Friday, July 18, 2008

My Lovely Machine

So this is my Domestic Rotary Electric Sewing Machine model no. 151. Just about everything in my shop was sewn with this machine, save for the bloomers and skirts which were put together at my moms house.
I aquired this machine last summer, when I was about 6 months pregnant with my son Cael (pictured just above the machine) at the Eagle Lake garage sales in Edwardsburg, MI. I saw a sewing cabinet and went to check it out, and realized the machine was still in it. The machine was spotless, and everything in the bench was lovingly folded and cared for. I took a deep breath and asked how much they wanted for it (expecting the worst). The lady said "mmmm... $30, it belonged to my mother-in-law.". Sold! I felt so giddy, I paid for it and told her I would be back in a while to pick it up since it wouldn't fit in my car. I had always wanted a vintage machine, and thought this would be cool to have. I didn't particularly care if it worked, I would just fix it up one day for fun.
When I went back later to pick it up, her husband was there. I walked up and immediately recognized him! At the time I worked at a very small pharmacy in a neighboring town, and I filled prescriptions for his mother daily. I let him know who I was and he was so glad! His wife had told him that a really nice, young pregnant lady had bought his mother's machine. He said he was so glad it was me! He let me know that they had recently put his mother in an assisted living home because she was starting to lose her eyesight. He said that she sewed on that machine right up until the day she moved, and the last thing she did was hemmed a pair of pants for him. I could see that it really meant a lot to him, and I assured him that I would keep the machine going.
I got the machine home, and opened up the bench. To my surprise, it was loaded with so many goodies! There was a buttonhole attatchment, a couple of manuals, needles, pins, various patching supplies, and a box with every foot imaginable! As excited as I was about the machine, I had no room for it, so I set it by my washer, and sadly, it became a big catch-all.
Flash forward..... 6 months later. I was in the process of really starting to make things for my etsy shop. I had cut out about 20 pairs of bloomer, and about the same amount of little skirts. I sat down at my machine, a Pfaff Hobby 301 (I have had that machine since I turned 21), all ready to sew up a storm! About 2 inches into the first skirt, my Pfaff jammed up on me! It would not budge! I freaked out! I took everything over to my moms house and finished up there. I was so sad, my visions of sewing all day at my own house were dashed!
One day while doing my laundry, I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would take to get this machine going? It is just catching dust sitting here." And, I was getting really tired of lugging all of my projects back and forth, along with my kids! So, I pulled it over to my living room, made a space for it in my sewing area, sat down and read the manual from cover to cover. I plugged it in, oiled it, threaded it up and pulled out some fabric scraps. I swear, the moment I sewed a straight line on that scrap of fabric, I could hear music! I was hooked! This was and is, by far, the nicest sewing machine I've ever used! It has no computers, it doesn't zig-zag, no bells and whistles. My friends, this machine does what it is supposed to do. Sew things together! It is strong, has a beautiful stitch, and sews anything I throw at it. It even has a knee bar! Yes, I will probably own a $2000 plus sewing machine someday, but you had better believe, I will set it right up next to my 85 year old workhorse.
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The Mommy said...

OMG, I'm going to cry! That was the best story and I'm amazed at how nice that machine is!!! I've seen similar machines that are just cracked-out and terrible. What a treasure!

Heidi said...

I have a similar story except the machine is in bad condition and the drawers were filled with messy, dusty goodies. I got some great snaps, pins, and buttons out of it but the bobbin case fell out as soon as I started sewing!! I was pretty bummed out.

Marsha said...

My grandmother had this exact same model, sadly it is no longer operational. Any idea where to find parts for this one?

spinsterknits said...

This was a beautiful post. As I read it I was looking over at the old Singer Sewing machine my grandmother gave me, it too has a knee bar, all its attachments and manuals, and has sat unused for almost 2 years. I just need to take it in for a professional cleaning and once over to make sure all the parts are intact. After reading this post, I think it is about time to get this machine up and sewing.

Maria Stahl said...

I know, this is a really old post. :) But I just found it on a Google search. I picked up a Domestic Rotary 153 series in cabinet at a garage sale. It was only $8 and had a box of interesting attachments so I figured they alone were worth that much.

It really wants to work. It really does. I have just been messing around with it and it won't make a stitch, and won't make a stitch, and then all of a sudden it will just take off and make a lovely, even, sturdy seam. I can tell that in the right hands it could be a good sewing machine.

I'll keep working with it.

Kerri said...

Do you still use it? I just bought this same model for less than $15. I'm very excited to have it. As soon as I get the power cord replaced I hope to sew on it.

Tim said...

Reading this reminded me of our inherited domestic rotary 153, given to us by my wife's great-aunt, who recently passed away at 100 years old. It's in terrific condition and I just made my first project, a pair of pants. The machine is just like what you described - works terrifically, is really strong handling the thick layers of twill as if it was nothing, and has the same included attachements and extras like you described in its own wooden cabinet and built in seat. I just figured out how to use the buttonholer with a manual I found on the web. We're glads to see it back in use and I'm sure Aunt Margie would too. Thanks for the nice story!

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