I've been sewing since I was a child. And mechanic-ing things just about as long. So it is only natural that the vintage-machine bug bit me. 

I have a few favorites, machines that I particularly like for their exceptional quality and/or design. They include:


My Necchi BU Nova is without doubt my favorite. If I could have only one (heaven forbid!), this would be it. I have mine in a treadle cabinet, but keep the motor on so I can switch it to electrical use if the mood strikes me.


The Singer model 301 is almost as good at freemotion stitching as my Necchi, and it's lightweight and portable, which the Necchi is definitely not. 301s came in five different flavors, the one above is a shortbed LBOW (light beige oyster white). The bobbin system is the same as in the more famous Featherweight (model 221/222); these are the only two machines with that system, and it makes a very nice stitch.


Singer's model 201 is widely considered their finest machine ever, and I agree. It's smooth and quiet as well as very strong. And such graceful lines! Above is the 201-2, which has a "potted" motor. The 201-3 has an external motor, which is easy to remove in order to drop the head in a treadle cabinet.


The Elna "Grasshopper" (a.k.a. the Model 1) is a curious-looking machine, the first consumer free-arm machines ever made. The rather military-looking case folds open to become a large extension table. The knee-controller is integral to the machine, and folds neatly out of the way for storage. The handwheel is at bottom. Like the Necchis and Singer 201s, this machine makes a gorgeous stitch, runs very quietly, and is strong. Indeed, it is one of only two consumer machines with a true low gear.


I have recently added another Elna to my all-time favorites list, the "blue top" Star Series machines. I have a model 62C (free arm) as well as a 64C (flatbed). These are gorgeous stitchers, and with cams produce hundreds of decorative patterns. Elnas are the only drop-in (horizontal) bobbin machines that I can use for freemotion stitching without dropping stitches. They are very fine machines. 


This "Triumph" handcrank is the first vintage machine I ever bought. (No, let me correct that. I bought a Bernina 830 many years ago and hated it.) It was likely made by the Davis company. It stitches absolutely perfectly, with that soothing syncopated rhythm that is characteristic of VS (vibrating shuttle) machines.


And finally, a nostalgic favorite, the very first "good" sewing machine I ever bought, a Viking 6570. I sewed everything from men's suits to kid's Halloween costumes, including over 1,000 bags for my bag book, on this machine for a good twenty years. This is the other of the two consumer machines that has a true low gear for extra penetrating power.

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