6 Sewing Machines from Your Childhood

Do you remember the first machine you started sewing on? We asked our Facebook fans to share stories about their first time sewing, and their first sewing machine. Did you start on any of these machines?

Machine 1 “Managed to break my mum’s 25-year-old Brother machine when I was 11 – I was “playing” with it. Put me off sewing for a while but I bought my first Singer hand machine when was I was 19. Still got it and it still works like a dream!” – Jeni T.

Machine 2 “On my eighth birthday! I am 58 now and I still love to sew! It was a child’s mini Elna sewing machine. Think it was Swiss made and I loved it. I made my mum and I an apron each out of her old dining room sunflower curtains. She even made some dolls clothes on it for me! Wish I still had it!” – Julie C.

Machine 3 “I learned on my grandmother’s old treadle machine. The one she sewed through her finger with! Trust me – I was careful after hearing about that.” – Pat B.

Machine 4 “I had a toy Singer one when I was about seven or eight years old. I loved it and made clothes and bedding for my dolls. I still love sewing about 50 years later.” – Doreen D.

Machine 5 “My mom starting teaching me to sew when I was eight with her awesome metal Elna machine. It didn’t do much as far as cool stitching, but I loved it and she still has it. Still works too!” – Peggy S.

Machine 6 “ I used my mother’s Kenmore until I was 19. Then I moved away from home and got my own machine. I finally got my first Singer (Imperial) in 1994 and still use it. It’s a plain machine and not computerized, but I will keep on using it.” – Barbara L.

Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below or share with us on Facebook!

Ultimate Sewing Machine Guide

Discussion
  • (will not be published)

144 Responses to “6 Sewing Machines from Your Childhood”
  1. Mary Marsh

    I learned to sew as a child, 6 or 7, on my mother’s BelAire sewing machine, purchased in 1949 when I was 3 years old. Used it until I got to college and had a different machine of my own. 15 or 20 years later she decided to get a new machine. I told her I wanted the old one. At that time it was on its second belt which was wearing out. I put a new belt on it and have used it ever since. I have a serger and a much newer Pfaff but I use the Bel-Aire for all straight stitching. It has more vertical space between the bottom of the pressure foot and the bed of the machine. Also more power to go thru multiple layers of denim. It has sewn prom and wedding dresses and irrigation canvases, motorcycle seat covers and a multitude of other things.

    Reply
    • Gma Cma

      You just can’t beat those older mechanical machines! The new ones do fancier stitches, etc. (wonder how many of those are really used much? ) but those old ones are simply the most reliable. I service and repair machines and love those. Have some treadles but need a hand crank too!

      Reply
    • J Shather

      I got a Kenmore single needle loopmachine for high school graduation, still have it, use it love it

      Reply
    • Joan Harold

      Great to see the old sewing machines . I Iive in the Town of Clydebank (Near Glasgow ). Where the Singer Sewing Machine Factory was . Most of the residents worked there. ! We have a small museum in our Town Hall with lots of their various designs on display . Sadly the town lost so much work when it closed down . It was more than just an employee. It was a way of life line to surrounding areas with the trains arriving to work close by. Good night ps I got back to sewing again a few years ago & now into quilting.

      Reply
      • Gail Hardy

        Joan, Do you mean Glasgow, Montana? I lived in Glasgow for several years and got my first sewing machine, a Singer, from the dealership next to Gordon’s Supermarket.

        Reply
    • Elizabeth White

      Singer Featherweight that Momma bought in the late ‘40’s for $149.00. The machine is older than I am. If she could have taken an item from this world to the next it she would have taken the Singer. It resides with me now.

      Reply
  2. Glenda

    I started sewing on a treddle machine (like the picture) around age 10. I bought my own Singer machine for $96 and made $6 payments every month until it was paid for. I still use it. (I sewed a tepee with it in the 70’s!)

    Reply
    • Lynne

      I remember my mother’s treadle machine. I never actually used it but, when I was about 4, I stood on the treadle while holding on to the machine which was above my head. Yes, you got it. The machine started with my thumb right in line with the needle as it came down and through my thumb. I was 16 before I started to sew for real and I never put a digit in danger ever again.

      Reply
  3. Lorraine Morgan

    i learnt to sew on my great great aunts singer tredlle machine.I was making my own ciothes by hand at age 10. then my father bought a hand machine when I was 13, they traded that in on an electric machine for me when I was 15. am still sewing. I have 3 brother sewing machines. and am looking to buy a babylock serger in the next 18months, have been sewing for 58years

    Reply
  4. Maria Schembri

    I started on the Singer hand use one when I was 6 or 7 mum was a professional dress maker and my sis and me always sewd clothes for our dolls from left over material

    Reply
  5. Pat

    I started sewing on a Singer slant-o-matic in 1962 after I had been ill and could not go back to school. I was 7 years old, and I haven’t looked back since! I now have 3 hand cranks, 1 treadle, my mom’s sewing machine, a 1930’s singer in a desk, a Kenmore that was my first machine, an old Singer that was converted to electricity and 4 more machines! I still love to sew, and have many family and friends keeping me busy with projects!

    Reply
    • Annesypansy

      I was so pleased to hear that someone has used a Singer slantomatic. Having use my mum’s old hand Singer I purchased a Slantomatic in the late 50’s when I left school. It was a top mdel in those days. It did me well eventually being used to sew canvas tenting. I regret giving it away when I upgraded in the early 2000s to a Pfaff.

      Reply
    • Alice Monstera

      I taught myself to sew on my Mom’s Slant-O-Matic and took it with me when I finally moved out of the house after college. It’s still my favorite machine.

      Reply
  6. Wanda Morris

    I learned on my mother’s old Singer “peddle” machine beginning in the 7th grade. Have continued to see for me and my daughter. Do heirloom and regular sewing. Mom’s machine burned in a house fire. I would love to have one of those for memories sake.

    Reply
  7. Joanne

    A lovely lady taught me to sew on her treadle sewing machine and I have been hooked ever since. Now I am teaching my granddaughters to sew.

    Reply
  8. Lynne

    I got a 707 Bernina in 8th grade. I have a computer Bernina now but still use the 707 as back up. My mom sewed on a singer machine.

