It's Just "Sew" Vintage! (And a September Goodie Giveaway)


I love sewing. Recently, my sewing machine broke, and replacement parts are unavailable. What’s a farmgirl to do? Find something built to last…something vintage! Be warned, as this summer I discovered it’s easy to become smitten (obsessed?) with antique sewing machines!

I’ve enjoyed sewing since childhood, when Mama taught me on her machine, and Santa brought me a “Sew Easy” for Christmas, 1980-something. In high school, a favorite class was Home Economics; for my final I sewed ruffly dresses for two little girls I’d babysit. My mother learned to sew from her mother, who was a magician at sewing, her favorite model a Singer “Featherweight”.

My grandmother was always impeccably dressed, designing and sewing her own clothes

My grandmother was always impeccably dressed, designing and sewing her own clothes.

My dad’s mother used a treadle, which was ruined in the ‘40s when she tried converting it to electric. I fell in love with treadle machines after seeing one in MaryJanesFarm magazine. In 2014, I was thrilled to find an 1896 Waltham treadle in a thrift store (read about about that here). While “Sir Walter” isn’t sewing yet, it displays beautifully.

The scroll work on the wood is stunning.

The scroll work on the wood is stunning.

It was my husband who thought a treadle would also look great in the family room. (We think they’re beautiful, in a “steampunk”, meant-to-work-hard but-be-beautiful way. It’s sad to see them discarded. I love MaryJane’s idea of re-purposing a too-rusted-to-sew-again treadle machine into a lamp in the June-July ’16 magazine). We bought a dusty 1911 treadle from a couple downsizing their home to a condo. The machine once belonged to the woman’s grandmother. It still worked, but hadn’t been stored properly or sewn on since the ’70’s. Of all the romantic gifts my husband has given me in two-and-a-half decades, this takes my breath away. It took many late-nights of hard work and broken nails to clean her up. Never use any solvents on decals or they’ll “silver”, turning white. (A great “how-to” guide is Connie McCaffery’s book,  “How to Select, Service, Repair, and Maintain Your Vintage Sewing Machine” ). She was so filthy at first, I didn’t realize she’s a Singer “Red Eye”, the same exact model my grandmother had. I named her “Ruby”; all she needs now is a new leather treadle belt.

Shiny again!

Shiny again!

I found a miniature red-eye at a craft store that sits on Ruby's throat plate

I found a miniature “Red-Eye” at a craft store that sits on Ruby’s throat plate





"Red Eye" refers to the red decals. Most cleaners will ruin the color.

“Red Eye” refers to the red decals. Most cleaners will ruin the color.

This is an early 1860's "New Home" model.  Her restoration is still a work in progress.

This is an early 1860’s “New Home” model. Her restoration is still a work in progress.


Not as fancy or as sturdy as my other treadles, I love her still. I call her "Half-Pint".

Not as fancy. large or as sturdy as my other treadles, I love her still. I call her “Half-Pint”.

I use the coffer that came with the New Home model to hold my sewing books.

I use the coffer that came with the New Home model to hold my sewing books and manuals. Most manuals for vintage machines (Singer and a few others) can be found online.

The wood of the coffer is stunning.

The wood of the coffer is stunning.

At a fair with a friend, we complimented a woman’s pretty print skirt. She told us she’d purchased it previously at that very fair. Visiting the booth filled with feminine A-line skirts, I choked at the price. I could make similar skirts for a quarter of the price tag – if my machine worked right. In the late 1990’s, my husband bought me a sewing machine. He’d worked a booth at a Home Show, next to a booth with top-of-the-line sewing machines. At the end of the day, he brought home a fancy machine meant for quilting. My twenty-something-year-old sewing machine was quite the machine back in the day, but parts are no longer made nor easily found, and though fancy, it’s made of plastic. Computerized, I never used all the features. New machines I looked at were similar- plastic, some with tablet and smartphone features (which become outdated). I needed a new machine, but craved simple. After reading Connie’s book, I knew I wanted a vintage machine.

