Monday, 12 August 2013

Best domestic machine ever?

I've fallen in love. About six months ago I bought a brown 1950s Singer 201, in mint condition.
It sat in the shed for, well, six months. Got it out when I was having trouble several layers of sewing denim (the 66 couldn't handle it easily). It went through it like a hot knife through butter. Afterwards, I imagined it saying "so what else ya got" in a Brooklyn accent. This thing is tough.
Last weekend I had no hesitation getting it out again. Someone I know had some blouses made by a sample machinist, who charged the Earth, but refused to finish with buttons and buttonholes! The buttons were easy: The 319k is made for button sewing. Looked at the 319 instruction book for button holes too. Yes it can do them but it's all very manual. I pulled out my vintage buttonholer, attached it to the 201 and started practising. The combination is just about unbeatable. Buttonholers are very cheap but sooo sophisticated. You can do a buttonhole on any straight stitch machine. How? The 'holer grabs the fabric and moves it, keeping the needle moving straight up and down. Instructions tell you to keep it slow. Hmmm... why's that? I went fast and the heavy fabric dragging on the needle pulled it far enough from its normal path that it went down on the plate and broke. Well, that's why!
So, I don't have any pictures, but here's a link to a demonstration by a guy in NYC, Peter Lappin.
I did take pics of doing the button on the 319, though. Very quick. Bummer (or otherwise) thatone machine can't do everything, isn't it? Could probably attach the buttonholer to the 319, but that'd be less fun, wouldn't it?

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