I have to admit that I am in love! I love my vintage Singer 403A sewing machine and all the wonderful attachments that come with it. I have found that some people just don’t understand how I could love such an out dated machine that has such “scary” looking attachments and (gasp!) cams that you actually have to switch in and out if you want to make different stitches! I mean, why not just buy a new machine that you just press a button, hang on, and voila! You have a quilt. Well here are some of my favorite things about vintage machines-
- They are work horses! Most vintage machines will take anything you throw at them and with even minimal cleaning and oiling will keep on working and working and working
- You can find vintage machines anywhere. My mom bought mine for me at a thrift store for $50 and all it needed was a little bit of cleaning. I have had it for over 5 years now and aside from a few mishaps caused by curious toddlers, it has kept working and working. Estate sales and sewing machine repair shops are also good places to look for vintage machines and attachments.
- They have metal gears instead of plastic like the newer machines. You will get your money’s worth and then some out of these machines.
- They have character and look cool in your sewing room or space, plus they have great names like “Slant-O-Matic” and “Style-O-Matic”.
- There is not a project or fabric that I have not been able to tackle with my Singer 403A sewing machine.
- I feel like an engineer or mechanic every time I get to switch out the attachments and cams on my machine. My boys are so interested in all the “parts” that go with my machine.
- I feel confident that I could follow the directions in my manual to take my machine apart and put it back together again without rendering it inoperable. It is also very easy to clean, maintain, and troubleshoot these great vintage machines. There is no way I would even consider taking apart a new machine!
So how can you get started on your own journey towards owning, operating, maintaining, and loving vintage sewing machines and attachments? There are a lot of resources online to get you started!
- ISMACS or International Sewing Machine Collectors Society is a great resource for information and they even have files you can download for free. http://www.ismacs.net/
- Yahoo Groups– I belong to four different Yahoo groups for collectors of vintage Singer sewing machines and attachments. If you already have a machine that you want to find out more about, just search Yahoo Groups for your make and model. If you just want to find out more about vintage sewing machines these groups are a great place to start. The people I have met so far have been so friendly and helpful. http://groups.yahoo.com/
- SMC or Sewing Machine Collector- another great resource for information. http://www.dincum.com/
- Local sewing groups or collector clubs– You may have a local group that meets on a regular basis to swap attachments and share tips and stories. The phone book or family activity guide is a good place to start searching for groups like these or ask around at your favorite local fabric store.
- Yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops, swap meets, flea markets– These are a great place to look for vintage machines and attachments at an affordable price. Make sure you know what you are looking for before you head out. Or maybe you will just get lucky!
- Sewing machine repair shops– It will usually be your “ma and pa” shops not chain stores that will carry vintage sewing machines, accessories, and parts. I have found a store in my area that even has a collection of vintage sewing machine original manuals for sale, although the selection is limited as you can imagine. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and advice. These folks can be so friendly and helpful.
Good luck on your journey! I hope I have inspired at least one more person to love these old machines and attachments as much as I do. Be careful though, because once you get going, you’ll never look back!