Meet "Miss Glenda Green" from 1958

Meet “Miss Glenda Green” from 1958

Then I found her. A tag sale bargain, she’s mint green from 1958- compact yet heavy-duty, similar to what Mama once taught me on. It was love at first sight. I brought her home, cleaned and oiled her, and started sewing my first clothing pattern in a long time. She has a place of honor in my sunny sewing room. A model 485J, she was sold as Singer’s “Budget machine” Researching online, I found the original 1950’s commercial. Yep, I’m definitely born in the wrong generation.

Just like vintage car lovers, vintage sewing machine enthusiasts love different models for different reasons. When a Singer Featherweight popped up for sale at a steal-of-a-price on an online tag sale, I couldn’t help myself!


Featherweights were made in the United States from 1933 to 1957, and for a few short years a “white” model was made in Scotland until 1970. My white machine was “born” in 1968, and like many other vintage sewing machine enthusiasts do, I named her. Meet “Snow White”.

With an almost rock-star-like following, there’s classes, books, dvd’s and Facebook groups dedicated to Singer’s compact, lightweight portable known as the Featherweight. Well-known nationwide among Featherweight fans, David Werther’s a Featherweight expert. He and wife, Shelley Chappell, own Quilters Connection, a full-service quilt shop in Dallas, Texas. While Shelley’s a lifelong quilter, David was always mechanically-oriented, eventually taking on the job of mechanic for their shop. After fixing a Featherweight, another arrived, then another, until they were “up to their elbows” in the little powerhouses. Soon, they started buying and selling them, having owned and sold 168 in the last five years! The couple keeps around fifteen for their personal collection. While David likes other vintage models, too, (currently, he has 55), he attributes the popularity of the Featherweight to its lightweight portability, quality of stitches, and true vintage style. “Like a classic model car-  like a ‘57 Chevy, Singer got it right with the Featherweight design.” He adds, “When you use a Featherweight, it’s like ‘time traveling’, doing the same motions, sewing on the same machine that your grandparents would’ve sewn on”. David says his best advice is to “know your machine”, noting when it starts to sound not as smooth and quiet. “Oil after every 8 – 10 hours of the needle sewing”, adding that there’s “35 places the Featherweight needs oil’.

My case was pretty nasty, but just like vintage luggage, cleaned up well with a Magic Eraser. I now need to find a replacement handle for travel.

My old case was pretty nasty, but just like vintage luggage, cleaned up well with a Magic Eraser. I now need to find a replacement handle for travel.


David says the Featherweight spanned so much of America’s history – “Through the Depression, after World War II, after the Baby Boom, the Featherweight was there, through it all”.  A true piece of Americana, I love “Snow White”, sewing while my family watches television (she’s so quiet). I recently purchased a “Spool Pin Doily” for her for $6.00 from Marietta O’Brien, from Arizona, who hand-crochets the beautiful doilies to resemble pansies (let me know if you’d like to contact Marietta for one of your own).

Photo courtesy Marietta O'Brien

Photo courtesy Marietta O’Brien

I didn’t need another machine, but a 1961 Singer 301A popped up for sale at a great price. She came in the cutest vintage-suitcase-like case, so I was doomed. She’s creamy tan and white, and needs a name!

My 301 needs a name...

I was “sew” bad, hee hee. Now my newly-acquired 301 needs a name…any ideas?

Finished! My skirt made using antique sewing machines.

Finished! My skirt made using antique sewing machines.

Whether you’re a seasoned quilter, just starting to sew or don’t sew at all, be careful – a vintage sewing machine (or two, or three…) might just steal your heart!


Leave a comment to win a goodie box with a vintage-style sewing machine magnet and hand needles, a glazed ceramic fall pumpkin, two teal thimbles, and a tea fowl, er, towel featuring Henrietta, the MaryJanesFarm Sisterhood Logo!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a goodie box with a vintage-style sewing machine magnet with hand needles, a hand-glazed ceramic fall pumpkin, two teal thimbles, and a tea “fowl”, er, towel featuring Henrietta, the Official MaryJanesFarm Sisterhood Mascot!

Help me name my 301, share a memory of a vintage machine, or just say “hi” – all comments this month will be entered into a drawing for the”Sew” Cute September goodie giveaway!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. Stacey Mitchell says:

    Cute sewing machine. How about her name being Creamsicle.

