I’m pretty sure the last time I used a sewing machine was my 8th grade home economics class. That class must have made an impression, though, because I still remember sewing a nylon duffle bag, cooking “broiler burgers,” and nervously working alongside a female classmate whose body had developed more quickly than my self-confidence.
So with those dusty old home ec skills–and visions of homemade curtains–dancing in my head, I gave my new-to-me vintage sewing machine its first run – and it turned out to be one of the best sewing machines I’ve ever used.
My machine is a White De Luxe automatic sewing machine model 674. I can’t find a date on the machine or the owner’s manual, but it’s old enough to be all metal, heavy, and made in Japan. They really don’t make ’em like this anymore, and if they did you couldn’t buy a new one for the $60 I paid the guy on Craigslist.
For this first adventure with Ol’ Whitey I just wanted to get familiar with the parts and functions, and do some maintenance. I oiled the lubrication points indicated in the owner’s manual and removed grime from nooks and crannies with cotton swabs dipped in alcohol.
Then I filled a couple bobbins and learned how to thread the machine to practice stitching. After making some adjustments to the thread tension, bobbin thread tension and stitch length, my practices stitches were looking very promising. I’ve still got a lot to learn about the sewing machine’s basic and advanced features– not to mention re-learning what I’ve forgotten about sewing since 8th grade, but an actual sewing project doesn’t feel that far off.
Are you a seamstress/seamster? What advice would you give someone with modest goals just starting out?