Friday, 7 October 2011


I inherited my grandmother's Singer 27 a few years ago.   Before that I'd sort of looked for a treadle sewing machine of my own and when I got my grandmother's, really put the search on the back burner.   3 or 4 years ago, I rescued a Singer 99 from a thrift store.  They hadn't been able to sell it, were thinking that it's only use would be to toss the sewing machine and use the cabinet for something.   I picked it up for $45, including a green case of feet and attachments.  I'd meant to restore it but it's a bit scary, taking apart a sewing machine, changing out the wiring and cleaning it up without ruining the gold decals, so I put it off.

My girlfriend gave me a super nice Singer 201 (a beautiful, wonderful machine..sigh) and it got me thinking about restoring my two other Singers.  However, a glance through Kijiji last week reminded me about my desire to have a treadle sewing machine that I was comfortable using.  I'd checked out the Singer 127 last week and really wanted either a vertical or drop in bobbin sewing machine.  My first choice would have been a Singer 66, with some sort of pretty decals, maybe a red eye.  However, what I found the other day thrilled me.  
Singer 15-30 treadle in a 3 drawer cabinet, circa 1919
There was a Singer 15-30 for sale.  The Memphis or Sphinx decals looked to be in decent condition.  You couldn't see the cabinet and it wasn't clear whether it still had a bobbin winder.  I called about it and the nice gentleman said his friend said it needed a bobbin thingy that went on the end and it would likely work.  I figured that meant the bobbin winder.. silly me..

I drove to look at it today and it followed me home.   It has a bobbin winder and it is only the bobbin and a treadle belt which it needs.  It's awfully pretty though.   It needs a good clean up.  The plated parts are pretty grungy and a bit pitted but the black metal sewing machine is in really good shape.  The back access plate screw doesn't want to move and I'm not sure if the bobbin winder is complete, though it moves and looks like it should work.

Singer 15-30 back
The 15-30 was in production from 1895 to the 1960's, in various forms.   This one is the first incarnation, with the first modern oscillating hook bobbin mechanism.  They still make sewing machines using that mechanism!

The cabinet needs a bit of veneer either re-glued or replaced, but it's not all that bad.

I asked if he knew any of the history of the machine.  Since he didn't know anything about how it worked, he obviously didn't use it.  It was his mother's sewing machine although he didn't know if she bought it or got it from someone else.

Why am I thrilled about this old gal?  She cost me $50.    I was so happy to find her, I didn't even try to haggle down the price.    Yes, she will require a bit of elbow grease but well, I've got a bit of that..


Leigh said...

Wow! Nina I am so excited for you. I'd love to find a bargain like this! Have you considered opening up your own sewing machine museum? LOL

Nina said...

That's funny! I've only 4 vintage machines but there are people out there with more than a hundred. They should open museums. I simply love sewing on machines which do the best job. If they are pretty too and fit into my sense of decor, so much the better.

Woolly Bits said...

when I saw your old machine - I became curious about my own "old" one... which turned out not to be that old at all:)) the more modern treadle machines aren't black and gold anymore, they are a gun metal grey, no decor, very bare - but I am still happy that I have mine. it can do zick-zack as well as straight - and will run without electricity, which might be a good thing in years to come! most of the time right now it serves as a telephone table (the machine folds down of course), but when needed it can be used again. multi-use gadgets are always a bonus:))
happy sewing with your new family member - once you have restored it nicely:))

Bettina (from ireland - where we have another "soft" day:(()