    Reply
  9. Sheri

    There were two machines. One was a child’s Singer that clamped onto the table and crank a chain stitch. The other machine is a Singer Feather Weight. I started sewing with that when I was 8 years old. It has attachments for zig-zag stitch and buttonholes. Mommy still has both of them, unless it have the child’s machine hiding somewhere…

    It’s been almost 50 years and I’m still sewing!

    Reply
  10. Sue Brown

    Learnt to sew on my mum’s Singer treadle machine, and used it to make most of my clothes in the early 60s. Sadly no longer have it!!!!

    Reply
  11. Joyce Delarosa

    I learned to sew on a Singer treadle when I was 9. We lived on a farm in Missouri. My grandmother would come visit us in the summer and she would stay for a couple of months. She would make my clothes for school. I would send her pictures of dresses from the Sears and Roebucks Catalog so she could buy the fabrics and stuff to make them. When I expressed an interest in sewing, grandma started me out making underwear from my old dresses. For some people that sounds kind of funny. But it taught me how to use the sewing machine, how to cut fabric from a pattern, how to sew seams, how to sew elastic, how to rip out a seam. But most of all, I learned patience and self confidence. My grandmother was a woman of few words and didn’t openly express love, but I felt it from all she did for me.

    Reply
    • Carol

      Wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing. I sew on a Ricarr purchased in 1978. I’d love to get a new machine with fancy stitches and a serger. But I’d never part with the Ricarr

      Reply
      • meetinglady

        I recently added two Ricarr machines. One plainly says made for classroom /schools, and it is black. The other is a white or cream color which I found at Goodwill for 14.00. it was Senior Citizen day with another discount. I can’t seem to find a manuel for Model no R916, and I’ve never seen one with the thread on the back side

        Reply
  12. Margaret Gove

    My first machine was a child’s Vulcan, which did chainstitch. My godmother gave me £10 for passing my 11 plus exam, and i bought an old long bobbin, with a painted picture on. Since then I have collected a number of old machines, but now use a Toyota

    Reply
  13. Vivian Perry

    I have 2 treadle Singer sewing machines both made Scotland in the 1930’s. Most of the old Singers in Europa where made there. I live in Spain and these machines belonged to my mother-law and her sister-law respectively. And I have been sewing machine since I was married 46 years ago and I don’t want a new one even if it were the latest thing on the market and were given to me free! Singer for ever!

    Reply
  14. Robbie Johnson

    My Mother taught me to sew on the Singer Featherweight she bought in 1952. She upgraded to a newer Singer and let me use the feather weight until my husband bought me a Kenmore with cams for decorative stitches. I still use the Kenmore (now almost 40 years old) for buttonholes when my Phaff give me issues with buttonholes.

    Reply
  15. sandra Walker

    I was 7 when my Aunt Lil taught me to sew on her old Singer Treadle like the one above. And I am 59 now and have been sewing since.

    Reply
    • Nancie Leahy

      I learnt to sew with my Mother in the early sixties. As soon as I was able to reach the treadle. when I went to secondry school we had hand singer sewing machines. If we were very lucky we were allowed to use the one and only Bernina electric machine. this meant we didn’t have to hand sew the button holes, joy!!
      My Mum was given a second hand Pfaff electric machine, we thought we were very lucky.
      I bought my first electric sewing machine to make my wedding dress in 1974 it was a New Home
      (Janome today). I still have this machine and it works very well, I also have a Jones hand machine.
      I am planning to teach my grand-daughter to sew on one of these, if she is interested.
      I have a fabulous Janome machine now, but have a soft spot for the old machines.

      Reply
    • Susan

      Look on Craig’s List or Facebook market place. You will surprised that you can find older machines relatively inexpensive that still work beautifully.

      Reply
    • GmaCma

      Look at Goodwill and other thrift stores. You can find lots of nice machines there very reasonably. But be ready – almost no one I know has just one machine. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  16. Sandi Hamill

    I learned on my dad’s old treadle machine. I would go down to our basement and try figuring out how all those parts worked. I didn’t do to bad. I got a half paid scholarship when I graduated but sadly couldn’t come up with the other half. Kids are so lucky today. God blessed me in other ways.

    Reply
  17. Linda Schembri

    I have a Kenmore just like the one above. I’ve had many others but have always kept my Kenmore because when the others didn’t work right I could always count on y Kenmore. Got mine when I got married at 19 and made my boys clothes with it even their christening outfits. I’m 63 now and will keep my Kenmore. Great machine.

    Reply
  18. Lynn Pettigrove

    My grandmother bought me my first sewing machine almost 50 yrs ago and taught me to use it. A Singer Featherweight. I still have it and it works perfectly. I have sewn clothing and household items for 3 generations and counting. I love the old treadles too and have a fiddlehead that is amazing and sews better than my newer Singer Curvy as far as ability to sew through layers.

    Reply
  19. Kate Blazey

    I used to sit under my Mums Singer treadle machine when I was a toddler, apparently also put the needle through my finger, but fortunately I don’t remember that incident. Later my parents bought me a child’s machine, I think it was a Singer which clamped on to a table and only did lock stitch. Both machines were left in Africa when we emigrated to NZ, but my sewing education continued on my Mum’s new Singer machine, and I have never stopped sewing since.

    Reply
  20. Judith

    I’m surprised no one mentioned Singer Featherweight machines. That’s what I learned to sew on at about 10 years old, sewing and designing doll clothes. I still have my featherweight, along with its card table and all the accessories, and it still sews perfectly.

    Reply
  21. Starr

    I started on my Moms old Singer. Hated all the cam changes. Sewed like a dream if the cam was in that I wanted to use and all the moons and stars were aligned. What a PIA! I currently sew with a Pfaff Performance 5.0 and love every single perfect Stitch!

    Reply
    • Gma Cma

      Glad to hear that someone else considers some machines to be PIAs! When I bought my first used serger I seriously considered throwing it through the window. So glad I stayed with it! I now have a Babylock Imagine with air threading and could not appreciate that if I had not had my first one.

      Reply
  22. Hilary Vint

    I started sewing on my grandma’s old singer which looked much like the top one except all the writing is in French as she bought it in Egypt during the war. I have 3 other electric machines but before Christmas I was so b

    usy making presents and the electric ones all developed different faults that I ended up using my old work horse.

