch, although its zig-zag stitch leaves something to be desired (I've never had it serviced or even cleaned). Then came my 1955 Singer Featherweight, my dream baby. I wanted a Featherweight for a while, and came across two nice ones in a local antiques consignment shop shortly before Christmas a couple years ago. I was 99.99% positive one of those little beauties would be under the tree. I was wrong. One day the following summer my husband went to a flea market, and I decided not to go with him- probably the only time I declined to go along. That's the day he came back with a little black case I immediately knew housed a Featherweight. After oohing and aahing over it for about 20 minutes (see photo), I realized something which was apparent the seller of the machine didn't know- my machine was a free arm model, worth several times what my husband paid for it. After a tune-up by Bob the Featherweight guy, it purrs like a kitten. I use it when I want to take my time and savor every moment of sewing, which is unfortunately not often enough.
My newest machine is also my oldest- a 1928 Singer Model 128. I bought it for $35 because it was just so doggoned pretty. Bob replaced the ratty old cord and cleaned and tweaked it, and it too runs like an absolute dream. I've never actually used it for more than a few minutes, as I only have one bobbin so far.

None of my machines are fancy ones, and quite honestly, they have more than enough features for me. Occasionally I think it would be nice to have a larger quilting machine though.

Barbara Chojnacki
Six Gables Designs

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