  2. Jeretta says:

    I have an old treadle machine, I am planning on getting it fix, just like it used to be. I
    also love old machines, I think they are n

  3. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Nicole,
    Love all your gorgeous sewing machines. My mother had an old black singer sewing machine when we lived in New Zealand. I’m not sure if my sister has it, she still lives there, or mum sold it/gave it away when we moved here to Australia. They are such a beautiful machine and although I have a janome sewing machine that my now husband bought for me 25 years ago, yes it still works though I don’t sew too much on it at present, I do so love the beauty and craftsmanship of the vintage machines. I do say this of all old things, houses, churches, cars. The beauty, pride in detail and care just isn’t there anymore. It’s a real shame really. I’m going to keep my eye out for the featherweight and see if they have them here. Beautiful p, quiet and light, what more could a girl want.
    Thank for an enjoyable read and your skirt is very pretty.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise! Thank you! You are so right about “old” things…the beauty and craftsmanship is missing from so many “new” things these days. I think that is what has drawn us to these old beauties…my husband loves them too. We’ve learned together how to tinker with them and tune them up. I didn’t sew heavily for the longest time, I think I just didn’t have the patience in my twenties, and in my thirties was raising a wee one. Now that my daughter is older, I can take a little time to sew more. By the way, I’ve never been to New Zealand, but one of my best friend’s husband is from there. I have heard that the Featherweight is popular there, too, so you might get lucky and find one! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  4. Marrietta O'Brien says:

    Dear Nicole. You write a lovely narrative, and I can just see you as a little girl in Texas. You do your mother and grandmother proud. Thank you for the pic of my doilies. I LOVE making them, and I love seeing them on everyone’s lovely machines. I have heard so many stories from those people who have ordered, and I have mailed out hundreds. I will read your blogs in the months to come and look forward to a long lasting friendship.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Marietta, Thank you so much! I am so glad to have “met” you and your doilies are so beautiful. They make a beautiful machine even prettier, and you can see how much love goes into them when you make them. They are little works of art. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. I love this article! In depth and well written. I have a vintage Singer sewing machine that I inherited from my grandma and I loooooove it. It’s metal and very heavy. I also have a mini toy singer that was my grandma’s when she was little and then in turn my mother’s. It’s about a hundred years old and looks it. They are definitely treasures!!!! Thanks for the article!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Christina! Thank you so much, I am so glad you enjoyed this article. Your sewing machines sound so lovely and sentimental, too! I wish I had my grandmothers’ sewing machines, but having the same kind makes me so happy, too. Thanks for stopping by the blog and commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Priscilla Thibault says:

    I am blessed to have inherited my mother’s Singer sewing machine that she purchased in the late 1940’s with some of the money she got for her wedding. I learned to sew on that machine. My mom was a teacher who gardened and sewed all summer. Every fall I would return to school with several new dresses, made with love by my mom.

  7. Sue says:

    I admire the older machines for their beauty and sturdiness–but my Mom’s old Pfaff that I used for years made me crazy due to it’s tension problems! It is a joy sewing on a newer machine–admittedly, my “new” machine is a 23 yr old Brother!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sue, There’s always a few bad lemons out there, no matter what it is. But yours is only a few years away from being “vintage” 😉 Happy Sewing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  8. Donna Lettsome says:

    Love your sewing machine passion, I also have a Featherweight it is black and a 301 A just like yours in the picture. The 301 A was a garage sale free bee. The color and case is just like yours. The Featherweight was purchased at an estate sale. The lady who owned it made quilts, that was used to finish every quilt she made until I hope these old gems will regain popularity.

  9. Mary K. MacTarnaghan says:

    Thank you for this informative article. I have rescued several old machines and find them each beautiful in their own way.

