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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #1 
We all started somewhere.  What was your first machine?  What triggered you to start collecting?  What's your SMAD story?  And what does your SMAD future look like?
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JoeJr

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Reply with quote  #2 
It all started a couple of years ago with a White Model 65 in a local thrift shop.  It was marked as "Free" and "untested".  Because the cloth covered wiring looked frayed they didn't want to try plugging it in, so I picked it up and fixed the wiring, and it's a great machine.  I've been given 3 trash-pick machines, just because people know I like them, and last night I actually repaired a machine for someone else, for the first time (an electronic Kenmore, fortunately all I had to do was remove some plastic to find the missing feed dog screw and then put it back together).  I don't actually sew much, just household repairs and things like that, but I love the mechanical aspects of the machines, and very often the older cabinets and tables make nice pieces of furniture.  Because of my budget I have to stick with low cost acquisitions, freebies on Craigslist, thrift shops, things like that, but it keeps me busy and in the garage.  I'm at (only) 22 machines.IMG_0252.jpg 
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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #3 
May I blame MacyBaby? :) I met her at HonesteadingToday, on the quilt forum, and there would also be chatter about the great vintage sewing machines. I found a 301 for half price ($3), and she mentioned the QB vsm forum for answers to my questions. Then I learned about the 401....and the 201, which took me a few years to find, and VSS. Then it all became one Singer slippery slope.
The best part is the best, cool, helpful people I've met on my way to the SMAD ward!

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redmadder

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Reply with quote  #4 
My brother doesn't exactly collect things but people unload stuff on him.  My first vintage machine is the 1941 15 I use for hours every day.  He gave it to me back in 2008 and it sat in my storage shed a couple of years.  Once I cleaned and oiled it, I was in love.  The only repair in 11 years was the uptake spring.  She still sings.  Unlike the numerous plastic cheaps I've worn out over the years.
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Kitcarlson

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Reply with quote  #5 
If our case of SMAD, we had several machines without addiction. With purchase of another house in nearby town to help facilitate day care of grandchild #6. A condition for perfect storm (an empty house). In setting up house for quilting, things like work tables, and machine cabinet .... 3yrs pass,two full houses, 60 plus machines, (not counting modern), trying to stop.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #6 
I blame my parents. One child really should have been enough, but noooo, they had to go for two and on that February day of infamy my sister entered the world. Decades later she called me one late spring day to grieve over the demise of her ancient White 77g. A week or two later I called her back and asked if she was ready for a new puppy... and she sent me a short list of vintage machine models she'd like to find and try. I brought seven machines to her on Thanksgiving that year. I hadn't spent a hundred bucks. Granted, they all needed care and we set up a triage in my parent's garage. That was an unexpectedly enjoyable week. She kept some and gave some away and we continued to find, restore, and move old sewing machines in and out of the garage. Then came the day when she left for her yearly two week Ren-fair-like event. Her car turned the corner and I wandered over to the computer to check local listings and sure enough, there was a curbside rescue only minutes away. I hopped in the car and by the time I got there it had begun raining.

Perhaps a foretelling omen... I loaded up a soaking wet and mysterious to me Singer into the bay of the Rav4 while thunder and lightening and sheets of rain pounded overhead. I hauled it home, stuck it in the garage. Dried it off with a towel the best I could and finally found a serial number. The machine was frozen, all the wiring was shot, and the little table needed completely redone. Up until that time, I'd get a machine running and hand it off and Sis would make it sew. She wasn't there, so I had to do it all and It took two weeks before it tossed a super nice stitch with all new wiring and a redone cabinet. That was my first 101 and it challenged my skills like no other old machine, and I was hooked.

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My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #7 
I remember being fascinated by my mother's old black Singer.  I think it was probably a type 40 cabinet, and, knowing what I know now, and piecing together fragments of memories, it was likely a 66.  Decals, but not fancy -- probably paper-clip.  She traded it in for a 237 in '68 or so (when I was 10), and at some point taught me to sew.  After college I owned a machine on and off for a long time -- oddball gifts or yard sale models mostly.  Nothing special.

