Tuesday, December 09, 2008

At what point do I issue a DNR for my sewing machine?

Let me point out that I love my sewing machine. It's an old Singer Stylist model, purchased secondhand out of the Pittsburgh Pennysaver for the grand total of $25: machine, cabinet, and all the extra parts, random thread colors, measuring tapes and other odds and ends that had accumulated in the storage compartment of the cabinet. I understand this machine. Like me, it's wound a little tight, tends to be tense, and stubbornly insists on doing things its own way. (You should see the threading diagram.) We're both products of the early '70s.

And, like me, it's higher-maintenance than it appears. (I hate to admit this about myself, but trust me.) First it was $40 to get it cleaned and oiled and tuned. It sorely needed the attention, and I was happy to pay for it. Then it was a few dollars here and there for new needles and the right kind of bobbins and some oil (the oil seems to have disappeared when we moved, darn it — it's not like it's expensive, but I like having the right kind of long-nosed bottle).

About two years ago it stopped working altogether. It's of the nylon-geared generation of sewing machines, and the gears finally wore out. Getting them replaced cost about $100.

Saturday night, as I was in the middle of appliquéing a princess crown on a cape for Sarah, the zigzag stitch got narrower and narrower and less and less predictable until it finally stopped zigging and zagging completely. It's a timing issue — the needle goes back and forth, but not quite when it hits the fabric.

The guy I took it to this morning gave me an estimate of $129 to replace the bearings, and there are a few other small things I'm going to have him replace while he's at it. Right now I figure it's worth it, since I don't have the money to replace it with a good quilting machine at the moment. But I'm starting to wonder how many other parts might disintegrate, and where to draw the line.


Thanks, Danika, for lending me your old Kenmore machine. We're going through a getting-to-know-you phase, and having a few scuffles over territory, but we're going to get along just fine. Can it stay and play for another week and a half?


Stacee Maree said...

ya know what, I bought a $130 brother sewing machine in June and I love it. Now if I figured it right you have now spent near $300 on an old sewing machine. You could have bought 2 of my sewing machines by now. Move on Libby, Move on.

Rebecca said...

My mom who is a seamstress would say that it is worth it to fix the old ones (especially singers), because they don't make them like they use to. But I of course have no opinion and feel badly that you are having issues. I morn the day mine dies(older, green, 70's model), and I am faced with the same problem.

Danika said...

Play away Libby. I don't need it back until the 22nd of December. Brent has a pile of old t-shirts I'm making into a quilt so they won't just rot in his closet. Until then I'm plenty busy with other projects.

I hope you and my sewing machine become friends soon!

Margo said...

I sense some attachment issues here, but I'm right there with you. I just did some research on my OLD machine because your post inspired me. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.using-sewing-machines.com/Bernina830.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.using-sewing-machines.com/Bernina830.html&usg=__TQV3PxAmmiZSRslH81VonOppxFw=&h=375&w=500&sz=145&hl=en&start=13&um=1&tbnid=hOGBIexG81gb3M:&tbnh=98&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbernina%2Bphotos%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX Not that anyone but me really cares :) Maybe you should find out if yours belongs in the Hall of Fame? :) A new quilting machine would be wonderful, Scott???

Gigi said...

You know, I counsel patients about the ethics of DNR. You really need to examine your own morals and come to the best decision you can while still feeling comfortable with God. On the other hand... it's a sewing machine, not a husband.