Monday, March 28, 2016

I Spy

Remember playing that game on a long car trip or on a rainy afternoon? As all collectors know it's a game of I Spy when we set foot in an antique shop, resale store, garage sale, rummage sale, estate sale, or, let's face it, any sale or curbside. A few weeks ago I just couldn't resist stopping on my lunch hour to an outlet store where I was going to get a discount for being a senior citizen. It was crowded with others of the same ilk as we looked for bargains and there it was, with no one around it, a sewing machine cabinet. I walked around it. Opened the top. Yes, there was a machine inside, a Singer, but not one I was familiar with from the backside. As I lifted it up, I knew it was all metal because it was SO HEAVY. I walked away, really I did. I made another circuit of the store and just like a magnet it drew me back. Wires looked good, it had zigzag, everything moved, the price was right, so I took the tag up to the front. They offered to load it into my car but I knew that would take way too much time so I told them if I could take the head out of the cabinet I wouldn't mind taking it out to my car by myself.

Since I carry multiple portable screwdrivers with me, I just loosened the set screws and pulled that heavy head out and took it to my car, coming back for the wood table. I got some pretty funny looks but I'm used to that. I think I found a gem so was excited to get it home and test it out later. Here's the head out of the cabinet:
Singer 223 made in Japan

No kidding, she worked wonderfully, no problems at all, just needed a cleaning and even that wasn't a very big deal. The biggest problem is how heavy she is but what a workhorse she is going to be and she was put out to pasture. I console myself by making up stories of how this might have happened:

Story 1: She sat in a corner of the dining room, had been Aunt Jody's who was gone nearly a decade, and no one in the family knew how to sew. When the dining room got redecorated poor Singer got dropped off at the donation center along with a dozen tablecloths.

Story 2: Mom gets a new sewing machine for Christmas/birthday/Mother's Day and now she doesn't need two sewing machines so old faithful Singer goes to little Mattie's room. Mattie doesn't want a heavy machine like that (after all she is little Mattie) so she whines until it gets taken to the donation center.

Story 3: The Smiths move into their new home only to find a Singer sewing machine in a corner of the basement/garage/attic and don't know what to do with it. It is heavy and they aren't sure about the safety of plugging it in. Mr. Smith takes it to the donation center on his day off.

These stories are based om those I have heard over the years. The one I have heard the most that is heartbreaking to me is when mom/aunt/grandma goes into a memory care facility and no one knows what to do with a sewing machine that she has loved and spend countless hours of her life using. Sometimes there is a bit of guilt over getting rid of something like this but then there are shrugs of what-are-ya-gonna-do and needing to move on. Then there are people on the other end of the spectrum who are looking for a sewing machine just like mom's and I can sometimes produce one for them, just like Anne's request for a Singer 403 in Out and About. That gives me joy and hope for these great vintage sewing machines.

To catch up with the little girl dresses I made for those cuties in Texas and wrote about in Hope of Spring, Carol said they got the dresses and tried them on right away. Ellen's fit just fine but Ava's had some growing room in it so Carol was going to shorten the straps first. Maybe I could build in button holes on the straps with a button the the back bodice to make then easily adjustable. This is why I sent them out for testing! I'm already getting some good feedback. I will keep you posted on further testing in big ol' Texas.

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