Saturday, November 19, 2011

Care and feeding of old sewing machines

One of the on-line groups I belong to is and it is for people who collect and use elderly sewing machines.  At one time, I had more than 100 machines.  If I sent them all out for cleaning and repair, it would cost a fortune.  The Treadle On folks have a wonderful habit of throwing parties called TOGAs all around the country.  That stands for Treadle On Gathering and Academy.  Back in 2003, I went to the River Rat TOGA in Lake City, MN, hosted by Cindy Peters.  I went early, because Ray White, an OSMG (Old Sewing Machine Guru) was teaching a 3 day class on basic care and feeding of sewing machines.  Ray is the only fellow in the pic above.  At the time, it cost around $300, but I've saved thousands since then by being able to care for my own machines.  The picture above was taken at the party where we got our certificates.  Since then, I've cleaned a few machines for others and earned back the $300, so that was very helpful.  The picture below is us receiving our aprons from Cindy.  She has a machine that can print things on T-shirts, bags, and aprons, so fun.

I was hoping the closeup would show the picture on the apron, but it doesn't seem to do it very well.  Cindy says the OSMG in our case stands for Old Sewing Machine Goddesses.  Works for me, LOL.

At any rate, the point here is that well-maintained machines are a pleasure to work on, and cranky machines that are in need of a good cleaning and lube are not.  Take good care of your machines.

I saw Ray in October at the ISMACS convention in Nashville, TN.  He has been having a rough time since his wife passed away in the summer, so it was good to be able to give him a big hug and let him know we're praying for him.


  1. What is an ISMACS convention? How can one find out about local resources for old machines?

    I couldn't read this without stopping for a minute to say a prayer for Ray too.

  2. ISMACS is the acronym for the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society. This was the first time I had attended one of the US conventions. I'd love to go to one in England or Australia.

    Thanks for the prayer for Ray. He needs them. He misses Linda so much.

  3. I am a new onion. I attended the Loosen & Lube TOGA this summer. I also purchased an apron. What a great group we belong to. I'm a native Texan, just misplaced in Illinois at the moment. DH & I are from San Angelo, where our parents still live.

  4. Hi, Cheryl! You're in a great place for TOGAs. I'm hoping to make it to the one in MI next summer, if all goes well here. Maybe we will meet there.

    We love being naturalized Texans.