Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Threads that Bind our Family
My grandmother's treadle sewing machine sits next to our breakfast room window, serving as a perch so our cats could enjoy watching birds that fed at our various feeders hanging off the deck. We will be moving it up to the "girl cave" now that our indoor cats have sadly passed away.
We have pieces and accessories, all in their original box, tucked up in the attic, plus resources for replacement belts. It unfortunately has some damage on the top of the lid when at some time a hot iron was placed on it. The lid folds over the machine when closed so it is not visible when opened for sewing. I hope to practice using it in case I need a quick mend and the power is out.
We also have the next generation of machine (below), the link between treadle and modern electric, adding a motor to the treadle. They serve, folded up, as end tables in our living room on either side of the couch. This one was my husband's grandmother's, on his father's side, and she too has all the components, the service records and even spare needles purchased from Famous Barr. This one has a lever that drops down from beneath the machine you press with your knee rather than using a foot pedal.
We have the service record and instructions, all perfectly organized.
If you click on the photo you can read the clever slogan/jingle of the repair service.
The other machine was owned by my husband's great aunt Nana on his mother's side of the family. We were surprised to discover they were the same brand- must have been popular at the time. This is equipped with a foot pedal and she has sewn a piece of fabric around the body to hold her needles. A clever idea.
This beautiful model is called New Home, a gift from one of my former neighbors. It is all steel, a very heavy portable, sort of modernist industrial, probably from the 50s or 60s when things were made well, to last.
It uses the same technology, belt driven.
This is my current machine, a Pfaff, purchased at an extreme discount at $300, including cabinet, from a Singer dealer who took it as a trade in but does not service that brand. Price new ranges anywhere from $2,500 up based on what I see on line. This is the machine I am quilting on but it also does embroidery. I need to read the instruction manual because there are many beautiful patterns that are programmed, or you can design and program your own.
You would think that I knew how to sew having all these machines but truly, all I could do was sew a straight seam. Quilting uses straight seams so far- perfect!
My project cabinet starting to fill up. Drawers containing needles, notions, rulers and patterns. Shelves of yarns, pillow kits matching my quilt project, fat quarters and transfers. I also have a rolly cart with slide out basket drawers filled with remnants for future projects.
Will C Free sewing machine link: In 1895 the Illinois Sewing Machine Co was founded using assets from the former Royal Sewing Machine Co of Rockford, Illinois. Will C. Free became the president by 1910, and organized a parent company - the Free Sewing Machine Co. Production continued in Rockford until 1958, when it relocated to Los Angeles, California. Manufacture finally ceased about 1969.