Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My Vintage Machines!

Quiltville's Home for Vintage Sewing Machines!
(Or...Old machines never die, they just go to Quiltville!)

What is this Quiltmaker to do when a lonely and unloved vintage machine is cast aside in favor of a modern computerized wonder-model? I adopt them! I love them, each and everyone!

It seems the more "modern" machines advance to become computer driven and pre-programmed, producing die-cut perfection in their abilities, the more I feel that real skill is taken from the Quiltmaker, and atrributed rather to the machine, instead of the person driving it!

The fancier the machines get, and the more expensive their add-ons and abilities, the more I want to run to my vintage friends, leaving the wonder-machines to those who want to live in the modern world. I'm more of a piecer, than an embellisher, so all I really need is a super straight stitch, along with the occassional zig zag for when I actually NEED to sew on a button by machine, or perhaps join scraps of batting together to make a piece that is big enough for whatever quilt I am getting ready to quilt!

There is NOTHING like sewing on a vintage machine. Nothing in the world can connect you to Quiltmakers Past than feeling the hum of their machines beneath your fingertips as the fabric pieces feed through.

These are the machines in my household! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! Click on each thumbnail to see the full size pic!

~Treadles & Handcranks~

Wilcox & Gibbs Treadle head.
Serial # A734336
Nick Name: Willie

Davis Treadle,circa 1880-1890
Serial # D806080
Nick Name: Mavis Davis

Singer 15-30 Treadle , 1913
Serial # G3366451
Nick Name: Tiffany
(Her decal pattern is Tiffany!)

1973 reproduction of 1923 Singer15
This was the 50 year anniversary of the orignal machine!
The machine head is beautiful but I'd love to replace the
cabinet with something more "vintage".
Nick Name: Cleo (as in Cleopatra, her decals are Egyptian!)

Seidel & Naumann Hand Crank,
Serial # 76108

Nick Name: Pearlie (from the mother-of-pearl inlay!)

Singer 15-98 Hand Crank, 1941
Serial # ED017851
Nick Name: Winston (found in Winston-Salem, NC)
Also Winston for Winston Churchill!
His decal pattern is called RAF, a WWII baby!

~Electric Full Sized Vintage Machines~

Singer 221K Featherweight, 1945
Serial # AG545758
Nick Name: Bertha (from Boise!)

Singer 221K Featherweight, 1964
Serial # EV970152
Nick Name: Bea (as in the Beatles!)
(She was made in Great Britain after all!)

Singer 15-91, 1942
Serial # AG370158
Nick Name; Verna Fern
(Named after my Grandmother
This was her machine :c)

Singer 99K, 1927
Serial # AB804064
Nickname: Greta Garbo

Singer 24, 1946
Serial #AG740463
The Singer 24 is a chain stitch machine!
Nickname: Lela
(The name of her original owner)

Wizard by Precision Sewing Mach Dist.
Serial # 88291, Japan, 1950's?
(clone of singer 15-91)
Nick Name: The Wiz :c)
I love this blue color, and the little bit of decal on the bed.
Who wouldn't want to sew on a blue machine named Wizard!?

Singer 404, 1958
Nick Name: Norma Jean

Singer 401A, 1957
Nick Name: Sandra Dee

Singer 328K, 1953
Nick Name: Sally
(found her and her converted treadle cabinet
at the Salvation Army)

Singer 185J, 1954
NickName: Mean Judy Green

Spartan 192k by Singer, 1958
Serial #33681
Nick Name: Sparty, Spartacus

Bell Micro: Real, not a toy! 1954
Nick Name: Lloyd Bell
(posed in front of 185J Judy to show actual size!)
More Info

Singer 301A, short bed 1951
Serial # NA289792
Nick Name: Ugly Betty

Poor Ugly Betty was a gift from friend
wo discovered her at a flea market after having
spent all winter outdoors under a tarp! She still runs!

Singer 99, 1941
Nick Name: Gracie
This one has the "godzilla" finish and was found in her decal
adorned cabinet at a second hand store in Kernersville, NC!
She came with bobbins, needles, thread, and the green
button holer attachment box. RUNS GREAT!
She is now living in my guestroom.

Singer 301A, long bed, 1951
Serial # NA156809
Nick Name: Edie

Edie is a tan long bed, found at the Quilter's Unlimited show in
Chantilly, VA where I was teaching June 2009. She just HAD
to come join my menagerie!

Hot Rod Magenta 221K Featherweight
Aquired in Sept 2010 at the Jacksonville Quiltfest!
(This sister is complete with ghost flames, check her out!)

~Novelty and Toy Machines~
My friend Lucy started my toy collection! The first 3 shown were gifts from her, along with two mini quilts!
The third machine, a Regina, is shown with a mini quilt that I made myself.

Casige, 1940
Nick Name: Thelma

" Made in USSR"
No age idea on this one?
Nick Name: Louise
(Also known as Red Russian!)

Regina, 1940's
Nick Name: Regina
Shown here with her box
and the mini quilt I made.

