Hi there -- I want to interrupt the sewing machine reviews briefly to make a few personal comments. When I started thinking about this site, I knew it would only become an interesting, useful resource with the help of strangers, and I didn't know whether strangers would have any reason to participate. But they did, and they continue to, and I want to thank them all!
I started by approaching crafty bloggers, and when Melissa from tinyhappy responded to me and reviewed her borrowed Bernina Record 730, I was thrilled and amazed. Melissa's blog is lovely, the gorgeous totes, dresses, and baby shoes she sews are beautiful, and to have her be the first guest reviewer really made me think this site might work out. Then Melissa Fehr, a blogger and active poster on Pattern Review who sews at an incredibly prolific rate, reviewed her store-brand 80s machine, and not long after that, my forays into the community of sewing machine collectors and repairers bore fruit and the brilliant McKenna Linn sent me a review of her beautiful Elna Grasshopper.
I'm so grateful to them and to the ten other people who've since contributed. The site needs more, more, more, so I hope that anybody who's thinking of reviewing an older sewing machine will email me and do it -- the more machines we collect on here, the more helpful and beautiful (I love the way these machines look!) the site will be.
I've come across a few things lately that I want to share:
First, on the topic of shopping for used machines, I received an email from Belinda describing how she'd come across a Janome 610 gratis by posting a wanted notice on Freecycle. Brilliant. She tells the story on her blog, here.
Second, another very talented sewing-and-crafting person, Heather Bailey, posted a blurb about her experiences with different sewing machines on her blog, here. Although she uses a new computerized Bernina as her main machine, she has some insightful comments about how inadequate sewing machines get lots of people off on the wrong foot when they're learning. She talks a bit about her older Viking and a Bernina 840, too.
I've been getting some emails from people who want to find out more about their old sewing machines, so I wanted to make a quick mention of the fact that I believe most of the big companies will tell you when and where your vintage find was made. I emailed White with just the model number of my new used machine, and a customer service rep wrote back promptly with the year of manufacture.
What's more, loads of manuals are available online -- there's one site, Sew USA, that has free threading diagrams and sells manuals for about $10.
One more useful reference site is Ed Lamoureux's blog -- he doesn't update it much, but he put up a great post (here) a couple of years ago about sewing machine feet that breaks down the low-shank/high-shank difference and offers tips for finding new attachments for various machines.
Please contribute more good sewing machine reference links in the comments section!
And last, but certainly not least, but also not at all sewing related, I have to share a link to a very funny comic strip, Monty, which recently won the National Cartoonists Society division award for best newspaper strip of the year. Jim Meddick, the creator, also happens to be my husband...