  10. Lisa Harris says:

    Hi. Your Singer 301 looks very neat and trim, especially with her carry case. I was thinking of a name that would fit the time period and “Mary” was the most popular girl’s name in 1961. She definitely looks like a “Mary” to me. If you wanted a spin, you could call her “Mary J. Beige” 🙂

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Lisa, I am ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING! Hilarious! I love that name, “Mary J. Beige”. Good idea! We will see. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  11. Sue Parkin says:

    How about ‘Mocha Latte’, for her name?
    I sew on a 1977 Husqvarna, and I just purchased 8 new decorative cams for it. Would not trade my workhorse for a computerized model! I can unscrew it, and clean it myself and have only had it repaired 3 times!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Sue, Your 77 sounds like a great workhorse! Awesome. Also shows how care keeps ’em going forever. Thanks! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  12. karen sparks says:

    What about packin Ms. Brownie.

  13. Linda says:

    Hi, Nicole –
    I, too, love old sewing machines and have 24 sewing machines of which 18 are antiques. I have 3 treadle machines and all need a good cleaning except my oldest – a Wilcox and Gibbs chain stitch machine in beautiful condition. The others are a Singer and a Franklin parlor cabinet machine. Then I have 3 hand crank machines, 2 Singer Featherweights 221s that I use ALL the time, 2 Singer 301s – one with a table and the other came without the suitcase-style case, an electric Gimbal, an electric black orange-peel Singer, a Sears Kenmore in a cabinet (doesn’t work), s Singer with cams, an old Singer treadle head only (may make it into a lamp), and 3 antique (plastic) children’s machines. My newer machines are a Pfaff (that I finally wore out), a Janome, a White, a Singer, a Brother embroidery machine, and a serger. The machine I’d still love to find at a decent price is a Singer Featherweight 222 – the one with the removable bed.

    Just a few months ago David Werther spoke at my Corron Patch Quilt Guild meeting in Greenville, TX. I saw many of his machines.

    Thanks for your blog. I love catching up with you.

    Farmgirl hugs, Linda

    • Linda says:

      oops – should be Cotton Patch Quilt Guild. LOL! fast-fingered that one.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Linda, WOW! What a collection! I love it! I’d love to see your collection, too! How awesome you met David Werther, he is such a wealth of information. I would love to find a hand crank machine someday. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Shari Doty says:

    Wow! I ridiculously thought I was the only one collecting vintage machines! I have my great grandmother’s treadle, as well as grandma’s 1940’s conversion that sparks when I turn it on, so I don’t use it. I have a new belt ready to go on the treadle, and you have inspired me to put it on. I also have an extremely heavy 40’s or 50’s machine I use regularly. A friend gave me a new singer, with plastic parts that broke the first time I tried to sew with it! Old is best. I would indeed be interested in a spindle doily, can you give me the info? Also, thanks for the info about the maintenance book. I plan to order it.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Shari, that is so cool that you have your great-grandmother’s treadle! I’d be careful using the 40’s one that sparks until it gets rewired, if I was you. That is the only thing I won’t mess with – electrical. I bought a vintage Frosty the snowman blowmold once, plugged it in and got zapped! It melted the plug. Connie’s book is great – you will love it. I will send you Marietta’s info for the doilies. Happy Collecting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  15. Rebecca says:

    I love the vintage sewing machines….especially the details on the Red Eye. I learned to sew on an old Singer that was my mother’s. I’m not sure where it ended up, but I would love to still have it. The newer machines just don’t have the same beauty or durability. Beautiful pictures and a very good article.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Rebecca, Yes, for treadles the Red Eye is my favorite one, as well. Thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed the blog! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  16. Adrienne Kristine says:

    My mother’s best friend worked in a drapery factory and would bring home the small pieces to give to my mother. Sigh. I spent my middle school years dressed in nubby brown, tan and off-white skirts; blouses with contrasting sleeves; and even my Barbie doll wore drapery fabric. Mom didn’t waste anything. As for your “new” acquisition, how about “Cafe au lait”?

  17. Joyce winget says:

    Hi NicoIe, I would call her Betsy. My Mom called all her old cars back in the 50’s Betsy! My Mom and I lived with my Grandparents after the divorce. I was 7. My Grandma Edith taught me to sew on her old treadle singer. Wish I had that singer now. Just like I wished I had her sunbeam mixer. Joyce

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joyce, love that you have those memories, though. I remember when I was 14 going through my Grandma Shug’s closet (everyone called her that, short for “Sugar”, I didn’t know she had a first name as a child until I was eight!). In her closet was the prettiest yellow dress she had made probably in the 1950’s. It was exquisite. She had me try it on and she gave it to me. I literally wore it out or grew out of it, don’t know which. I wish I still had that dress. I never asked her why she saved that particular one; wish I knew why it was so special to her. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  18. Jena says:

    I am IN LOVE with my Mom’s sewing machine. I received a fancy (late 80’s) computerized machine as a present for my high school graduation. I have a love/hate relationship with this machine.

