It is really hard to figure out what to post about each day for National Sewing Month. Traditionally the only things that I’ve really sewn a lot of are the Dresses for Missions. I don’t feel that really gives me a lot to talk about. I’ve sewn enough that I could easily feature one a day, but I’m sure you would be bored out of your mind. I can’t do that to you.
Yesterday for inspiration I went up to my parents’ house. I got there and my mom showed me an ad in the paper where the local quilt shop is going out of business. All of their inventory was 50% off. Since it was just down the road we hopped into the car and headed over. *sigh* The three cuts of fabric on the right are what I purchased. I think that I got three yards each at $2.50/yard. The two fabrics on the left are two cuts that I picked up at Hobby Lobby on Friday for $2.00/yd.
I also picked up this quilt for $8.00. That is a really good price, too. The backing, batting and top have already been quilted together. It just needs the binding sewn onto it. I left that at my mom’s house for her to work on when she’s bored. 😉
Okay… here’s a question for all of the sewers reading this… when looking at somebody else’s work, especially a quilt or piece of cross stitch, how quickly do you flip it over to look at the back? Me, too! Especially when it comes to cross stitching because you’re always curious about how neat a stitcher can keep their backs. Well, my mom did the same thing with this quilt and right away noticed that the machine’s tension was not right. Raise your hand if you would have noticed that, too…
Well, I must admit that these weren’t my only purchases. You see, this quilt place also had several machines that they were selling, too. My mom, being the Queen of sewing machine collecting, asked to look at them. They were in a different building than the fabric. When she got back to the fabric building she whispers to me, “They have a Singer 301A for $25!” If she had spoken those exact same words in Swedish or Greek I would have understood it just the same. “Okay… so what does that mean?” I asked her. Apparently, and please forgive my ignorance if this is common knowledge to you, the Singer 301A is QUITE the collectible!
I was basically guaranteed that if I bought this machine that I could make a profit of a billion – kajillion dollars if I resold it. Hmmm… that might be a slight exaggeration. Per what my mom was telling me at the shop the two-tone Singer 301A’s are one of the most collectible machines that they have. She bought her all beige machine for $60 and she thought that was quite the steal. It was only $25 so I bought it. My mom absolutely loves sewing on hers, so I thought that I would give it a try. When we got back to her house my mom pulled up eBay and there wasn’t a single one of these machines that were priced under $100. Not that I’m looking to sell it right away.
I got home last night and did some research on this machine. It turns out that I bought quite a desirable little machine. There is a website that somebody created that is devoted to just the Singer 301 machine.
Per the website that I linked to above it seems that my machine is the Singer 301-1, which has a short bed, is portable, but was meant for a cabinet. My mom has the 301-2 with the long bed and is meant to be used with the carrying case.
I haven’t checked the serial number on this, but per the website the first two-tones, light beige-oyster white, machines were produced in 1956. Previously they were beige or black.
The consensus on these machines is that the Singer 301 was the best sewing machine ever made. It only sews a straight stitch, but it makes it perfectly each time. These machines were also used in many Home Ec classes because they are practically indestructible. If you keep it oiled and maintained then you should be able to use it for ever.
I left it at my mom’s house so that she can clean it up and get it running smoothly. She needs to adjust the tension and make sure that everything works as it should. Once it’s ready then she’ll sit down with me and run me through the basics; bobbin winding, bobbin loading, threading, and tension adjusting.
This isn’t the only Singer that I own, though. The machine that I do almost all of my sewing on is my Grandma’s old Singer Merritt 2404. I tried doing research on this machine, but there’s not a lot out there. I discovered that Merritt was Isaac Singer’s middle name (he’s the inventor), and that obviously this was meant to be a portable machine as it sits in the base of the carrying case.
I believe that this machine dates from the mid-1980’s. My favorite part about this machine is that it’s not computerized. If you want to do a fancy embroidery stitch then you have to get the plastic discs out, place them under the hood, and then you can stitch with a bit of flair. Everything on this is metal except these stitch discs and the base that it sits on. Why does this make me happy? Because if something breaks then it should be a simple matter of fixing it. I don’t have to worry about a board being burned out or that a program went wonky. Also, if we ever get hit by an EMP I can at least sit and sew until the world falls to pieces. And then I can stitch it back together…
These old machines are great. You know how people talk about vehicles and they don’t make them like they used to? Sewing machines are the same way. I wouldn’t give you Two Bits for a brand new Singer sewing machine, but hand me one of these old beauties and I’m happier than all get-out.
Again, this is another portable machine as it sits in the wooden base of the case. My mom said that it was made in 1957, I believe. This is another one where it only does a straight stitch.
When researching I ran across a site dedicated to the 99K’s and that gave me some interesting information. It’s another very reliable machine that a lot of people enjoyed. It was based on the Singer 66K, but just a bit smaller. In fact, it was 3/4 the size of the 66K. It has the sewing capabilities of the full size, but in a more convenient smaller package.
I’ve only used this one once, I think. I don’t have many bobbins for it so I can’t really switch out thread easily.
So that’s what I did this weekend. *sigh* I do NOT need anymore sewing machines. I can barely find time to use the ones that I own. If you noticed, I also have a serger that is sitting behind the 99K on the table that Jay made for me. Last night I asked him if he could please make me a cabinet for my 301A. It didn’t come with a base and it has to be easily accessible if I’m going to use it very often. He said that of course he could make me a cabinet. Now I just have to do some research to see what kind of design I want him to follow. And I have to figure out where I’m going to put it…