Antique Singers

Looking for metal index card filing cabinets on Craigslist (a story for another day), I found an antique Singer with the original cabinet for a great price.

Good Man and I went and picked up this beautiful machine today.

Singer 15

So this serial number shows that this came from the Wittenberge (Prussia) factory. Unfortunately, all of the records from that factory have been destroyed. I assume from the war.

From 1939, this factory produced war supplies. When this part of Germany came under Russian control at the end of the war, the Russians stripped the factory.


Worn Emblems

Centimeter Markings in the Cabinet

The coffin top locks were both crammed full of stuff. Crammed full, down to having seeds and beans in them!

Coffin Lock

Seeds and Beans

Back Plate

Face Plate

I’m not sure if this plate is the original plate, since it doesn’t match ones I saw online that are from the factory.

Singer Plate

I think this machine is supposed to have a thumbscrew to drop the feed dogs, but I don’t see it.

This machine has an oscillating shuttle. It didn’t come with a bobbin holder, but it takes my modern machine’s bobbin holder and metal bobbins. NOW I know why my bobbins are “class 15” bobbins! Because they were the Singer standard for Singer 15s!


Years ago, I bought this antique Singer at a thrift store for $35. I didn’t have a treadle for it, but look! It fit!

I was pleasantly surprised. Good Man assumed it would fit. It would be great if modern manufacturers would take a clue from this… (Apple and your chargers for i-Whatevers, I’m looking at you. Nikon and your proprietary batteries that aren’t interchangeable among models or chargers, you too.)

You can tell this one is cosmetically in really good shape, with all of those decals.

Singer 127

This indicates the machine in a Singer 127, built on August 5th, 1920 in the Elizabeth, New Jersey factory.

Born in New Jersey

127 Rear Plate

I’m missing a plate over the bobbin, but I can get a replacement online. The needle on this machine won’t move at all, but I assume (hope) a good cleaning and oiling will fix it right up.

Face Plate

The shuttle for this is very different than modern bobbin cases. There is thread stuck in there.


Singer 15 vs 127 in Size

The coffin top fits fine and is in excellent shape, only chipped in one corner.

Closed Up


One of the coolest things about this purchase, though, is that it came with the original sales paperwork and a (not entirely complete) translation!

So I know the machine was from at least 1937. Considering how far it had to travel, and that the records from the factory are destroyed, it could be a different year.

Bill of the Sale

Model 16 D 26

The cost was 395 pengo and a 12 pengo deposit was made.


Based on Google translate, this says thanks for paying the entire invoice, 20 April 1942. I guess the family paid a bit each month?


Official Dealer

The machine does work, although I might need to tighten the belt a bit, and the treadle is harder than it looks! The same site that helped me service my manual typewriter has information on antique sewing machines. My goal is to get this machine to work and to use it for simple quilting.

I am so excited to have this little machine!

Simplicity 3935 Pajamas, Simplicity 9958 Boxers, Quick Gathered Skirts

Good Man and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but my niece and nephew do. I sewed some clothing for them, and stuffed everything in a drawstring bag. We also sent two games that they can use to play bingo, memory match, etc.

Niece got some gathered skirts.

Gathered Skirts

Nephew got some boxers from Simplicity 9958. I closed up the fly and made pull-on shorts.

S9958 Shorts

I made some pajamas for both of them using Simplicity 3935. The pattern was super easy to put together, although I did change the neckline directions. The instructions tell you to use purchased bias tape, but I made bias tape from the fabric and just sewed the shoulders together.


Modified Neckline

According to my sister-in-law, the kid love the pajamas and were very excited to receive them. I’m happy to have found a “Christmas Eve pajamas” pattern.

1962 Royal FP Typewriter

Before the snow and ice storm, Good Man and I went for a walk. On the way back to our house, we found a typewriter on the neighbor’s curb.

The neighbor was smoking a cigarette on his stoop. “Taking a walk before the snow?”

“Yep. Can I take this typewriter?”

He chuckled. “If it’s on the curb, it’s free for the taking!”

