Solstice street find

Author: fraise

Wednesday 21 December 2011, in Crafts, La France


Here’s something I never dreamt I’d find in the trash one day: a vintage sewing machine. But find it I did, this morning, just before the truck came! It reminds me of my mother’s Bernina 830 I grew up using, although this machine is simpler and heavier-duty. Made by New York Sewing Machine Co. (not to be confused with New York Sewing Machines Inc. who replied to my query to say they never made this machine), its model number is 408, and that’s about all I know. It has an external motor built by French company Luxor, but I doubt it’s a retrofit since the motor is anchored by screws:


It is missing the foot pedal to control the motor, but that’s not a problem with this sort of machine. The large stitching wheel still moves smoothly by hand. The previous owner took very good care of this machine; nothing is rusted, everything internal is oiled and impeccably clean, the machine still works! But it had indeed been abandoned: as well as being in the designated trash pickup area, it was very dirty on its surfaces. But as you can see, it came threaded.

Why would someone throw away a working sewing machine? Unfortunately it’s probably easily explained: it’s a simple machine, with just straight and zigzag stitches, nothing more. Modern-day sewing machine manufacturers tend to tout fancy embroidery machines with any number of stitches, but all you really need are the two basic stitches and a way to control their length, width, and tension. This machine is built like a tank, entirely made of steel, apart from the heavy-duty plastic base (which hinges away to access the bobbin mechanism). That also probably worked against it for whoever decided to toss the machine: it’s big, not exactly the latest fashion, and weighs a ton. But it will probably outlast the home sewer’s Pfaff hobby 1030 that I have. I’m looking forward to trying it out seriously this weekend. I love its simple design lines.


3 responses to “Solstice street find”

  1. N Says:

    One can actually do quite a lot with the straight stitch and the zigzag. The only reason I bought a modern sewing machine (a couple of years ago) was because I needed the zigzag. My machine from the 50’s has only the straight stitch, which didn’t stop me from making my first garments with it! I wouldn’t give away my first machine though; like yours it’s build to last!

    What a fantastic find!

  2. Jameson Says:

    I still use a sewing machine of my grandparents from 1968, has never been a problem and those older ones are known to sew finer materials with more ease.

    Good find!

    Love your blog btw.

  3. ducolleague Says:


Leave a comment