Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Vintage Sewing Machine Smell
Back in the late 70's, 80's, and early 90's I did all my sewing on a 1960's tan Singer. I noticed it had a slight scent as I used it. Nothing bad --just a faint smell. I never gave it much thought.
After I married, my machine's motor died. Stuck without a machine, I bought a cheap model at Walmart to use (yeah, I did). It didn't have sewing machine smell. Later my mother gave me her Elna when she bought a new machine. It didn't have the smell either. (I sold the cheapo model at a yard sale --cheap though it was it did sew pretty good). I used a few machines here and there. They didn't have the smell.
Frankly, I forgot about sewing machine smell --it's not something one normally thinks of! Then a few years ago when I wanted a simple well built sewing machine and one I could take care of myself I bought my Singer 15-91. The first time I really sat down at it and began sewing it happened...the scent --faint and subtle. It's too difficult to describe a smell, but there it was and I recognized it. It is said that smells can trigger memory responses more than some of the other senses. As I used the 15 I remembered that old tan machine and all the sewing I did on it --and all my old Vogue and vintage patterns as well as the stack of fabric I had at my disposal because my grandmother decided to quit sewing (and had bought excellent quality fabric). I remembered many of the outfits I made --there were a lot of them --and how much fun and frustration I had sewing them. But most of all I found the scent comforting. A state of sewing blissfulness.
I'm not quite sure what the smell is but I'm going to guess that it's the thirty something oiling points all warmed up and in action. I don't even know if other vintage sewing machines have it since I'm only acquainted with Singers. (I might have to find a different brand and try it out.)
Perhaps you think I've gone a bit nuts here, but surely there is someone out there who knows what I'm talking about! If not, that's ok.