    Reply
  23. Cheryl Clarke

    My sisters and I learnt to sew on our mother’s Singer sewing machine which she purchased second-hand in 1970. We sewed everything from doll clothes to leatherette chair covers. I experienced my first needle-stick injury on good old Singer. It was great exercise for our legs. My mom still oils it and every now and then gives it a little exercise to keep it running. There is nothing to compare to a good working Singer sewing machine.

    Reply
  24. Judy Elliott

    I guess I started to sew at age, if you count pumping the treadle while sitting under grannies old singer. I won my first sewing competition at age 9 for my 4H Club. It was an apron. At least a million stitches, 68 years, 7 different machines, 2 sergers and 2 embroidery machine later I have established that I love cloth,needles,thread and the hum of a motor.

    Reply
  25. Elsie Partridge

    I started sewing on an old Montgomery Wards sewing machine of my mothers when I was 7 years old. From there, my parents bought me a Singer Touch and Sew that I used for year and learned how to repair things on it when it broke down in the middle of a project. I purchased an old Singer Treadle machine for $2.00 at an auction that I used to piece quilts for years. When I started working and could afford to buy a new machine I invested in a Pfaff that has been used well and gone through two sets of brushes for the motor. I would love a longarmer for quilting and an embroidery machine now that I am close to retirement age.

    Reply
  26. Lynn Deitrick

    I learned to sew when I was 12 on my mother’s old brown Kenmore machine. It was in a small cabinet in our tiny laundry room–so I was sewing next to piles of dirty laundry! I sewed there until I got engaged when my fiancé bought me a new Kenmore sewing machine for an engagement gift. That machine is gone but I now have my own sewing room far away from the laundry room and a wonderful Pfaff sewing machine, but I still have fond memories of sewing on that old Kenmore in the laundry room.

    Reply
    • Leigh

      LOL, your story sounds like mine! I sewed in the laundry room and my fiance bought me a Kenmore for Christmas in 1977.

      Reply
  27. Iris L. Anderson

    I was child #8, my sister, 22 years my senior, taught me to sew when I was 11 years old. Mother bought a used Singer treadle machine and I still have it and it works. I am 78 years of age. Asked a sewing store to research its age, it is a 1906 Singer machine, had beautiful flowers all around, but no longer. None of my four girls want it and I am going to donate it to the North American Baptist Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to be used in a country that does not have electricity. It is an antique, worth its value, but what good is value and it sitting in my house when it could help someone.

    Reply
    • GmaCma

      Bless your heart! How sad that no one in your family wants it (yet! someday they will wish they had) but how good of you to be willing to donate it so that it can help someone else.

      Reply
  28. Karen F.

    I learned to sew in Home Ecom. in the late 1960’s. I used my mom’s Dominion Sewing Machine at home. While learning in school my Aunt Lou taught me so much. Tricks of sewing as she called it. After graduation in 1971, I purchased a Singer Silver Touch and Sew. Loved it. I still sew at 64 years old. I have a Baby Lock Ellisimo Gold Sewing and Machine Embroidery Machine. Still love to sew.

    Reply
  29. SueB

    Began making my own dresses/ skirts in the early 60s on my mums old Singer treadle machine. Still sewing on my wonderful Bernina ( and have got back into dressmaking after watching “Sewing Bee”)

    Reply
  30. Margaret

    I learned to sew on my mother’s Japanese Sewmore back in the 60s. She let me take it to college when she got a new one. After I left home, some of my cousins used the old machine. I wish I had it. It went forward, backward, and had a buttonhole attachment. Never met a machine that sewed better. Wish she had asked me if I wanted it.

    Reply
  31. Cynthia

    i made my first dress at age 11 on an old treadle that my mom used. it used to be my grandmother’s. i would love to have a treadle after all you got exercise and sewing satisfaction all at once. lol

    Reply
  32. Leigh

    I forgot about the toy sewing machines; know I had one but can’t remember which one, or at least think I had one. I used my Mom’s sewing machine until I received a Sears Kenmore in 1977. I used it for years. I gave it away when I had not sewed for a few years. Bought a Brother 5 years ago when I got back into sewing, then purchased a Bernina a couple of months ago. Really wished I hadn’t stopped sewing but life got in the way!

    Reply
  33. Elena

    O learned on mother’sewing machine Mundlos an I have a beatiful litle sewin toy machine

    Reply
    • Elena

      Yo aprendí a coser en la máquina Mundlos que usaba lanzadera y tenía manivela, la tengo hasta ahora y funciona muy bien,para mí es un recuerdo muy apreciado. Además tengo una máquina de coser de juguete antiguo.

      Reply
  34. Liz Snyder

    I’ve got that last Kenmore pictured and it’s my favorite. Got it at a thrift store for $12. It’s the one I taught myself on.

    Reply
  35. Mary Angerer

    Oh! One of my favorite topics. I did my first machine sewing on a chain-stitch Wilcox and Gibbs machine that my mother bought shortly before she was married in 1921. She was proud that it was electric. Her cousin had a treadle version of the sasme machine. My mother helped me through my first project, a gathered skirt on which I learned to make a side placket, a waistband and a hand gathered skirt and a hand hem. I proceeded to make a number of them when I was in high school. When I was about 16 I wanted to take a sewing class at the Singer store but my mom opposed that because she feared they would pressure me into wanting to buy a new machine and she had no interest in that. I really think she didn’t enjoy sewing very much, so she used her machine for mending only.
    I married right out of college and for our first Christmas together my husband bought me a New Home machine on which I gradually taught myself. Fifteen years later I was yearning for an open arm machine with reverse stitching and I was very excited to buy a Kenmore with those features. I used it hard to make many, many garments for my five daughters and one son and myself. Then in 1989, when my next to the last daughter went off to college my husband and I went to the Maryland State Fair where I saw a demo of the brand new Bernina 1230 and I fell hard for that! So the next day we went to the Bernina dealer and my sweetie let me buy both a 1230 and my first serger. I thought I was set for life but a few years later I started seeing machines with hooped embroidery. My husband held out against that until a neighbor brought a baby gift made on an embroidery machine. So pretty soon I had a slightly used Bernina 180E that I used until it developed problems, so I traded up to a demo Bernina 370E. That should be it! I’m 79 and I doubt I will ever buy another machine! But it sure has been a wonderful hobby!

