Meet my new baby…

Isn’t she lovely?  For quite a while now, I’ve been trying to work out how I can do my sewing downstairs, rather than stuck in the bedroom like a hermit.  For one thing, I got married recently enough to still want to see my husband in the evenings…  However, there’s nowhere downstairs for me to safely keep my sewing machine, and I’m sure as hell not carting it up and downstairs every day!  I have a vintage Singer which folds away into it’s own table, which seemed like a possible solution…  but I can’t get it to work.  Not so ideal then, really.  I’m pretty sure there’s not much at all wrong with it, but I don’t have the time at the minute to fiddle with it.

I often lurk vintage machines on eBay (slightly too often, I imagine most people might think…), but I’m usually pretty restrained.  For one thing, a lot of machines on eBay are being sold by people who don’t know the first thing about them (not a criticism, just a fact!), which can make it kind of pot luck whether you’re wasting your money.  ‘It makes sound/light/movement when I switched it on’ does NOT equate to ‘It will sew stuff’!   I took a chance on this one, though, because she’s just SO PRETTY!  And clean.  That sounds weird, I know – I’m not averse to grime and certainly not to cleaning something up myself, but the fact that she is already pretty spotless means that she’s likely to have been stored well.  This is a BIG factor in how well a machine will run if it’s been stored any length of time.

I have a bit of a soft spot for Brother, maybe because their offices are just down the road from me.  In any case, I chose a Brother when I first bought a sewing machine – I’m not sure what model it is, but it was the cheapest available.  Never had any problems with it in 5 years, but it doesn’t have a solid cover, so it can’t be let out of the bedroom.  Seriously, you have to be either really fast or well armoured to survive for long in this house…

This is the first decent-looking Brother I’ve seen on eBay, plus it was just the other side of Manchester – how could I resist?  And she works!  YAY!  She’s equipped with a cover I’m pretty sure I could sit on with no risk of damage, and is too heavy for the kids to lift.  No kidding, she’s practically too heavy for me to lift – 14kg!  No, I’m serious…

No manual, but that’s hardly a problem, as she a plain-and-simple straight-stitch machine. no gimmicks here…  There are 3 things you can vary:  stitch length, forward or reverse, and feed dog height.

Yes, that is the entire control panel…

So once I’d worked out how to thread her up, off we went!  Slight problem in that the dining table shakes a bit when it’s running…  Seriously, this table looks like you’d be able to shelter from a bomb under it, but there’s an ALARMING amount of lateral movement.  Appearances can be deceptive…

Stitch length variation

I love the simplicity of these old machines – when you look underneath, there’s not an awful lot of machinery there…

… because it’s designed to do only one thing, and do it really well.  Which it does – the stitch quality is great.  (Not that you can tell from my rubbish picture up there, but it is!)

There’s a roomy bits-and-bobs compartment, which was full of bits and bobs.  Many familiar (I have to admit to being unnaturally excited about trying the Highest Quality gathering foot);

some not so much,

I mean, what in the name of all that’s holy are these things?  There are loads of them!  They’re marked up with figures, 1, 5/8, 3/8, etc, which to me would suggest seam allowance?  If you know what they are, please put me out of my misery!

I’ll be using this beauty for my next couple of projects, so I’ll let you know whether love at first sight blossoms into going steady!  I’ve got a couple of simple children’s makes in the pipeline, which seem like a good thing to test a new machine on.

If you’re interested in getting a vintage machine, I highly recommend this post, and this one from the leisure-time-black-hole that is Male Pattern Boldness.  I always lurk eBay in the hope of a bargain – this obviously carries the risk of a non-runner, but sometimes I think it’s a risk worth taking.  I limit myself to ones I can easily travel to pick up.  This rules out a load (good for my bank balance as well as my husband’s sanity), and to be honest there are so many going up at the moment, there are plenty to watch within 15 miles or so.

Well, I’d better get some sewing done!  Let’s see how long the table holds up…




  1. February 19, 2015 / 3:05 am

    Those look to be buttonholers! Nice score—I love vintage machines!

    • February 19, 2015 / 8:56 am

      Awesome, thanks! I knew SOMEONE must know :). I’d consigned them to the ‘life’s mysteries’ compartment, but now I shall have to look for a buttonholer to use them with… Thanks!!

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