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Thread: Sewing Machines in your Life

  1. #1
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    I didn't want to hi-jack Rhonda's thread, so started this one.

    My mom was always sewing. I learned how to sew at a very young age. I got my first 'real' sewing machine when I was 6. A green Singer in a cabinet. I have no idea what model or anything, but I would love to have another. It was a lot like the Featherweight.

    I inherited Mom's old Singer portable when I was about 11. Don't remember much about it either.

    I have bought two new machines in my life - the first was a Baby Lock. My son was 9 months old - he is now 22. And I went back to Cloth World (how's that for a trip back in time) and cancelled the order twice. I was scared of getting us $170 more in debt (I was buying it on Lay-a-way). And the second is a Singer that I bought at Service Merchandise Clearance for $160 and a Singer Serger for $140. That was 15 years ago. I also inherited my grandmother's Featherweight (which I didn't realize what a jewel until after having it for 5-6 years). And about a year ago my husband found another Featherweight in the 'Free' area of our local dump.

    My 22yo Singer decided last week to just drop it's presser foot lifter. Doesn't move now up or down. Talked to my repair guy and he said that it would be about $90-100 to fix it. Then I saw a listing on here from Linda B. (Up4BigChal) selling an almost brand new Brother for $75. So I snapped it up. Can't wait to get it.

    It looks like we might be moving soon. If that happens, I am going to look for a new place that will have space for a longarm eventually. Never thought I could have one or need one, but I have changed my mind about that.

    So, after my novel - what has been your history of sewing machine? Can you remember what you learned on? Come on - spill the beans. I am really excited to hear everyone's stories.

  2. #2
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    Like you I learned to sew at a young age. My mother had a singer tredle that she had electrified sorry she did that but, I do not remember what happened to it. My first machine that I bought was a Singer Athena 2000 which was the first electyroinic machine that Singer made was not very good had too many problems with it. I bought a Jaome which I love would like to get a Feather weight someday or another Singer treadle if I could find one for a good price that I can afford.

  3. #3
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    not much of a story really, i learned on my grandma treadle,just played with it,when i was a little girl,she was a fantastic seamtress.(never wuilted though) she made alot of my clothes,including a beautiful blue winter wool coat with a lambs wool collar.
    i wish i had paid attention and really learned from her. when i had my first baby, she got me a sears kenmore. she worked at sears, and we got all the catalog rejects..lol!

    she helped me make a dress and pinafore. and then the machine sat for years. i freecycled it, it only needed a new bobbin holder, it had rusted.
    then i took a class at joanns, and got hooked! so i went out and bought a janome 6600 for my first real machine i intended to use. 12 months same as cash..

  4. #4
    Senior Member quiltin chris's Avatar
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    I began sewing when I joined 4-H at 9 years old. My first machine was a Nelco. I guess Mom got tired of me using her Necchi. I had the Nelco til after I got married. Then I started really sewing--chambray shirts for my husband to wear to work, mending, clothes for myself etc. After a few years Viking came out with their first computerized machine. It had specialty stitches on a wand that was inserted in a large slot on the front of the machine. I used that for many years til Janome came out with their embroidery/sewing machines. Well I could hardly wait to get one but I managed to wait for the Memory Craft 9000.

    In the meantime, I bought a Janome Serger which I despise and never really learned to use it well.
    Then I started quilting and bought a Janome Jem to take to classes.
    I met a lady who got me interested in antiques. I bought a Singer Featherweight and a Singer Treadle. I don't use them at all now.

    I traded the Janome 9000 for a 10000 and upgraded it to the 10001. Now I am slobbering over the Horizon and the Janome 11000 SE.

    My husband says I have too many--but when I look at the wood shop tools my guys have I don't feel guilty at all!!

    Chris

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhboxers
    A green Singer in a cabinet. I have no idea what model or anything, but I would love to have another. It was a lot like the Featherweight.

    I inherited Mom's old Singer portable when I was about 11. Don't remember much about it either.
    I have a green Singer in a blonde cabinet and I believe (without looking now) that it's a model 15.

