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Forum > Sewing Machines > need opinion about refurbishing vintage sewing machine cases ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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need opinion about refurbishing vintage sewing machine cases
vintage sewing machines
zanylady
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zanylady  Friend of PR
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Maryland USA
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Date: 1/13/13 4:22 PM

I have 6 portable vintage sewing machines. The cases are wood and covered with a thin fabric. The fabric is peeling off and frankly they look ratty. I tried recovering one with new fabric and it was really a PITA and not very successful.
What I was thinking of doing was stripping off the tattered fabric and painting the wooden case a midnite blue, and adding brass corners to each corner to strengthen the case.
Would the value of the vintage machine diminish in your eyes?
I would appreciate your input.

NottaWadder
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NottaWadder
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Date: 1/13/13 6:55 PM

Interesting question! I saw one on ebay today where the person had re-covered it and wow, I could hardly tell the diff. But yes, I assumed it was a whole bunch of work. The idea of painting them is certainly more attractive from an amount of work perspective.

My opinion is that if something is really beat up and/or dirty to the point where nobody wants to use it, then it is hard to argue that it would actually devalue the item. That is how I feel about painted machines too... if it is too ugly for anyone to love, why NOT make it beautiful again?

But, there are purists out there who do not want their antiques messed with. When it comes to sewing machines and their assorted attachments, I am not one of those people.

------
My Singer crew:
Sergei - Serger 14T968DC (set up as coverstitch)
Stella - Serger Stylist II 14J250 (set up as main overlock)
Quincy - Quantum 9960 (my main SM)
Newest addition: Stevie, my very first Featherweight! (221 Centennial)

tlmck3
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tlmck3
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Date: 1/13/13 9:00 PM

If you intend to sell to a collector, then don't paint. The general rule of thumb when dealing with antiques/collectibles whose value you want to retain, is to do "conservation" work, not renovation work-which means keeping the piece in as close to original condition as possible.

Gently cleaning it up with a damp cloth and pasting down any loose areas of whatever is covering the wood would be as far as I would go if my intention was to retain the collectible value.

If you're not intending to try to sell to a collector, then paint away. Someone who is not a serious collector probably wouldn't mind if the paint job is pretty.

------
I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

St. Augustine

zanylady
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Date: 1/14/13 5:39 AM

thanks for the input. As far as conservation goes I am all for it if it is feasible. But I also think that antiques should be attractive and functional too Ratty is the nicest thing I can say about these cases. There is very little fabric left on most of them. I have them all working and doing what they were designed to do, now I want to fix them up so that they are not an eyesore and need to be stuffed in a closet.

If I can figure out how to do it, I will post pictures when I am done.

LynnRowe
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In reply to zanylady <<
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Date: 1/14/13 9:15 AM

Featherweights, which I'm assuming is what you have, are not scarce (other than the specially badged or crinkle-finished ones), and ebay often enough has painted cases that sell for as much or more than original condition.

So my vote is to strip and paint. Purists may not want it, but they're a small herd anyways.

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

zanylady
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Date: 1/14/13 10:04 AM

Actually, they are not featherweights. I have a Singer, a Morse, a Wizard, a Dressmaker, a Sovereign, and a Fiati.
Am going to Lowe's to get the paint and brass corners.

LaurenEmme
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Date: 1/14/13 10:36 AM

I say go for it. My Featherweight case is in not so great condition. I'm actually just going to have DH build me a new one and I'm going to paint it and add some retro designing/decals or something. The machine itself is in wonderful condition and I think she deserves a snazzy case too. If I wasn't going to be able to get a new cause built, I'd definitely refurbish the old one. I know I would rather have a neat looking functional case, even if not "original" than a ratty looking one.

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Bernina 330
BabyLock Ellure Plus BLR3
BabyLock Imagine
Singer 221
Singer 237 converted to treadle
Singer 27 treadle
Necchi BF

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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In reply to zanylady <<


Date: 1/14/13 10:44 AM

Do you subscribe to the ISMACS Digest? I have found it very resourceful. It's free.

Link

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

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