    Reply
  36. Lynn Graham

    I learned from my grandmother when I was 7-8. Made doll clothes on her Featherweight Singer. I got the machine when she died. I love it so much. Sewing gave me a skill that I have used all my life. I have so enjoyed teaching others to sew. Machine embroidery has opened up a new passion and awakened my love of sewing and creating new things.

    Reply
  37. Mary

    I started on an old treadle machine that had been converted to electric. I was about 12 years old. I’m pretty sure it was a Singer. But the thing about it that stands out most in my memory is that the bobbin was long and when in the bobbin case it resembled a bullet. I’m almost 65 and still sewing. Seldom make an item just like the pattern. Enjoy putting my own personality into everything I make.

    Reply
  38. Sherrie

    My Aunt actually peaked my interest in sewing when I was about 7 or 8 years old. She and my Grandmother were beautiful Seamstresses. My Aunt gave me some fabric scraps & taught me to hand sew some clothing for my Barbie Doll…(1st Issue) My Mother had a Featherweight, which I now have at age 65, but I never played with it or used it until I’d taken Home Ec at the age of 12. While Mom didn’t use her machine much except for mending, she could actually sew & did quite a nice job…however, she did not like me using her Machine…..but I did and she didn’t like it….So, for Graduation from high School Iasked for a Singer Golden Touch & Sew, but ended up with a Singer Stylist Zig Zag Machine, which I really used a lot…but eventually the Singer Futura made the market & I traded my little Stylist in …and The Futura was a LEMON……then I went thru some hard times and they repossessed it…and quite honestly it had turned my “Love of Sewing” to perpetual Dread! however time rolled on, and I married and for our First Christmas, My h usband bought me a little Kenmore1570 Zig Zag Mchine! what a work Horse! Eventually my Mother gave me a Touch & Sew…Not the Golden Model, but a Touch & sew, none the less..which I used in conjunction with the Kenmore….then one year, they both broke down at the same time! Took them in for repair, & Mom decided to trade in the touch & sew for a Singer Creative Touch which cost just a little more than the Repair Bill on the Siger Touch & sew…so I went home with the Kenmore and new Creative Touch!
    That should be the end of the story…but when my mach8ine break down the 2nd one usually follows…so the next trip to the shop…I decided to purchase another “Back-up” Machine & bought a Euro-Pro on line….(We’ve gone from 1969 to 2005 or 2006 now…. and in 2010, I decided to replace my original Singer…just for Sentimental reasons! Onward to Mother’s Day 2014…My wonderful son who had always heard the story about Graduation & The Golden Touch & Sew…..happened upon a Golden Touch & Sew in a Thrift shop one day while I was with him….it hadn’t even come off the truck yet….but when they unloaded it, I checked it out & it ran a little slowly….but it ran….Figured a little Oil & it would be fine! For $35, he bought me the Machine in the Cabinet complete with Dress Making Shears & Notions galore, Sewing Needles. Pinking shears etc.! He said Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I paid almost as much for the Cams off e-Bay! However, Times change, as do Trends…Not a Quilter, but thought about Embroidery…and was talking to Mom, and she said if you find one around $275 I’ll buy it for you…Well, here came My Baby-Lock Elurra Older Model, but I had done research and really wanted a Janome 10000! Then I found that the Embroidery Feature on my Baby lock while wonderful, it seemed the patterns were too big for most of what I wanted to use the Embroidery Feature for…so now it was…I want little Embroidery feature Designs…and ended up purchasing a Refurbished Singer H-74 which works beautifully…still I wanted the Janome 10000…and recently purchased one! Love it! I also have 2 other Kenmores that I purchased just because I can’t stand to see a Sewing Machine unloved! I keep them all serviced and only really use about 5 of them regularly! I like to craft, and hopefully can do that full time after I retire! Most of the new machines are lighter weight and Quilting is the Big interest these days, but just not my thing! I like Dolls, Baby Shoes, Hats, Aprons, & Bridal Accessories…. & LingerieDon’t sew much for me anymore clothing wise other than a Button or quick mend and I HATE Alterations! It used to be cheaper to make than to buy, but now other than Jeans & tights, I shop at the Thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new, or at Marshall’s etc. My first Machine, The Singer Stylist started me to a Love of Sewing which will be with me forever! While I need to part with a few Machines, I just can’t bear to let them go quite yet….

    Reply
    • Sherrie

      Might also mention that last year I bought an old NEW HOME Treadle Machine…I haven’t got the knack for it yet…but my Sewing Tech completely refurbished it, and he made it sew like a dream! I bought it “Just in Case” the Grid goes down! I’ll have to definitely learn how to use it then…but wanted to make sure I could always sew! Food for thought Ladies…if you love to sew, you’ll be lost if you can’t! and the old Treadles don’t really take up a lot of space in a Cabinet…you can always display on decoratively, or use it as a decorative Lamp Table!

      Reply
    • Karen M

      I “upgraded” to a Singer Futura in the 60’s. It was such a dog it would howl at night!!! I HATED using it. Had loved sewing before getting that machine. When I went to trade it in, the dealer didn’t want it as a trade-in. Said he had a room full of them in the back!!!

      Reply
  39. shehnaz kadri

    Wow really got back in my childhood.My mom had singer vintage.I used to love that machine.I also did some little stitching work on that.It was really fun activity.

    Reply
  40. Yvonne Olson

    I learned to sew on a Kenmore sewing machine. When my Mother passed away when I was 19 years old I got this machine. I put three motors on it and had to quit using it when I was told it could not be put back in time. I am 64 years old. I started by sewing my doll clothes all by hand before I started school. I love sewing today and I think I have sewn on every sewing machine brand.

    Reply
  41. Cheryl

    I started on a Singer Touch and Sew when I was 7. I am 59 now and have 7 sewing machines , two of which are antiques. I have my own sewing business which is a far cry from making Barbie clothes on the little machine. It was neat since it ran on batteries or electric and I could see on the front porch in the summer.

    Reply
  42. Sandy D

    I learned at a young age on my mother’s Singer Featherweight. I still have it. I recently had it serviced as I hadn’t used it for awhile…The service man said it was one of the best made sewing machines…ever!