Singer 40-D, 1950's
Serial #22855
Nick Name: Little Brownie

Little Singer Touch & Sew, 1970's
I always wanted one of these when I was little.
I didn't get one then,but I have one now!
Nick Name: Marsha Brady

Found in Virgina, unknown manufacturer
battery operated, says Japan on the bottom
Nick Name: Japan Blue

Little Gateway NP-1 (1940)
Found in Altoona, PA
Nick Name: Rosie

Singer Sew Handy, 1950s
This little cutie was adopted at an antique mall
in Augusta, Georgia while shopping with my
friend Siobhan. The box is even in great shape!

I DO sew on my vintage machines,but this isn't the end of the list!

This is my main workhorse!
Bernina 1080, 1994
Nick Name: Nina

Viking/Husquvarna 500,
Late 1990s
Thought I wanted embroidery to do labels.
I still do not do them! Nick Name: Laura
(After my friend who had one just like her)
*Mother's day 2009* I gifted this machine to my mom who
is learning how to quilt! YAY MOM!! :cD

Pfaff 6230, late 1990's
Bought on Ebay,still needs servicing.
I thought I needed the evenfeed,but I like
my Nina better! Live and Learn!

Janome "Hello Kitty" 2008
This little baby weighs 9 lbs and is too cute!
I saw her at a quilter's retreat and really "HAD" to have one.
She has lots of features my featherweights don't have, including needle up/down. I haven't sewn on her yet!
Nick Name: Kitty

APQS Millenium, 2008
Known as Fiona,
(Because she is BIG like Fiona from Shrek,
but still a Princess and SO COOL!)

2009 Janome 6500p
I bought this because of the thread cutter! and I do love it for paper piecing.

~Great Links for Vintage Machine Collectors~


  1. Hi Bonnie, You sure do have many sewing machines. that is pretty cool. I only have one and it a Bernina and it is about 10 years old and I love it. It was a present from me to me when I earned and I mean earned my masters degree in special education. Right now I am not working as a special education teacher and spending a whole lot of time quilting. gbehappytoday@aol.com

  2. Anonymous8:22 AM EST

    Love all your machines. I too collect vintage machines and I use them! So far I have a Singer 99k, 201, 401A, and 415. I just received a singer treadle from one of my sons, made in 1908 don't know the model number yet and a Singer redeye made in 1918 and it till works! I love sewing on the vintage. I use the 201 and 401A every day,

  3. Anonymous7:28 PM EST

    Hi Bonnie, I have 3 machines and a seger. My sewing machines are all Kenmores. The oldest is from 1966. It just sews straight and zig zag. My Mom bought it from Sears in Highland Park Mi. It was delivered while we were on vacation to Ala. to visit my g grandmother. The next is from 1974. Bought in Tacoma Wa. where my husband was serving in the Air Force. This is the machine I made all my kids clothes and Christmas PJ's with. My last one is from Lacey Wa. Given as present from hubby. It's OK use it all the time but my st one is still my favorite. I got to your page because I am following thru on a long ago decision to make my grandkids a quilt from all the scraps from Christmas PJ's, for their graduation present. May 31 granddaughter #1 graduates. This will be my 1st real quilt. Wish me luck.
    Alice H

  4. Love your machines! I have recently become very interested in vintage machines. Going to look at a Singer 15-91 this afternoon. A bit nervous about my possible first purchase. Need to be able to FMQ on this machine, am told I can do this. Am needing to quilt an almost king sized top. Am still told I can do this! You have beautiful machines! Love your website...

  5. Anonymous9:18 PM EDT

    Beautiful collection

  6. Anonymous8:59 AM EDT

    Hi Bonnie,

    love your machines they are truly awesome and don't you love all metal? but where are the treadles? One is never enough. the old ones are so cool. for me it's meditation as my body works in rhythm with the machine-IO have made 28 quilts in the last few years all on treadles and some of your designs. Find an old treadle stand and cabinet and I bet many of your machines, if not all, can be treadled. or Capt Dick on TreadleOn has a tutorial (I think) on making a universal treadle cabinet. if you have a woodworker somewhere in your life, a set of old irons-usually easy to find; and a someone to make a simple top, and you are in business.

    I think you will become a convert.


  7. Your use of your treadle machines finally motivated me to open mine. It has been closed up for many years. I dusted it off, put a new needle in it and wound a bobbin ( with difficulty). I searched on Singer's website and found out that it was made in 1906 but they don't have a manual for it. It was my grandmother's and I remember learning to sew on it at her house. It is in the original cabinet.
    I tried sewing some and the tension is terrible. I checked a couple of your links but would like some more info. Do you have any more suggestions for finding out more about it and making adjustments for use? Thanks for inspiring me.

  8. Hi Bonnie, Love your machines. I don't collect but do have a Singer 15-91, 1952 if I'm remembering correctly. If I decide to machine piece, instead of by hand, I use the 15-91. It's a wonderful machine with a beautiful straight stitch. Also have an older Viking from my garment sewing days. Every once in a while I start thinking I really should get something like a new Bernina so I could blanket stitch by machine. Then I think of how much fabric that is & how much I love to applique by hand. The urge passes.

  9. I have an old sewing machine I inherited from my grandmother. I don't know anything about it at all, would you be willing to help?


  10. Your collection is very beautiful because It's very difficult to get Vintage Sewing Machines.

  11. I have a twin of your Wizard, mine is serial number M 909068. Same cool turquoise blue! A friend gave it to me a couple of years ago; he found it when cleaning out his son's house after he died. It sews beautifully, and has been helping me make masks the last week or so.


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