    My Mom comes over and just loves using my machine and I keep begging for a switch. She refuses. So, she comes over and uses mine and I go over there to use hers. It is a great reason for us to get together and share the time as well as sharing our machines.

    Thanks for reminding me, I have some hemming to do this week- better call my Mom and see if I can head on over!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Jena, You are so blessed to be able to sew with your mom. I sometimes sew with my mom on speakerphone! Some of my happiest memories of childhood are of me beside her while she sews. My daughter likes to come in my sewing room and plop down on the guest bed to read a book or listen to music while I sew. She took a sewing camp once and loved it. She asked me the other day if I will help her learn to sew more. I was so excited! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  19. Martha says:

    Love your article of old machines. I have a few old ones that do not work and some that do. All vintage machines are treasures and conservation pieces for any sewing room. Love the little crochet pansy on the machines. I would love to order some for my sewing friends. Does Marrietta have an email address?
    Thank you for your help. Marthahoover

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      I agree, Martha, they are all treasures! I will email you Marietta’s info. You will love dressing up your girls! I just adore mine. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  20. Denise says:

    Loved reading your post on old sewing machines. I am totally smitten with classic Singer’s. I have two black cast iron machines that date back to 1925, model #66. One is full size and sews like a dream, she is Miss Singer, I’ve used her for the last 40 years to hem jeans! Nothing stops it, lol. Recently, for Valentines Day, my husband bought me a portable model of the same machine with a stunning curved wood carrying case with all of the original attachments! I almost cried, lol. Her name is Birdie, short for Song Bird :). Both were in beautiful condition when I got them. Both machines are well loved and I know they will be working well beyond their 91 years! Thank you for a wonderful blog post!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Denise, Sounds like you have a very romantic husband, too! I love your comment, and I bet your treasures are just stunning! Thanks for commenting, so glad you liked the post. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  21. Sylvia Jacobus says:

    I own many vintage girls including a couple of treadles. I learned to sew on a treadle at a sewing school my Mom sent me to one summer. I love to my machines and sew something with them. It’s hard when the number reaches over 30…..oops. Your new 301 is a fantastic machine. I am so glad you’re able to sew again and enjoy it.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thank you, Sylvia! I just read your comment to my husband. “See, honey, I don’t have THAT many…yet!!” Love it. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  22. Lisa says:

    I was thinking it sounded like a deer, Bambi maybe?

    I’m not a great sewer and lose patience about halfway through a project, but I do know how to sew and have a sewing machine. I think it’s weird when people ask if I can sew and do I have a sewing machine. My thought is, doesn’t everyone? Apparently not.

  23. Lindy Munday says:

    I think it’s from the ’50 so name her Lucy or Ethel

  24. Susan says:

    I am going with Sandra for the name since it was one of the most popular names of 1961 and the machines “sandy” color. Love the article AND all your machines!!

  25. Nancy Bender says:

    I love your writing it is fun to read and get involved in what ever you write .
    I feel like we are sitting around the kitchen table and talking. Except I get to listen to this great lady “you”.
    Nancy Bender
    Mary Jane Farmgirl # 806

  26. Andrea Brooks says:

    I can relate! My sister still has my mom’s 401 Singer that runs like a dream and I salvaged a slant needle version of the same from a trash pile. Despite owning a relatively new Bernina, nothing can beat the old singer buttonholer. I also have at least 4 Singers in cases stored in my basement. (They are my sisters but she doesn’t want her husband to know.)

    I had a Lithuanian friend who said his mom stored her silverware in her “Zinger” drawers. There will always be a use for those beautiful cabinets.

