Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A New Member of the Family

Let me introduce the latest edition to my sewing machine family.

This is Gretchen.
1963 Husqvarna Zig Zag 19E


 I bought Gretchen at the vintage fair I went to a few weeks back from a seller who said he was tired of dragging her around.  I got her for a very good price.

She is a 1963 (damn, that was a good year...) Husqvarna Zig Zag 19E machine.  I did a bit of research and came up with the following.  She was made in 1963 which was nearing the end of the full metal jacket era of sewing machines for Husqvarna.  A few years after that machines started to incorporate plastic bodies.  She has zig zag capabilities as well as three needle positions and you can drop the feed dogs by a flick of a switch.  She has an extended sewing bed - which is all metal.  She also has a completely independent bobbin winder on the right hand side that once the bobbin is fed onto the reel disengages the needle.  When the bobbin is filled, the needle engages again automatically.  Pretty cool for 1963.  She was built to compete against the Singer Featherweight and was rather expensive for her day.  One blogger purchased this machine with it's original sales receipt still inclosed which in 1963 was a staggering $345 dollars!


When I purchased Gretchen (I named her Gretchen because she looks like one, don't you think?) the capacitor in her foot pedal had gone which caused the needle to run at full speed and couldn't be stopped when the foot was plugged in.  I took her to the sewing machine hospital and had a full service done on her.  She's now working good as new and I just love her.


These photos were taken on my last retreat as I had to bring Gretchen along.  She worked beautifully and I'm truly happy with my purchase.  She's definitely going on my upcoming retreat this weekend.

You may ask, did I need another machine?  LOL of course not!  But I really think when an opportunity to get such a beautiful vintage machine presents itself, you have to take it.  It was love at first sight.


18 comments:

  1. That is a gorgeous machine! I collect vintage Singers and my favorites for taking along are my precious Salvation Army featherweight or the black 301A. Both just straight stitch but the 301 is a slant shank. Great machine!

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    1. Thanks Babcia - being a collector you KNOW how I feel!

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  2. Look at the throat on her. Can you FMQ with a machine like that?

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    1. I wouldn't want to try. I think her bed is much too short to really get a good sized project under the needle. Some tasks I think are better suited to the newer machines. That's what my Janome 6600 is for. Gretchen is a perfect piecer and traveler.

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  3. What an awesome machine!!! She is just gorgeous. I wish new machines were as aesthetically beautiful. Nice to meet you Gretchen!

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    1. I completely agree with you Rebecca about the modern machine lacking in aesthetics - white and sometimes black - boring! I love it that Gretchen is fully mechanical too. No circuit boards.

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  4. I have this same one ^_^ my mum spotted it for me at our local thriftshop, and immediately put it on hold for me (I got it for a mere 25 euros!). It's my first very own sewing machine and I love it dearly :) my mother also has a 1960's Husqvarna, that she also received from her mum when she was in her 20's. Ah, traditions.
    I haven't named mine yet, but Gretchen is indeed a fine name!

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    1. Aurelia I think this will make a fine first machine for you. All the research I've done on this particular model says she's very reliable. I've sewed for years and I've found I needed very little in the way of extra stitches beyond straight and zig zag.
      I'm sure you'll pick a great name!

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  5. Gretchen is wonderful! I just bought one for my girlfriend, and I'm looking to find or make a foot controller for her.

    I was wondering if you could tell me the model number of the foot controller, as I'm finding it a little hard to find them?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Murray,
      Here's the info from the foot pedal:

      Only for Husqvarna sewing machine class 8.19 or 21
      Type FR 410
      No. 6312
      V 220
      Ohms 550 A0,5 MAX

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  6. Does she do straight stitch at all, and if so, where do you find the setting?

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  7. Hi Disturbance,
    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. Yes she does straight stitch. I've taken photos to show you exactly where but I can't post them here I'd need to email them to you. I'll try to explain. If you look directly at Gretchen you'll see three large knobs and one tiny one at the bottom. The dial you need to control zig zag and straight stitch is the dial with the numbers above the bottom small one. It's labeled 0-4. Zero is straight stitch. The 1-4 are zig zag with the numbers indicating width of the stitch - 4 being the widest and 1 the smallest. The first dial with the zig zag look is your needle position, the second dial is the straight stitch width (and the small bottom within that large dial is your reverse control for the needle - hold it while pressing on the foot peddle and your needle goes in reverse...). I hope this was helpful. I truly love my Husqvarna. She's a sturdy, reliable and stylish little machine to use.

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  8. I have one of these machines. I love this era of Viking machines. I rescued mine for $6, and hyperventilated all the way to the checkout, thinking someone might want to steal it away from me. I love how quiet these machines are. It sits proudly in my office for me to admire, along with my Singer 185J, and my little black Spartan (budget model of Singer 99). Thanks for sharing. I love finding others who share my love of machines!

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  9. Hello, I have a 'gretchen' too! Really want to get an invisible zipper foot for it but struggling to find one that fits. Any suggestions for one would be greatly appreciated!

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    1. I think any low shank presser foot will work. I just bought a low shank piping foot off of ebay and it works just fine.

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    2. Like this:
      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Concealed-Invisible-Zipper-Foot-7306AL-Sewing-Machine-Low-Shank-Presser-Foot-/262566592141?hash=item3d22303e8d:g:qwAAAOSwhOdXprJh

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  10. Hello Diva,
    Can you sew very thin fabrics like silk and thick fabrics like woolen? Think you can sew materials such as leather or imitation leather.
    Do you think it is easy to get spare parts in case of breakdown? 1963, it does not date from yesterday ...
    Forgive me for speaking little, I am French and I use Google to translate.
    Colette

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  11. Diva, Another question regarding the length of points. At number 4, what is the right stitch length? 4 millimeters or more?
    Colette

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