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  1. #1
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I regret this already (thread injector in the house)

    I need to sew a few things - stuff sacks, tarp tie-outs and reinforcements, and snake skins. I told my mother-in-law I was going to borrow (read: take) her sewing machine a couple of months ago, but have been reluctant to let the machine into my house. I have enough hobbies, and DIY sewing just seems like one of those things that might become an obsession.

    Well, with a trip coming up, I brought the thing home. I'm regretting it already. Now I have to find out everything about it. It's a Fashion Mate Model 237 by Singer. They call this thing a portable sewing machine - has a case and everything - but it weighs a ton (32 pounds).

    Of course, I'm already googling all about it. It was manufactured in the late 1960s and is described as a decent basic, zigzag, flat-bed sewing machine. I'm trying to find the manual online because I really don't want to have to listen to my 84-year-old mother-in-law tell me how to use it.



    For a 40-year old machine, it's in good shape. It brought back memories as I examined the service tags. I suddenly remembered that this machine originally belonged to my wife's Aunt Connie, who was a wicked third-generation seamstress. She learned her craft from Jewish tailors in Newark, New Jersey - she even spoke Yiddish, which is not very common for Italians. There's a service tag from when Aunt Connie owned it. I haven't thought of Aunt Connie in years. I remember threading needles for her in her advanced years.

    When Aunt Connie died some 20 years ago at the age of 84, my mother-in-law pilfered the machine. Though she's no professional, my mother-in-law is a darned good seamstress in her own right. She had the machine regularly serviced too - and there's a service tag from a local repair shop. I would rather get my mother-in-law to do my DIY projects, but she's also 84 years old and she got fairly stressed out doing some sewing projects for me last year and I don't want to put her through that again.

    Now the machine is mine. After two generations of ownership by Italian women, it's now in the hands of a German/Irish man who knows nothing about sewing.

    Which brings back even more memories. I realized I do know something about sewing - I was a tailor's apprentice in a men's clothing shop for two years. I did all sorts of alterations to men's clothing including suits, coats, shirts and pants. I was just 16 at the time, but the ladies who taught me said I was gifted (probably a ruse to get me to do their work). I can't believe I forgot all about that period in my life. I wish I hadn't remembered it - it's gonna give me the confidence to sew, a confidence I'd rather not have.

    I'm hoping this machine will be sufficient for general purposes. After I learn all about it, I hope I don't find myself going out to purchase a new, high-tech thread injector. That's why I wanted to avoid this whole DIY thing in the first place - it can be an obsession.

    Well, let me go get to know this machine better.

  2. #2
    dragon360's Avatar
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    One of my favourite parts of this hobby! Never would I have believed I would be sewing but I find its like some really fun problem solving. I tend to be self-taught so lots of trial and error.
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

    Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
    - Bob Marley

  3. #3
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Too late! It's in the house. You WILL become obsessed with thread injecting. Making all this cool gear is almost as fun as using it - well, at least the Mosquitos don't bite me when I'm sewing
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  4. #4
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon360 View Post
    One of my favourite parts of this hobby! Never would I have believed I would be sewing but I find its like some really fun problem solving. I tend to be self-taught so lots of trial and error.
    Yeah, I'm a self-taught kind of person. As a network engineer, most of my colleagues are electrical engineers but I have an English degree. I always get the question about how somebody with an English degree ended up as a network engineer, and the answer is I'm self-taught, never even took a training class.

    When I bought my house and gutted it, I was looking for ways to save money and decided I could do all the electrical work myself, and I did. Everything passed inspection, but there were weeks of research and studying to become an adequate electrician. My first ceiling fan took five hours. After installing five more ceiling fans, I could do it in 45 minutes. The house hasn't burned down yet, but I can't imagine learning electrical work now. Something about old dogs learning new tricks.

    I'm gonna bone up on all the sewing information on this forum and embrace the bug. But as I get older, I kind of resent learning new things since I know how much work it is. This old dog don't want to learn no new tricks. On the positive side, it's probably good for my brain and will stave off Alzheimer's.

    On the negative side, I have to go buy new glasses. Mine broke a year ago and I never replaced them.

  5. #5
    Moderator raiffnuke's Avatar
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    Oh no! You already let it into your house?! You are DOOMED!!

    I already have one in the house, and a serger and possibly a quilting machine headed my way soon. I was doomed at a young age as my mother was a professional seamstress/dress maker, had her own alteration business, and started a sewing school...which I had to attend while I was in 8th grade. Now my projects keep getting bigger and bigger....

  6. #6
    G...Hawk's Avatar
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    Nice looking machine.

    Expect some good spirit came along with the machine.

    Happy trails : happy sewing, calling up your memories and the spirit of sewers or' the years !



    G



    .
    trailname : Distracted By Stone

  7. #7
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiffnuke View Post
    Oh no! You already let it into your house?! You are DOOMED!!

    I already have one in the house, and a serger and possibly a quilting machine headed my way soon. I was doomed at a young age as my mother was a professional seamstress/dress maker, had her own alteration business, and started a sewing school...which I had to attend while I was in 8th grade. Now my projects keep getting bigger and bigger....
    If I ever know what a serger and quilting machine is, I will shoot myself! This is exactly why I didn't want the machine in my house.

  8. #8
    Senior Member chickenwing's Avatar
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    That is a fantastic machine you have there. I have the same model and I LOVE IT!!!!!
    and then

    Check out my website www.cwhammocks.com or Find me on the YouTubes
    You can even"Like" me on facebook or follow me on Twitter @cwhammocks

    "In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies."

  9. #9
    tncamper's Avatar
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    I've got an old Singer Slant.(around the same era as yours) I opted to go with that over a new machine as I'm use to older equipment and the workmanship that comes along with them. That will do all you will want. 90+% of what you're going to do is straight stitching anyway.

    You have messed up if you didn't want a new hobby. It is addictive.
    It'll be alright Friday!


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  10. #10
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilvrSurfr View Post
    <snip>

    Which brings back even more memories. I realized I do know something about sewing - I was a tailor's apprentice in a men's clothing shop for two years. I did all sorts of alterations to men's clothing including suits, coats, shirts and pants. I was just 16 at the time, but the ladies who taught me said I was gifted (probably a ruse to get me to do their work). I can't believe I forgot all about that period in my life. I wish.
    <snip>
    I'll bet that if had been a women's clothing store, not a haberdashery, you couldn't have forgotten it for all these years. Reel 2, Fellini.

    Anyway, having shed all that portable-housing weight with a cuben 4 season tarp, letting in all that light and all, you'll be expected to occasionally travel with this beast. I can see HF ers showing up at a Jersey hang, complete with a portable generator and an invitation for you to bring your machine. They'll be wearing suits, pulling repair tickets for restoration of sartorial splendor. Its not just your new DIY gear I look forward to seeing, its the before and after videos of you on the trail outside Batsto.

    Your night hikes? I wanna see your snazzy outdoor evening wear beneath your pack once your sewing chops come back. Like an athlete picking up the old game. A sprinter back then; now a medium distance runner.

    Handsome machine, that Singer.

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