    Nice story - I don't have any stories of before - I just collect machines NOW! :)

  6. #6
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    I can remember my grandma sewing on her Singer treadle sewing machine. I think she might have even let me work the foot pedal once for a few seconds. My first sewing machine is one that I "won" thru a magazine where you had to do a simple crossword puzzle and then you could get it for $99 at only $10 a month. It is a Dressmaker and I still have it. I don't think I have even tried using it in 15 years. When I was in high school we used Singers and that was all the experience I had on sewing machines. About 12 to 15 years ago I went to the local county fair and saw a Pfaff 7570 being demonstrated. It was love at first sight. I bought it then and there. Got it home and didn't do much of anything other than straight stitches for piecing quilt blocks together. Then about 6 years ago I walked into the local quilt shop and saw the Jenny Haskels Beyond the Color Purple quilt blocks and they were just starting a new class on those. However, the owner told me my Pfaff 7570 couldn't do those that I would need a Pfaff 2144 to do those, so I sold my 7570 and bought a 2144 in time for the class starting the next week. I love it, I love it, I love it. I have used that for everything!!!!!!! It is in a cabinet but it is always open and being used. Since then I have added a 1897 Singer Treadle, a 1912 Singer, a 1953 Singer Featherweight, a 1957 Singer Featherweight (my latest as of last week), a 1920 Singer a Pfaff serger, and my most precious jewel my 2010 Gammill Optimum Plus. The Gammill was a suggestion from my son because my dad had just past away on Christmas Eve and I was feeling lost and didn't really know what to do with myself and didn't really want to go get a regular job now that I didn't have to worry about my dad any longer. And it really amazes me that I got hooked to quilting by watching the weekend shows Quilt in a Day - Eleanor Burns, sewing with Nancy and Fons and Porter. Who would have ever guessed that I would go all out with the quilting like this. Glad I did and am.

    Thanks,
    Sherryl
    Candlequilter

  7. #7
    Senior Member craftyone27's Avatar
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    My first sewing experience was on my mom's old Kenmore cabinet model with deco discs (anybody remember those?).

    The first sewing machine of my very own was a BabyLock from ClothWorld that my husband bought for me for $100 on sale - Jane I think we had the same machine as it was regularly $150 or so. I just gave that machine to my neice a few years ago.

    My current machine is a Bernina Virtuosa 155 which I bought used at my LQS 5 years ago. My husband just about choked when I came home and told him how much I was spending on my machine-lol! I told him to calculate the cost of all the tools in the garage and then we could talk - never did hear another word about the cost of my machine.

    My next machine will hopefully have BSR and embroidery - or be a longarm - either one would make me happy.

  8. #8
    Super Member Connie in CO's Avatar
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    Myself,i started in J H in home ec class back in 62 i think.You know i don't remember after that.I know my mother has a Singer.

  9. #9
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    Nice thread. I used to play in Grma's sewing space...she let me empty the drawers of her Singer treadle, as long as I didn't break anything.She made utility quilts from feedsacks & gray wool batting, then tied.

    Mom never sewed a stitch.My 1st machine was a kenmore in a cabinet that cost all of $50 when DD joined 4-H. She never sewed either, but I used it to make the girls pjs,nighties & short/top sets.Then it was put away & sold when we sold our other house.

    We traveled a lot with an RV when DH retired.he got me a featherweight that went all over with us & I started making quilt tops on it.5 yrs later, I got a Viking & was just never comfortable using it....prob my fault.

    Anyway,sold both machines & got a Bernina with BSR....no embroidery.It's the last machine I plan to buy.Have a Janome Jem for classes & has never been used.I just keep it for back up.. Never a prob with the Bernina.

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I tell everyone I was born with a needle in one hand and fabric in the other. I started sewing at around 5. My mother sewed all our clothes. I was the only girl in school with a different dress for every day in the week. The other girls thought we were rich; I was sort of embarrassed that all my clothes were home-made. Anyhow, after my mother died in the late 80's my brother brought me my mother's sewing machine; the one I learned to sew on. I just got a new motor for it and have it on proud display in my sewing room. It is a Singer from 1936. I have about 10 other machines of various vintages, from a White treadle to the new Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond. A number of years ago I went back to Michigan to visit my brother. He took me to see an old classmate of mine. I didn't remember the guy (because he had a girlfriend back in school), but he remembered me. He asked me if I still sewed. That blew my mind; that a boy would remember me 45 years later by my sewing abilities.

  11. #11
    sewTinker's Avatar
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    I have my grandmother's treadle - a Singer - 1907, I believe, but need to look it up. Although I have happy memories of her using it, I never have, and I've had it since 1976! hahaha... It's a decorative piece in my living room. It's a beautiful machine in a 3 drawer (each side) table. Reading all the posts here about actually Using them, has inspired me to try. It needs a new belt, for sure. Don't know what else. But when I'm ready (after the holidays) I will research it and try to figure it out. Wouldn't That be so fun? to sew on my gr'ma's treadle? hahahaha...

