As some of you know from a past post, I love these old machines. Meet my newest love, Singer 15-91:
Stella is my newest Singer and she’s a classic. I bought her last month after I had eye-opening conversation with my dental hygienist, Ginger. (Hi Ginger!)
Ginger is wonderful. She’s awesome with the kids, gentle on my gums, but best of all, I swear she knows it all. The first time I walked in, she eyed my bag and mentioned her love of fabrics. Well, that got me started and soon we were exchanging blog sites.
At my cleaning in January, Ginger asked how things were going and I vented. I had recently bought a used Bernina 1630, but I kept having a hog-load of trouble with it. I had just taken it in for service and the repairs cost almost as much as I paid for the machine. (Loooong story and one I don’t feel like boring you with.) I felt depressed because sewing seemed to cost more money than I could afford.
Ginger asked why I bought another machine. She asked what features I used and what was important to me. She helped me figure it out. It was all rather simple.
All I wanted was a machine to sew a beautiful straight stitch and to do it through anything I threw at it. I wasn’t asking for alot, but it seemed like my last machine purchases, Janome and Bernina, were just not cutting it. It’s all me. I am very hard on machines. I don’t have patience. I push, pull, yank and shove fabric through. I go from one layer to 15 and expect the machine not to flinch. I want the stitches to look the same on the right side as well as the wrong side. I don’t want jagged, skipped or crooked stitches.
Now that I have a couple years sewing under me, I no longer need the speed control, needle up-down, and auto-backstitch. Yes, these features are wonderful to have, but for me they are no longer necessary. Ginger convinced me to get back to the basics. She told me to find a classic machine. Find one from built between 1930-1960. Find a Singer.
It took me less than two weeks. And I gotta say, Ginger was right. I found this classic beauty for $50 which included everything. Stella is in her original cabinet and has just about all her original feet. She was used very little and is in wonderful condition.
This is now my #1 machine. The only time I use a different machine is if I need a zig-zag or free arm which is really less often than you think. Between my serger and this Singer, I rarely use any other machine.
My number one feature with Stella is her quiet hum. It’s quieter than any other machine by far. She hums when she’s winding a bobbin, sewing through layers of canvas or sewing at breakneck speed. Yes, she’s fast. You can drop her feed dogs and whip out some easy free motion quilting. Her bobbins hold a ton and she has a large harp (the space under the sewing arm) for easy quilt maneuvering. There were tons of these made and the parts are easy to find. Best of all, they’re cheap!
I serviced Stella myself when I brought her home. Since she was recently serviced by the previous owner, all she needed was oil. All her parts were easy to reach. There weren’t any computer boards to worry about frying or little compartments to figure out how to open. You can see all her parts! She’s all metal with gears and a cute little “pot” motor hanging off her backside.
With the help of Jenny’s excellent site and a few other Google searches, I learned all about 15-91’s in no time. I’ve seen more and more of these on Craig’s List and would love to buy and love each and every one, but Chris would probably have a major melt-down. (This weekend I found a mint green beauty for $75 and it was in her original portable base. Oh, Lord I wanted to buy her…)
Okay, that’s about it. I have much more to say about these old machines, but since many of you probably stopped reading already, I’ll better stop as well. I just wanted y’all to know that there is a machine out there that doesn’t cost thousands, that you can service yourself (with a little time & research), and that sews beautifully. There’s one out there waiting for you so don’t be scared to pick one up. These classics have been around forever and I suspect they’ll be around for many more.