I wasn’t in the market for another sewing machine, but my latest just appeared and I couldn’t pass it up! It all started when my mom was trying to decide what to do with her old sewing desk. It was in rough shape and had been sitting unused for a long time. It was an extra piece of furniture that was moved a few times over the years, had somehow lost all of its varnish and looked so weathered. It had originally been her mother’s.
We proceeded to take a closer look at the desk to see what exactly was inside of it. The most we were expecting was perhaps some old items in the drawers, but much to our surprise, she opened the top and there was a sewing machine inside! She had no idea it was hidden in the desk these past 30+ years.
This vintage White brand machine, model number 2134, was her machine and dates back to somewhere around the mid-1960’s to 1970. When we lifted it up from inside the desk, it was understandably dirty and covered in flakes of varnish. I plugged it in and the motor worked! It was a bit difficult to move the needle at first, but I later oiled it up and got it moving great again. It can sew a straight stitch and a zig zag. The exterior cleaned up well, too! Luckily with just a bit of Dawn soap and water, it now looks nearly pristine! Spending so much time out of the daylight probably helped to keep it looking so good.
The machine weighs a lot with its metal body and all metal insides. This also makes it an awesome heavy-duty machine. Once I had it running smoothly, I put it to the test with multiple layers of fabric and foam stabailizer that I use for making bags to see if it could handle it. The layers quickly and easily glided through with a great stitch!
Since it was clear I needed to keep this machine and give it a new sewing life, I had to do something about its cabinet. The cabinet originally held a Singer machine (which is long gone) and after some research I found it is called the Singer Art Deco Cabinet #42. I looked up pictures to see what it once might have looked like and came across some copies of orignal advertisements for the desk.
I have never been interested in refinishing furniture, but I thought I’d give this a shot. I stripped off what little stain remained and got to work re-staining it. These pictures show how much of a difference adding one coat of stain was next to the bare wood it had become.
After a week of work, I absolutely love how it turned out! It definitely has new life and looks so fancy with its glossy finish. It actually makes the machine look even better! The desk now resides in my living room because there is no room left in my sewing room. Oh well. It is such a fine piece of furniture that it looks better there anyway! I will just have to make a point to sew out there sometimes.
I also stained and re-covered the stool to complete the makeover. My piano bench was overdue to be reupholstered and I had already purchased some home decor fabric for it months ago. I took the measurements and realized I had exactly enough fabric to cover both pieces! Since they are right next to each other in my living room, they now tie together so well.
From this experience, I can see why some like to rescue and restore vintage machines. I enjoyed taking apart the machine and analyzing how the gears work to get it back to working order. It’s such a great machine it deserves to be used again! With this resoration complete I better get sewing!