Monday, December 14, 2009

History Lesson (now ain't that exciting!)


One of my blogging buddies was asking about my first sewing machine ever.  (I still have it and it still works, thank you!)
It is an old Kenmore 5186 Zigzag machine.  I bought it either my senior year of high school or the first year I was out of school. I got it second hand.  The dark spots on the lower case were there when I got it.
I used this machine to make clothing for myself.  In the late 70's the "dashiki shirt" was in style and I had a pattern. I made several of them. The dashiki is a pullover shirt with an open neck.  The sleeves are not set-in so it is easy to make.
I also made some other shirts with it.

Later on I made curtains for apartments with it (yes out of cheap bedsheets- I am a guy you know)

I hope you enjoyed the history lesson.

I confess that I FAR prefer to sew on my nice new Babylock Espire machine.  However the old Kenmore will work in a pinch. And it is a good idea to have an old mechanical machine around for things you don't want to sew on your nice machine.


I decided to add something to this post:

If you enlarge the picture you can see the controls better (and you can see the junk behind that machine - but don't look at that part, okay?)  This machine has a little silver knob on the right side marked with a letter "U"  That is the control to lower the feed dogs. Yeah, really it is.  I have done some free motion on this machine, although it is not great for that. Still it can do it.  The zigzag works well too.  The stitch length is an interesting  thing though.  I call it guess and go!  Ha ha.

10 comments:

Tonya's Sewing Room said...

Can we see those shirts you made? HAHA just kidding......late 1970's...how old was I? oh well, nevermind, that's not important. lol love ya Gene!

Needled Mom said...

I just got rid of my first machine as it finally died. It was a Singer Diana and I thought I was in heaven when I purchased it in college.

Pat said...

I want to see those dashiki shirts you made, too. And....Tonya better hush up....letting us know she was probably an itty bitty baby in the late 70's. LOL

SewCalGal said...

Delightful post. This could make into a fun research project (e.g. what is the oldest sewing machine everyone has used). But the featherweight owners may win out.

Did I ever share with you that my grandparents were from Anniston, Al?

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Tonya's Sewing Room said...

oh wait...I just noticed....you called me your buddy? no way....I'm so excited *runs off singing....Gene called me his buddy, gene called me his buddy* I'm fine, really I am.

quiltmom said...

Hi Gene,
I have a Kenmore sewing machine that I bought in 1978 from one of my first pay cheques that I earned as a new teacher. It cost about a half a month salary at the time so it was a big investment for me. I used that machine until around 2000 when my husband bought me an Elna's Quilter's Dream. Since then he has also bought me a Babylock quilting machine that I use for quilting. I still use the Elna to piece my quilts. Sometimes I dream about having a long arm machine but I have no room in my house for something that large. I am content with the machines that I own. I still have the Kenmore - I didn't want to part with it - it is a solid mechanical machine that I could still sew on- I never could free motion quilt on it.
Warmest regards,
Anna
P.S Did I ever tell you that I have a younger brother whose name is Gene?

tango's trash & treasures said...

Cool!! Older machines were built to last!
My first machine was a Singer touch & sew. My parents bought if for me used in 72. I so loved that machine. Sadly it died the winter of 89 in the middle of sewing a ruffled dress for a doll. It had jammed up & the gears crumbled like rice! boo hoo

Royce said...

When my mother passed away I didn't sew and I sure wish I'd kept her machines, she had 2. One of hers was a old metal Sears machine that she made my cool outfits on when I was in high school. Glad you still have your old machine. They are such treasures.

Barbara said...

My first machine was also a Kenmore mechanical bought in 1968. Then I bought my Pfaff about 18 years ago which is also mechanical, and now I use them both. I know the current and more popular electronic machines can do many more things, but I'm addicted to my older mechanical machines. Plus I can service them myself when they get sluggish. Someday maybe I'll come into the new millenium and get a more modern machine. ;)

Micki said...

I have a wonderful Singer 221 Featherweight which is dated 1953. It sews like a dream! I also love my Pfaff 4.0 Expression better, but there is nothing like a featherweight. I do love the older machines. It is wonderful that you still have it!
Micki