Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My New Old Sewing Machine

Do you have something in your home you hold onto that takes up precious space and may be infrequently used, but when you need it, you are so grateful that it is exactly where you stashed it, if only you could remember where?

Although I may go several months without using my little old sewing machine, I do need it on occasion. So I pull it out, dust if off, drag it over to the dining room table and in seconds I'm threaded and readying the speed controller underfoot. This system worked smoothly until one fateful Sunday afternoon in early December when I was putting the finishing stitches on a simple linen towel project.

The whirring sound of my almost completed gift uttered a grinding, crunching sound. I shook my head in slight disbelief that my reliable Touch and Sew, circa 1968, stopped without my provocation. I checked the thread was unbroken, peeked into the bobbin case for a jam, manually turned the hand wheel and it still wouldn't budge. Not exactly knowing what to do, I lifted all the irrelevant panels and hinged doors to notice absolutely nothing wrong. I tried turning off the power as if to re-boot and make this bad dream go away, but the jam remained.

Disgusted at my mechanical ignorance, I called the local sewing and craft shop. "Sorry dear, we don't do repairs on antique sewing machines here." I called my local home fabric source. "Sorry dear, we don't deal with that here. We have our own workshops to do all the sewing for us."

I sat back down, steeled myself, selected a fine looking shiny needle from my pin cushion, threaded it and started to create my own tiny row of stitches. I felt like I had traveled back in time to the days before electric sewing machines or to the prairie of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I have looked at new machines, I looked at old machines, I waited patiently for the right solution. This weekend I bought a Singer 522 Stylist for all the wrong reasons. I needed a working machine. I liked the built-in table. THC said he needed something mended. I have a soft spot in my heart for old Singer machines.

It looks great. It seems to run well. But it's a little tricky without a manual. Oh dear, being green is sometimes a steep learning curve.


  1. I'm a sucker for old sewing machines too! My favourite machine (I have several) is my 1961 Bernina 600, which is still running as good as it did when it was brand new. I bet whatever's wrong with yours is an easy fix - those old machines are built to last. Have a look in the yellow pages etc and see if you can find an independent repairman - I have one little old man who comes to my house to service my machines and says he dislikes new machines!

  2. hi there
    found you doing a search and i think i'm gonna hang around - you're so talented! my friend gave me a singer 522. i thought it was a gag gift cuz i'm not such a crafter but always have awesome ideas for HER to make :) i took my first sewing lesson and made great curtains! it's very fun ... anyway, i do have a point. i'm just about to buy the manual because i can't even thread the thing without it. in the interest of green love/pay it forward, would you like a copy? you can e me at the ubiquitous gmail and my name is msnita. have a great day! i totally want to make that map bangle ...

  3. Thanks a. and n. for sharing your vintage sewing machine adventures. Through trial and error, I'm getting more comfortable with the Singer 522 and am hopeful I can track down the replacement part for the Touch and Sew. Please keep me posted on your projects.

  4. Hi love your blog i also have a singer 522 and if you got instructions from post above can you pay it forward to me at swf4508@hotmail.com iam in australia
    i would be ever so gratful thanks and keep up the good work
    trying to keep australia green


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