New (old) sewing machine

I started this blog without access to a sewing machine, and very little practical experience with sewing, in general. It is amazing to me how much sewing I actually do now, and though I’m still no expert,  I’m glad I’ve been able to learn so much and that I’ve had so many successful sewing projects.

But in the year since I’ve started using a sewing machine, I’ve come to want something that runs a little better than my humble hand-me-down machine. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, certainly not anything new, and my price range was pretty close to nothing. I just wanted something that could do straight stitches and maybe zigzags, and that didn’t jam all the time or sound like a food processor on high with rocks thrown inside. Maybe I was aiming too high.

Craigslist to the rescue. I found an old Riccar 500 for $30, and I thought I was getting a good deal. I’d never heard of the brand before, but I had a good feeling about it. It looked pretty good, the only problem was one missing piece, the thread tension dial. Hmm, pretty important, but not a deal-breaker. 

I’ve gotten it to work okay, and the tension doesn’t seem to be too big of a problem, but I want it to be a very reliable machine (since that was my biggest beef with the old one), so I think I’ll do some scavenging to see if I can find something to fix the tension (any ideas?).

I’m not cursing the person who sold it to me, though, because the machine really is nicer than my other machine. It comes with several features that I’m pretty excited about.

Fancy stitches, including the one to use for blind hem stitch? Hooray!

Fast and slow stitching option! Just what I’ve always wanted.

And this is what I’m most excited about. Being able to raise and lower the feed dogs so  that they don’t drag when I’m trying to do free-motion stitching (do I own a free motion foot? no, but I’m not going to let that stop me).

I was even able to find the manual online for free, which was nice, since I didn’t think I would be able to visit the Smithsonian to see their copy of the manual.

Anyways, I just wanted to share my excitement. Yay for old machines built to last!