Then in '98 I needed to adapt a BMW motorcycle tank bag to my Suzuki.  The thick multi-layer leather base that stays with the bike when the bag is zipped off/on needed a 3" clearance hole for the gas cap cut into it, and the new loose edges needed to be sewn together.  I cut the hole, and took it to a local cobbler since there was no way whatever machine I owned at the time could do the sewing.

When I went to pick it up, I asked what kind of machine I'd need to do that sort of thing myself.  He pointed across at what I've since learned was a 29-4, where his wife was sitting doing a repair.

Cobbler: "You mean that sort of thing?" 
Me: "Uh...  maybe?" 
Cobbler: "Well, that's what my wife used to do your stitching." 
Me, impressed by the bulk and industrial-age look of the 29-4: "Well okay, yeah, like that." 
Cobbler: "I happen to have another one of those in my cellar at home.  Interested?"
Me: "Wow!"  Then, reality creeps in: "Gee...   how much would something like that cost?" 
He paused and thought about it, and said "Would $75 be okay?" 
I controlled myself, and forced myself to pause too.  "....  Sure.  That would be fine."

Several days later he brought it to the shop, gave me a quick lesson, and we loaded it in my car.  So that was my first truly old machine.  But it wasn't SMAD.  Not yet.  It was just a machine.

I eventually inherited my mother's 237.  And a few years ago I'd picked up some other plastic piece of junk at a rummage sale, and someone on a local mailing list had given away a mint 201-2 in a Queen Anne cabinet, and along with the 237 and the 29-4, I posted a picture of my tiny set of machines on Facebook.  And made a joke about "my collection".

And here's where the SMAD finally hit:  a few days later a friend dropped me a line and asked if I was interested in his grandmother's 1916 7-drawer 66 treadle, given to her by her husband as a wedding present in 1918.  I was very flattered  to be offered such a family heirloom, and tried to push back, but he just wanted it out of the house.  It needed a fairly major restoration, which brought me to VSS for lots of good advice.  And I was hooked.

As you've probably noticed, I'm still here.  :-)   As of a couple of days ago I'm up to 34 machines.

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My machines: http://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/by-age
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socoso

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Reply with quote  #8 
I started with a Adler 189A some time late last year. I have 33 or so now, some very nice and some for parts. I really should get rid of some but I don't try very hard to do that.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #9 
*note: lost count of how many machines are here. I would count them, but I don't have that kind of time. I will say that 60 is manageable, and I want manageable back. That would be nice.
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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Fear Recognition Less
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Cari-in-Oly

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Reply with quote  #10 
My whole life up until about 10 or 11 years ago I had only ever used one sewing machine(with the exception of the Viking I used in high school home ec), my Moms beige 1964 Brother Prestige. After I got a new bells and whistles machine I gave that Brother to my oldest DD when she finally showed an interest in sewing. The new machine didn't hold a candle to that old Brother and I missed it. A few weeks later I found a blue Brother in a thrift store that was just like moms machine so I bought it. A week or so later I found another one. A week or so after that I walked past an old Singer in a thrift store and it just called out to me and I had to buy it. That was my 201-2. And the rest is, well, you all know how it goes. For the first couple of years I would buy just about anything that was priced right. Then I started getting more selective about my collecting and focused on mid century Japanese machines and let most of my Singers and other non Japanese machines go. I've had more than 100 go through my hands, have about 80 still, and even though I'm not actively seeking them out any more, one will still manage to find me every now and then.

Cari

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wahoonc

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Reply with quote  #11 
Slippery slopes...

I have a great love for anything mechanical. Especially older things.

When I first started in the construction business many, many years ago I had the great fortune to be taught by several gentlemen from previous generations how to do things right. They always started us off with the most basic of hand tools, they would allow us to "graduate" to better tools and then power tools. Their philosophy was you needed to learn how to make it work first, then use the labor-saving devices.