The typewriter was already covered in some snow, so I put it down on a towel on the kitchen floor. Good Man sputtered. “Are you really going to use that?”

“Yeah, this is cool.”

“You are such a hipster!”

I narrowed my eyes. “What are you talking about? I wear glasses because I actually need them, not ironically. I’m not a hipster.”

“You are hipster, Analog Wife. Embrace yourself!”

That night, I figured out how to use the typewriter, after a lot of researching. I figured out every lever and how to adjust the margins (that was the hard part). Then I needed to figure out how to clean it.

I found a great website and gathered my supplies for the next day.

The next day the ice storm had hit hard and heavy and our power was out. It was 56 degrees in our house, which I only knew because we have the original thermostat in our house (no longer hooked up) and it still tells the temperature.

Well, at least I had hot water and something to do with myself. I got to work cleaning up the typewriter. About midway through, I went and got some ink to reink the ribbon. By the time I got home, the power was back on.

Before Cleaning

How to Load the Ribbon

Let’s Take a Bath!

I popped off every nicotine-stained key and used a toothbrush and some denatured alcohol to start cleaning. While the keys were soaking, I reinked the ribbon.


Stuck-On Dust



Contact Cement

One of the keys kept popping off. When I examined it, I noticed that the slot that held the key on was wider than the other keys. I jammed a small piece of paper towel in there and it stayed on. (Interestingly, the contact cemented key stayed on with no problems.)

Loose Key

Removing the Platen

After cleaning, I tested everything. It worked! But my typing was really uneven, and I kept skipping stitches. I just needed some practice typing on a manual typewriter.

I called Good Man over and he tried the typewriter. When he got to the end of the row, he said, “I don’t know how to get it back!”

I pointed to the return and he gleefully kept typing.

First Time Using a Manual Typewriter

Ready to Go

No Nicotine Stains


1962 FP


Original Owners?

Shiny and Clean

Silk Pants and Panne Velvet Top

What’s that? Why is it blue?


It’s silk! Glorious silk!

I made a promise to myself that I’d sew silk before the end of the year, and I finally did, in the form of pants. I made the same pajama-style Burda pants because I knew the pattern.

I also made a Burda top from Burda Plus, pattern 02-2013-401. I made the top a size too large and ended up hacking up my pattern to size it down. I resewed it with new fabric.

Of course, I was sewing on a deadline (Mark and his Lover’s Christmas party) and I sewed both of these in a week. I was finishing up the hems hours before the party.

I used stash silk and stash panne velvet. I used the wrong side of the silk because the right side was too shiny and it cheapened the look to me.

I’m really pleased with how this outfit turned out!

Christmas Party Front


Hand Hemmed

Right Side vs Wrong Side Shine

Hand Hemmed

Burda Pants (8/2013 #136)

I made the wide-legged pants from the August 2013 issue of Burda magazine using some fabric that I got for free from a former coworker. I left off the drawstrings, and used my own preferred in-seam pocket. I also whacked about 14″ off in the length. I’m really happy with how the pants ended up!


The pants use a channeled elastic waistband. The channels bump it up above a plain pajama waistband and make the pants really comfortable to wear.


I also used the blind hem stitch on my machine. It worked for the most part, but I still need a bit of practice.

Blind Hem Stitch

Flooded Basement

Last weekend it rained for several days. It wasn’t a terribly heavy rain, just consistent.

On Saturday, Good Man went to the basement to get something. “Uh oh.”

I knew immediately what had happened but hoped it was something else. “What, honey?”

“Just…come here.”

Oh yay. Our first flooded basement. Turns out we forgot to check the drain for leaf debris. I have done that during every other storm and the basement has stayed bone dry.

So we spent the weekend cleaning after buying a small pump to help clear it. Luckily, most of our really valuable stuff was on the other side of the basement, so we didn’t lose much. And frankly, we’ve been living here for a year, so the basement should have been unpacked a long, long time ago.

While cleaning, we found a dead snake. I think it slithered into the packing tape and died. Oof, poor snake.

Flooded Floor

Taped Snake

Well, This Needs Unpacking