I Love Vintage Sewing Machines

This is a Frister & Rossmann’s “Vibrating Shuttle” sewing machine dating from the early 1930s. It sews straight stitch both backwards and forwards.

I bought it a few years ago and have used it for various sewing tasks- including sewing in a power cut.   Even in the 1930s this was old fashioned. Most machines could have a treadle mechanism added or even an electric motor on the back.  There are still treadle machines around but I wonder how long the electric motors lasted?

I found it hard to get started. Why are there skipped stitches? How could I wind a bobbin successfully?  I had to take professional advice. Now my confidence has grown I try to keep the machine working well by myself.

Both my machines have instruction manuals.  They are well worth reading carefully even if they do miss out vital stuff such as how to sew straight with only one free hand. It’s hard!

One of the best troubleshooting tips in these booklets is to remove all visible dirt (I use clean make up brushes) and oil the machine. It’s always the first thing I try.

Sewing machine oil only!

Some of the oiling points

 The machine has visible oiling points all over and the manual mentions some others.  It “runs like a well oiled machine”!

My silliest mistake was not to have put the needle in properly. I thought I’d checked absolutely everything – correct threading, bobbin in correctly, checked the tension, but when I started to sew again the needle fell out. No wonder it wouldn’t sew properly!

Needles go into this machine with the flat side on the right and are threaded left to right.

Winding the bobbins is a bit tricky compared to modern machines but the instruction manual was really useful there and it doesn’t seem so hard anymore.

Bobbin winder

A little bit of vintage life

Author: norma

Hello, I'm Norma and I live in Wales. I love animals, baking, growing veggies but my big loves are sewing and history.

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