I did not learn to sew on a Singer. Instead I used a pre-war German machine that had been in the family since the Plymouth blitz. But over the last decade or so I’ve collected a couple of Singers. They are lovely machines, but I’ll admit I don’t need them so [shameless plug] I’ve put them on eBay [end plug].
The 28K manual machine is very beautiful.
Checking its serial number on the Singer website reveals it was built in the Clydeside factory at Kilbowie in 1927. I used it two months ago to make GJ a headband. You simply don’t get such ornate decoration on modern machines. The vineleaves design on the back access plate is a particular favourite.
The 201K treadle machine, in contrast, is more utilitarian.
It was built in 1941, again at Kilbowie, and shows how stripped down wartime production was. The decals are simple, and the access plates aren’t etched to such a level.
Of course, these machines were in high demand during World War II, as clothes had to be made and mended, and new machines were needed to replace ones lost to bombings. The sheer number of complex feet for it shows how fancy home dressmaking was.
I’d always wanted a treadle machine: I used to use a biker caff in Exeter that had converted them into tables and I loved the rocking motion of the machine. The 201K is currently in use as my computer desk: I sometimes find myself rocking the treadle foot back and forth whilst working. But I need space downstairs for my oak teacher’s desk, and a semi-working treadle machine isn’t as essential.
I still, of course, have the machine I learnt on and plan to teach GJ on it when she’s old enough.