Free sewing machines!

Oh I bet that got your attention...


I know, it's been a long time since I've posted anything here but I assure you it's not because I'm burned out or under a bus.


Here's a little clue..  
The last two months have been somewhat of a whirlwind for me.  I moved!  It was one of those situations where the landlord wanted a lease through next Spring and I just knew I didn't want to stay that long.  There's much more to the story but I'll reserve some of the personal details for now.  Things in the new place are finally set up properly and I'm enjoying myself getting aclimated to a new area much closer to Boston then I was previously.


Here's a little peak of my new sewing space:



My new "office" is in a closet that's too small for a hanger.  This is the typical New England style construction I've come to expect.  Obviously people here would never think of hanging clothing in the closet...   duh..  Also check out my new ironing table!  This is inspired by those big ironing tables they sell at sewing expos, mine cost less than $10.


Singer Merrit
Lately I've been heavily involved in a new project that I'll talk about more here in the coming months.  Part of my role is the acquisition of sewing machines.  Is there any better fun than that?  The budget, only $30 per machine. The rule, nothing too new but anything else goes.  With my own collecting I've become very strict, only certain brands and models, the best of the best more or less.  



This new situation allowed me to look at machines I would have otherwise passed up
 and it's been a blast.  I've purchased two Kenmore, an old black Universal straight stitch, a Montgomery Ward, a White (with black paint of course), Dressmaker and a few different Singers.


Dressmaker
I check local craigslist, freecycle, and ebay posting daily and in doing often come across FREE sewing machines (well not on ebay..).  Of the ads I respond to for free machines I'd say 25% have come through.  I've also been successful in talking someone down to free after convincing them their machine wasn't worth money on the local used market.  One machine was supposed to be a Kenmore but when I showed up it turned out to be a Singer with stripped plastic gears.  Not a total loss since I will save the foot pedal which will work great for a machine missing it's own pedal.


Two of the machines I've found for free are notable and I'll give you a quick preview.


The Singer Touch-Tronic 2000.  They renamed this the Athena for some reason.  This is the very first electronic computerized sewing machine ever produced, the year was 1975.  Yes, that's one year older than I am..  What computerized electronics did YOU have in 1975?  I imagine this was one pricey machine in it's day.  It features a wind in place bobbin that I've only been able to make work once AND rubber feed dogs!  I'll do a video and a full review but here's the preview photos:





My other new acquisition is a Necchi BU Mira with icky paint.  The machine is missing it's zigzag needle plate and the bobbin cover.  Whenever I come across a machine missing these parts I usually assume someone swiped them for another machine.  How else would one loose pieces like this?  With this machine came the accessory box AND wonder wheel with all four cams.  The wonder wheel alone is worth more than the machine....  The guy was happy to give it to me for free to haul it out of his garage.  My plan is a repaint!  I've always wanted to repaint a sewing machine but been afraid to ruin it.  This one is ruined already so I have nothing to loose.  It'll be strictly for fun, this isn't the kind of thing one recovers from financially.  If the paint works out then I'll replace the bobbin cover and needle plate.  If it doesn't then I'll part it out on ebay.


I think it's really an awesome looking machine, the shape is so...  interesting.  It also has a great motor and after a lube the mechanics are really sweet.



Lastly...  Thank you everyone who emailed me to check on my situation over the last two months.  I had no idea how many people would miss my being around.  It's humbling and feels good knowing I'm appreciated for doing something I love.


Have a great week!

11 comments :: Free sewing machines!

  1. Well I like the clue! Your new space looks really nice. I know you think you have no closet space, but at least you have some. In Australia there is no such thing as closet space like you have. In more recent years, wardrobes are 'built in' to a corner of a bedroom, but walk in closet space is not common, except in new houses. As for apartments, you can forget it! Look forward to hearing more about your project, it certainly sounds intriguing. You can get more for $30 in the US than in Australia.

  2. Hi Brian - great to see a post from you. Now that I have found your blog I want to read more and then you didn't post for a while. I was worried about you.
    good luck with the new living situation. Exhausting to move but kind of fun to start over.

