Thursday, October 04, 2007


While it's not something I'd typically do, a couple of months ago I got up early on a Saturday and got my butt all the way up to the north 'burbs before 7am to get to the estate sale of woman I had once been introduced to. She had been an artist, you see, and I had visited her at her apartment once and knew she some good stuff. And I was hoping to snag some of that good stuff now that she was...ahem...done with it, which sounds a little morbid and creepy now that I talk about it, but hey, good art swag does not come cheap and I'm all for seeing things get recycled to good homes, you know?
Anyway, despite being one of the first peeps in the door there were no art supplies to be found, but I did score the nearly brand new flat file I knew she had for a measly $75. Since that's about a $400 savings over buying one new and it was something I had been desperately needing, the whole adventure was totally worth it
But there's more...
After I laid my claim to the flat file, I started poking around to see if there was anything else I liked, and discovered an old Singer sewing machine all dusty and tucked away inside it's table.

Now, I had been looking around on the net for a while, casually keeping an eye out for any random, well build old machine suitable for sewing really heavy stuff, but also half thinking I would just bite the bullet and fork out for a new Juki heavy duty industrial machine. And I hadn't made enough of a commitment to pursue either option at that point, mostly because I was still trying to figure out just WHAT old machine I should look for specifically and if it would be worth the trouble and wait over buying new. So like I say I wasn't really looking for a sewing machine that day and when I happened upon this one I didn't exactly go crazy. But then I looked at the price tag:
I figured even if the thing didn't work I could sell it as is or sell just the table alone for that price, so I bought it.
Turns out it's not just any old Singer, but a circa 1946 model 201-2, otherwise known as perhaps the best old sewing machine ever made and about the greatest accidental find I could have hoped for in an old machine. A quick check reveals that a reasonable price for a working 201-2 would be in the neighborhood of at least a couple of hundred bucks. And this one came with what I think is every possible attachment AND the original owners manual.

And although I didn't know it when I took it home that day, after a little cleaning up the thing works the bomb, sewing through heavy leather and other really thick stuff like buttah. Quite the worthwhile investment for $35.

Today, it made this possible:

...something my very expensive Viking would have choked to its death on.
(leather wallets to match MOOPockets...going up in my Etsy shop shortly!)

The manual has about four pages in it directing one to all the oiling and greasing spots and states this should be done yearly at a minimum.

I guess I had better get on that since it looks like it's been a while :)


I did this same thing, bought a machine at an estate sale, a 1951 New Home for $8! I used that thing for about 20 years until I finally decided I needed a "modern" machine that did more than straight stitch. I got a Huskystar, the entry level Husqvarna, and while I enjoy it, I do miss the, um, weightiness of old Bertha. She still resides in my closet JUST IN CASE! I'm convinced she will always work (only a little oil now and then and she always starts right up). And if not, will be quite serviceable as a boat anchor.

Looks like you did score really well! Estate sales of crafty people are the best.
I actually have the very same machine at home - given to me as a gift by a friend who restores sewing machines. It truly is amazing!

Enjoy your find!
I have the same machine as well that I got from my great-grandmother. It is truly a mechanical marvel and I hope you have fun with it!
P.S. I have been reading your blog by the way for a while and it is wonderful. I love your style and only wish I had the decorating intuition that you do.
Oddly, I have the exact same one languishing in my storage space. For some reason the bobbin gets jammed and then I get a rat's nest of thread under my project. This is a good reminder for me to get it fixed. I bought mine at a garage sale for 45 dollars I think.
Love the wallet!

And congrats on the great find. :)
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