Sunday, September 11, 2011


On Monday afternoon, I was in the Pit of Despair {10 points if you can name that film} while quilting. In a moment of exasperation, I said, "Maybe my sewing machine just isn't meant for quilting!"

Note: I very rarely speak badly about my sewing machine. I love it, and it really is an amazing little machine. I bought it almost exactly three years ago and it's probably my best purchase ever. But like I said, I was in the Pit of Despair.

My dad told my mom, "It's time." I objected, thinking he meant it was time for me to trade in my lovely sewing machine and upgrade.

They disappear into another room and come back with this.

My first vintage sewing machine!

Mom got it at a yard sale last weekend. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift, but they couldn't wait that long. :) She paid $20 for the machine and all of the extra stuff shown below.

I've tried to search online for more information about this machine, but there's not much out there. From what I can find, it was made in Japan sometime after World War II. Japan started producing colorful sewing machine that were pretty much clones of Singers, with interchangeable parts and everything. They were made under lots of different names (this one is Modernage), and some people collect them because they came in such unusual and pretty colors. :) The color of mine is much lovelier than you can tell from the pictures!

I'm not sure what parts you're supposed to photograph on a vintage sewing machine...:)

Needle plate and presser foot:

Bobbin winder:

The bobbin fits down in there- a scary experience the first time I tried to get it in and out! :)

Foot pedal:

This is a cute little chart on the back of the machine with needle and thread info:

The machine is built onto a little wood stand, but the pictures in the manual show it sitting on its own. You can lift the machine off the stand, like shown, but it's hinged on the back. I'm wondering if you unscrewed the hinges and took if off, if it would sit by itself?

Anyway, it's so beautiful. :) It works perfectly- the lady told my mom it might need to be oiled. But I've sewn some seams with it and it seems to be fine. It's super heavy, and all of the pieces are metal instead of plastic like on my new machine (the bobbins, the foot pedal, bobbin case, etc.).

So far I've learned how to thread it, insert the bobbin, remove the bobbin, and adjust stitch length. Next up is learning how to wind the bobbin. :)

The machine also came with a huge plastic sewing box (sorry, no pictures), with two trays full of vintage sewing goodness.

Here's some of the stuff I found inside: zippers, thread, bias tape, hem tape, buttons, lace, hooks and eyes, patches, needles, bobbins, thimbles...

Plus a box of attachments and strange looking presser feet, a very 60s sailboat patch {it's called a Joy Patch :)}, an extra belt, and a huge Singer attachment (not yet sure what it is?).

The original sewing machine accessories box, with scissors, screw drivers, a tracing wheel, and some other little unknown tool.

And two 70s/80s patterns, tracing paper, and a book about the attachments.

The original instruction manual! Very helpful, because otherwise I would have no idea how to thread it or get the bobbin out.

And this adorable vintage needle book. I don't have many hand sewing needles and was planning on buying some soon. Now I don't think I'll ever have to buy any again. :)

I love my (new) vintage sewing machine, and all of the accessories. And while it would have made a great surprise on Christmas morning, it also made a great surprise on Monday afternoon. :)

I made these last week and meant to post them before now.

A needle case to hold my knitting needles and crochet hooks. I got the idea from one of my knitting books, but I made this pattern myself. There are just a few things about it that need tweaking.

As you can see, I don't exactly have enough needles and hooks to fill it yet. :) I only have three sets of needles (one set in use when I took these pictures) and one crochet hook, so it's a little empty so far.

I also made this new journal. It's made in the same basic way as my last leather one, but this is the first time I made a fabric one.

I really do love how it turned out (this is currently one of my favorite fabrics), but this is a perfect example of what happens when I don't think things through completely before I start a project.

First of all, I meant to make it so that the back cover came around the side and overlapped the front one. But I didn't think about that until I was halfway done. I also made it the cover about an inch too wide, because I didn't stop to think about how wide my pages would be. And the rickrack closure was a better idea in theory, but I still think it looks pretty cute.

I made a little pocket to keep things in- there's one in the back, too.

