Helping you create a home by hand.

A Glimpse Into the Past

On Sunday morning before breakfast, my Dad was on the way out to the heated garage he uses as a workshop and mentioned to me that sometime if I wanted to come out to the garage, he’d show me his mother’s old sewing machine.

It’s important to know that up until that moment I had no idea that this sewing machine even existed.  On the day of my paternal grandmother’s funeral back in the summer of 1988, I had asked if I might have something of hers as a memento and was told at that time that all of her household things had been thrown away when she was placed in the nursing home a few years prior.

To now be told that something as significant as her sewing machine was just steps away had me rushing to put on shoes and coat and telling Dad that I’d come right now, little knowing the truly wonderful treasure I was about to discover.

By the time I got out to the garage, Dad had retrieved this case from the shelf where it’s usually stored.

Singer Bentwood Case

He unlocked the original Bentwood Case and lifted the top from its base to reveal the little gem pictured below.

1924 Singer 128 Hand Crank Sewing Machine

Back of 1924 Singer 128 Hand Crank Sewing Machine

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I have a bit of a passion for vintage Singer sewing machines.   And there before me was one of the prettiest I have ever seen.

Dad showed me how the hand crank is moved into position to turn the hand wheel.

Crank End of Singer 128

He opened up the black metal cover on the right end of the base where the extra bobbins and the original box containing several presser feet are kept.

The decals and finish are in amazing condition.

But most amazing of all, is that it is still in perfect working order.  My Dad uses it to mend and repair things he might be working on.

After I’d had my fill of looking at the machine, Dad replaced the cover and returned it to its spot on the shelf.

All through breakfast, I kept picturing it in my mind; seeing also in my mind’s eye, my grandmother sitting in front of it patching my father’s, uncles’ and aunt’s clothes.

As soon as breakfast was cleared away, I asked Dave to set up his laptop so that I could research when it was made and to determine what model it was.

I even had him bring the sewing machine into the house to assist in the identification process and so that I could take pictures of it.

The Singer Sewing Machine site yielded the fact that machines with the two letter prefix JA were built in 1924.

Then I used Sandman-Collectibles’ Singer Sewing Machine Identification Template to  help me to identify the model as being a 128.  (The bed of this machine is ¾ size whereas the bed of the 127 is full size.)

So to put it all together, my grandmother’s machine is a 1924 Singer Model 128 Hand Crank Sewing Machine.

Knowing there is still this tangible link to my grandmother has affected me quite profoundly.   I knew that she crocheted and knitted and did embroidery.  I even seem to remember her doing liquid embroidery back when I was a little girl.

I did not know that she also sewed.   I’ve since learned that while she wasn’t the avid seamstress that my maternal grandmother was, she did use the machine for mending and to make the necessary repairs to every day household items.

Someday, when my father no longer needs it, the machine may come into my possession.  Until then, I have the pictures and this new glimpse into my grandmother’s life.

Close-up of Singer 128

I would be so pleased if you chose to share by clicking on one of the buttons below!


  • Pat Sieler
    February 15, 2012 1:49 pm

    What a beauty! The only old machine I would want is a treadle. I learned on a treadle and somewhere along the way my parents got rid of it. Now with the costs of repairs it is cheaper to go on line and find a new one. That is a very sad commentary about life in the present.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you will be able to sew on this loved machine.

  • Jen
    February 2, 2012 6:36 pm

    What a great story and a beautiful machine! you have much more patience than me. I would tell Dad that i would do all his sewing if I could have the machine right then!

  • Amy, a redeemed sheep
    February 2, 2012 11:25 am

    What a beautiful machine!

  • Sandra :)
    February 1, 2012 12:42 pm

    Errrrrrrr lovelies, not lovlies – oops!

  • Sandra :)
    February 1, 2012 12:42 pm

    Such a gorgeous machine – I just love these old vintage lovlies. The first machine I bought was an old Singer straight stitch – I was 15 (I think) and at the time my income consisted of babysitting money, so I was pretty broke, and it was the only thing I could afford! This was 35 years ago, so no Craigslist, no Kijiji, no internet, lol. I didn’t really appreciate the vintage aspect at the time – I was just interested in a machine that RAN. I traded up several times as funds allowed, but in the last few years I had such problems with modern machines, that I started looking again at these older workhorses. While the newer machines have some fun and fancy features and stitches, I much prefer the sturdiness and perfect stitching of the machines that have shown that they can stand the test of time. I’m talking about YOU, 1953 Singer 201!!! 😉

Comments are closed.