Restoring Sewing Machine Cases
Does anyone out there still use a sewing machine? We know that a few do. Of those few who sew, it is an even smaller number who have experienced the capabilities of a treadle sewing machine. Most of the people we talk to simply use their old sewing machines as decorative items. Whether you are using an old sewing machine for work or adornment, you want it to look good. That is where we can help.
Of course appearance is not the only issue you might be concerned with. There is often a lot of damage to these old warhorses that needs to be mended before they are ready to be trotted out for display. Peeling veneer is a frequent issue, detached drawer cubbies, even parts that are long gone, all cause these decorative pieces to look anything but attractive.
We, once again, demonstrate that we are not photographers at heart. Just a fraction of the sewing cases we have worked on have been photographically captured while entrusted to our care. The three pictured here are Singer, Free, and White brands of nineteenth century treadle machines we have restored. We have a few more pictures of the Free and White machines which we display below.
In addition to the sewing cases there were a variety of additional pieces that were used alongside the machine or were used in a related craft, such as needlework. We also offer an example of one such piece we restored for a customer. Finally, we include a link to a useful reference book on antique sewing machines and cabinets.
We did no restorative work on the actual Free sewing machine, which is pictured above. To the right the case is closed, to the left it is all opened up. Below we show some of the stages in the restoration of this machine. All of the drawer boxes had to be rebuilt and new veneer attached. The metal stand was powder coated by a different company.
This White sewing machine case was in very bad condition, as you can see in the photo to the left. The veneer on the top was partially missing, as was the edging for that right side. The veneer on the curved top of the "coffin" cover for the machine was also loose or chipping in many spots. The right side drawers came with the rest--in a paper bag, and there was no way to mount them. The front drawer also had been removed along with its mounts, and both drawer and mounts had been lost. In addition the customer wanted to keep as much of the original appearance as possible. We faced a major project with this machine. Inventing and fashioning the drawer, rebuilding the right side, re-veneering much of the top, repairing the veneer elsewhere, refinishing it to match the old look while saving the original White brand decal on the front of the machine cover. We were quite pleased with the end result, as was our customer! Below are some additional pictures of this project as it progressed.
This is a sewing supplies cabinet. We present it here because of the obvious relationship it has to a sewing machine case. This was primarily a refinishing job, but you want your accessories to look good too! The customer wanted the somewhat warmer look you see on the refinished pieces to the right. The darkened accents add a beautiful contrast to this piece.