    Reply
  43. EILEEN ENDERS

    My first sewing machine was a toy. Don’t remember the name but it wasn’t a well known brand like singer or Elna. My first real machine was a Kenmore that I put on layaway to get. That was when I was 14. I’m 63 now & still sewing & still learning.

    Reply
  44. Kim Rixon

    I leant to sew on a singer treadle sewing machine when I was about 6. I wish I had that machine now. My dad bought it for me at an auction. I then used my mums electric singer and then an elna. Each machine I loved but I would so love to have my treadle which I exchanged as a 9 year old for a billy goat as I was breeding them. Now 50 years on wish I’d kept the treadle, I still sew not as much as I’d like to these days I have a Pfaff which is about 22 years old which I do love

    Reply
  45. Phillis Bailey

    I learned to sew when I was 10y. I am now 71. and still love sewing. I learned on my mother’s old black straight stitch singer. She sent me to a neighbor who taught me a lot on a treadle machine that I had to master backwards and forward straight lines before I could start learning and using her new Ziggag. My favorite machine was my 1972 brand new Elna . I used it for over 30 yrs and now my daughter still uses it. I now own a Janome memory craft 6600 which I like . but I am still partial to the old Singer I first learned on and the First Elna I owned.

    Reply
  46. Jan

    The Singer treadle sewing machine of my mom’s sewed all my clothes , her clothes and my sister’s clothes until my Grandmother got too old to do it any more. Then I took over. The needle through the finger story takes me back to age 4 when I was racing that machine as fast as I could peddle and got my finger in the way. It did not deter me from sewing later on though. I’m 83 now and still love it.

    Reply
  47. Elizabeth A

    My mother was a professional dressmaker, and did all her work on a Singer Featherweight. Hers was mounted in a cabinet with a fold out leaf. When I left for college I bought a used Featherweight (manufactured in 1958!) and made all my own shirts and blouses because bought ones had arms too short! I now have a top-of-the-line Husqvarna, but recently brought the Singer home to Norway and had it reconditioned. Tough little machine!

    Reply
  48. Gail M Lopez

    I learned to sew on my mom’s staff back in 1953. Was a good machine.

    Reply
  49. Martine

    I learned to sew on my mother’s treadle machine, a Naumann, which she had got second hand in 1933. Nov 18, 1952 she bought an Elna, exactly as the picture above. I still have it, complete with the original manual and the receipt. It cost 490 Dutch guilders, about €240, a huge price at the time. But it still sews beautifully. Only reason it was replaced was that it did straight stitch only. I use it now and again for quilting small objects, just to keep it in working order.

    Reply
  50. Annie

    When I was 10 my grandma got me a Singer Curvy. Partly because I sewed with her and her machine was on its last leg and partly because I wanted my own. It still works great and I still have it but it’s only been 6 years. Lol

    Reply
  51. Evaluate Lawes

    My first memory is when I was 5 (62 years ago) Mum had a singer manual inlaid with mother of pearl and she used to disengage the handle and I used to whiz it round as fast
    as I could. My favourite machine was an electric Viking I used to make trendy clothes at secondary school. We used to hold an annual fashion show for parents to see what we’d made before we took the garments home.

    Reply
  52. Ruheena

    if have learned to sew on the first singer and then used the third singer foot machine to sew and free hand embroidery on it. Then I used an electric one but nine of the ones in here. That one also a singer.

    Reply
  53. Helen Monisera

    My father brought the green Elna from Switzerland for my mother in 1947. She loved it because it had a free arm and she could darn socks with it.

    Reply
  54. Barbara Haring

    I began sewing when I was 12 (1958) using my mother’s Singer sewing machine. Then my grandmother gave me her Singer treadle she had electrified and I sewed on that for awhile. My aunt once put the needle through her finger on that one when it was still a treadle. Sadly my mother gave that to a neighbor. I have had many sewing machines since then (even have an old Singer treadle machine now), but I’ll always remember the machines I started sewing on. They didn’t even have a backstitch. You had to turn the fabric to lock the stitches. Now I have a sewing/quilting/embroidery machine with all the bells and whistles. While I love it and can’t imagine doing without all it has, I often think back to how I developed my love of sewing on very basic machines and wonder if learning to sew today might be a bit overwhelming.

    Reply
  55. Carol

    My grandmother had an old treadle machine. I never sewed on it because she wouldn’t let me touch it as a child. I started sewing on the Singer in Home Economics in high school before my mom would let me use hers. I now own 5 sewing machines and 2 Sergers. I use all of them. I do a lot of crafts, but sewing is still my favorite hobby.

    Reply
  56. Lee

    I learned to sew on the Singer treadle machine when I was very young. I am still sewing over 70 years later.

    Reply
  57. Lois Scott

    Back in the mid 1950s when I was ten years old I learned to sew on my mother’s White sewing machine. I am surprised that a White was not mentioned by anyone. In the mid 1960s I bought my sewing machine, a Bernina 730. Unforunately I lost it in a school fire a few years later and my husband immediately replaced it for me with an identical Bernina 730 which I am still using in 2018!

    Reply
    • Kathy Mackenna

      I too learned on my mom’s White in the late 50s. It was green metal, in a cabinet & only sewed forward & back. I eventually bought a buttonhole attachment. In 1985 I bought a 930 Bernina & am still using it.

      Reply
    • Kasia

      I learned on a White machine, too. My mother had one that was in a cabinet. Rather than a foot pedal it had a lever you controlled with your thigh.

      Reply
  58. Joey

    I bought my first Singer when I was 19. Does anyone remember the Touch and Sew? I still have it and it still works. I also have one of the old black and gold Singers that sort of looks like the treadle machines but it is electric. Add to that a White, a Singer heavy duty, an old Janome sewing and embroidery machine, a couple of Vikings and two sergers and I think my list is complete, but who knows what’s in the back of the sewing room closet!!

    Reply
  59. Paul Saber

    these are some of the mostly used sewing machines we ever experienced on our childhood. really grateful to see them again.at that time these machines were real pro’s. thank you.