    What about naming her Twiggy for the 60s model?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Andrea! I love your comment! Wow! What a find! A 401 in a TRASH pile! I have yet to find one in the trash but you bet I’d pull it out! And you are so right about the drawers…they are great nooks even if a machine isn’t in use! Love the name, Twiggy, too. Will put that in consideration and good luck with my drawing! Thanks for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  27. April Tovar says:

    Hi Nicole, I have a name suggestion for your newly acquired 301…. Ginger!! She’s creamy tan and sophisticated looking and just so pretty! Neat article – thanks for sharing!! ~ April

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi April! Thanks! I love the name Ginger. Reminds me of Gilligan’s Island. Ginger was my favorite! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  28. lynne beery says:

    Loved the article. I have been using my mother’s 1947 Singer since I was 10. I recently found a Singer – Great Britain in the table case for $50. It is a 1951 3/4 size Singer. Too cute to pass up.

  29. deb rowley says:

    All your machines are beautiful! I’m just a “casual” sewer; repairs, hemming,some stuffed animals,placemats. I have a Singer I call old faithful 28 years old.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Deb, Thanks! Nothin’ wrong with being a casual sewer…so many don’t know how to do any kind of sewing. It’s a good thing to know how to do. Enjoy Old Faithful, sounds like a keeper! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  30. Pat Sutter says:

    Nicole, thanks for the wonderful article on vintage sewing machines. It was so informative. I, too, have a Singer “Red Eye” sewing machine. It was my grandmother’s and I love it! It is also missing a leather treadle belt. I have lots of memories of her sitting at her machine making aprons for her friends and doll clothes for me. I love your blog posts and I, too, have always felt that I was born in the wrong generation.

  31. Kate says:

    I love your collection of pretty little machines. Your new 301 looks as though she is in great condition. How about naming her Hazel, I love that Hazelnut like color!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Thanks, Kate! I spent Labor Day cleaning her up and her case, which now looks so good, too. She sews like a dream! I love the name. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  32. Alvena Meyer says:

    I sure hope I can find me an old Singer some time. Having just retired I look forward to getting back to my sewing roots.

    How about naming her Mocha Momma?

  33. Heather says:

    I learned to sew on a vintage machine not fancy but always reliable!!!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Heather, and not vintage can sometimes be fancy but not reliable, lol! Thanks for stopping by! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  34. Tiffany says:

    I LOVE your article!! We were just talking about vintage sewing machines on a sewing Facebook page! I just brought home my great granmother’s singer treadle that is converted to electric. I need to do some work on it, but I can still use it both electrically or treadle!! I can’t wait to share your article!! Thank you!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Tiffany, Thank you so very much!!! That means a lot! Your treadle/electric sounds awesome! I have not yet seen one that is both. Very cool! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  35. Patti says:

    Hi Nicole,

    I am just like you in that when my modern machine stopped sewing correctly, I looked to buy vintage. I also own a Redeye Singer from 1925, a Featherweight 201 and a Singer 301A like my mom’s. My Redeye was converted to electrical. I had to replace the Featherweight case because it smelled too bad. My 301A came with a longer plate on the left for quilting. They all work great. I love it when people appreciate the old Singers.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Patti, Did you know that the smell that comes from Featherweight cases is from the old glue that was used? It rots and gives off a bad smell. I’ve heard a little soap like Irish Spring in the bottom of the case helps, but know that many couldn’t get the foul smell out. The white ones, their cases didn’t use that glue. Enjoy your machines, sounds like you have a great love of them, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  36. Denise says:

    Those are some beautiful machines. I have my mom’s Singer electric and a Singer Red Eye treadle. I have purchased my leather belts online. My treadle was new in 1896. It has a bullet bobbin which took some getting used to. My great grandmother, grandmother and mother were all wonderful seamstresses. My mom worked in a clothing factory for many years making ladies undergarments.
    I as well as my two daughters also sew. It is a love that has passed through the generations. My mother’s sewing machine will be passed along as it was to me. I love using it and thinking of all the wonderful things my mom made for us children and for others as gifts. Isn’t wonderful to rescue the things of long ago and put them to use again?

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Lovely comment, Denise. I love that your daughters sew, too! My heart swelled last night when my daughter asked me to show her how to sew, too. She sews, too, but now she wants me to teach her more, which makes me “sew” happy! Happy Sewing! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  37. Kate Craig says:

    Loved this post on old machines. I learned on my mother’s Singer and still have that machine as well as a featherweight and several Riccar machines that I dearly love.

