Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another Goal: New Home Sewing Machine

Remember this beauty? I am pretty ashamed of myself. I have owned this for a little less than a year (about ten months) and haven't touched it until yesterday. Honestly, I was so worried about breaking it that I hesitated to even thread it. Using this machine was on my list of things to do before I left for Italy the last time and I never got to it. This time (since I have ten days left) I thought I might give the sheath dress a try on the New Home. So, toss another goal on that pile!

My main man, Gramps, taught me how to thread it oh so long ago. And when I pulled it out in the morning, I almost turned back. I thanked my lucky stars for this amazing blog that contained a wealth of information of exactly the flavor I needed: how to thread. Susan posted an array of Singer manuals that all had different threading styles. My New Home matched that of the Singer 15-91 and so I was off. It took me an hour to thread the machine. I told you, I was scared! 

Then I started her up. I plugged the motor into the "motor" plug and my fancy new light (courtesy of Gramps) in the "light" plug of the electrical cord. That in turn was plugged into the wall. And then the most delightful sound happened. My Aqua New Home was sewing. Or, actually, I was sewing on this beautiful machine! Will I sound geeky if I said the sound was magical? I don't care — that soft clicking noise sounded strangely solid and comforting. Apparently, I am a sewing geek.

I was so excited that I didn't even realize that I had no idea what I was doing. I mean, I know how to sew, but there were buttons and levers that I knew nothing about. I figured out the stitch length and reverse. Then I noticed this lever, and I stopped:

Push. Okay. So I did. Then I got nervous. So I un-pushed. Then I got so nervous that I called a friend who still works on a her original Featherweight (it always makes me drool; she even has her original attachments). I asked her if she knew what this magical (or possibly destructive!) lever was. Her theory was solid. Her thought was that this might keep the needle from going up and down during the winding of the bobbin. Ah, of course! I hung up and tested it out. Nope, Anne. That wasn't it. When pressed or not, the needle still goes up and down.

Here is where I am at now: My fear has overwhelmed me again. I don't want to continue sewing with this machine if I am supposed to (or more importantly NOT supposed to) sew with this lever pushed. Any theories? Anyone know what that is supposed to do? At one point I thought maybe it was to keep the belt in place, but the rubber wheel (which lowers when pushed) lands on the hand-wheel itself. You can see from the photo the wear on the wheel. Does that mean pushed all the time?? Help!

I do have some good news. Even with the distraction and the short magical moments of sewing on this machine, I did get some headway on the sheath. Before I left for work, I recut another muslin to change the neckline and armhole, which will become the final pattern for said sheath. Good thing I got a whole bolt of muslin! And Peter has won out on my sew-along pick. As I'm sure you could tell by the big badge over there :)

Tomorrow, cutting fabric for sheath and hopefully an explanation/description/any-help-whatsoever from those more experienced in vintage machines. *deep breaths* :)


  1. Oh, you! Stop being scared of that beautiful machine. You'd have to work to break it. That push lever looks like it's for when you want to wind a bobbin. You put the bobbin on the little spindle sticking out on the left and push that lever down to make the rubber tire ride on the wheel to turn the spindle. The lever right above the bobbin is for keeping the bobbin from overfilling just push it down over the bobbin. Also when you wind the bobbin --to keep the needle from moving --turn the silver knob in the hand wheel towards you and then tighten it back when you're done. This sounds like a lot but once you try it, it's not!

    And, yes, that looks exactly like a 15-91 but green! In fact you can find a manual for the 15 at ISMACS for free.

  2. What a beautiful looking machine. Have no idea, as here in Australia were are limited in vintage sewing machines - just the usual singers. I've never worked with one - how lucky are YOU!!!! I'd follow Susan's lead and ask Gramps. Good Luck!

  3. Thanks ladies! I am super excited to sew on this thing tonight (counting the minutes to get out of work). I am kicking myself that I waited so long. Susan, thanks for the speedy response and all of your encouragement — tough love (and a knowledgable lady!) was what I needed :)

    And Evelyne, I tell you, if you can seek out a vintage Singer the experience of sewing on a vintage machine is truly amazing. And I DO feel lucky!! :)

  4. Hi Maggie,
    I own a lovely 1940 Singer15-91. Please do not fear breaking your gorgeous New Home machine as they are practically indestructible. The push lever is to engage your bobbbin winder, when the bobbin is full it will pop up away from the fly wheel. The singer 15-91 sewing machine manual is available for free download from Singer here:

    Enjoy, vintage sewing machines really are a dream to sew with.

  5. Thanks, Tammy! I will hold you to the indestructible ;) I stopped by your blog, what an amazing collection you have yourself! Truly amazing. And thanks for the link for the manual!