1940s | Sewing Machines | Vintage Sewing

A new-old sewing machine, a pair of pants, and a question

By on July 31, 2014

The past few weeks have been FULL of sewing machine mayhem!  I visited my parents in Indiana, and brought home a new-to-me sewing machine, a gorgeous 1925 Singer 66.  After cleaning out the decades of lint, replacing the belt, and oiling every single moving part I could found, it WORKS!

(pardon my messy sewing area)

It’s really an incredible machine.  If you haven’t sewn with a treadle before, you should try it out.  It’s a good workout, as well as being fun.  I think the physical requirements make me feel like I am doing so much more.

(There are more pictures and even a video of the bobbin winder on my blog.)

I knew I had to sew something vintage on the machine once I got it working.  I was hoping for something 20s/30s, but got too frustrated trying to find a pattern I liked, so one night I just sat down and made a pair of ’40s pants from Simplicity 3699.  I’ve made them before – such a good and comfortable pair of pants!

One of these days, I’m going to make the blouse (I even have fabric picked out).  For now, though, the pants are fun and easy.  I was able to finish them in a night and morning.

(sorry for the distant photos…I’m still trying to teach my husband how to take proper “fashion” pictures of my projects)

I didn’t change the pattern too much.  Last time, the waist was WAY too high (I love the 40s waist, but goodness I’d like my pants below my bellybutton, please!), so I took about 3 inches off.  It’s still pretty high, and the crotch rides fairly low.  They were also very long, so I sewed a cuff on the bottom (which you can’t see from the pictures).  Overall, I’m very pleased.  They are great lounging pants.

Now for a sewing machine question.  In the midst of figuring out how to make the Singer 66 work, my “modern” machine (which is about the same age as me…), a Singer Sonata, decided to kick the bucket.  It had been hanging on for dear life desperately for some time, so it is probably time to let it go.  That, and the repair cost would be outrageous.  So!  I need some advice.  What type of sewing machines do you all have?  Do you like/love/hate them?  I mostly sew clothing, so I don’t need fancy computerized embroidery stuff.  I’ll be happy with a buttonholer, bobbin winder, blind hem, and the ability to sew on all types of fabrics.

If you have suggestions, or a link to someone’s wonderful sewing machine advice, I would be grateful!  Thank you!


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1920s | Sewing Machines | Vintage Sewing

Reassembling a Singer 66

By on June 13, 2012

Hello again! I’m back with an update on my adventures cleaning my Singer 66. As I mentioned before, it’s from 1923 and quite dirty, gunky, rusty etc, so I’ve slowly been disassembling and scrubbing everything.

Most recently I took apart everything on the bottom of the machine, cleaned it, and put it back together. I’m a little exhausted from doing the tutorial over on my blog, so I hope you’ll forgive me for just posting a quick before and after here.


I’m not exactly a clean freak, but seeing all the parts shined is extremely satisfying. If you want to see the process, head on over to my blog post!

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Singer 66

By on May 27, 2012

Hi everyone! I can’t contain my enthusiasm, so I have to share this purchase I made with you…

It’s a Singer 66, and the first antique sewing machine I’ve owned. I’ve been teaching myself to sew for a few years on a machine that I think is from the seventies. It works fine, but lately I’ve been admiring vintage sewing machines more and more… and becoming increasingly curious about what it’s like to sew on one. I love Peter’s blog over at Male Pattern Boldness and seeing the different machines he finds and fixes up. I suppose I can owe it to him that I took the plunge and bought this machine after seeing it on Craig’s List.

As you can see, this machine needs a lot of cleaning. Happily, though, all the parts seem to operate quite smoothly. It even came with most (or even all?) of the original parts. Check this out:

I haven’t actually tried out any of these attachments yet, nor have I even threaded the needle and given it a go. I’m going to try to give it a thorough cleaning first, which it really really needs. It has been in a smoking household for many years, and I’m not sure if all the grime is from that or from something else. It’s pretty dirty though. I used Peter’s helpful list of vintage sewing machine resources as a starting point for the cleaning process. You can find it here.  I also found this amazing website: My Sewing Machine Obsession, which has wonderfully detailed photos, diagrams, and instructions detailing how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble several types of vintage sewing machines. Elizabeth of My Sewing Machine Obsession recommends using Dr. Bronner’s almond oil soap because it is very gentle, and cleaning the outer body of the machine with q-tips – so I started on this yesterday. Here’s a quick before and after…

Getting this far took a lot of q tips and the better part of the afternoon. I guess I have my work cut out for me! I won’t go on for too long here, in case not everyone is interested in seeing many many photos of this lovely new acquisition of mine. But if you are interested, I am going to try to document the whole clean up process over at my blog: errantpear.blogspot.com. Feel free to drop by!

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