Mrs Buckingham moved in with me right before Christmas. She wasn’t exactly a Christmas gift, I just happened to find her at this time of the year. Mrs Buckingham – in case you are wondering – is a beautiful vintage Singer treadle machine, a Model 15. All my vintage machines have names, just my modern computerized Pfaff machine is just “my sewing machine”. For some reason I could never think of a good name for her.
Mrs Buckingham gave me a bit of a headache too when I tried to find a name for her. It wasn’t until I opened the drawers and found the original manual in one of them. In neat handwriting it was marked “Mrs Buckingham”. I am assuming that this was the name of the original owner, and it only seemed fitting to choose this name for the machine.
Before I started my quilting business I used to write a personal sewing blog, and I posted pictures of all my machines when I acquired them but I have never written about my collection here. For anyone interested, here is a quick overview. Most of these machines came without a manual, and I did some research to figure out the model numbers. I am fairly confident they are correct but I am not an expert, so please don’t yell at me if you find a mistake 😉
My first vintage Singer was this black Featherweight, her name is Noelle, and I have pieced quite a few quilt tops with her. She was my travel machine back in Germany and accompanied me to retreats and other sewing events.
When we moved to Canada and our boxes hadn’t arrived yet, a friend gave me her mother’s Singer machine from the early 60s… meet Sweet Caroline, a Singer Slant-O-Matic 403 special. I was able to get a darning foot and even used her for free-motion quilting.
This is Hope, the first machine we purchased in Canada, a Singer 201. My husband found her on Craigslist, the owners were moving and wanted to get rid of her. The power cord was missing, and we decided to risk it and purchased her anyway. We were able to use Sweet Caroline’s power cord for Hope, and she was in great shape, just needed to be cleaned and oiled.
Then my husband discovered that he liked working on vintage machines and started looking for them on Craigslist and at garage sales. This is how Heather moved in with us, a Singer 128 vibrating shuttle 3/4-size machine.
At a garage sale, we found Cleo, a Singer 127. She is closely related to Heather, the only difference is that Cleo is a full size machine. My husband was still pretending, by the way, that he was buying these machines for me…
This is the one machine that I really wanted, and we searched for quite a while before we found my little “Sugar Fairy”. Noelle, my black Featherweight is a European machine, and because of the different voltage I couldn’t just plug her in after we moved to Canada. So instead of getting a voltage converter, I started looking for a white Featherweight with North American voltage. Makes sense, right?? These white machines are much less common than the black ones and more expensive but we finally managed to find one in good shape and for a good price.
I haven’t bought a vintage machine since 2015 but all my other machines are electric, and when Mrs Buckingham crossed my path, I figured that I really needed to add a treadle machine to the collection 🙂