Friday, October 17, 2008

This is the latest addition to the machine collection, a Singer 427. A local dealer has a friend who wanted to sell a vintage sewing machine, 'never been used'. We've all heard that before, so I was a little sceptical. I've seen machines advertised as 'in new working condition' and there's no foot or bobbin case, no cord and it's filthy. And some machines have been used very heavily, just not by the person selling them.

However, I am convinced now. This is the receipt, from 35 years ago; $99.90 was a lot of money in those days. And there's a mistake in the subtraction; W. F. Bloomfield did himself out of 40 cents there.

What convinces me it's never been used is that it's so stiff and pristine, and quite the nastiest old machine I've ever sewn on. She said that she tried it once, then went straight back to sewing on her old machine. I can well believe that. The clasps on the case were reluctant to come undone. It made an irritating noise when it stitched. It refused to do zig-zag for about 15 minutes, then jumped into it without warning. To oil it you have to take out 5 screws and turn the thing upside down. It's belt driven underneath, with a lot of nylon gears ( hence the noise when sewing). The access to the light bulb simply defeated us; another case of having to tip the machine over to get at it. It's the most grudging, reluctant, recalcitrant thing I've ever used. Small wonder it went back in it's box!

What intrigues me is the trade-in price on the receipt. What did she use as her trade-in if she still had her own sewing machine to fall back on? Maybe an old family machine? We'll never know, but I probably would have wanted that one as well!

So why did I buy this odd old machine? Purely for the power cord. Sad but true. Months ago I acquired a '60s slant shank Singer 631, a top range machine of it's time. It has embroidery!
It has a side-extension!
It has a storage compartment for the accessories!
And a slide-off sewing bed to allow free-arm sewing!

But it didn't have a power cord, so I couldn't even plug it in and see if it sewed. I just waited philosophically for one to turn up and it did this week, attached to the 427.

It was worth the wait; it's a gorgeous machine to use, very quiet and responsive and a beautifully balanced stitch straight away. It has 3 needle positions, a near perfect 1/4" seam just using the edge of the foot, nice bright light, easy bobbin access. I LOVE it!

It has multiple needle plates too, and the single hole plate is perfect for small things that can get shoved down the larger hole of the zigzag plate. The free-motion foot looks very functional, I'll have to try that out when I have a chance. I think this will be my backup piecing machine, after the 201P.

And this binding foot will have to get a work-out too, maybe on the rest of the aprons that need finishing. I can't wait to see this in action....


meggie 5:03 PM  

What an interesting history on the ugly noisy machine!
I love the other, with all of it's accoutrements. I must have a look at my old Singer, I do believe there is a binding foot there somewhere.

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