July 31, 2014

Sewing with a Singer 66

I've been on a serious vintage kick, and it's NOT just sewing retro clothes!

Okay, so it IS sewing retro clothes…but on a vintage 1925 sewing machine!  Say hello to my gorgeous Singer 66!  It has a treadle, does NOT plug into the wall, and sews like a beast.


In college, we had an old metal machine that was fantastic to sew on while angry.  You felt like you were really accomplishing something, with all the clanking noises it made!  This machine is even better.  Each stitch says "KlUnka-klUnka," and the treadle shakes back and forth.  (Haven't had any complaints from the downstairs neighbor yet…)  Now, I know sewing machines aren't supposed to sound like that, but it's so satisfying!

It has some beautiful details that you would never see on a modern machine.  The gold decals, the ornate silver covering below…it all makes you feel as if you are sewing on something that was truly made with love.  

The Singer 66 was the very first sewing machine put into mass production, and was made for nearly 50 years!  It truly is an incredible machine.  Though it is very basic compared to today's models, it has a bobbin winder, adjustable stitch lengths, and will work during the zombie apocalypse!  

Above, the bobbin winder.  Below, a video showing how the bobbin winder works.  Listen to that great sound!!

I knew for my first project, I had to make something that was vintage.  I spent hours searching through 20s and 30s patterns for a dress or shirt I liked.  Eventually I found a Mrs. Depew pattern I liked, but was too impatient to start sewing to figure out the French enlargement process.  So, I pulled out an old favorite: Simplicity 3688.  

I made the pants once before from a cotton, and was happy with just about everything except for the height of the waist.  I know it is the style of the '40s, but I cannot do the under-the-boob waist-line.  I took about 3 inches off the waist, and it still is pretty high.  

Last time, I noticed how incredibly wide the legs were, but I decided to keep them wide for this pair.  They are really comfortable, but not as dressy as they could be.  Next time (because there will surely be a next time), I will have to make them a little narrower.  

From the above picture, you can see on the left the snap placket peeking out.  I've become addicted to snaps.  Zippers are a pain!

The heart-shaped pocket I put on the front.  

Excited to see what sewing is to come with my new sewing machine!!


  1. Hello Nicole,

    Congratulations - what a smart machine! And it's really nice to see that you have already made yourself a pair of trousers (sorry, I'm English, I can't possibly call them pants).

    Can I suggest you hop over to my blog? You should find it interesting. I use vintage machines for everything I sew - my newest was made in 1949 - and have never used or owned an electric machine.

    Love, Muv

  2. Thanks for the comment, Muv! I will definitely check out your blog. I'm very curious about vintage machines now - the treadle is addictive!

    And I agree - they are more trousers than pants. :)