    I have a bernina virtuosa 160 that I bought in 2000 (I keep saying it's a 180, but it Isn't! I'm such a dork.) I also have a featherweight from 1953.

  12. #12
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    I played with my Grandmas treadle machine as a child she had it electrified later and I now have it it is a Singer Red Eye, and My mom gave me a treadle she bought from my aunt. My husband bought me a sewing machine for our 1st Christmas from Aldens catalog I still have it packed away then I bought a Kenmore used with cams and thought I had everything!! Used it up until about 3 years ago and found a Kenmore in a cabinet at Salvation Army for $40.00 so bought that, a year and a half ago I bought myself a Brother SE 350 so I could embroider. I would like to put Grandma's machine back in a cabinet some day.

  13. #13
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    Used grandmas old treadle machine,she was an out of this world quilter.Wish I had paid attention instead of playing under the quilt frame.My mom is a quilter and has two machines.I have bought two machines a janome and a brother

  14. #14
    Senior Member tweetee's Avatar
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    My Grandma taught me to quilt when I bought my Janome excell about 15 years ago, that was my first machine. I upgraded to a Janome 4900QC a year ago, and gave my ole faithful to my mum, as hers had died. She loves it.
    Earlier this year I got a 1952 featherweight which is a dream to use, and just last week, picked up a 1956 99k with cabinet and stool from Ebay for $60. I also have a Janome 300E embroidery machine that I have had for about a year, after upgrading from the 200E, wich I only had for 6 months!. So currently I have 3 sewing machines, and an embroidery machine, and I love them all

  15. #15
    Super Member maryel's Avatar
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    I started sewing on a Singer "Futura" machine, [bought with bond money my Grandma had saved for me], when my oldest daughter was 6. I had 3 girls to sew for and wanted them to have nice clothing! It had the {cams} to insert and really did a nice job with regular stitching and basic sewing. Sewed many garments on it. When I retired, I upgraded and treated myself to a Viking D1 embroidery machine which I love and also bought a Viking Lily for basic sewing. Also have the Brother Disney Machine which is a great machine for the money. I love them all and am thinking about a Serger someday...

  16. #16
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    Before I was married, I used my grandmother's Featherweight. My much older sister, who was married and had two machines, one of which came from my other grandmother. I didn't especially care for the second g'mtr's machine, but couldn't understand why my sister needed 2, so I complained mightily, to no avail. However, for a wedding present, from my sister and BIL, I was surprised with a new JCPenney machine, which was plenty until tonight, when I bought a new Brother from Wal-Mart. It does 80 different stitches, including buttonholes, has stop/start button that I didn't hear of until I got on this board, and it FMQ's! Wow. That's plenty for me. So, after 36 years, I got my second machine.

  17. #17
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    I started sewing on my mom's 1948 featherweight when I was 9 which she bought as her first machine. At 15 I bought an almost new Singer Touch and Sew and used that until I graduated from University. I then bought a demonstrator Bernina 830 Record and used it until five years ago when I bought my Janome 6500. I'm now considering buying the new Janome Horizon. My take to class machine is a Husqavaran/Viking Prelude 350. I also have a Brother and an older Singer that I use with my 4-H group and four featherweights. Can you tell that I love sewing machines?

  18. #18
    Senior Member donac's Avatar
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    My mother has been sewing all my life. I have pictures of Easters where we all have the same outfit. One year she even made my dad and bother sports coats to match our capes and the lining of the capes matched our dresses and berets.

    I learned to sew when I was about 10 but I had to share the machin with my mother all my 4 sisters. When I first started working ( worked as a janitor during a summer and cleaned a school) My first income tax refund bought my first singer sewing machine. we all bought Singers. Before I got married we had 6 sewing machines in the house. everyone had their own. I think I am the only one who still sews consistently.

    I had that about 16 years. When my son was a baby I bought a Kenmore. I had that 10 years when I bought an Elna. I had that for 15 years and loved it to death. It didn't even go in reverse when I traded it in for a new Elna last year.

    I often think I would love my grandmothers's machine but someone else got it. I would love a featherweight but I don't think that is in the cards either.

    There are also times I wish I could spend mega bucks to buy the top of the line machine but I am too practical of a person to that. I do love my Elna and I am using it more since I have found this inspirational site.

