Sunday, November 18, 2012

Exploring the Possibilities in a Vintage Machine

Today's computerized machines come with a million fancy stitches, and youtube videos to entice you with the possibilities of embroidery and buttonholes, and hemming, tucking, then they link you to other videos featuring specialty feet, and Oh wouldn't you love to have this fancy foot, look what it can do.  Some of these machines can be as expensive as a new car, that's my only objection.  At the free motion quilting workshop there was a sea of Berninas (mostly because the local dealer has a cult following), I showed up with a 50 year old machine and it was like a museum piece.

How many of us actually use all of the features?  With garment sewing all you really need is a good straight stitch.

 We get machines without exploring everything the machine is capable of.  I've decided, no new machine until I explore everything my Singer will do.  For this experiment, I'm starting off with the most basic of machines, a Vintage Singer 15-91.  It has a straight stitch and back stitch, so it goes forward and backwards.  Originally it came with a box of attachments.

For the next few blog posts, I'll be going back in time with my Singer Sewing Book, published in 1949.
I am most intrigued with the Fashion Stitches and Monogram techniques in the book, because between you and me it doesn't look possible to successfully create these stitches.

Metallic Stitch

Metallic Stitch

Boucle Stitch

Boucle stitch 1

Spiral Stitch

Spiral stitch

Here's to hoping my next post isn't about tears, best absorbing Kleenex brands and the frustrations of working with a Vintage Machine.


Corrine said...

I so wish I had more of your "moxie!" I admit that many functions on my machines get used rarely but the more I think about it, I am not patient with the fussing on a vintage machine. I have played with my Rockateer cams and while they work just fine, the same stitches on one of the computer machines is a wee bit better. Well, at least to my eye. I can't wait to see your conclusions. I suspect a challenge is in your future:)

ELMO said...

I have a feeling you are right, it will take a bit of fussing to get it right. This experiment is an exercise in stalling enough to not buy another machine until I can see what can and can't be done with this one. Also I need to use some of these vintage books that I've bought over the years, the projects look so promising :)

sheila said...

Such sound advice! I have 2 Brother embroidery machines (one of which, I have to admit sews absolutely beautifully without the embroidery module. I also have a 15-30 treadle, a 28k handcrank and the fabulour 201k. Having bought buttonholers and zigzaggers,I really should play a little more to explore their potential.
But, at least with 2 of my stable of machines, I can still sew when the lights go out!!!
BTW these are not my only machines - I have stashes of machines, as well as stashes of fabric, patterns, notions, threads and just plain stuff (why do I/we feel the need to downplay our creative collections??)

Leslie said...

I actually learned to sew almost 30 years ago on an old Singer 201 hand crank sewing machine. And I still have it and am now teaching my daughters on it. I also recently obtained from my mom a Singer 201-2 electric that looks really similar to your model here. I haven't tried it out but my mom had it running perfectly and it still makes a beautiful straight stitch!

ELMO said...

They do make the best straight stitches, they look like small pearls. There's really very little to not like about them