My fascination with vintage machines started innocently enough. Randy and I had gone “junking” as we call it. Since we hadn’t started ILYM Design–or even thought about such a thing–I was simply looking for a cute bedside table. I thought I had found one, but when I tried to open the top drawer, the entire front side popped open, and I was looking at spools, bobbins, and various attachments. Low and behold, a beautiful, almost pristine 1910 Singer sewing machine had been electrified and placed in a 1940s Queen Anne style cabinet. And so started the search for a treadle table in which I could return my beloved sewing machine to its original glory.
We quickly discovered that vintage sewing machines are actually fairly plentiful. However, prices range from $50 to several hundred, depending on the condition of the machine and cabinet (and, let’s be honest, also on the condition of the seller’s understanding of sewing machines.) For whatever, reason, however, I am drawn to the castaways. I guess it is similar to always rooting for the underdog. The end result is that our next sewing machine purchase came straight out of a barn. It was being used to hold a hay bale. Most of the wood was unsalvageable, but Randy’s plan was to use the cast iron legs and hopefully the top as a template to create a new top.
A few weeks later, we came across another table on someone’s back porch. This one had most of the drawers still intact, so we quickly placed it in the back of our truck and took it to its new home. We joked that we would have a Frankenstein sewing machine table made up a piece from here and a piece from there. Since then we have added two more table to our little family of discards–including one find that is almost in perfect condition.
While organizing the shop one day, Randy came across a piece of wood we took out of his daddy’s barn several months before. At the time that we found it, we thought it was pretty but had no clue as to what it was. Imagine how tickled we were when, after digging it out again, we realized that it was a top to a (yes, you guessed it) sewing machine. At that point, it became very clear that I needed to share my love of sewing machines–because one day, I really do want to park in the part of the shop that is supposed to be a garage.
The result is that Randy and I are intent on finding new uses for the parts that make up the tables. These tables were loved and used, perhaps daily, for years–and then put away and forgotten. But they still have character and beauty. It is our goal, therefore, to use as much of each of them as possible and then find new homes for our creations, where they will be loved and appreciated again.