    Reply
  60. Barbara Harris @ Sewing Machines View

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention. We updated the list of machines a few week ago, but forgot to update the conclusion. These machines are really for learning how to sew. You could create some simple quilts with them and if that is what you are looking for then one of the bigger machines like the Brother or Hello Kitty machines would be the way to go.

    Reply
  61. Karri

    I learned to see on my mother’s Singer 201-2. She bought it in the late ’40’s, in the deluxe art deco cabinet. She was an excellent seamstress and sewed both professionaly and for our large family. I didn’t learn until after her death what a special machine it was. One of my sister’s has it and is taking good care of it. It still seems beautifully.

    Reply
  62. Sew For

    Wow really got back in my childhood.My mom had singer vintage.I used to love that machine.I also did some little stitching work on that.It was really fun activity.

    Thank for sharing!

    Reply
  63. 6best

    I learned to sew on the Singer treadle machine when I was very young. I am still sewing over 70 years later.

    thank you for share!

    Reply
  64. Sara Step

    I personally loved playing princesses during my childhood which actually inspired me to make my own dresses. My granny was really supporting and she used to let me use her vintage-looking sewing machine. Later on I bought a Brother Xm1010 and learned a lot of new stitching techniques.

    Reply
  65. Caroline

    I had that chainstitch toy Singer machine too, made a lot of doll clothes on it. Graduated to my own very plain workhorse Kenmore machine (straight, zigzag and backstitch only) which I made LOTS of my own clothes with, upgraded to another Kenmore with more stitch patterns. My mother had a very old Singer at first and then moved up to a very nice Elna machine which I think she may still have although I don’t think she sews anything anymore.

    Reply
  66. ANN

    I learned on a Singer treadle machine as well. My grandmother was a great seamstress. She made a snowsuit for me with a fur collar which was tailored. The first school machines I used were treadles as well. It took an electric machine for me to sew through my finger the first time.

    Reply
  67. Rhoda Halcomb

    I started on a Singer treadle.Spinning the bobbin was a great challenge.I also put my pointer finger under the needle.That was a well taught lesson.I have always loved pretty clothes and my sewing skills affords me to have as many as I like.I love sewing

    Reply
  68. Sue

    I still have and USE my Kenmore machine lilt the above model. Wouldn’t trade it for any other machine. I just added a serger to my machinery.

    Reply
  69. Pat Eyre

    I started on my mother’s Singer treadle. When I took home ec in 9th grade, I could sail along using one of the 2 treadle machines, while the rest of the girls stood in line to use the electrics.

    Reply
  70. Joan

    I inherited my grandmothers treadle machine that I sewed on when a young girl!It’s in my dining room,unused because booklet doesn’t match machine and it needs bobbin winder &belt! jess

    Reply
  71. Joan

    I have inherited my grandmothers old Singer treadle machine that she made her Ten childrens on it,but her grandchildrens’ & great grandchildrens’ & great -great grandchildrens’, yes five generations! But I also learned how to sew on it when I was old enough and then I made my children’s clothes and grandchildrens’ & now my own great grand daughters,only one right now! Only now I can’t use it because Bobbin doesn’t work and book doesn’t match it! I am 72! It sits in my dining room for now! Jess

    Reply
  72. Bart

    I have m mothers old Bernina Record, not computerized but it does have a lot of stitch patterns, I was about 8 years old when she bought it for $685.00 US back in the early 1960’s. Love to sew with it. Though I didn’t learn to sew until my early 20’s.
    I’m 65 now.

    Reply
  73. WANDA HOGLE

    As a wedding present in 1950 I received a Domestic portable. I am still using it.

    Reply
  74. Krysia Mnick

    I started out learning to sew by hand from my Mom, Grandmothers and Great Aunt. I also got to push the treadle as a very young child while Mom used a very old Singer.Lots of doll clothes! Then Mom took me to Sears for 10 lessons when I was 10 years old. It cost $10. I made my first outfit, a tunic and pants. As a college graduation gift to myself, I bought a wonderful Kenmore in 1980. I never looked back! Clothes, costumes, gowns, upholstery, purses, luggage repair(!), curtains…they’ll have to pry my body from the machine when I hang it all up!

    Reply
  75. Marilyn Schwartz

    I had the old treadle and loved it. I still say it had the best stitches . They never broke.
    They were heck to take out. They were perfect. I was sorry when I got married and
    Left it behind. I got the latest as they came out. I made all my clothes since I was
    About 12. I made my children’s, my husbands , my grand kids . I’m 87 and I just gave
    Mine and my serger to my grand daughter. She is making good use of it making
    Face masks. It never quits.

    Reply
  76. J Shather

    I got a Kenmore single needle machine for high school graduation, still have it, use it love it

    Reply
  77. Patti Doubt

    I learned to sew on my mom’s treadle machine as shown above. Mom was a great teacher she taught me a lot. Then when I was away at college which was years ago, mom and dad bought me a sewing machine for my birthday and I have been sewing ever since. I love sewing.

    Reply
  78. Carol Wilson

    My first sewing machine is the same as the Kenmore pictured above. I still own it. Have moved on to newer machines but will keep the old Kenmore for sure.

    Reply
  79. Betty Hellard

    I learned to sew on mom’s old treadle singer sewing. Machine I still have it and works great. I have all the attachments.My favorite all time is The Touch and Sew I lost it when my house burned while I was at work. I wish Singer would bring it back. It did the chain stitch! Great for hemming curtains. Drop in bobbin, very time saving( winds in the machine)

    Reply
  80. Margaret Daniel

    I learned to sew by hand first making clothes for my dolls and used to help my mum either by clipping threads, basting seams or hemming. My grandmothers also sewed. One had a Necchi hand machine and the other a Singer treadle machine. I put the needle of the latter through my right index finger. I must’ve been about five at the time. My mother bought an electrical and motorized Singer sewing machine, in the 60s, with discs for fancy stitches. Her next was a Bernina. I can’t remember the model but we took turns to sew on it. Then when she went to the USA for a work study program in Ohio, she bought fabric and won a rebate on a very basic White sewing macine. She called and asked if i wanted it. Of course my response was a resounding yes. She brought it home and I used it to sew my own clothes, maternity clothes, my daughter’s baby clothes etc. Then I bought a Bernette 440 in the 80s. It still works. I graduated to a Bernette 80 which I purchased on a visit to Washingto D.C. i continued to sew for myself my grandchildren and the house. I bought a Singer Superb three years ago. It is computerised and I use it for the multiplicity of stitches. All of my sewing machines still work. I just have to get over a bout of sewer’s cramp and get going again. When I’m sewing I get into my Zen phase and just relax. I don’t like to be interrupted while I am sewing.

