There is a startling situation across Australia (and I suspect across the developed world). In cupboards around suburbia there are hundreds, no thousands of unused sewing machines. I don’t mean the kind where the machine is appreciated, but under-utilised due to the oppression of other life activities, but the completely unused, unloved, unwanted machines.
When I was a teenager, my mother taught sewing at a technical college, and I was given a well-used mechanical Bernina. I loved that machine – it did everything that was needed for garment sewing. I really like my current machine, and now have two daughters who are champing at the bit, wanting to use a sewing machine. Not being so enthusiastic about them learning on my machine, I wanted to get another machine that I didn’t feel so precious about. Indestructibility was also a desired characteristic.
So you may be wondering – how can you set a Bernina free? You could waste your time bidding on them on Ebay, but that is an activity prone to frustration. Instead, I advertised for it. I posted an ad on Gumtree (I imagine Craiglist might work similarly in the States) and actually received a few replies. My (I mean the girls’) machine was sitting less than a kilometre from my house, and the owner had been wondering how to get rid of it. I paid a reasonable price (you should take the likely cost of a service into account when negotiating the price), and dropped the machine off to be serviced. By all accounts, sewing machines and overlockers need a thorough clean and oil after years of inaction. I was surprised to find that one place charged $145 for a basic service, while the other charged only $85.
They were both unwanted wedding presents, and had not been used for nearly 20 years. The overlocker was still threaded with its factory thread, and the Bernina had been used once. The only trouble now will be letting the girls actually use the new/old machine (at least I can save the overlocker for myself!).