Mrs Buckingham

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.

Sweet Caroline

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…

Sugar Fairy

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 🙂

CATEGORIES: Miscellaneous

14 responses to “Mrs Buckingham”

  1. Josefina says:

    Your vintage machines all look lovely! What a collection. My first sewing machine is also a built-in Singer which I got from my brother. All the pressure feet were missing and the thread kept getting tangled. I was bummed. I wanted to sew my first quilt quickly. I removed the machine from the cabinet; hubby put it in the garage. It’s still in the garage. Your post has inspired me to get it fixed. Thank you for sharing your collection.

    • Beatrice says:

      Many of those old Singers are almost indestructible and worth getting fixed! I hope yours can be saved, good luck, Josefina!

  2. Amanda Kirk says:

    Heather looks just like the sewing machine my mum had whilst I was a kid, only hers was a hand driven machine and the handle was held in place during operating by a bent kirby grip. Fond memories.

    • Beatrice says:

      Ha, now you have given me an idea, Amanda… I think I need a hand driven machine for my collection too 😀 I have only seen pictures so far, will have to start looking for one.

  3. Martha says:

    What a sweet find, and lovely collection of antique machines! I love your husband shares your love of old machines.

    Hope looks like the sewing machine my mother had and sewed everything on, clothes to upholstery, any household items. It’s the machine I learned to sew on. My mother is 90 now, and can’t remember what happened to it. I wish I had her! I have my Aunt’s black Featherweight, a white Featherweight, my great great-grandmother’s Singer knee sewing machine, and numerous modern sewing, serger and embroidery machines. Fortunately my husband sewed at work (Smokejumper) and can sew better than I with some items as well as service my older machines. I’ve never named my machines, perhaps I’ll start!

    • Beatrice says:

      One of my German friends bought her Featherweight before me and she named it, I think that’s what started it, Martha. All the names have a meaning… Noelle, for example, was a Christmas gift, and Heather was picked up on Heather Street. Sometimes it is easy to come up with a suitable name, sometimes not so much, but it is definitely a fun thing to do.

  4. Barbara says:

    Beautiful machines. Glad to hear you did fmq successfully on a 403. That’s a really nice collection of well preserved cabinets and heads.

    • Beatrice says:

      Thank you, Barbara. Well, it was definitely a challenge to quilt on that slanted needle machine but I was motivated since it was the only machine I had here at the time. One of the local store owners really knows her old Singers, she just took one look and knew exactly what foot I needed, that helped a lot.

  5. Shirley A says:

    Love all your lovely vintage machines and their names. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Connie says:

    Love those machines. In case you haven’t heard of this site please check it out as they have much to offer. They also have a site on YouTube to show you how to clean your machine.

    • Beatrice says:

      Thank you, Connie. That might actually have been the site that my husband found when he got into cleaning and repairing the machines. He watched a lot of videos on YouTube, they were very helpful.

  7. Christi says:

    Wonderful machines. You are lucky, I never find anything but junk.

    • Beatrice says:

      I guess we are lucky then, there are a lot of nice vintage machines around here. The day we bought Cleo we actually found three machines at three different garage sales and picked the best. Good luck, Christi, I hope you’ll find one that is in good shape.

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