  38. Cheryl says:

    Hi I like old sewing machines they are beautiful..maybe cinnamon bun for her name,she sure is sweet!

  39. Beverly Battaglia says:

    What wonderful comments you have received! Like the names too. Pictures are great.
    I loved sewing my clothes so much in the ’60’s that I hoped I could take my sewing machine to heaven with me if I died! It was a thrill to meet the designer of clothes for movie stars and actresses, Edith Head at Sakowitz fine fabric store in their Galleria department store. Was not the Galleria yet in 1966. She gave me a tip on sewing pants to fit. I sewed some in the 1970’s like pillows, window curtains, shower curtains, and some of my baby girl Nicole’s clothes, but became too busy with two children by then.
    Did lots of mending. Very nice collection and I love the green one. Love you,

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Mama, I always say some of my most happiest memories are of you sewing while I played nearby. I still remember how powerful your machine was, being a little scared of it when you would show me how to use it, and how pretty that cabinet and machine were. I also remember how much I loved playing in your button box! I wish I still had some of the clothes you made me, though I do have a few pictures. I remember the outfit with hearts you made me and found matching earrings. I loved it – and that was in fifth grade! Wish we lived closer so we could sew together. Love you, Nicole

  40. Lynne Beery says:

    I learned to sew on a vintage 1948 Singer that was a mainstay in our house. We each (three sisters and I) had our own newer portable machine which my father built sewing cabinets for. I still have mine but acquired my mother ’48 Singer when she passed. I use it for everything from clothes to mending to quilting full size quilts. Recently I picked up a 3/4 size Singer Great Britain. Haven’t had time to clean and refurbish it yet but it is so cute I couldn’t resist. Got the machine, cabinet and bench for $50 so couldn’t pass it up. The 301 is the same mechanically as the older singer machine but with the updated case that the newer homemaker demanded. YOu will love it. My name suggestion is creamy dreamy.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Lynne! Hello to another vintage machine enthusiast – love it! I spent Labor Day cleaning up my new girl and was wowed when she sews! You are so right! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  41. Marlene Capelle says:

    I have my grandmother’s treadle and a quilt she made on it as well as a 1920’s flapper dress. It’s amazing. How about Bea for your new machine? As in sewing-bea, worker-bea, etc.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Oh I bet that flapper dress is stunning! What a treasure, especially with the machine that made her! I love the name Bea! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  42. crlagroue says:

    While I’m not one for sewing I did find your blog interesting. Those were classic looking machines. I remember going to the fabric store with our mom (before you were born).. She sewed so many nice clothes back then. I guess it’s in yall’s genes.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Russell, Yup! I remember going to the fabric store with mom, too. Loved the Sakowitz one. And I always loved to look at the pattern books. Now you need to get your talented wife back to sewing! ~Nicole

  43. Elizabeth McKnight says:

    The first machine I ever bought IAS a Singer Fashion Mate model 237. I used it for over 30 years, but retired it because it would no longer wind bobbins. I bought it a Bernina 440QE, Because I thought I needed all the bells and whistles, but I was wrong. I now have 6 Featherweights dated from 1939 to 1965, a Singer treadle in full working order dated 1936, a 1928 machine given to me because the woman didn’t sew, but she didn’t want her grandmother’s machine to end up just anywhere. My white FW is named Mz. Blanche, my tan is Sugar, and my oldest FW is Spike, because he’s such a tough little dude. The other 3 don’t have names yet. One is a Centennial model, one is my birthday machine, and one is waiting for my sister, Marrietta O’Brien, to claim. I also have 2 other Bernina, neither of which are vintage machines. All of my machines wear a spool pin pansy crocheted by Marrietta, and I keep a few extra on hand to give as random acts of kindness to other machine owners.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Wow! Your collection makes ME drool! What wonderful machines you have! And can I add, your sister is just the sweetest and so very talented!! I am so glad I met her. I was so happy sewing yesterday and my little machine looked so pretty all gussied up with her doily! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  44. Cindy Schneider says:

