Decided to make a couple of sewing machine covers for my Singer sewing machines, including my new-old Singer 128 made in 1926.
Transcripts for this video are available on my website.
Singer 128 – made in 1926
Some information on this kind of sewing machine – https://www.singersewinginfo.co.uk/128
Pattern: Self drafted
Singer 128 Cover
– Exterior fabric – red and gold quilting cotton, quilted with dark red thread
– Interior – practice quilting squares with cotton fabric and cotton batting
– Lining – brown quilting cotton
Singer Talent Cover
– Exterior fabric – brown quilting cotton
– Interior – scrap cotton batting
– Lining – fabric salvaged from old cover, reassembled to the new pattern
Photo by Anton Atanasov
Logo designed and drawn by A.R. Gergler
Photo by Anton Atanasov
So, I’ve been on the look out for an affordable working vintage or antique sewing machine for a couple of years now. Throwing myself into the historical costuming side of YouTube has really amped up what was previously a vague and casual interest.
And if you know me, you know that once my interest has been engaged, there is little else going on in this brain.
After much searching, I found a listing on ebay for the kind of thing I was looking for in good condition for a fair price and in mid-February 2021, I received my new friend, a Singer 128 hand crank sewing machine. Per her serial number, she was manufactured in 1926 and arrived in mostly working order. I had to clean her up a bit and fix a small issue with the bobbin winder clutch, but she was stitching well as soon as I freed her from her plastic wrap cocoon.
I should note here that the hand crank for this machine is not original to this particular unit and the seller manufactured the new wooden base she sits in. As far as I am aware, all other parts are original to this machine’s production.
This first thing I learned about this beauty is that she’s a heavy girl, at least twice as heavy as my modern Singer machine or my inherited Janome. Within hours of setting this machine up, I started a quilted mat to put under the wooden base so that I wouldn’t destroy my table when moving her around.
She didn’t come with her original table, base, or cover, so a new cover for her became a top priority. I don’t know if it’s this old house or the number of people and pets who have lived/are living here or some other combination of factors, but dust is a big thing. Constant. And I want to keep my machines in the best condition possible for as long as possible, so making a cover for the Singer 128 went straight to the top of my To Do list.
I took measurements from her length, width, and height, and sketched out a sort of elongated dome shape on paper. The main body of the cover is a rectangle sewn with these dome shapes on either side. I decided to quilt this cover, as the layering of cotton fabric and batting would enable the cover to stand on its own and not settle in to get tangled in mechanical parts like the hand crank or the bobbin winder.
Also, it just looks better when they do that.
I first assembled the interior lining to make sure that the pattern I had drafted actually fit this machine. I used a brown floral quilting cotton for this. I have a ton of this fabric left over from a quilt project.
I also had these old quilting practice squares lying around, waiting to be used for something, so I zigzagged them together with a modern machine and cut them into rectangles a little bigger than my pattern pieces. I cut and pinned my external red and gold cotton fabric to these quilted pieces, then quilted over them with straight lines in a dark red thread to familiarize myself with my new machine.
With the quilting finished, I cut out the pattern pieces and pinned them together. I opted to baste all the seams of the cover due to the thickness of the quilted fabric. This would also help prevent any weird puckering when sewing around the dome curves. Then, I put the pieces through the machine and sewed them together.
Because the fabric was so thick, I trimmed back the seam allowance to about a ¼” to reduce bulk.
I tucked the interior lining into the exterior quilted shell, and then I pinned on some leftover black and blue flanged binding from a previous quilt project. I sewed these layers together by machine, turned under the binding so that only the black fabric was visible from the outside, and then whip stitched down the blue flanged edge to the inside of the cover.
I liked this cover so much that I felt bad for my poor modern Singer Talent. I made the cover for my Talent nearly 10 years ago and I’ve improved a lot since then. A lot. Like this thing was barely cobbled together into a vaguely sewing machine shaped thing.
So, I disassembled the old cover and reassembled it into a new interior lining with some adjustments to the dome sides in order to fit the narrower machine. I used more of that same brown floral cotton fabric as the exterior fabric and binding, and I used scrap cotton batting I had laying around for the layer in between.
I’m really glad that I decided to do this particular project right away, as it taught me how this machine handles sewing straight lines and curves with both thin and thick fabrics. It also forced me to learn how to tension this machine and change stitch lengths for strong seams vs. quilting. I’m surprised at how much I was able to learn about this machine from just this one little project.
And uh that’s it I guess.
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Now that I have this delightful new-old sewing machine, is there anything in particular that you want to see me make with it? I have half-plans floating around in my brain, but if you have suggestions, please let me know.
Thanks for watching until the end. I’ll see you soon.