I discovered a love of home decor fabric after making window treatments for my home. The tactile feel of working with thick cotton fabrics led me to making throw pillows and unique aprons that can be used both in and out of the kitchen. Eventually I added handbags and wallets to my offerings, adding in a bit of leather and sustainable cork. I challenge myself to learn sewing techniques that require precision, using colors, patterns, layers, and textures. I love combining rustic and vintage with current trends to create a modern farmhouse look.
In my search for a better sewing machine, I stumbled into the world of vintage sewing machines.
It all started with the Singer 15-91. I thought that would be the only sewing machine I would need or want, aside from my modern Janome. After spending some time taking it apart, cleaning it, and polishing it, I decided I wanted to do it again with another vintage machine. While I can’t wait to start sewing with a new-to-me machine, I also enjoy opening it up and seeing what’s inside. I’ve learned so much about how sewing machines work, and still want to learn more.
This is a summary of each machine and how I use it. I’ve included photos of machines I fixed up and used, but no longer have.
Necchi BV (Industrial)
A glorious machine! This Necchi industrial sewing machine is probably from the 1950’s. It is my absolute favorite. It can’t handle very thick seams, so I move to the Consew for that. But otherwise, I use this industrial to make most of my bags, pillows, and aprons.
Consew 206RB-1 (industrial)
This is a compound feed/walking foot sewing machine designed for leather and upholstery work. I’m not sure how old it is, but it’s the youngest of all my machines, from the 1970s or ’80s. I use it for my leather/cork bags and straps.
Pfaff 1222e (Domestic)
I came across this Pfaff and needed to try it for the special built-in foot capability. The “IDT” system feeds layers of fabric evenly, something I need a special attachment to do on my other machines. The Pfaff is strong, silent, and will go as slow as I need it to go. It instantly became a favorite. I use this for general sewing when I don’t need an industrial.
Singer 401A and 404 (Domestic)
What fun machines! I can control the pace from start to finish. The 401A has many, many stitching options and patterns that I haven’t even begun to explore. I share these with my son; they’re a great option for him because they have the best speed control out of all my machines.
These machines are amazing machines, but I couldn’t justify keeping. I fixed them up and used them for a time.
Juki LU-563 (industrial)
This machine is similar to my Consew 206RB-1. I didn’t “bond” with it, so when I found my Consew, I let the Juki go.
Singer 31-15 (Treadled industrial)
This industrial sewing machine was from 1915, but stitched as though brand new! It was the smoothest to operate out of all my machines. I used it for straps and other things that need a nice, long straight line of stitching. The results were always perfect.
Singer 78-3 (Industrial)
This industrial sewing machine has always fascinated me! It is a combined upper and needle feed machine, but lacks feed dogs. This means that the needle and foot move the fabric along. The one I had was from the early 20th century and was great for thicker leathers. However it was “too much” machine for what I needed.
Singer 221 Featherweight (Domestic)
The darling of the vintage sewing machine world! This tiny wonder makes an impeccable straight stitch. I didn’t use it enough to justify keeping it.
This pint-sized machine is full of power! It makes amazing buttonholes, the best out of all my machines. I never needed to make buttonholes, though, so I passed it on to someone who would use it more.