This is my Singer 404, he’s vintage, and still sews a mean straight stitch, but sadly, he’s not the original machine I learned to sew on. That 404 was purchased in 1963 used, from a dealer who had gotten it back from the original buyer for some reason (non-payment?). My Grandmother bought it, she had a 501 already, for my Mom. It helped to make dresses/clothes, pillows, drapes/curtains and was even used to make a header for the interior of a car. It had the drop-in folding table and zig-zag button hole attachment, and a cover. In the 70’s she taught me to use it, I was a pedal to the medal sew-ist then too. I remember zooming along and flipping the stitch regular into reverse mode and the machine would smoothly reverse and just keep going. In the early 80’s I got a Kenmore machine that was a bit fancier and the Singer got moved to a closet at my Moms house. I moved to California, and kept on sewing, with newer machines and learned skills.
About ten years ago, I asked my Mom if she still had her Singer 404 and if I could have it. She no longer sews much, and I think she has a Kenmore that she uses for basic mending/hemming. Sadly she told me the 404 had been put out on the curb for the the garbage by a friend in an attempt to help clean out some junk in storage. My Moms friend said she thought it was just an old thing that no one would want anyway. That same day someone had driven by, seen it out there on the curb, and took it before the trash man. I suppose I am thankful it didn’t go to the land fill, and I hope that someone is still using it and enjoying it.
My 404 was found on eBay. It came to me covered in grime and cigarette tar. It had a few dings in the paint, and there were a few minor parts missing, like the wheel for bobbin winding. I cleaned and polished it, oiled it and greased it, even took it to my machine service guy, where he gave it a tune up and checked the wiring and such. I found a few feet for sale, and replaced the missing pieces. My mom sent me the zig zag attachment, which for some reason didn’t get tossed on that fateful day. I have used it to make a quilt or two, mend some things that I thought too tough for my Bernina, it just seems like an old friend. Small compared to todays machines, solid though, and even if it is a bland looking tan with no fancy buttons or lights, I enjoy using it.
Linking up with Quiltville’s Quips and Snips!! today. I realize that it isn’t required for entering the DVD giveaway, but I wanted to tell my vintage machine’s story.