Thursday, January 3, 2013

'Stella!'

This is my vintage circa 1937 Singer 201P. Isn't she a beauty?

I'm posting a picture of 'Stella' because after over a year in storage (I purchased her off Gumtree) I've decided to pull her out and use her as my main sewing machine for a while. I have to say I'm in love.

Stella (yes, I named her - doesn't she look like a Stella?) is really a joy to work on. It's amazing really that a machine 50+ years old still performs to a very high standard. I honestly think the stitches she produces are the most uniform and precise I've seen comparable to any modern machine.

She is easy to thread and loads a bobbin with little effort - and fast too. I've been using her for the past week and my only 'complaint' is that she doesn't have a thread cutter attached to the side. I have to pick up my scissors each time to cut threads. Wow, how lazy have I become as a modern sewer?

I've overcome the issue of not having a 1/4 inch foot by using a magnet barrier to the right side of the needle made specifically for the purpose of keeping an accurate measurement along the fabric as you sew. I bought this simple little device years and years ago after I purchased my other vintage Singer (1922 Singer hand rank). I don't know if they're still available on the market. But even if they're not using a homemade magnet device would work. One really neat feature of Stella that modern machines appear to have forgone is instead of a foot pedal to run the needle, she has a heal pedal. I thought at first this was going to be awkward to use but its not at all. I actually find it more comfortable then a standard foot pedal. I can control the needles speed better using either my heal or adjusting the position of my foot, the centre area of my foot. And because Stella was made in the heyday of Bakealite manufacture, she has a weighty pedal that doesn't move about the way lightweight foot pedals do.

Right now Stella is sitting on top of my sewing table that was specifically designed to fit my Janome 6600. Stella doesn't fit in the hole. I haven't decided yet if I want to take her out of her traveling case (basically a wooden box base that the hard shell cover fits over and locks onto). I'm going to use her a bit longer where she is before I make any major adjustments to the status quo on my sewing table. As she sits now its not an uncomfortable position.

So right now I'm enjoying her unique sound as I piece a new quilt. She has that impressive hum you only hear from old industrial machines. She has grunt without loosing her lady like appeal. I'm glad to have her out and getting used. She's not a museum piece. She still does what she was made to do. She's sort of a metaphor for growing old gracefully. Though you may be old you can still function, and even impress, just like you used to do. Isn't that what we all hope for in our vintage years. Who would have thought Stella would be so inspiring?



1 comment:

  1. McKenna, You have a great find in your machine. You can purchase a generic foot for your 1/4 inch foot if you like. It is a low shank pressor foot and Nancy's Notions has them. They are not a lot in price. Have fun with it. Chris

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