  19. #19
    Super Member Kitsapquilter's Avatar
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    I learned to sew at an early age on my Mom's treadle Singer. She had it a cabinet with the drawers to one side of it. We lost all of our belongings in a house fire when I was about 12 yrs. old. So that was the end of the old treadle machine. But lo & behold after the ashes cooled so we could dig and search we found some of the silver dollars that my Mom had stashed in the drawers of her sewing cabinet.
    My first machine of my own was a Dressmaker won by doing a puzzle...just like Candlequilter! Then in a few years I graduated to a Singer. I have had several different machines since then, a New Home and a Viking. Then finally a Baby Lock Esante (I still have it) and my favorite one that I use the most is a Bernina 160. I do all my quilting on it. The Baby Lock has the embroidery attachment that I haven't used in quite some time but reading things on this board makes me think I should get back to using that more!
    Linda aka Kitsapquilter

  20. #20
    Senior Member BRenea's Avatar
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    Like many others, I learned to sew at a very young age. I don't remember the exact model of the machine my mom has, but it was a Singer bought in the late sixties or early seventies. My mom still uses that machine, although she doesn't sew much anymore. I bought myself an inexpensive Brother machine when I got married, but soon caught the quilting bug and traded it toward a Viking 500 computerized machine. I love that machine and still use it often, in fifteen years it has not given me one bit of trouble! I came upon my Bernina Artista 730 when I visited a quilt shop that was going out of business. They had one machine left in their inventory, so I called my hubby because even on sale it was a lot of money. He said go for it! I knew there was a reason I love that man! :wink:

  21. #21
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    Gosh I feel so deprived! AM I the ONLY one who taught herself to quilt? There were "home ec" classes where I had to make a project there but never had one stitch of interest at that time. It wasn't until I was pregnant with our first child & I wanted to make him a baby quilt. I hand embroideried about 12 blocks, all little animals, put the sashing on & then never finished it! It wasn't until about 16 yrs later I decided to make our youngest son a clown outfit. Then he outgrew a baby quilt that was made for him & I was going thru the terrible teens with our oldest child so that is when I took up quilting. I started off with a plain label machine. did not have a name or brand on it anywhere. Then I bought a small end Janome & used that for several years. After that my DH talked me into investing into my first Bernina. I have sewed on that for 10 yrs & just last April bought my 2nd Bernina. I am using the embroidery module a lot on my new machine where I never used it on my other Bernina. So I taught myself but I am trying to teach my grand daughter. I hope some day she writes on here that "her grandmother" taught her to quilt! That would make me so proud :o}

  22. #22
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    When I was 15 (1961) my father bought me a Montgomery Ward zig zag machine since I was making all my own clothes on my grandmother's old treadle. That machine lasted until 1980 when it literally blew up spewing sparks and smoke all over. I replaced it with a Viking which lasted 10 yrs. The computer board went right after the warranty. Being short on cash and long on wants I borrowed money from my m-in-l and bought a Pfaff 1475. It has been my work horse every since and I love it. I also have two featherweights, a 1940 Singer elec and two Wilcox and Gibbs chain stitch machines (one elec and one treadle) plus two sergers.

  23. #23
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    I played with grandma's treadle machine (which I have today but no longer use). My mother couldn't sew a stitch but my father sure could. He made clothes for my sister and I on that treadle machine. In high school when I finally got to take home ec for a semester I decided to buy my own machine since I was working at a fabric shop after school. That was 1962/63 I purchased a "Necchi" that I paid about $10 a month for. I loved that machine but it I passed on to another sewer that needed a machine when I bought my Elna about 12 years ago. My dream is to one day have a longarm!!

  24. #24
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    sewed by hand as a little kid--my cousin, tommy (an air force pilot, back then) brought me my first "real" machine from hong kong, when i was 7--it was a kid's machine that sewed a chain stitch, with a hand crank on the upper right for a "motor". it worked. my dollies had dresses! used mom's old kenmore (the one that used cams) until i got married. when i had our first daughter, hubby didn't buy roses or flowers (we couldn't afford those)--he bought me a "sewmor" sewing machine from a salesman he met at the gas station hubby worked at. he bought it on "time". it still works. (that "baby" is 41, now.) it was made by the "white" sewing machine mfgrs. after another twenty years or so, he bought me a singer for valentine's day--and i still use that one. i have a janome embroidery machine that is lovely--but that old singer is my buddy, and we understand each other. there was a singer serger i had that got gifted to a niece--she wore it out, and is on her fourth or fifth serger, now. (she sews for her daughter's ballet shows--the daughter is the teacher) i have a janome serger, still in the box after three years. gotta get it out and prove to myself that i'm really not afraid of it... but the old singer still reigns in my heart. and it likes to sew quilts, wedding dresses, quilts, grandkid's clothes and QUILTS!

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