Sewing – that’s for girls!
However, those us who make outdoor gear call these machines “thread injectors.” That’s our way of retaining some sense of manliness when we’re whippin up something new for the trail. Here’s a pic of my 1959 Singer Slant-O-Matic-404, as purchased for $15 thru a Craigslist ad. I’ve since cleaned it up and re-timed it, and it does an awesome job. Beautiful consistent stitches through any amount of material or webbing I throw at it, thanks to a direct-drive motor. They really don’t build `em like this any more!
Sure, I’m sometimes the brunt of jokes when my son feels like picking – “Dad’s out in the shop sewing again…” I know he’s just jealous since he hasn’t yet worked up the guts to try manhandling a thread injector on his own.
The preferred choice by most people who make their own gear are the older, solid metal machines by companies like Singer, Necchi, Consew, Morse, and others. These work well for heavier materials and threads because they are built very rugged, often without the blur of fancy stitch patterns and features found on modern machines.
I am in the process of attempting to breathe life back into a 1956 Singer-201 that I found one day while geocaching locally. It was half embedded in the dirt below the now-collapsed floor of an old cabin out in the woods. The following pics show the sad condition I found it in, which would best describe it as a boat anchor – It was just one solid heavy lump of metal. Several cans of WD-40 later, I had disassembled it into a maze of parts that could now be individually cleaned. Amazingly enough, the electric motor still hums right along, so there is hope for it yet . . .
My goal is to get this thing operational with as few new parts as possible. I’m picturing a low-budget, “wow, it looks so rough I’m amazed it works” kind of result that will prove once and for all that these old things never die. We’ll see . . .