There are six signatures, and each one has 6 or 8 folded pages in it. I can't remember exactly. :)

I'm planning on making another one of these soon, though smaller and with less pages. For something special coming up for me next month. :)

And finally, a quick quilting update: things are not going so great. I'm just being honest here. I mentioned in my last quilting post that needles were breaking, etc. My brand new walking foot wasn't working properly. Instead of walking, it jumped. This sounds amusing, I know, and it would be if I hadn't paid $30 for the thing. Anyway, the whole walking foot would lift up and then slam down. I don't think it's supposed to do that. Plus, the needle hit the foot sometimes (thus the broken needles), even though I have the right stitch and everything like it should be. I also realized that part of the plastic on the foot was cracked, so I couldn't use it anymore.

Then I thought I would be all intelligent and prove the quilting snobs wrong by *gasp* using my normal presser foot. It worked alright, with just a little pulling, on the first seam. Then things started getting ugly- wrinkled and distorted squares, etc. So guess what? When everyone on the Internet says you need a walking foot for quilting straight lines, they're right. Trust me.

So now the quilt has to be put aside until I can get my hands on another walking foot. I sent back the first one yesterday, so hopefully in a week or two my replacement will arrive. This setback is really frustrating to me, because the project was going so great at first and I wanted to get it done soon. But now I have no excuse for not sewing items for the Etsy shop, and I've been putting a lot of time and effort into my shop that had previously been focused on my quilt.

For example, I've added about eight new items to my shop this week, with possibly that many more coming next week! The iPod/cell phone cozies are now back in my shop. :) Check it out!

Until next time,


  1. What a neat vintage sewing machine! I love the blue.

  2. What a lovely surprise. Blue is a popular color around this house since my husband is color blind, and I guess color blind people really gravitate towards all kinds of blues. It would be fun to have a blue sewing machine. And, a vintage sewing machine at that! I hope it handles your quilting well!

  3. awe... that sewing machine is so pretty!

  4. Hey, I just got one of these puppies- but mine didn't come with the manual. Could you describe or take a photo of the how to thread and load a bobbin with thread section? Thanks- Yours is lovely- mine looks like an old black singer.

    1. Hi! Someone else requested the manual last year, so I actually scanned the whole thing into a PDF file. Send me an email, and I'll send you the PDF as an attachment. :)

      This goes for anyone else who might stumble across this blog post in the future! I'd be happy to help.

      sewtechnicolor (at) yahoo (dot) com

    2. Hello Kristin! I stumbled across this blog looking for someone who has a sewing machine like mine. I inherited it from my grandmother who passed away 7 years ago. This morning I pulled out my sewing machine (in the cabinet) that my mom gave me 20 years ago that was was hers when I was a baby.

      Long story short..I got to thinking about my grandmother's sewing machine. So I pulled it out of the shed, dusted it off and started googling. I ran across a picture that was IDENTICAL (box and all) to mine and it brought me here :)

      I would love to have a copy of your manual. It would make my day! Here is my email: Thanks so much for posting your pictures and I hope you enjoy your sewing machine!

      Jeannie Collins

  5. Hello Kristin! I too stumbled across your blog looking for the manual for my sewing machine. I just bought it today at an estate sale. I"m happy to say it sews and seems to be in excellent condition. All for $12.50. Unfortunately it did not come with a manual. I would love for you to email me a copy. My email address is Thanks so much!

    I'm enjoying reading your blog. I saw your woodland girl bag and am going to try and make one. I just have to go through my fabric and see which one I like best for a bag. I know I'll need to go to goodwill or a thrift store to get a zipper. I'm excited to start sewing again. I recently started crocheting a rag rug. It's rather slow going. I'm also wanting to knit some wash cloths/dish cloths/baby wash cloths. I've crocheted some and knitted some before and really like the knitted ones better. I'm a novice knitter so it's a bit more time consuming than if I crochet. But everyone I talk to says knitting is faster once you get better at it. I also saw your knitting needle holder that you made. Makes me want to make one of those for my knitting and crocheting needles. Too many things to make and not enough time.

    I appreciate you posting pictures of your machine and making your manual available! Thanks so much!


  6. Oh, and I forgot to get my 10 points. The pit of despair-Princess Bride. Great movie!


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