    Reply
  81. Shelley-Mae Reeves

    I like the second one, because it reminds me of the Singer child’s model I started with at the age of about 6 years old (I just turned 66). My version came in wooden case, which doubled as a stand. I made my first doll’s skirt, entirely by hand, complete with lazy daisy embroidery. It was purple, with yellow daisy. My next machine came when I entered grade 8, it was solid cast aluminum “portable” machine which weighs about 50/60 pounds!. I was one of the early machines that did Zig-Zag stitches automatically.. I still have both machines, plus two antiques, 3 I have inherited, 2 sergers, and an embroidery machine. Still love to sew.

    Reply
  82. Georgia Davison

    I learned to sew on my mom’s old black Singer that only did a forward straight stitch, when I was about 9 or 10. My parents gave me a used, all metal Kenmore in a wood cabinet for college graduation…..in 1976. That is the only machine I’ve ever had or wanted in all these years. You can keep your plastic computerized over priced modern machines. My old Kenmore uses drop-in cams for different stitches. Everything on it is in tip-top shape and works just as well now as in 1976. I clean and oil it’s insides monthly, and I’ve only had to replace the belt and the light bulb once each. I’ve sewn clothes- baby to adult sizes, many school and Halloween costumes, dozens of Girl Scout Sashes, curtains, banquet table tablecovers for our school, aprons, car seat covers, quilts, pillow cases, duffel bags, canvas grocery bags, our high school mascot Devil costume, a Santa Suit for a 5 year old, even a quilted & padded electric guitar case. I’ve mended everything from a US flag to all manner of clothing- including replacing zippers in jeans & tents, making ripstop nylon tent awnings, and even a canvas cover for an outdoor BBQ pit. MY OLD KENMORE HAS NEVER LET ME DOWN !!!

    Reply
  83. Patty

    My mom started me sewing when I was 7. I learned on her Emdeko sewing machine. I thought it was so cool because it had cams that you could put in it to do decorative stitches. When my mom passed, I inherited that machine.

    Reply
  84. Dorothea Prine

    What happened to the Featherweights that we learned on in the 50’s in HS Home Ec. I also learned on a Singer 409A Dial a Stitch machine and have my Featherweights all in working order and they all sew like a dream. No plastic parts to break or computer programs that quit working and no expensive repair bills to keep them working.

    Reply
  85. Sarah

    The sewing machine I learned on was my late Mama’s Domestic. Worked wonderfully and Daddy still has it. I now own 4 vintage Singers-3 of which are hand-cranks!

    Reply
  86. KIMBERLY

    My dad taught my mom to sew on a Kenmore sewing machine. Then Mom taught me along with home ec in middle school. The Kenmore had ‘cams’ that were inserted into the machine for different stitches, button holes, etc.. I used it through middle school and into high school.

    Reply
  87. Marilyn Daitch

    I was 11 when I got my first machine, a Singer 66-16. I loved it and made clothes first for my Toni doll and then for me. I foolishly traded it in About 20 years later for a fancier machine not realizing that the parts were plastic. I now have a Viking Designer 1.

    Reply
  88. Judy D Harrison

    Still looking for Singer Golden touch and sew. My late husband bought me one on our first Christmas. Shortly after he passed away my machine stopped working. Yes I did purchase another Singer Patchwork but long for my golden touch and sew. Any ideas?

    Reply
  89. Joyce Tucker

    When I was 9 yr. old ( I am now 77 yr. old) Daddy bought Mother a new Pfaff sewing machine. I learned to sew on it. Mother gave it to me when I was 25 yr. old. I kept it and used it until I was 70 yr. old then I gave it to my Grand daughter she has wanted it ever since she was a little girl. She now is 38 yr. old. The pfaff store owner me that according to the cereal number it was on the first boat load to come from Germeny after WW2. It is a real keep sake.

    Reply
  90. Jean Stenger

    I started sewing on a child’s Singer toy sewing machine. It looked like the old treadle sewing machine. The next step up when I was in the 7th grade when I started making my own clothes on my grandmother’s Singer treadle sewing machine. My dad put a milkshake motor on it. Eventually, I made my wedding gown on it. After I got married I bought a Singer Golden Touch and Sew that I used for over 50 years to make my clothes, our 4 children’s clothes, draperies, slipcovers, quilts and crafts. When that sewing machine could no longer be repaired I lost an old friend.

    Reply
  91. James Archibald

    I didn’t learn to sew until I was 60 and bought a Singer 401. Still the only machine I’ve ever used and still use now. It’s very to my age I believe it was made sometime between 1954-1957. I was made in 54.

    Reply
  92. Susan

    Favorite Singer, Touch and Sew, I have two identical ones, they are 48 years old and I sew almost everyday. Have them serviced every 6 months.

    Reply
  93. Sallie G.

    My mom had one of these when I was a teenager. I learned to sew on it love it. The old Singer treadle machine. Don’t know whatever happened to that machine.

    Reply
  94. Bonnie

    I wondered if moms old elna would mentioned, glad to see the kneepedal.

    Reply
  95. Dr David Flynn JP

    My mother’s old hand wheel Singer is in the loft with its original oak carry lid, weighs a tonne, but still goes as well as her Jones electric machine and it is still going too. I have moved on to the new computerised Brother Innovis NV1300 as I learnt how to make quilts when I retired – I never thought I would start sewing. Talk about history repeating itself!