I learned to sew by hand when I was 8 or 9, mom got tired of sewing my buttons back on that I apparently was quite adept at tearing off my clothes. Eventually, I learned basic sewing with a thread and needle, then was allowed to use her 1961 Singer 404 for larger repairs and projects. For many years if anything needed sewing I would head to mom's house and use the Singer. I stopped sewing for quite a few years other than the quick hand repair of a missing button or a patch. Mom gave me and my first wife the Singer 404 when she upgraded to a fancy Husqvarna-Viking. Lost that one in the divorce.

Fast forward a few more years and I have remarried, my bride had a Singer 760 Touch and Throw that needed new feed dogs, so I ordered up a set and got them installed. We were at a yard sale and a 1965 Singer 500a Rocketeer followed me home for the princely sum of $35, it came with full drawers and most of the accessories available that year. That got me back into sewing a bit more, mostly repairs, light alterations, and repairing bicycle luggage (another addiction).

Then a couple of years ago I got the hankering for the old 404. Found one on eBay and placed a bid and forgot about it. A short while later my ex died and the kids asked if I wanted the 404 back, it also came with a companion 1926 66, shortly thereafter the eBay 404 showed up. In the meantime, I find out my MIL has at least two VSM stashed in a back room at her house. Now I am building a new 32'x40' barn/shop, once it gets done we will reassemble the collections of VSM, bicycles, lamps, lanterns, camp stoves, hand tools and such. Current VSM count is 10-12, 30+ bicycles, 25 or so lanterns and oil lamps, 8 camp stoves, a couple of scooters, several vintage lawnmowers, and a couple of old trucks. I do believe I am set for retirement[biggrin]

Aaron [cool]

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MarlenaL

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Reply with quote  #12 
My mother had three girls and a love of modern bells-and-whistles Singers, so when she went to the OSMG to get us (me) set up with a machine which was NOT the precious TouchTronic, she came home with a Singer 600e, the earliest Touch and Sew, in a desk from the home ec. department of the local high school with plenty of initials and dates scratched into it by bored students. So I grew up with a top-of-the-line mechanical, attachments everywhere, and a firm belief that all sewing machines wound bobbins in place. (It was a bit of a crash in Home Ec. when, after breezing through sewing for weeks, was suddenly faced with an empty bobbin and a machine with...some doohickey...on top?...[confused]) I was the only daughter who stuck with machine sewing, so when I went to college I went with mom's first machine, some no-frills Stylist I think, while the heavy T&S stayed home. Then one day everything inside it went 'crunch' and the local OSMG told me, fairly, that it would be cheaper to replace than repair. I didn't know about nylon's properties then, and the guilt of 'breaking mom's sewing machine' stuck with me for years. So it was due to that, I thought, that I couldn't bond with the new modern mechanical Viking one boyfriend bought, nor the Singer Stylist the next boyfriend dragged home from a charity shop--at least that one was metal, but I treated it poorly with WD-40, not knowing better.

Move after move: the Viking stayed with the ex, the Stylist stayed with 220V mains, I haunted sewing forums while failing to bond with one of my mom's rejected modern computerized machines. Then a certain person turned up, not as a sewist, but bubbling over with enthusiasm for restoring vintage sewing machines, displaying with pride the restoration of a Necchi BU which he had bought in the next metro area over from mine. Gears started to turn: I was back in the USA, vintage machines were plentiful again. I found new blogs and sites, with titles like How to Identify a Singer from Crappy Craigslist Photos and How to Rewire a Potted Motor (Step by Step). Then my husband texted me during a bike ride one day, saying he'd found an antique shop which was giving away an old black sewing machine in a cabinet but the wires were shot, did I want to bring the car and get it? DID I?!?! [biggrin] (He is a keeper.) It was the usual gateway machine, a Singer 66. I took up that rewiring guide and, with my heart in my mouth (electricity being the one module of physics class I had nearly failed outright), a soldering iron. Plugged it afterward into the grounded auto-cutoff outlet with fear and trembling...and it hummed, and I wasn't an electrical failure any more, and I was hooked.

