Monday, July 23, 2018

My Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

I posted these two pictures on Instagram today because so many people wanted to know what sewing machine I was using. The decal on the front says it was manufactured in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Don't you love things that were made in the USA back when things were made to last instead of being thrown away? I believe the term is "planned obsolescence" and I don't like it one bit. I still prefer having things repaired whenever possible.

The instruction booklet says the Slant-O-Matic was the greatest sewing machine ever built! And I would have to agree. I can remember my mother saving up S&H Green Stamps for her first electric Singer. That's the only brand we ever had. We had an old treadle machine too and I loved sewing on it as a child. The next page of this booklet says ©1961. I think I bought mine a little later than that but it was still the most current model at the time. It is all metal construction and is not computerized. The decorative stitches are all gear driven. It is nicknamed The Rocketeer because of its futuristic mid-century modern design. I guess it would be called Retro now.

I have this Olive Oyl cartoon saved on my phone. I love texting it back when I receive a text that is worthy of this response.

16 comments:

Goatldi said...

Cool sewing machine. I agree whole heartily with your sentiments. Not long after we were married Geoffrey brought home a Pfaff machine that a friend's mother had brought over from Italy with her. To this day I regret letting that machine go to another home. But I was young and impetuous. Easily swayed by the come hither of the new Kenmore with the removable arm for sewing sleeves. Silly girl!

Susan said...

Good for you! Vintage/retro rules!

Linda Sand said...

I remember my mom sewing a dress for me on a treadle machine when I was 14. You don't see those around much anymore.

Pam said...

I saved up my babysitting money and birthday money for what seemed like FOREVER, and bought a Sears portable sewing machine in the 1960s. My mom never sewed, so I didn't even know what I was looking for. I had taken sewing classes in Home Ec, and really enjoyed it. Although I've had it worked on several different times, I never ever considered getting rid of it. It's made of steel and painted a soft green color. We're very fortunate to have our vintage machines!

Content in a Cottage said...

Pam.....Yours sounds lovely. I don't think I've ever seen a soft green sewing machine so yours must be rare. It's so nice that you earned the money for it and kept it all these years. I am amazed at how much interest there is in sewing machines. Especially old ones.
I know I love mine and obviously other people love their "sewie sheens" too. That's what my brother called our mother's Singer.
xo, Rosemary

lisa said...

When I was in the 7th grade, my mom bought me a Singer. I believe it was called a "Touch and Sew", and I still have it! Needless to say, I have not really put it to very good use, (though I still could). Many times I thought of giving it up, but somehow, never really could. Your post has made me very nostalgic for those days, and very glad I haven't parted with it.

JudyMac said...

Enjoyed seeing what your machine looks like. Since yours is more sleek than mine, I’m Inclined to think mine might be the oldest. When I moved to FL in 1962, I was away from my Mom’s machine and needed something to sew on. I rented mine first, liked it so well I asked about cost, and they offered to sell the rental one to me for $75 as I recall. It is extremely heavy, sews front and backward and that’s about it. I had it serviced once years ago, nothing else, and it hasn’t been used in quite a few years. But with another servicing, I’ll bet it would be good to go. I might get bold post my last curtain creation on IG sometime.

Mama Pea said...

I learned to sew on my grandmother's treadle machine. I've often wondered, but have been unable to find out, what happened to that machine. Grandma is long gone now, of course, as are her six daughters. I've asked some of my cousins but no one knows what became of it. What a treasure that would be to have!

Content in a Cottage said...

Mama Pea -- Sadly, you will probably find that old treadle machine. I can't remember what happened to ours either. If they were to ever come back, they would be called Hybrid Sewing Machines just like the automobiles but without the need for a battery. That sounds revolutionary, doesn't it? I am hoping all the old treadles were not scrapped but somehow made their ways to places with limited electricity so women could sew. They did need a place of their own though so the portability of the new electric machines helped make the treadles obsolete.
xo, Rosemary

Content in a Cottage said...

JudyMac -- Judy, Just get out your manual and follow the instructions for oiling and lubricating. I have gone for years at a time without using my machine and that's all I've ever done to keep it humming. I look forward to seeing your latest sewing project on Instagram. Sewing is absolutely like riding a bicycle in that you never forget how. My machine has a complicated threading process but I never have to refer to the chart to do it. Did you pass your sewing ability to your daughter?
xo, Rosemary

Content in a Cottage said...

Lisa -- I grew up with a sewing machine being an integral part of the family. I continued sewing into adulthood but somewhere along the way it took a back seat in my life. Thankfully, I always held on to my Singer though I sold the sewing cabinet and somehow I can't locate its carrying case. No matter because I kept every single sewing item I've ever owned together in one place. So I am back in business again in my attic with a proper sewing space and I'm busy wondering what I'm going to make next. Maybe you'll get the sewing bug again too.
xo, Rosemary

tammy j said...

LOL!!! GO OLIVE!!!
I would be texting it back a LOT!
I had a beautiful Singer treadle machine ages ago.
alas. young and foolish.
I let it go. along with the original table.
definitely a case of "too soon old too late smart." xo

Content in a Cottage said...

tammy j -- You can't keep everything. Don't fret about letting the treadle machine go when you were young. I still wonder about what happened to the one my family had.
I am so glad you like the Olive Oyl cartoon too. It is perfect for texting.
xo, Rosemary

JudyMac said...

Now that my daughter has her first home, she is taking on some small renovation projects. Sewing is not one of them, but she has expressed an interest—the first time ever, but basically she knows very little about sewing. Her place is very nice and has a lot of windows, but she doesn’t necessarily want to have curtains on all of them. I really would like to see her have some nice curtains and/or drapes, ones of a better quality than she would probably make as a beginner, and she really has very little time to sew. She is a good painter, however, and has tackled quite a few small projects, such as changing door knobs/locks and has a good start on fitting out a tool box. I’ve taught her that estate sales are a good place to stock up on necessary tools.

Content in a Cottage said...

JudyMac -- Judy, Your daughter has mastered painting and that is wonderful. You get the most bang for the buck if you do it yourself. Paint is inexpensive but painters are VERY expensive. You can't do it all in this life. I got all of my tools at house sales and continue to look. I love an estate sale at a house with a workbench and lots of tools. Almost everyone I know started out with bamboo shades for privacy before putting up window treatments. It sounds as if she's going slowly and that's a good thing. I have never liked homes with rooms that look as if they were all decorated on the same day.
xo, Rosemary

The Queen Vee said...

I LOVE THIS POST! I think your Singer is a work of art, I've never seen one like it.

I grew up in a home where everything was homemade. My mother sewed all of our clothes and when I turned 12 she started to teach me how to sew plus I took sewing in school for 4 years. By the time I was in high school I made almost all of my own clothes and did that for years. My older sister was gifted in sewing skills while I muddled along. I made a lot of my daughters clothes and all of her prom dresses. I confess I'm so glad I don't have to do that anymore. I enjoy much more making decor times for the home. I've saved a fortune over the years making drapes, pillows, quilts, curtains etc. My first sewing machine was a Singer Featherweight machine. It only sewed a straight stitch but it was a work horse. I regret selling it when I bought my first Bernina sewing machine.

The Olive Oyl cartoon is great and definitely makes a clear statement.