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I’m told this is the machine my Grandma did most of her sewing on (home projects, clothing, quilting, embroidery). My Dad had it serviced to working order a few years ago “just in case”. Last time I visited I took a few photo’s and rummaged through some of her saved supplies and notions. I didn’t try using it (I know! another time) but I had to share this.

I always knew my Grandma as a knitter and a painter. Although she probably didn’t paint at all in the last half of her life, she was extraordinarly gifted with oil paints. No training, just beyond talented. I’ll share her work at some point. I remember her knitting constantly. I think that’s the only craft she kept up more or less until she died. Every time I saw her she was working on a new afghan for the cottage, colourful socks, or a sweater for someone.  She kept me in ugly sweaters until I was a teenager. She was that Grandmother.

I never spoke to her about sewing, and I don’t think I’ve even seen anything she’s sewn, so it’s neat to now experience this side of her. I always find it fascinating to compare tools used through the decades to accomplish the same task. What my Grandma used to sew a dress versus what I use, that sort of thing. Again, I have to thank my Dad for keeping all of this. That’s genetic too, the need to save everything.

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This is a White Zig Zag Sewing Machine, model 9951 serial no. 4064. I don’t know much about the White Sewing Company other than it seems like it was a close second to Singer in the early 1900’s. There’s not much information readily available on the web about these machines so this won’t be one of those informative vintage sewing posts (sorry!).

I can see it was made in Japan, so from that I assume it was produced sometime after WW2, maybe the late 50s or 60s. I believe the zig zag stitch variations were a fairly new thing at that time.

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The bobbin is on the top of the machine.

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I’m not sure if this is the original hutch it came in, but I imagine this looking so elegant in a 1960s living room. To me this really puts it into context and reflects the time period, it helps me imagine what her home life would have been like.

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This is how it looks when you unfold the top, creating a larger work space.

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You then lift that l-shaped piece and swing the machine up and level with the table.

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The underside of the machine.

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Some of her sewing supplies and notions.

It’s a really odd feeling going through her stuff like this. Nothing has been touched, sorted, cleaned… it’s just been picked up and moved. It’s like finding a wormhole to the 60s.

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I’ve never seen embroidery attachments like these before, which seem to load with the bobbin case. If I ever play around with this machine I’ll definitely give these cams a go.

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“Slacks
Sew each leg together first
Sew bottom up
Sew crotch last.”

White Zig Zag Sewing Machine