Scavenger Hunt

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

So What Did I Do?

Hello folks!

So, did I go for new or vintage sewing machine to use whilst I am in Chicagoland?  Vintage, of course!  Actually I got 2.  They were both on Facebook Marketplace, there is a good selection in this area it seems.  I saw one, sent a message and while I was waiting for a reply another one in really good condition came up and I messaged about that too. Hehe.

The one in good condition was about an hour and quarter north of here, just into Wisconsin.  The lady I picked her up from sews quilts for her church; but she decided that as she wasn't using three of her vintage machines they should go.   

Well here she is.  I have named her Bertie and she is a 1927  Singer 99 a 3/4 version of a Singer 66.  She runs by that new fangled electricity stuff and comes with a knee lever instead of a foot pedal.  She is lovely and shiny and of course, sews beautifully.  

The knee lever sticks out of the front of the case.  I have never come across this before.

When it's not in use it fits neatly into the bentwood case.

Incidentally you'll notice rag rugs on our balcony, they are there so I don't shower the apartments below with pins, knitting needles and what I was most concerned about, my phone.

She came with an assortment of feet which I'm trying soon, happily they'll fit both machines.

The second machine was only 40 minutes west of us.  I was lucky to get this one as she had been in a garage sale the week before but no-one had taken her.  She is a Singer 66, the full size version of Bertie, made in 1915 she would have been a treadle when she started off in life.  At some point she was put into a different cabinet and a motor and a knee lever was added.  The motor was made between 1913 and 1929 by the Electric Motor Corporation in Wisconsin, so I guess it was added around those dates.   

She has Red Eye Decals and I have named her Rosie.  She needs quite a lot of work to get her going again.  Although the seller plugged her in to show me she was working, it didn't take a genius to know that it was dangerous.  As Mr Clicky is an electrical engineer we're doing the re-wire ourselves.

We've rewired the knee lever and at the moment are trying to sort the wires going to the motor.  The screws into it are at a funny angle and won't move.  It might be a new motor.

I have cleaned her with sewing machine oil and removed 104 years of accumulated dirt, lint and oil. 

It was particularly nasty around the bobbin case and I found some rusty pins behind the face plate.

I have shined up the faceplate with some chrome cleaner.  It was really nice that neither of the machines had any rust unlike my hand cranks.

Here she is after I cleaned her up minus the motor on the back.
Rosie is definitely a project but I can't wait to use her, not least because she is a 66 just like my Mum's treadle below, the machine I learnt to sew on.  Mum is still using her now, it was her Mum's before her, and I think I am right in saying my Mum has never used an electric machine.   This one dates to 1930 when my grandmother, Joyce bought it new, with a payment plan.  Mum can remember seeing the payment book but that has long gone now.  I used to love sitting, treadling away in my teens.
I've had Bertie set up on our balcony and I've been playing with a 2 1/2" jelly roll.  I am not used to working in inches but centimetre cutting mats and quilting rulers are rarer than hen's teeth this side of the pond so I am embracing the inches.

I've decided to go for 6 1/2" 3 x3 blocks.  Mistake #1, I cut the strips to 7 1/2" thinking I would need seam allowances along the length.   You live and learn.  Anyhoo, I laid the blocks along the kitchen bar to check I didn't repeat any patterns.

And had a very pleasant afternoon sewing them up on the balcony.  How lovely also to be able to sew with a Singer seam guide, those magnetic ones don't work that well for me.

Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post, with them we discovered that both Teresa and Gracie have Singer Featherweights, you lucky girls,  Meredith has her mother's toy machine in the back of a cupboard somewhere although I'm sure she's more concerned about Dorian right now, stay safe Meredith, Christine is 'thinking' that she might like a vintage machine, or might even nab her Mum's 1960s Jones machine, don't think Christine, do! Jo has a treadle which I am sure, is crying out for some love but she's lacking in time, VeggieMummy's machine is called Genevieve and Gill is a little concerned on how I am getting these machines home.   The answer to that is Mr Clicky's company will ship anything we want to bring back to the UK so that's ok.

I think I have waffled on enough for now, but if you do have a vintage sewing machine lurking at the back of a cupboard somewhere, get it out, oil it up, use it and show me!

Bye for now................Clicky Needles.


  1. I'm so happy you found not one but two wonderful machines! What a collection you have now! I do need to get mine out and do some sewing, but I'm not a quilter so I don't know what to sew! But I might get mine out and just put her through her paces. Mine is named "Minnie Bell" after a friend of mine who is 102 yrs old. Also, I got an eerie feeling when you told us your machine was named Bertie as that is the nickname of my recently departed sister. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  2. Nope, I knew there was no hope for you! Still, what beautiful things to collect.

  3. In which case, I can imagine your collection taking shape nicely whilst you are there!! My Mum had an old Singer which had been electrified and which she traded in for a modern zigzag machine at some point. If I had a pound for every time she (and I!) expressed her regret, I'd nearly have enough to buy it back I expect!

  4. Congrats on the two new additions to your collections, they are beauties! My sister is a fan of vintage sewing machines, I think she has two of them. Happy sewing!


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Clicky Needles.