    PS - I teach kids to sew and I have shown them the videos you posted on the Secret Life of the sewing machine. they all loved them and really had a better impression of the amazing technology of a sewing machine.
    Cheers, Beth

  3. I guess in Massachusetts in order for a room to be classified as a bedroom it must have a closet. There is no laws against small closets however... :) I agree $30 in the US can get you a lot of machine if you're willing to shop around and be patient.

    Oh I bet the kids loved Secret Life of the Sewing Machine! I'll have to remember to share that with my students...

  4. Hooray! You're back! Not under a bus! : )
    Cute clue, too!
    Hey, have you ever reviewed your sergers? I couldn't find where you had...I'm about to kick mine and would be interested in knowing which ones you have and how you like them (or not!).

  5. Hey Sarah! I have never reviewed my sergers, I have two that are almost identical and I highly recommend them.

    I post up some info soon!

  6. I'm glad to hear that all is well. Or, better than well as I'm guessing from the clue.

  7. Like Carol said! DAMN you get bargins! For €30, you'd get near as damn it ....NOTHING!

    Charity shops aren't big in Germany. When I moved flat in 2009, we contacted a charity organisation about our fully working washing machine. We wanted to donate it, as we'd bought a new kitchen for the new flat and a concealed washing machine too. The organisation turned round and told us to pay €80 for pick-up. They told us that most people who can't afford a new machine, would go to a Goverment office, fill in a form, and get a voucher for a new one....so why would anyone want a three-year-old, used machine?! What were they to do with it besides store it?! We ended up selling it to students through Ebay.

    I'm really jealous of all the bargins you're able to pick up over in America!

  8. Hello! I came across your blog last night and I am enjoying it tremendously! I have been dabbling in sewing for the last several years and am now trying to undertake it very seriously. I make capes for sick children who spend a great deal of time in the hospital. Operation Super Hero is something I do in my spare time (or forced spare time) for kids that my family and friends happen to know or know of. I am sad to say, it keeps me busy plenty. If only there were less children in need of this kind of cheering, but alas! There are too many!
    I am in need of an ironing board and I love the looks of yours exceedingly. Especially with a price tag like that. Where can I get one? Did you rig it up a regular one that way? Please o please help a girl out. I would appreciate your help.

    Ckareus@gmail.com

  9. Hi! I found your blog via Male Pattern Boldness. I've got an Athena 2000 that I love. It was my workhorse until last year. My feed dogs need replacing because they're seriously worn down. The machine belonged to my grandmother and she gave it to me just before her brain gave way to dementia. So I'll keep it forever whether or not it ever runs, you know? I will say that replacing the mainboard on it was a PRICEY event. Over $200 for the board because they're hard to find. The bobbin thing is really easy once you get the hang of it.

    1. Thread the machine normally.
    2. Open the bobbin case, drop in bobbin.
    3. Push lever over to the right, leave bobbin case *open*.
    4. Set the needle to engage once. It's the symbol that looks like a bullseye on the front of the machine.
    5. Floor the pedal until the bobbin is full.
    6. Close bobbin case and pull thread out and then clip to separate.
    7. Now you're ready to sew.

    The bobbins for this machine are getting harder to find locally, so I stocked up on them to the point that I've got at least 20 bobbins.

    I love this machine. It can never be replaced in my heart. Not even by my totally awesome Bernina.

  10. Great timing--I just found a Singer Touch-tonic 2010 that sews well but I cannot get the bobbin to wind. I have the manual, I have read the instructions posted above. Nada. Is this an expensive repair or hopeless or is there some trick to get it working?

    Or can I wind the bobbins some other way?

  11. Hey! this sounds great, i am from Kenya, i work with a non profit that helps to empower vulnerable widows, orphans and single mothers in the slums.. for along time we have tried to raise some funds to purchase used machines that cost $120. its real different with the states with only $30 you can get a machine. otherwise check on us at www.woaccommunity.org and learn more

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