Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Singer Improved Family

I have more or less decided to fit the Nolting in the Sewing Loft.  Steven agrees.  I think he would like to have the guest apartment for guests. 

My sewing loft is in the upstairs of our Dutch Barn.  It is so called because it looks like it came out of a picture book of Holland.  It has a gambrel roof with shingle siding.  All that is missing is the windmill.  It gets nice and toasty out there with the little Jotul stove but the firebox holds only enough fuel for a few hours.    Anything larger would cook us right out of there.  My solution, which I had proposed YEARS ago, is a hard wired, electric baseboard heater complete with thermostat set a 45-50.  Steven finally thinks this is a good idea.  We must contact our electrician and once the heater is installed,  hire someone to blow in the expanding foam insulation.  It’s the dead of winter now.  This is a spring/summer project.  I don’t know when Steven will contact our electrician.  I might ask him, but he  might perceive that as nagging. 

“Honey, would you consider it nagging if I asked you when you were going to contact J.”

(Pregnant pause long enough to complete gestation and deliver the baby)

“I don’t know when I am going to contact J.”

“That wasn’t the question.”  OK, OK, I could be considered a manipulative bitch, but he does love me.

(Another pause.  We now have Twins).

“I don’t know….”

“Good,  I will take that as a No.”

Now  I know that he doesn’t know when he will contact J. and that he doesn’t consider it nagging that I asked. 

“I think I will wait until it is warmer before I call him.  Why, do you think you are going to have that space ready soon?”

I confessed that I will not have the loft ready at all soon.  But I am preparing.

Today we brought the Singer Improved Family from it’s storage space in my sewing loft to the shop.  I have an interested party coming to look at it on Saturday.  I thought that I had better make sure it works, since I advertised thusly.

Ever see an IF shuttle? 

It is a bit of a pain to get the bobbin in there and threaded but it is doable.  I am thankful that Singer abandoned this in favor of the central bobbin with removable bobbin case. 

I used Howard’s Restor-a-finish on the cabinet and the bonnet.  I cleaned the irons superficially with Tuff Stuff and then rubbed them with a Goo Gone rag I had used on my hands.  The machine looks fine.  Of course, I don’t want to sell it now.  It is from 1886 and is one of my oldest machines. 

There is a chance that the interested party wants it for the irons to use for a bathroom vanity or such  Something tells me so.  If that is the case, he will go home empty handed.


  1. I love the cabinet. If your customer doesn't want the machine, will he get the coffin top.
    One of my friends has a more recent version of that cabinet (with a 1952 machine in it), but she doesn't want either and can't seem to make up her mind about what she wants to charge me! (Okay, though, because I'd have to move stuff in order to have a place to put it!

  2. Oh, what a lovely machine! The cabinet is also lovely. it would probably make sense to have the long arm in the sewing loft, logistics aside. I have pondered and pondered where else I could put my machine other than the basement. If I put it where my machines are, they have to go in the basement. I keep waiting for some miracle inspiration. You are as frozen in as I am. How is the long arm quilting going or is it too cold out there? I have to do some major fabric reorganization for space.

  3. I'm not a fan of treadle stand conversions. I've NEVER seen a treadle converted vanity or table that looked in any way appealing.

  4. What is an IF shuttle? I went over to the ISMACS International site to look it up and had a lovely time wandering around and reading -- as I always do when I visit there -- but never found out what the IF stands for. And the dogs want to be fed. NOW.


    1. IF = Improved Family. The shuttle has the little trap door which encases the bobbin.

  5. I have an opportunity to buy a 1882 Improved Family. Great condition and lots of mother of pearl. Missing the bobbin plate though, so I will have to track one down. Source?

    thanks for the great reading. Just finished restoring my grandmoms 66 treadle. Sews so smooth.


    1. Check with Cindy Peters. Her info is on the Resources page. Go to top of blog and see several headings just above the date

  6. I have one of these also and just now cleaning it up,must admit the trap door had me stumped for some time. Do you have a manual for this? I can't seem to find one on line. thanks.