I’ve been curled up in a ball shivering most of the day as I’m not too well, but my partner was kind enough to go and collect my new sewing machine!
Meet Alice: 125 years old, and still working wonderfully!
She arrived with her carry cover on ( a Bentwood style one). Curiously, this one doesnt have a lock like others I’ve previously seen, instead with a catch that just twists to hold it on. I immediately tightened this and the handle as they were a bit loose! It looks far more scratched in this picture than it does in real life! – the scratches are far less obvious to look at. Something has taken a chunk out of the case on the right hand lip at some point, but it doesn’t really seem to affect anything.
On the inside the carry case actually has a small storage box built into it. Wasn’t
expecting that! The box was empty, but it’s a cool little storage spot. I’ll make a little drawstring bag to store any spare bits in there.
First thing I did was to check her over and see whether she came with a bobbin and shuttle, as I didn’t have any of my own. In fact – until I opened this machine up, I hadn’t realised that I HAVE seen these things before! I’m pretty sure that when I was little and used to go through my Nan’s button box of a weekend, there was one sat in there. None of us kids knew what it was! A few youtube videos later, I had worked out how to thread them properly, and how to put them back into the machine ( hint: it pretty much just drops in. It honestly looks harder than it is)
It looks and feels like she has been oiled relatively recently, but I’ve still oiled her in the necessary spots as per the manual ( which Elena kindly supplied a downloadable copy for me. Her blog is amazing – please take a look!)
See that hole in the wood in the picture to the right? It looks like the whole unit can be set into a treadle table. The machine can then be fitted with a belt and run from a treadle instead of the hand crank. Pretty cool to have that flexibility! Downside is that it doesn’t have the storage compartment that I’ve seen on most old singer machines, but with the storage space in the lid of the box, that isn’t really a problem.
Once that was done, it was time to do a very quick test and see how she sews. Verdict: Like. a. dream. The tension seems to be about right (no thanks to me: I fiddled with it and then spent about 15 minutes trying to get it back to the right place again. D’oh!) The bobbin winder also works perfectly and seems to be in nice condition too. Not bad!
Other than that, there’s a few chips to the black japanning here and there which could probably do with a bit of work to protect the metal underneath. Some of the decals have rubbed a little too, but in general she seems to be in mighty fine shape for a machine aged 125 years! Honestly she’s gorgeous, and I’m so happy with her!
Now I just reckon I could do with a few of the fancy feet for her – this
machine only came with the standard, straight stitch foot. I’d quite like a buttonholer if there is one that will work well with her, as Naomi‘s buttonhole function is notoriously temperamental and generally just ends in tears.
As an aside, it just so happens that I have *finally* worked out what the weird contraption I saved from my Nan’s house is – It’s a ruffler!It looks like it should actually fit properly on this machine, but I’ll need to wait for another day to see – the original foot seems to be so tightly screwed on that I can’t get it off! When I’m feeling a bit less like death I’ll have another crack at it!