May 13, 2011
Friends, we're off to a late start today, as Blogger has been down all morning. Yesterday's Jeans Sew-Along button fly post was MIA for a while there, but is back. (The comments were lost, unfortunately.)
I'm nearly finished with Michael's button fly jeans and we're both very happy with them. More pics this weekend.
In other news: I have a new sewing machine! In fact, I topstitched Michael's waistband with it. Here's the story:
Since visiting Rain last month in his amazing sewing machine workshop/apartment, I've been haunting the sewing machine listings on eBay again. It's a terrible habit, I know, and obviously has absolutely nothing to do with needing another sewing machine. I mean, I gave my 15-90 to Rain!
Then earlier this week I got an email from an MPB reader who was in the market for a new sewing machine and asked me what he should purchase. Since his budget didn't include a serger, I recommended a vintage Sixties or Seventies Kenmore zigzagger for overcasting, and a Singer 15-91 or 201 for everything else. He found a Kenmore zigzagger locally on Craigslist for something like $30, and he was looking for a Singer on eBay. Don't you love when people ask for your advice and actually follow it?
Well naturally, all this sewing machine talk got me thinking about sewing machines even more fervently, and I started exploring Craigslist. On Wednesday, someone near me posted a vintage Singer that looked a lot like a 99K for $20. Friends, $20 for a sewing machine is the equivalent of free in my book, so I immediately emailed the seller and set up an appointment to pick it up that evening.
Sure enough, the machine was a lovely, dusty, Singer 99K. The seller, a young woman who couldn't have been nicer, had purchased the machine at a garage sale the previous year but never learned to thread it and bought herself an inexpensive new Janome instead. She never did figure out it was a 99K or get a hold of the manual. Kids!
I was only too happy to take it off her hands (before Rain got his greedy mitts on it; he practically lives on Craigslist apparently). I put the machine in an oversized bag (all 35 lbs!) and carried it four blocks to the subway and 15 minutes later was back home examining my treasure. Behold!
Readers, I love this machine so. It was dusty, the wooden box is beat up, and the wires will need to be replaced down the road, but it's a thing of beauty and power. The 99K is a 3/4 size Singer, nearly identical to the Singer Spartan, which was the no frills version of the 99 (the "K" refers to Kilbowie, Scotland, where it was manufactured). The 99K came with a lamp and attachments, plus the carrying case. I always kind of regretted selling my Singer Spartan last winter, but this 99K is even better -- amazing piercing power and a sturdier pedal.
My version dates from 1949 but still has the old screw to adjust stitch length (like my Singer 66) and lacks a reverse. No matter, I love it with the intensity with which one can only love a vintage sewing machine that cost $20 -- it makes me love me more too! After a lot of oiling and a few minor adjustments, it was stitching, beautifully, cotton shirting, denim, and leather!
The 99K is an excellent lower-priced alternative to the 201 and 15-91 models. On eBay they rarely go for more than $100 and often for significantly less. The funniest part is that yesterday the guy I'd advised about sewing machines the previous day told me he'd purchased a 99K too! Spooky, no?
More pics of my new machine here.
Friends, that's it for today. More jeans talk tomorrow as we wind down our Sew-Along. (I know -- if only it could go on forever.)
Happy Friday, everybody!