Sunday, June 19, 2016

Party Time

It was hard work to get ready for the graduation party, especially since hot weather was predicted. I took two days off from work to get all sorts of odd jobs done including painting the wrought iron railing and light post. After the yard work was done I felt ready to tackle the scraping, sanding, and painting but it was good that I did it when I did because now it's too hot and rainy to get the job done. But all was not work as I found the time to play, too.

On Wednesday, before I went into work, I knew I had extra time to veer over to the Goodwill Outlet since we were have a special day out on a boat cruise and didn't have to go into work until 10 o'clock. Don't forget, Wednesday is senior citizen day so it's even 25% off per pound at GW. I found the usual shirts, crop pants, fabrics, and then I rounded the corner to find a sewing machine cabinet that was mighty nice looking:
Decent shape with interesting legs?

Not sure what I would find inside, I opened it up to find this baby:

Pfaff 230
I didn't even bother to plug it in, just took the ticket and made my way to the checkout. Now, I already have a Pfaff 230 but I've taken it apart too many times and now cannot get the embroidery mechanism working correctly again. Let that be a lesson to all of you who are reading this: sometimes I overshoot my capabilities. Actually, I almost always overshoot my skill level but that's how I've learned and usually it's a win but sometimes...I lose. That sure doesn't take the damper off try-and-try-again and that's what has kept my adventure into repairing vintage sewing machines going.

On Friday, on my way to tackle the shopping, I stopped at a local garage sale right over by Marge, one of my church friends that I pick up on Sunday mornings. They had a cool looking cabinet advertised but I couldn't tell what machine it was so I stopped over in hopes it was still there. It sure was and, be still my heart, it was a black Singer 301 shortbed. Oh wow.
No. 42 cabinet with a Singer 301 shortbed
Upon showing interest they looked pretty anxious to sell so I offered less than their somewhat fair posted price and they jumped at it. Goodie, goodie, goodie! I tried not to get too excited but told them I would have to go back home to get more cash. They were so helpful upon my return as we tried to figure out how to get the drawers out to make it lighter when I got home and didn't have their help. The gentleman did say he could follow me home and help me get it out of my vehicle but then we came up with a plan to get a blanket under it so I could slide it out. It did work out great and ended up not being too much to just muscle it by myself the short distance into the garage.
Drawers hiding behind the curved door!
This set-up even had the "cradle" so you can easily flip up the "shortbed" on the left of the needleplate where there is a lever to push down and the machine is released and ready to lift out. It has an aluminum body so it's blissfully lightweight with a built in handle. So very, very clever. It came with a separate power cord/foot control for when it's lifted out. There is a built-in foot control (see photo above with small metal lever sticking out from the drawers) with a separate power cord that is in need of replacement. The gentleman I bought it from said it was his mother's and he only remembered her doing a little mending and the excellent condition of the bed proves it:
Check out those decals (and this is before cleaning it)
My research shows this Singer 301 would have been made in 1951. Although the machine and its attachments were all in like-new condition, the poor cabinet has been given an antique finish. I believe the process went something like this: paint a layer and let dry, then brush over it with another "antiquing" product that was like a stain to be followed up with some kind of sealer. It has now crackled and does not add in any way to this cabinet and it looks like the only thing left to do is to strip it all off. Been there, done that. With the party behind us now (and it was near 90 degrees that day) I can, once again, set up my workshop and get to cleaning up the long list of projects that have been waiting for warmer weather. It has arrived! And I am ready!


Thin Man Sewing said...

First time I have seen a 301 in a cabinet. A beautifully designed cabinet too.

Lynn near Parker, CO said...

Looks we're about the same age and after reading many of your posts, I'm in awe of your energy, know-how and accomplishments. How do you do it and what is the name of your Etsy store?

John Thomas said...

You probably already do this since I have just found your blod, but I always try to take a garage/estate sale found machine out of the cabinet before trying to move one to my car. The ones that are in lift cabinets where the cords are hardwired and easily removed create problems, but removing sm's, drawers, etc., makes the lifting a little easier. I always carry a phillips/flat blade combo screw driver in my car. I really am enjoying your blog.

John Thomas in NC

John Yingling said...

So what happened to the Pfaff 230? I have a 260 that I got for a song 15 years ago at a thrift store, had my Russian mechanic tune it up, and it is the workhorse machine in my freelance design business (yes, I have industrial machines too, but nothing sews like a vintage Pfaff!). So my 260 wants to know how his cousin the 230 is doing.

John Yingling said...

Love the Goodwill Outlet stores. At the Seattle branch, I noticed a blond wood table that held a built-in sewing machine. A closer look confirmed it was a Singer 401 slant needle. I asked about the price and they said all appliances were $8.00. After picking up my jaw from the floor, I quickly payed for the machine and the attached table. Major problem: no way was table going to fit in my 300 ZX, even with the hatch bungeed down. In an act of sheer horror, I had to literally cut the original table away from the head, and that table was well designed by Singer to last decades. It was a crime for me to dispose of those pieces in the dumpster, but I got the head home safely. I did a clean up, got an eBay foot control, luckily found a local Singer cabinet on Craigslist (they planned to use it as a bathroom vanity), put it all together, and sold it for a little profit to a mother who wanted a good sewing machine for her daughter. I hated destroying that original Singer table, but with a beautiful cabinet, the 401 went to a really good home!

Karen said...

The Pfaff 230 is still out in the garage, waiting its turn to get spiffed up. I'm hoping the heat will also loosen things up and let the Triflow work!

Karen said...

Oh, the heartache! What we must do to save the world of sewing machines but now it has a great new home.

Karen said...

Thanks for the compliment: my shop on Etsy is InStitchesKarenDubay at