There's always been something quite special about creating clothes with a good ole' vintage sewing machine. Perhaps it's the idea that you're partaking in a fragment of history…or maybe it's the fact that your vintage sewing machine was originally owned by your great grandmother and has been passed down to your grandmother, your mother and now to you!
Indeed, when you sew with a vintage sewing machine, you're definitely linking up with a piece of history…and using this equipment from the past somehow nurtures the soul. You see, you’re not only connecting with people who have used the machine before but also with those who have manufactured it with honor and pride.
Vintage Sewing Machines Are a Dime A Dozen
When I say vintage, I refer to sewing machines that are at least forty years old…and if you are not one of the lucky ones who inherited a vintage sewing machine, don’t fret, because you can now buy them online at a price of $75 or less and this may already include shipping. Garage sales and your local thrift store may also sell them for an affordable price and the most popular brands are Singer, Kenmore, and Viking.
You just have to make sure that you buy one that is still fully functional, so it is best to ask the seller for a stitch sample when you make your purchase on EBay or Craigslist where plenty of vintage sewing machines are sold. When shopping, here’s a word of advice, if you buy on Craigslist you can check and test the machine first so this is quite ideal: and I promise you, that distinctive feeling of reaching out to the past will still be quite palpable.
Making A Practical and Green Choice
It is a well known fact that vintage sewing machines are mechanically less complex than the new models; as such, they don't break down as easily and are easier to repair, making them perfect for beginner sewists. Also, because they don't have motherboards and computer circuits that can break down, vintage sewing machines are much cheaper to maintain. After having it refurbished, all you need is regular oiling, sometimes a minor tune up and you’re good to go for a long time to come.
Many vintage sewing machines are equipped with the same parts as the new models, like bobbins, presser feet and needles. Accessories for vintage sewing machines which are manufactured by famous brands like Singer, Kenmore and Viking aren't that difficult to find; plus if you really think about it, not much has changed when it comes to basic sewing machine equipment, making it a very practical choice.
Many sewists probably don't realize that using a vintage sewing machine means being environmentally friendly too. Faced with the stark reality that our planet’s resources are not finite, recycling a vintage sewing machine by giving it a new life is a kind of recycling that certainly benefits nature.
Easy to Use and Durable
Unlike the new sewing machine, a vintage sewing machine isn't equipped with a myriad stitch functions and a computer board, so it's relatively easy to use. With no electronic parts to deal with, anyone, like you and me, can take a vintage sewing machine apart for cleaning and then assemble it back. With just a few hooks to deal with, threading is also a simple process. The rest of the parts, like presser feet, bobbins, and tension function like those in modern machines and don't need a lot of attention.
If you find any machine that's forty years old and beyond and it still functions, this is already tangible proof of its durability. The same can be said about vintage sewing machines. Remember that most of these machines were top of the line in design and production and that is the reason why they still function to this day. Just like vintage cars, they are made of a more durable metal material as opposed to their modern, plastic counterpart.
If you're concerned about what can and can't be done with a vintage machine, think back to the fact that housewives were using these machines to make complicated fashions for the whole family and fashions have, in fact, not become more complex over time.
Elegant and beautiful, vintage sewing machines are classically colored black, white or tan. They have simple curves, bare exteriors and enamel coatings that make them appealing to the eyes. Equipped with solid parts that fit well together, they sit on hinges that will allow you to tip them back and expose their base or underside. They make beautiful consistent stitches and are extremely reliable. Their allure is actually not only emotional and sentimental, it is also aesthetic and practical, and this makes a vintage sewing machine simply irresistible.
Please share your thoughts and experiences with vintage sewing machines in the comments below.