a vintage machine

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2017/02/14


I am in awe, wow!  The International Sewing Machine Collector Society is an incredible resource for old sewing machines, and has scanned and put online many old manuals.


Here is the link to the beautifully illustrated and written Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book. Scrolling through, I am dumbfounded by the fascinating attachments that were cleverly engineered to create hems, various edges, complex stitches, bindings, piping, tucks, darts, ruffles, seams, braids, shirrs. Perhaps it is not lamentable to have some of the fashion styles go away, however, the minds who designed such beautiful machines and brilliant attachments that have lasted decades, the factories which made these machines–are these lost forever, never to return?

For amusement: how to open the domed lid (“the doomed lid”). It is amazing what helpful things good people put online to advise and guide others. It was this post that taught me how to open Richard Hudson’s 1948 antique sewing machine cover. The machine seems to run beautifully, the artfully crafted steel attachments are intact.


With the help of the International Sewing Machine Collector Society, there is a good chance Mr. Hudson can sew his sails for schooner Issuma. She will look smart leaving Jersey City to Toronto under sail with perfectly ruffled leeches and a smock tucked fisherman.


11 Responses

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  1. Richard Hudson said, on 2017/02/14 at 23:57

    Gotta have ruffles 🙂

    • bowsprite said, on 2017/02/15 at 00:02

      Looks like Richard’s machine, Singer Model 128, was made in Quebec, at Saint-Jean sur Richelieu:

      The Singer sewing machine factory in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Canada was established in 1904 and remained in production until it was closed in 1986.

  2. Barbara Vischer said, on 2017/02/15 at 04:50

    This time even I can understand! I learnt sewing on an old Singer machine.

    Glad to tell you my daily loving thoughts, hoping you and the children are fine,

    xxx Barbara

  3. Christine Van Lenten said, on 2017/02/15 at 05:01

    Marvelous! Christina, am sharing this treasure, thank you for it! xxx

    From: Bowsprite Reply-To: Bowsprite Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 11:50 PM To: Christine Van Lenten Subject: [New post] a vintage machine bowsprite posted: ” I am in awe, wow! The International Sewing Machine Collector Society is an incredible resource for old sewing machines, and has scanned and put online many old manuals. Here is the link to the beautifully illustrated and written Singer Sewing Skills”

  4. Rembert said, on 2017/02/15 at 08:48

    The patience, which must have been necessary, to follow the tiny curbs and cavities with eye and hand. With the result of bringing impetus into the smallest and numbest of mechanical parts! I know what I´m talking about, since I tried to get a thread into a piece of metal recently, that looked, eh…. like any of these entities here. Isn´t it unjust, to be badmouthed as an unbalanced character after that?)

    Your next step could be a swiss made “Bernina” which is, in my experience, still in use in the circles of ambitious young designers.

  5. mageb said, on 2017/02/15 at 11:14

    Look, you inspire everyone. I really miss my old elna.

  6. Mary Habstritt said, on 2017/02/15 at 13:51

    I have my grandma¹s Singer at the house in St Paul. It¹s gorgeous with the golden Sphinx decals. I sit at the cabinet, with it¹s original finish, and use my laptop there. I haven¹t used it in years but I did learn to sew on it. It needs a new leather belt but would run again. Nanny got it as a wedding gift. The story is that it was used already then, but it was the Depression. She used it for a long time and then got a Kenmore electric and handed the treadle down to my mother who hated to sew. We only used it for mending and home ec assignments. Remember home ec?

  7. bluebrightly said, on 2017/02/15 at 15:03

    It’s thrilling, what you can find online….and I hate to say it, but this machine looks familiar – I learned to sew on my mother’s very old Singer. 🙂

  8. tugster said, on 2017/02/19 at 18:06

    check out this short bio of an upstate NY guy who made this amazing machine: and then check out these identifiers: did you copy the numbers off richard’s machine?

  9. GP Cox said, on 2017/04/16 at 12:20

    Good to see you around again. I hope you’ll be posting more often?

  10. Mary A Whalen said, on 2018/03/11 at 11:07

    We bought a 1941 industrial Singer last year to use for sewing custom covers for our ship. So far, we have no person available/skilled to use it though! thanks for the link to the ISMACS. We’re wiling to trade free use of the machine with someone who will do some sewing for us, in case you know someone, or some reader here wants access to such a machine

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