    I loved this blog. I have a 1947 Featherweight That I love. I take it to quilting club. I too would still like to find a Singer Treadle like the one my mother taught me to sew on. Happy Sewing!! Cindy

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Cindy! Oh I wish I could find a quilting club and really learn how to quilt! I went into a local quilt shop. Beautiful fabrics but you can’t bring your own machine. They have big, fancy modern machines. Happy Sewing to you, too! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  45. Patsy is the new name for your 1961-Singer 301. I Fall To Pieces by Singer-Patsy Cline – was on the top 100charts for 1961. There were not very many women on that top 100 list back then. I love all your machines!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Yolanda, Yes, Patsy would be a good name. I love, love, love Patsy Cline! Thanks for stopping by! Your name is entered in the drawing! 🙂 Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  46. Joan H says:

    Wow, I’m drooling over your vintage machines! Just gorgeous and so charming. In the picture the 301 appears to be two shades of tan. How about Mama Latte? Queen Cream? Ha!

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I had my mother’s machines, the ones she sewed my clothes on…
    Joan #6465

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Joan! I love her color, too, as not all of the 301’s came in two-tone. Isn’t she a pretty cream and tan? Like a latte, for sure! Maybe that will be her name? Thanks for commenting! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  47. Susan Clarkson says:

    I love vintage sewing machines also. How about Mocha for your new 301A?

  48. Gaye N. Durst says:

    I really miss the mid-century Kenmore I learned on. My mother’s, I don’t know the exact year but know she had, had it for sometime before I was born in 1966. As a little kid, I remember thinking it was just the coolest thing how it completely hid in the cabinet by dropping down and then the table folding over. It was heavy, so I also remember begging to learn to use it and finally being tought around five, when Ialmost could get it opend and closed up by myself! The cabinet was such a pretty wood with modern, clean, simple lines. I can still see, feel and smell it in my minds eye!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Gaye, That machine and cabinet sound so beautiful! My mother’s cabinet was like that, too, and she had the most wonderful cutting table. It had strong, metal legs that were a glossy black, and a pin cushion top with markings for cutting patterns. Sadly she gave that away, too. Sigh…But at least we have the memories! Have you ever looked into finding one (at least the machine, if only for sentimental reasons) like it on Ebay? Just a thought. Thank you for stopping by the blog! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  49. Pat G says:

    Hi. I have an old, maybe late 1800s tredle sewing machine called a ‘Jennie June’. I have yet to learn how to use it. I need to find someone to teach me how to wind the bobbins & also how to get a new belt for it. Any ideas?
    I also have an old Singer that used to belong to a laundry lady who did alterrations & when she got a new machine just gave it to me & my twin & I sewed on it since I was in the 5th grade. I have alove of sewing & quilting.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Pat, Are you on Facebook? There is a vintage sewing machine group that is very informative. There are also good youtube videos and for parts there is a place in NY that sells good belts. I can email you the name, just need to pull out the card. Treasure your machines, they sound amazing. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

      • Pat G says:

        Thanks for the information & looking forward to the name of the NY business that sells the belts & parts. My step daughter scored about 10 free bobbins & sent them to me for my tredle! I also have a ton of gadgets that were left in the drawers of the machine when I acquired it that I could use if I only knew more. What do I look for on fb for the vintage sewing machine group? I love your posts too!

        • Nicole Christensen says:

          Hi Pat, I have not forgotten to get back to you on this…I am desperately looking for what I did with the business card, as I need to order treadle belts too! They were highly recommended by the lady who sews on a treadle at the Rhinebeck County fair inside their living museum. I will let you know as soon as I find it. (I should have taken a photo of the card on my phone). Two groups I really like on Facebook are called “Vintage Sewing Machines” and “Featherweight Friends”. I will email you soon, I promise! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

        • Shari Doty says:

          Jim Gisselberg has belts. I think his wife Margaret is on Facebook. If not, their address and phone number is in MaryJane’s stitching room, or lifebook, I forget which.

        • Nicole Christensen says:

          Hi Shari, Thanks, I will have to see if he’s still got belts, etc. but it’s on page 203 of MJ’s Lifebook. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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