Some have heard these stories, or at least parts of them but some haven’t.
Back in about 1981, I was just starting to do machine piecing but I was also making smocked children’s clothes. I had an old Singer Golden Touch & Sew that I had gotten while in high school so . . it was about 8 years old. It had been an awful machine from Day 1. The first machine would not make a buttonhole, no matter what I did, no matter what the Singer sales person did and no matter what the Singer repairman did so they agreed to replace it. The new one did seem to have a major flaw – it would make buttonholes, but it made the worst stitch ever and tension was a nightmare. But I sewed on it. When I began piecing quilt tops and trying to make buttonholes on little girls’ dresses, that machine had to go. I did a little research and decided I waned a Bernina. The husband (not Vince!) thought the Berninas were outrageously expensive and he found a Sears machine that “did everything a Bernina would do”. Right! That lasted about a year and then I somehow convinced him that I really needed a Bernina and got a 930, which I still have.
Then, in 1989 we moved to Texas (same husband – not Vince) and that was a disaster from Day 1. Not long after the move, he came home with a Bernina 1230, a big cutting table (which I still use) and a Bernette serger. At that point, I was a “Nothing But Bernina” girl and thought I always would be.
By the way, it was that move to Texas that made me tell Vince . . every time he’d consider a job relocation . . I’d say “I’ll move anywhere in the south EXCEPT Texas!”
Fast forward to probably about 1998. Vince, Chad and I were going to Georgia to stay in a little cabin in the mountains for about 10 days at Christmas. We had a mini-van and, of course, I was taking a sewing machine – my Bernina 1230, which isn’t small but it isn’t huge. When Vince saw it, he said “We don’t have room for that!” What? Did he think I was going out of town without a sewing machine. I had a Singer Featherweight that I had bought to take to classes. The Berninas were heavy! I had never used the Featherweight but I had a quarter inch foot . . what could go wrong?
We got to the cabin. Vince and Chad were all set to play video games on the TV downstairs. There was a little reading room upstairs so I set up my sewing in that room. I got the iron and ironing board all set up; got my cutting station ready; had the sewing machine setup and I was ready to sew. That darned machine would take a stitch and about 2 minutes later, it would take another stitch. Wait . . this is NOT going to work. I marched myself downstairs, most unhappy that I had not brought the Bernina instead of that Featherweight. Vince knew I was not happy so we drove to the next little town and went to Walmart. Nope, not going to buy a sewing machine from Walmart. I was not opposed to drive 10 hours home to get my Bernina and then driving back to north Georgia.
On the way back to the cabin, Vince decided to stop by a flea market. He asked if they had any sewing machines. Yes, and the lady took us to it. There was a 301A in a cabinet with a sewing chair. I think the asking price was $40 but . . it didn’t sew. I sat down and looked at it and right away I saw that the little “finger” in the bobbin area that needs to be fitted between two sections on the throat plate wasn’t in the right position. I knew how to fix that and I knew that would probably solve the problem.
While I was looking over the machine, Vince went to talk to the lady and she agreed that the she would sell it all for $15. Vince came back and said “I can probably fix it and she’ll take $15 for it. Do you want it?” I said “I guess”. I was really thinking . . if we didn’t have room for my Bernina .. machine only, how do we have room for a machine, a cabinet and a sewing chair . . but at that point, I was not asking questions.
We got in the car, with the machine and I said “We need to go back to Walmart and get an eyeglass repair kit!” Vince was all prepared to take the machine apart and I said . . I can fix it. And . . I did.
Since that day, I’ve been a devoted Singer 301 fan.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you the story about fixing the Featherweight that didn’t sew in Georgia and I’ll tell you about Vince fixing the 301 machines today . . and about the one that didn’t get fixed.