    Reply
  96. Ann Marie G

    My mom still has her 1950’s or early 60’s Singer that looks similar to the treadle machine shown but it is in a regular sewing table with a knee pedal. It only makes straight stitches and mom never wanted to upgrade to a machine that did zigzag or stretch stitches. Mom typically used it for mending and making curtains and still uses it to do clothing alterations for herself. She recently moved from NY to FL and is now teaching my niece to sew and they do projects together. Both of my grandmothers were professional seamstresses and would bring me fabric scraps that I would use to make clothes for my Barbie dolls in the late 60’s/early 70’s. I still have the patterns and some of the outfits that I made! I learned to sew on a more modern machine in home economics class in middle school. I also belonged to 4H and some of my projects included a blouse and pair of purple jeans. I eventually bought my own Singer portable with the free arm and used it to make my flower girl’s gown for my wedding and clothes for Cabbage Patch dolls. Then I used it to make maternity skirts and tops for work, curtains, and Halloween costumes for my daughter. When my grandmother passed I took her old machine but it needed repairs and I never got around to making them. I currently have her machine, my first free arm Singer and now a Singer CG 550. There are hardly any fabric stores around and I don’t have the space to keep it out all the time so unfortunately I didn’t use it much. I recently pulled it out to make face masks during this COVID19 pandemic, which lead me to this web site and
    a renewed interest in sewing.

    Reply
  97. Alison

    I learnt on my grandmother’s singer hand machine….it did chain stitch! At the time had no idea how much I could have valued it later on. And now I have been looking for something similar for nearly 40 years!!

    Reply
  98. Marilou Jacob

    I learned to sew on a treadle machine when I was6-7 and had to share it with my mother and sister. I must have been about 9 when mom won an electric in a drawing at the 5 & 10 cent store. I wish I knew where the treadle went.

    Reply
  99. Leila M. Parker

    I learned how to sew in 4-H when I was 14. My mother always had Singer machines. The 4-H Representative brought sewing machines for
    4-H members. I can’t remember what models she brought.

    Reply
  100. Terrie Sigler

    I learned to sew on the Kenmore sewing machine featured. My Dad taught me how. He sewed all my cheerleading outfits and one year, made the uniforms for the whole team. He had to take leave to do that (He was a chief in the navy at the time) We lost that machine in one of our many base transfers but I never lost my love for sewing. Thanks for that cool reminder!

    Reply
  101. Patti

    A friends Mom taught me to sew in the 4th grade. Don’t know why it wasn’t my Mom, she worked in a sewing shop. It was a new Sunday dress with a jacket. I sewed clothing until I graduated from High School. I didn’t have a sewing machine for a long time. Then I bought a Singer and stared sewing home decor. Now I sew quilts on my Destiny II, most likely my last machine as I just turned 70. I taught my granddaughters to sew too. I hope someday they will go back to it. For now it’s collage and a young persons life, lol! They each made a quilt. It’s a great hobby!!

    Reply
  102. Heidi Johnson

    I have a beautiful old Singer Treadle machine, I removed the belt when my children were young (didn’t want fingers caught in the belt) but I still have the belt and the machine. I enjoy just looking at it..

    Reply
  103. Caryn

    I learned to sew on a Tan Singer 301A. My father surprised my Mother with it one day when I was young. Even though my Nana had her own sewing machine she loved using my Mother’s. I have had many different sewing machines over the years but nothing gave as much joy as when I was given my own Singer Black 301 A ! I have been sewing for over 50 years

    Reply
  104. R. Wertheim

    I learned to sew on my mother’s Singer Featherweight made in 1939. I have it now and, although I have a computer machine which I use occasionally, the Featherweight is my go-to machine. I am a quilter and the Featherweight is perfect for the straight stitching that is needed. I wouldn’t give it up for the world!

    Reply
  105. Sue Viola

    I received the Kenmore, the last one pictured in about 1980 as a Christmas gift. I am still using it, it works fine! I learned on my mom’s Singer Featherweight (my mothers graduation present) which I inherited and still use, it works great too!

    Reply
  106. Joan Gray

    Wonderful article! I too learned to sew at an early age on my great grandmother’s treadle machine. I inherited the machine (it still works) and still love to sew at the age of 80.

    Reply
  107. Leanne Jenkins

    The first machine that I used was a Singer Treadle machine like the one pictured above, I have always loved to sew. When I was first married my husband bought me a Waltons Celestial machine which has lots of discs used for decorative patterns I still use it for heavy sewing such as canvas etc I also have a very old Singer electric machine. I now own Janome EXEL, Janome Horizon 7700 QCP , Janome Memory Craft 300E Embroidery (this one is for sale if anyone is interested). I also have two Janome MyLock overlockers and my latest is a Brother Innovi-‘s VE2200 Dreammaker XE Embroidery machine

    Reply
  108. Lois

    As a collector of vintage sewing machines, I noticed that I have one (or more) of each of the machines shown, except for the Kenmore (I have other Kenmores though!). I started on a Featherweight, and still have that one as well as a few more FWs.

    Reply
  109. Linda Hahn

    In 1957 my mother an Adler, imported from Germany. It had a number of cams for decorative stitches. It was a brut of a machine and I wish I still had it. I have two Singer treadle machines that I use for tables, although they work if the electric never came on.

    Reply
  110. Karen

    I received a Holly Hobby sewing machine in the mid 1970’s from my parents. It was one I cranked by hand, but it sewed well. I made myself a teddy bear, slippers and many other small crafts. I graduated to using my Mom’s Singer and then she bought me my first White sewing machine in 1985. I still have it and it hems jeans like a cake walk, and has made maternity through teenage Hallowe’en costumes and everything else. I love my old Domestic ( which I think came before White ) I seem to get along with them better than my mother’s Singer. 🙂

    Reply
  111. Karen

    I received a Holly Hobby sewing machine in the mid 1970’s from my parents. It was one I cranked by hand, but it sewed well. I made myself a teddy bear, slippers and many other small crafts. I graduated to using my Mom’s Singer and then she bought me my first White sewing machine in 1985. I still have it and it hems jeans like a cake walk, and has made maternity through teenage Hallowe’en costumes and everything else. I love my old Domestic ( which I think came before White ) I seem to get along with them better than my mother’s Singer. 🙂 I love sewing and am grateful to my parents!

    Reply
  112. CK

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Unfortunately I don’t have pictures but remember started machine sewing in the early 50s on my Mom’s WWII machine. The case was made with that strange metal they used for domestic use during the war. Probably still working great somewhere in Africa where it went with missionaries in the 70s.

    Reply
  113. Linda L Holder

    I learned to see on my mother’s trendle Singer machine. When the belt broke my dad and I fashioned another using heavy fishing line. That belt never broke and worked perfectly.

    Reply