For years, my sewing machine was a 1960's Brother chunk of steel that I found in an alley. It always sort of reminded me of a car with all that chrome, the two-tone paint job and those clever knobs for length and width. Not a fancy car, but something very solid, with 4 doors, a big bench seat in front and a straight 6 engine.
A Brother Sewing Machine !
We made many things together, Vogue designer dresses, suit jackets and then maternity clothes, baby outfits, boy pants. It was a simple, uncomplicated relationship Sometimes I oiled the machine, and it sewed whenever I wanted. I never serviced it, although I did burn out a motor and had to replace the foot control. Then, gradually, I began to notice things I had been blind to. My knit clothes had ripply seams, the foot pedal was "twitchy." One day zig-zag was not enough for me. And sometimes I would daydream about a free arm.
It seemed to me that if I had a better machine, I could be a better seamstress. Then one day I walked in a sewing machine shop and saw this.
If the Brother machine was a like a Ford Fairlane this was
My eldest cousin had one of these 6000 series sewing machines when I was a little girl, and I remember staring wistfully at its perfection. I was so short that when I stood in front of it, those Colormatic schematics glowed right at my eye-level. So I was thrilled that I could finally have one of my own (reconditioned) for an affordable 200.00 !
Well, whatever I had dished out, that Brother had taken, but the Viking, I was told out, was a little more sensitive. And what it particularly hates is neglect. If you don't use these machines regularly, you have to at least take them out, whisper some kind words and "exercise" all their knobs. If you don't, they sulk and eventually freeze up.
Well I might have over-done it, because awhile ago, I noticed my machine was losing its pep. I took it to several techs, but they didn't notice what I could see: slow starts, stuttering, general foot dragging and even a little bit of a whine. I tried all kinds of oils, massaging it into creaking joints, and that helped--for awhile.
Then I got desperate. I felt bad, but I looked for a replacement. I called it a "back-up," but I suspected the Viking was due for retirement. Yet, I couldn't find another one. I had a short fling with a new Pfaff, but it ended in tears. I decided I needed something old--perhaps another European. Then I became promiscuous. I trolled chat rooms and scrolled Craig's List, thrift stores--even Ebay. I admit, I was powerless: I had caught the vintage sewing machine bug. I had to try them all ! Through Criag's List I pursued serious encounters with an Elna and another Viking. I was so ashamed that I didn't even share it with you. (Just think of all the blog posts missed!) Only my family saw the signs of addiction.
At a thrift store I found a sibling of my Viking (the 3020) for 12.00 no less!. It was stuck in reverse, and the TV interference capacitor burned out while I was working on it so it got stuck in full throttle, but I brought it back to life.
Then, finally, last weekend I decided I had had enough of all the fooling around. I just wanted to sew with my beloved. I took the covers off both the Viking machines and my husband helped me diagnose a very simple problem. I had worn the carbon brushes that rub against the motor's commutator down to nubbins. I swapped them out with the brushes from the thrift store machine.
You Too Could be a Sewing Machine Repair Person !
I also took the pristine end panel and some other random bits. We put it all back together, plugged it in and. . . it was true love all over again. For just 12.00 and a little elbow-grease, I fixed what those techs didn't even diagnose.
Now I have to figure out what I am going to do with those back-ups. I do have some serious crushes on some of them.
So, do any of you have a machine you love above all others, or maybe a distant unrequited crush (for a Bernina perhaps?), or are you just in a steady reliable relationship? Maybe there was a first love that no new machine can ever live up to? Do you have a back up? A parts machine ? Please tell all.