Unlike a few of us, I researched for months before buying more. Slowly I learned that I liked the mechanical ingenuity of Kenmores, so I sought and found one which a chainstitch capacity, and learned to delight in the buttonholer as well. Then I sought and found one of the less weighty models, unfortunately managing to find the one most thoroughly stuck example of that model that has yet been mentioned on the internet. Seriously, that one stupid spring and/or peg...The Singer was given to another admirer of vintage who couldn't afford one already refurbished, and I committed to Kenmore and to Sears. Later I indulged in an uncommon yellow painted Kenmore, so bright and cheerful, as I was getting nowhere finding a White 77 with its elegant body shape, as the idle beauty of the house. (I hate crinkle, I had said. Couldn't give me a crinkle if you tried, I had said. What sympathy purchase did I make when the vintage sewing machine specialist in the next metro area was closing its doors? The ugliest crinkle White in the shop. Loved its engineering and smoothness but had to rehome it to someone less sensitive to bentwood case aroma.) Then I got a faint itch for a painted treadle, which surely wasn't going to pan out, but I still had an idle eye on the usual sites. What should pop up, but a painted treadle actually badged Kenmore, cheap enough and 'close' enough to look past the 'broken pedal' and gamble upon? It wasn't broken. It was meant to detach and fold out of sight when not in use. I have a weakness for metal objects which oughtn't to fold, but do.

I'm done collecting now. I have my workhorse, my portable (stitch length notwithstanding), my beauty, my weirdo, none of which can share their attachments. Technically there's room for a Kenmore badged serger, which will also not be able to share feet with any other machine, but it won't be vintage (la la la la la the 1990s aren't vintage yet, I can't hear you la la la [tounge2]) so it may increase to five, but really I am done. Though I enjoy looking at other folks' collections yet, they may keep the beautiful shellac away from my clumsy hands. I have paint. Sometimes even crinkle paint.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #13 
Lot’s of interesting stories here and they are all unique and fun to read. 
 
I’m a sewer from probably the last generation of required Home Ec classes for girls.  This is where I leaned sewing basics.  I kind of took to it easy and I think I was the rare type to get an A+ in sewing and also chemistry - don’t ask about my grades in other classes that I wasn’t interested in!  Sewing was great for me because back then I could expand my wardrobe more cheaply than ready-to-wear.
 
Anyway, at home we had a featherweight - my mom’s high school graduation present.  It was just used for light sewing, mending, etc.  My mom was not a serious seamstress.  So when I had a machine in school that was a zigzag - the featherweight just didn’t seem to meet the “advanced” requirements that was needed to sew well.  For Christmas one year my parents got me a zigzag/decorative stitch machine from Wards.  And I really hated that machine.  Maybe I didn’t know how to adjust or use properly but I just didn’t get good results.
 
Then college and very little sewing during this time.  With my first job I was determined to finally get a “good” sewing machine and purchased a Singer Stylist free arm (what I could afford and at that it was an expensive purchase for me - something like an Elna of the 1970s would have been completely out of my reach).  It of course seemed like a dream compared to that Wards machine but it got used very rarely as I was too busy working, etc. to sew.
 
I then inherited my aunt’s featherweight and it just sat.  Then some years passed - and just sewing rarely - halloween costumes, etc.  One day I was attempting to sew a doll outfit for my daughter using some very fine organdy - and my machine just chewed it up.  So I got out the featherweight and wow!  Not only was the stitch better, but the control and precision was great and much, much better than the Stylist.  That was the end of the Stylist!
 
A few years later I ran into a trashed Singer 99 - hey this looks like my featherweight - so I brought it home and researched and got it going and another wow!  Soon after a dirty frozen Singer 15-91 came my way and hey - another black Singer so let’s see how this works.  More research and cleaning and oiling  and another wow!  So now I was hooked on using these great tools for sewing and progressed into trying different vintage machines to see how their functions and abilities for sewing compare.  It took my a long time to deviate from the comfort of Singers but my branching out to try vintage Necchi’s and Elna’s are some more wows!
 
Now I have a nice collection of machines that each provide something special for my sewing - and a few duplicates.  My goals are to get each of my machines in top shape and in a refinished cabinet/case that corresponds to their history and then finish up my sewing room to display what I can.  I mostly feel I will never be done but I have learned to say “no" to new machines and cabinets - for the most part!
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