the secret life of the sewing machine.....

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The Secrete Life of Machines is an entire series where they explore most of machines found in a modern household.  Interestingly the series is old enough where they call computers word processors...   Remember those?  The very expensive bridge gadget that filled the gap between the typewriter and the computer for a few years.  Speaking of typewriters.....  I'm seeing these all the time at thrift shops now, who's buying these and what are they doing with them?  Maybe I'll pick one up...  never mind, I just remembered the ink ribbons and correction fluid.  I did actually learn to type on a typewriter "way" back in 1990.  I remember I liked the one with the ball that had the letters around the outside.  It pounded those letters onto the paper in a very satisfying way.  The IBM Selectric.

Anyway, here's the video.  It's 25 minutes which means three youtube clips, I uploaded it without compression so you should be able to watch it full screen.  I was very intrigued when it got to the history of Singer, quite an interesting fellow, but maybe not how you'd expect.....  Enjoy!

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


And if you'd like a little inspiration for your day:

a bad seed....

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The other day, ok actually a while back, I was at Sister Thrift and spotted something cute on the floor over in the corner.  Lately I've been telling myself I can justify buying a sewing machine IF i'm intending on selling it (smart right).  That being said there are a few rules I made up for myself to limit which types of machines I'm allowed to buy for "resale":





  1. NO (and I mean no) machines in cabinets, can't ship those and they're a pain to get rid of
  2. Plus points if it has a case cover that's not too beat up
  3. Required: good electrical, I'm not interested in rewiring just to resell
  4. Plus points for cute color, size, name, etc..
  5. Plus points for accessory box, even if incomplete
  6. Plus Plus points for original manual
  7. Minus points for straight stitch only
  8. Plus points for brand name, Singer, Necchi, Pfaff, etc..
  9. Minus points for paint chips, scratches, rust, or drab colors



I expect to do things like clean, replace belts and bobbin tires, light tune up.

So, following the rules I found what appeared to be a machine that fit my criteria really well and I snapped it up, only $20!


The Singer 285K

If you've never been introduced to one of these gems you might understand how easily I was deceived.  This machine looks like an upgrade/sister to the Singer 185 which is known to be a nice robust little straight stitcher.  The 185 (pictured right) is a repackaged 99 (pictured bottom) which by the time these machine were being produced looked seriously outdated. (the 99 that is)  Besides the color the 185 and the 285 looked almost identical, who wouldn't be fooled?

Well for some reason, likely to save money, Singer made a bit of a change to the under workings on the 285.  I've never seen this setup before and this could be the only time they ever experimented with it.  I'd love to describe it and show you photos of what I'm talking about but...  I made a video instead! Needless to say it was very bad news and it's shocking they would have engineered something like this.  The Singer 285 is often referred to as the worst sewing machine Singer ever produced!  Yikes

The video has been posted for a week over at YouTube but I've just now had the time to get this little write up together.  It's a slide show, music, picture in picture commentary AND video of the machine in operation.  How's that for mashing everything into one clip!  
(I just watched the video for the first time since I made it, WOW, you'll really enjoy this one!)

When I got the machine home and made the ghastly discovery of this mechanical nightmare I taped the receipt to the lid and took advantage of the Sister Thrift return policy.    The machine sat there for a week and I just happened to be in the store when it's new owner made her purchase.  I even held the door for her which I felt was fitting.  To be honest he won't know the difference, it sewed just fine and I'm sure she'll be quite happy.  Unless she finds this blog of course....






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