A Second Singer

Quite awhile ago, over a year actually, my aunt asked me if I’d like to have one of her older electric singer sewing machines. Initially, I was nervous. There is something about an electric machine that makes me nervous. They are entirely more fancy and have so many gizmos, that I was worried it would be very complicated. But…I also thought it would be crazy to turn down a free sewing machine-even if it needs a little bit of work.

Since my aunt lives in Montana, the singer was transported during a visit to another family member and then picked up by my dad and dropped off to me.

There was a lot going on when all of this happened (although at the end of 2020…I don’t know if I can recall back that far because everything prior to 2020 just seems mushy a bit in my memory with all the room events of this year have had to take up space for). So I left the machine alone to worry about other things.

Just this fall, I decided to finally pull the machine out…as I was getting increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t seem to keep the right tension on my treadle singer and was snapping the thread. (Plus I still need to replace the gasket so I can wind bobbins).

And low and behold! When I opened the clever and very heavy brown bag that contained the sewing machine I almost gasped!

It is beautiful!

No, not beautiful like my Red Eye. But beautiful as in…much older than I realized…a classic vintage brown and cream colored thing. A lot of the parts are made of metal…interspersed with plastic pieces.

And it’s simple. Oh my god, it is much simpler than the modern machine I was fearing. In fact, it’s eerily similar to the treadle. The main difference is that some of the machine is covered in plastic and arranged in a different order and the pedal is electric. But the big pieces? They are all in the same place and they look the same. The bobbin winder, the turn wheel, where the thread sits, how the thread is threaded (that seems like a redundant phrase?). It’s THE SAME!

I have a feeling this will be easier to figure out then the treadle. Because the treadle has no dials to tell me how tight my tension is or the size of the stitch. You just turn the piece and…pray I guess? This one allows for more accuracy because of the positions being marked clearly on the knobs. This machine is, however, more likely to break down and have individual pieces break (as I hear that’s more common with plastic parts)…so it’s a trade off. Actually, having these two singers seems like the best of both worlds. (Insert Hannah Montana song here).

But it’s not all roses and rainbows I’m afraid. I have no bobbins-and in the manual it says the bobbins are a see through plastic? When I took it apart to clean I looked at the bobbin case and have NO CLUE how a bobbin will fit in that metal sheath. And…the model number for these bobbins doesn’t correlate with any modern bobbin numbers. So, I’ve ordered three types of transparent singer bobbins in hopes that I’ll find the magical replacement.

I’m also missing a piece that holds the spool of thread onto the spool thingy (technical terms 😉).

And I can’t figure out how to move the presser foot up and down. I can take it off or have it up….the manual was no help in this regard either.

So while, I’m not sewing on either machine at this moment. I’m excited to have these two to work with together. I plan to buy a small table to set up the electric machine by an outlet within my sewing corner.

I think the best part is seeing the two beauts and their tools side by side. Such different eras. Tyler bought me a mini oil can from the flea markets this summer-because every treadle owner should have their own mini oil can! And the little plastic bottle of oil for this machine is hilarious next to the oil can.

Oh, and did I mention? I have the years of both machines. The “new” electric singer is from 1982. And my Red Eye? Made April 18, 1921! They are only sixty years apart…but they really do look so different (and yet similar?).

I am ready to let inclement weather sewing activities commence as the winter begins!

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