Saturday, December 27, 2014

Electronic Brother

While on my way to pick up a Singer 301 in a case (case is pretty broken down but I hope repairable) my hubby and I spied two thrift stores we planned to hit on our way back. That sounds like we were planning on robbing them but when you hear what I picked up you might wonder if we did.

At Thrift+ on White Bear Avenue in St. Paul, MN, there was a great selection of true vintage items, all clean and arranged in a very light and pleasing way in this medium sized store. The proprietor was a friendly guy who would talk to you or leave you alone to shop. There were 4-5 sewing machines sitting together and all were priced quite reasonably so I had to show a fair amount of restraint. Over on another shelf, away from the others (why am I always rooting for the underdog?) was another sewing machine, a Brother Electronic 4001:

Brother 4001
The cord appeared pretty short, no accessories but a carrying case, we asked to have it plugged in and tested. It turned on but there was no foot control. Upon closer inspection we could see there were on/off buttons and three speeds. But what would make it move? Check out the lever below:

Brother hand control
That's right: it runs like the modern sewing machines with a touch of a lever. It takes a bit of getting used to but it did work. I decided to take it home and laid out a whopping $7 for it. I did pay for it but it felt like we were getting away with larceny!

Back home, testing it out and seeing what she could do, I discovered instruction inside when you lowered the free arm and exposed the bobbin cover:

How to thread and basic use of hand lever
Now you can read the words!
This really helps but there are still things I don't understand. There is a dial on the right side for the stitch selector and the stitch width and length change as needed, automatically! But what about the chain stitch? At lease that's what number 4 looks like:

The other stitches look great and there is a 4-step buttonhole with an adjustment knob on top for the density of stitches. It really is a great find if you can learn to use your hands only. While putting it all away, we found out the cord is retractable but it wouldn't all go back inside so while looking underneith I found even more mysteries: there was some kind of a lever that traced back to a hole on the lower front. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? It has a knee lever option! I had an extra lever that came in an Elna case (no machine, just the metal case and a lever) and it works!

Metal bar you push with your knee
It's not perfect, coming at the wrong angle but I think it might be adjusted. Wow, just like a Bernina, a knee control. This is indeed a great find with a little bit of larceny involved but I have a receipt for payment just in case the authorities come calling.


gaaslaj said...

Wish I could find one of those, my wife has MS and has trouble with w foot control.

Karen said...

It would be perfect for just such a situation. My daughter has a new Brother NX-250 that has no foot control that she loves so there are some out there. Have you tried for types of sewing machines with actual user reviews? You might find that helpful. You can join for free to read the reviews!

Aaron Kriegerson said...

Thanks for your post about the Brother sewing machine, Karen. My mom was quite the seamstress growing up. She made my sisters' prom dresses. She even taught me some sewing basics. I have a slender frame, and it can be handy to know how to take in a shirt or pants so it fits just right. I'm glad that you were able to find one that was so inexpensive. I'm on the lookout for a machine myself.

Ms. Fusco's Anatomy & Physiology Class said...

Dear Karen - thanks for posting this info - I just picked up a Brother Electronic 4001 and your blog is the only place on the internet where I can find any information on this machine! Is there any other information you can share, such as bobbin size, or just how to work the thing? Anything I should watch out for? Thanks again, Mary

Karen said...

I looked back at the Brother 4001 (still have it)to see I still have no manual and the bobbins are special: like a shorter Singer class 15.

gardener said...

I had a lady give me one today and it looks as good as if new. She said the only thing that was the matter was it needed some rubber as the bobbin winder has a flat sop so doesn't wind . Now to find that part Classy case too