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Sew Very Vintage: Machine-Themed Quilt Patterns

Antique or vintage sewing machines are very popular among today’s quilters and sewers. The earliest sewing machines, whether they were treadle, hand crank or even the early electric versions seem to capture our hearts.

Sewing Machine Embroidery Pattern

Pattern via Bluprint member Seams to be Sew

Ask any quilter if she has an antique sewing machine and her answer will be one of two responses, either “Yes!” or “I wish I did,” followed by a sigh. Not only do many quilters own a vintage machine, but they use them! Singer featherweights show up at almost every quilting retreat or event held these days. They are small, portable, reliable and sew like a dream! If you haven’t seen one in person, below is a photo of the classic featherweight model.

Sewing Machine Mat Pattern

Pattern via Bluprint member Brittany Love

Why do we love them?

Well, there are many reasons. Perhaps the greatest reason is that they make us feel connected to the past and the history of our craft. Vintage sewing machines, like old block patterns and antique quilts, remind us that our favorite pastime has been shared by quilters from many generations before us. These beautiful old machines remind us that we are a part of something that started long before us and will continue on into the future.

Sewing Machine Mug Rug

Mug rug pattern via Bluprint member The Patchsmith

Another reason we are fascinated with vintage sewing machines is that they bring to mind good memories.

Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other family members sewed on them. These same women were the ones that taught us how to sew, possibly on one of these machines. Good memories are always fun to incorporate into our stitches and if we don’t have a vintage machine to sew on, perhaps we can add a vintage machine motif to our quilted project.

Paper Pieced Sewing Machine Pattern

Paper-pieced pattern via Bluprint member AdventurousQ

Vintage sewing machine patterns

These designs are easy to find for any method of quilting. From paper piecing to appliqué, or simple pieced blocks, there are patterns available that represent this beloved motif. Several current fabric lines even feature vintage machine and sewing notions!

How many patterns have you seen that have a vintage machine in the photo of the quilt? They make wonderful props and remind us of our connection to the past and each other.

Antique Basket Wall Hanging with vintage machine

Photo via Bluprint member Happy Sewing Room

These vintage machines are simply fun! They look cute on a tea towel, a machine cover or a quilt. Just like other sewing motifs such as scissors, thimbles and thread, we are naturally drawn to items that represent the hobby we enjoy. And let’s be honest, the vintage machines are so much cuter than modern computerized machines. They are also can be much more easily recognizable than today’s versions.

Sewing Machine Applique Templates

Pattern via Bluprint member Sher’s Patterns

Do you have a vintage machine?

Do you use it to sew on or just for decoration? What type of machine is it and what year was it made? If you would be willing to share your information in the responses it could be fun to see who is sewing on these old beauties. If you don’t have one, perhaps you will be inspired to use one of these patterns in a future project.

59 Comments

Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

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Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Lola Pollard

I have 2 vintage sawing machine.

Reply
Sue

1970 Sears
1928 Singer

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Jean Schlenk

I have 2 treadle machines and my mother’s 51 88 (1935) Singer that I learned on. I had it serviced recently ( I think for the first time, ever) and it runs beautifully. With all the interest in Feather Weight machines lately, I was inspired to get back to basics. Mine looks very much like a Feather Weight, but bigger. It stitches a beautiful straight stitch and I can even free motion quilt on it.

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Cathy

I have one vintage Singer 221 made in 1948. I Love to sew with it.

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Linda Copas

I have 11 vintage machines, including 3 Featherweights. I love them because they are repairable and reliable. I once bought a computerized machine made by a well-known European manufacturer which was a nightmare. Whenever the bobbin thread ran out, the timing went out. After too many miles hauling back to the shop where I purchased it, and a lot of good money after bad, I gave up on it and went back to the reliable mechanical machines.

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Peggy

I had a Singer Redeye 66 treadle and 3 Featherweights before I could stop myself from buying any more! Love the Featherweights but still have to make time to learn the treadle. I’ll be selling one of the Featherweights soon as I just don’t have time to keep all three in use and running well.

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Margaret Miller

I have a Singer Model 66 made on May 29, 1925 in Elizabeth, NJ. We finally decided to see if we could get it operational. Then worked on getting a steady treadle rhythm. We moved and now need to replace belt.

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Amy

My only machine right now, I guess, would be called vintage, but I love the featherweight, but I only wish at times that it could do zigzags.

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Aggie

You can get an automatic zigzag attachment for the featherweight. You can also get extra cams that have decorative stitches.

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Dee

I have 5 vintage machines. Three are Singer…1916 tredle, 1951 Centennial model Featherweight, and one from the first year slant needle came out. I also have 3 toy machines, one of which is also 1951 Centennial model. I am watching for a very good 1040 Featherweight to have restored and painted candy apple red. I use the slant needle for piecing quilts. Beautiful stitch and speedy.

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Trish

I have 2 vintage machines. My favorite that I use every day is a 1960 Pfaff 360. This is the one I learned on & later inherited from my mother. Love it.

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Barb

I have 15 vintage machines – two 201’s, a 99, three 301’s, six featherweights, a 66 treadle, a 15-91, and a 404. All of them get used, then cleaned and oiled. They run better, make a better stitch and are easier to maintain than my modern machine, which is put away in a closet.

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Heather Bannister

23 and still counting. I collect, restore and share these darling sewing machines. They are tough, beautiful and timeless. Many are over a hundred years old, still sewing and will be sewing for another hundred ywars to come

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Aggie

I have a Singer treadle, 2 handcrank machines, 2 featherweights and 2 electric Singers from 1948. I also have 5 child sized Singers of various types. They all work and have been used for various projects. I can always sew when there is a power outage!

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Elaine Clark

I am the proud owner of 2 Singer Featherweights. I use it to quilt/sew often. I had another one which I sold to a friend who is a avid quilter. I love them. I don’t know what year it was made. I found only one number on the bottom Aj121253. I had the one I use regularly cleaned this year by The Old Sewing Machine Man while in FLorida.

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Anne

The number AJ121253 was alllocated on 14th March 1959 in a series of 40000 numbers allocated to 221 machines – Note serial numbers were allocated to the Singer factories in batches – the machines may have actually been made many months later or even the following year.

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Anne

I have 14 sewing macines, 3 of which I would call Anique, 8 vintage ones and 2 computerized.

1883 Singer 12 handcrank
1895 Singer 28k handcrank
1904 Singer 27k treadle/handcrank
1930’s Vesta TS handcrank x 2
Late 1930’s Vesta TS helical gears – ‘Little Vesta’ handcrank
1957 Singer 99k handcrank
1960 Singer 222K electric
1969 Cresta T132-3 electric x 2
1980’s New Home 360 electric x 2
1992 Elna Diva electric
2014 Janome 15000 v2 electric

Handcranks are just wonderful for piecing with the precision they give. My 28k is inherited and the one I learnt to sew on at age 8. I use all the machines regularly which means they all get oiled and are kept running. Each has specific things which they are good at. The 99k is so light to use and is my go to machine for a nice quiet relaxing day sewing – and all the attachments like the buttonholer and zigzagger work wonderfully on it.

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