Oct 7, 2013
Yes, this is a vintage sewing machine purchased yesterday at the Chelsea Flea Market.
But not by me, readers, not by me!
I hung out yesterday with my friend Johanna. Many of you will recognize Johanna as the curator of the unofficial NYC Sewing Machine Museum. Her collection has grown considerably since I last visited, and it grew again yesterday.
Sunday was a red letter day for sewers. Look at some of the treasures we found:
I was very tempted by this hundred-year-old New Home "Midget" hand crank that actually has a shuttle bobbin; I'd assumed it was a simple chainstitch machine. The $150 asking price cooled my ardor, however.
Best of all was this gorgeous Singer 401A. It was missing four of its five cams, but that's an easy eBay purchase and you don't need them to use the machine. Asking price $35.
The Singer 401 came complete with original carrying case and manual. Johanna was smitten but conflicted -- did she need this machine? We carefully analyzed the pros (it's gorgeous) and cons (it might not get used very often). She'd be heading uptown to dine with a friend later that day, so I told her she could leave it at my house and pick it up at a more convenient time. She decided to go for it.
At my apartment, we removed the 401A from its case, removed the plastic base, and oiled (and greased) her up a bit.
Like many old 401A's, the stitch selector dials need loosening. We had some success with the right dial but there's more work to be done (a little Tri-flow perhaps). For a roughly 50-year-old machine, she looked immaculate. (Like the 15-91 and 201 and 301, she is gear-driven rather than belt-driven.)
Best of all, she stitched right off the bat.
I hope you will congratulate Johanna for her excellent purchase -- and me, for my discipline!
I did make one purchase: an authentic Totes mini umbrella for just $5. Now I must select two things to ditch. (My mantra is One thing in, two things out.)
Have a great day, everybody!