Saturday, February 21, 2015

Unexpected Acquisition!

I've spent years looking for a sewing machine "of color" in the hopes that someday the right one would turn up.  The wrong ones have turned up in places as much as 1400 miles away, but there is no way I dare trust anyone but a friend to pack and ship.  (I don't even want to think about the horror stories I've seen and heard, all of which go back to an unwillingness to follow directions.)

Almost two years ago one of my young colleagues was telling me that she sews a little, her husband can sew much more, and they'd been using a sewing machine a friend had loaned them, but they'd had to return it.  We talked about it, and I offered to keep my eyes open for one for her.

Last fall I finally found one I considered acceptable for her based on what she had told me about their interests in using it.
This was at a Salvation Army Store about ten miles from here; as with almost everything at that store, it was grossly overpriced.  The manager condescended to let me plug it in and try it.  There was a major problem with the way it stitched.  In view of the fact that it wouldn't stitch, she condescended some more until we could agree on a price--but she argued with me for a while because she thought I should take the plastic one from the 1970s, which was missing some important parts and still priced much higher!

I brought it home and cleaned and oiled it for my colleague--but we haven't been able to find a time to get together for me to teach her how to thread it, so it's still living at my house.

I know people in the more populated areas of the country are running across some great deals on vintage and antique machines all the time (I watch a facebook group for vintage sewing machines), but they are rare and very seriously overpriced where I live.  However, some of those recent finds by others encouraged me to look at Craigslist for the first time in a couple of months.  One of the first things that popped up was this photo.

I'm guessing the holes where the cabinet knobs used to be gave someone a clue as to which part of the machine to photograph, so the photograph was from the front of the machine.  (If I ever have too much time on my hands and nothing to do, I think I'll calculate the percentage of machines that are not photographed only from the back!) Imagine my amazement to discover she was only about ten or twelve miles from my house and that she had been sitting there with her photo on Craigslist for over a month!  I phoned; the call was answered immediately; I went to see her.

 I brought her home!  She was badged by Macy's, suggesting her first owner was from the East.  (See the pre-drilled holes where most vendors attached their own badge?)We took her out of her table so I could transport her safely.  (Previous owner didn't understand why I wanted to do that--but then he only recently discovered there was a sewing machine in that table!)

When I got the table home, I took out the electricals and the mounting brackets--and some skeletons of daddy-long legs.  I took the sewing table to the thrift store about a mile from my house, the one that provides all kinds of help for families in need (unlike the one ten miles away where I bought the machine for Jessica).

She has no bobbin case.  Since this is what is often called a "15-clone," I can order one.  In the meantime, I can use one from the vintage Necchi that I'm not using right now.  And yes, she needs to be cleaned and given a bath with sewing machine oil. (Yes, that's a little spider web--and not the only one.)

She's a bluer teal than the one I got for Jessica and a little older too--and that's okay.

 How soon will I plug her in?
Probably no time soon, given that she could have served as an accomplice for an arsonist!  It looks like the back of this plug  has a piece of asbestos riveted into it, so I'll need advice about how to get that out if I decide to leave on the motor, rewire, and go electric. I think I can drop her into a treadle cabinet as soon as she's clean enough.  And I'm hoping, since she's a copy of a Singer 15, that I can replace her hand wheel with a spoked wheel and add a hand crank.  I have to investigate that. I'm thinking I'll check with a lady in FL whose elderly father makes wonderful wooden bases for tabletop models--that would work with this new-to-me machine whether it goes electric or hand crank.

I'm really eager to get to work on her, but what I must do first is work on a prayer quilt for a cousin who had a heart attack and heart surgery last week.

She needs a name, folks!

Happy quiltmaking and knitting,


O'Quilts said...

This is a very fun post

Missy Shay said...

I love the color! I've been wanting a blue one too!

Quilting Babcia said...

What a great find Dora - she's gorgeous! You could always call her Serendipity.

Michelle said...

Macy is a great name!

Anonymous said...

Oh so beautiful!!!! I'm so glad you found her!!!!!!

Needled Mom said...

She is such a pretty color.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Your own little 'Miracle on 34th Street' machine. I like the color i=of your new machine better. I think it's the same shade as my 'Victor'. You should be able to convert it to a hand crank easily. Cindy will have the parts. If you want to rewire (I have the parts, but, I still haven't done it on a machine yet) Jenny at Sew Classic has the wiring. I have a base from Linda's dad. I spent the extra $$ for the extension for it. It just slides on and off.

Margie said...

I was so surprised this morning when I started reading your blog. Little over a year ago I found a machine at a Salvation Army for $8.00. Is now my go to machine, but the surprise was in the name of yours. Mine does not have a plate with the name, but is printed on the machine. R. H. Macy & Co New York. It has sewed like a dream from day one and cleaned up real pretty. Not a colored machine and of course the name is Mr. Macy!!!

DragonPoodle said...

Lovely machine, the clones of color are among my favorites. Spoked hand wheel and crank have worked on every clone I have tried. You could also just completely replace the motor and controller. Either way, have fun!

Angela said...

Wow! These are both so pretty! Those 15 clones are supposed to be the bomb, especially for quilting. I do love craigslist. That's how I got my 401:)

Charlotta said...

What's a sewing machine "of color"? I've never heard that term before. You seem very knowledgeable about these old machines, including how to clean them up and get them running again. I'm sure that serves you well. Good luck!

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