I love to sew and have been using the same machine for forty plus years. It doesn't do fancy stuff, but I'm not fancy. A few years ago I came across a hand crank Singer sewing machine. It didn't have a needle or an instruction book, but I fell in love with it.
After I got my "treasure" home, I found my hand crank sewing machine uses the same needles as the new ones. (I purchased the needles at the Dollar Store!) The manual is free on the Singer site.
This hand crank machine locks the stitches better than my trusty forty year old, sews through multiple layers of fabric without missing a stitch. Best of all, I can sew outside or at a civil war reenactment. I have made several friends while they sat and watched me sew. Yes, I let them crank if they ask!
Next time you see a machine for sale, give it a try, you might be surprised at how much pleasure you will receive. Oh, I paid $35.00 for mine in an antique store.
By Tedebear from San Jose CA
For many, many years I sewed everything on my trusty treadle. Oh, how I loved that machine! But since I wanted to sew with knits & over-lock the edges with zig-zag, I needed a machine with a zig-zag stitch, so I bought a newer machine (about a 1940's-1950's model) and was very happy with that. But 2 years ago I broke down & bought a $150 Brother computer model at Target on sale and let me tell you, I am so very happy with it! The reason I love it (and it's not fancy) is because it has a self threader. I'm now 54 and my eyes aren't quite what they used to be, so I dreaded every time I had to change thread colors or every time my needle came un-threaded. Now I just pull a little lever and "Presto", it threads itself! So changing thread colors is simply a breeze. And to top that off, they have finally figured out that we like a machine that's super-easy to thread, so Brother has made this machine thread like a dream! In fact, with all my other machines (I have one from practically every decade, from Thrift Stores) it might take me a full 10 minutes to change the thread colors and struggle with threading the needle, but with my new Brother it takes me less than 30 seconds including changing the bobbin too!
If you ever want a second machine for doing ziz-zag and self-threading, I'd recommend a new Brother. They have them for as low as $79 at Walmart and Target. Don't buy another brand especially Singer. Singer was THE machine for many, many years, but for the past decade or two Singer just isn't what it used to be. Especially in low-end (under $200) machines. Yes I do miss my trusty well-loved treadle, but I love not struggling with threading. Last January I gave my granddaughter a 1937 Singer for her 6th birthday. Let me tell you, that machine can sew through anything. It's a tank (and heavy as one too!). It's made of cast iron & is almost too heavy for me to carry. But they sure don't make them like they used to. And it stands up to her learning to sew. That old machine still runs like it's brand new. It just hums along. I guess it's because the old machines were made with all metal parts & no cheap plastic.
* As you probably already know, Singer has a list of Serial numbers where you can look at the first 3 letters on the serial number & know the approximate age of your machine. That's wonderful for Thrift-Shopper's like me!
I'm curious, does your hand-crank machine use a bobbin or does it do the chain stitch? I'm looking for an old chain-stitch machine (chain stitch - like on feed bags). You are lucky you found that machine for $35 because so many people are buying up old machines and re-selling them for a fortune on e-bay!
I have only seen one chain stitch hand crank machine. I will keep my eye out for one for you! When I saw it I thought it was something my "cranker" would do, but the woman explained it was "specialized".
I too have a treadle and love it!
Now I am going to Target and check out the Brother. Thank you for the tip!
Thumbs-up for Tedebear ! I had a beautiful treadle sewing machine but I gave it away because it was taking a lot of room in my apartement. Three weeks ago we had electricity breakdowns because of an heat wave. No radio, no CD player, no surfing on the internet, I thought to myself, Alright ! I'll take the opportunity to do some sewing... No electricity : no sewing machine ! How I regretted my treadle sewing machine ! You are so right, about being able to take the machine outside to sew in full sunlight with plenty of room and to be able to sew thick materials like leather with no problem at all. With that machine, the actual sewing time of a sewing project was a real pleasure when now, even with a very modern machine, the sewing time is stressfull. I always start sewing thinking how many times will the thread get entangled or will break or get unthread ? How many times will I happily sew , for long minutes, at full speed before I realize that the machine has not picked up the thread from beneath and nothing at all has been sewn ? Oh ! Yes I miss, my good old, real piece of art, beautiful to look at, creative and relaxing time provider, treadle sewing machine !
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