Monday, March 03, 2008

Seeing Double

I may have mentioned before that I sew on my grandmother's 1957 Singer 401A, affectionately known as the "Slant-'O-Matic." Crafted from solid metal, this machine has the endurance of a tank and the purr of a kitten.

While I don't think it's going to wear out any time soon, I have often feared what will happen when it does -- parts aren't exactly cheap or easy to find. Once again, my mom's forays on Craigslist have proven to be very useful. She found another Slant-O-Matic for sale in its original cherry cabinet. We bargained it down to $170, and what a bargain it was! I replaced the machine with my grandmother's, purely for sentimental reasons.

One of my favorite features is the knee lever that operates the foot pedal:

Flanked by two rows of drawers, this cabinet is any sewing room organizer's dream. One is even specially made for patterns.

The chair that come with it even has its original laminate seat. So vintage! It's not exactly comfortable, so I'm seeing an excuse for a chair cover coming up...

So now I have two machines, two manuals, and two of every accessory that comes with this machine. Just in case.

I'm finding out that seeing double can be a good thing -- especially in the sewing room.


  1. Oh, lucky you! My aunt gave me a 1910 (ish) Singer she got at a garage sale for $ needs a new belt and to get fixed up some, but I think that with some elbow (and perhaps actual) grease, I just might get it up and even has the manual and all the parts!! One feature that I just love about it, is the "skirt guard" to keep your skirt from getting caught up in the belt that moves the treadle! Brilliant, huh?

  2. Lauren Christine, I agree! LOL! ;)

    Oh, Tilly, I would love to sew on a 1910's machine! I hope you get it up and running. And the skirt guard is truly brilliant -- can you imagine getting your skirt tangled up in a greasy belt while sewing? Uck!

    I'm starting to get used to the knee lever for the pedal, but I had a few *ahem* rapid starts at the beginning.

    Yours in Christ,

  3. Your sewing machine is so beautiful, i hope it last you for a long time still. I admire your works and enjoy your blog thank you

  4. How fun! Can you even do button holes on it? I sew on a 70's Viking.

    I should convince my grandmother to let me try her 65-70 year old machine when I visit her this summer. I've never actually seen it come out of it's cabinet.

    Maria Pauline

  5. Amanda,
    Thank you for your kind words!

    Maria Pauline,
    I can do buttonholes on it -- by manually changing the length of the zig-zag stitch! I've actually gotten quite fast at doing buttonholes this way after five years of practice. I used to despise them for no better reason than that they frightened me. I do have an old buttonholer, but I don't think it works on my machine. I'll to check on that...

    Vikings are good machines, I've heard. Just the name alone implies solidity and endurance!

    Yours in Christ,

  6. Singer makes the BEST sewing machines! My maternal grandmother sews in her mother machine, which was bought for her 14th bday... in 1914! Yes, it still works, and I bargained with all my cousins a few years ago that it will eventually be mine :-)
    i´m sure, Shannon, that your Singer will last for years to come :-)

  7. I was just looking at pictures of your beautiful wedding dress again and clicked on your link. And so now I have to tell you that I too have a 401a and I LOVE it. My Grandad bought it for my Mother years ago but it still works beautifully!


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