Friday, January 27, 2012

An Unexpected Thrift Store Treasure

Last week, I stopped by a thrift store that I had never seen before, the Full Circle Thrift on Stevens Street in downtown Culpeper.  I saw it while I was taking the 'scenic route' home after my weekly trip to stock and fluff my booth.  Even though I have a pretty decent supply of raw furniture items already in storage here, I can't help looking to see if I can find more things that I can add to the stash. 

Outside the shop, in the clearance area, I found this sewing machine cabinet.  It was marked down to $20, from $65, and I think I was giggling as I paid for it and loaded it into the truck.

The size is great, and the details will be lovely with a patina paint job.

The top has definitely been subjected to some abuse, but that's not too hard to fix.

I could see this repurposed with a lift-up top, made into a storage or blanket chest.

As I opened the doors on the front of the cabinet, my resolve to remake this cabinet began to fade.

Inside the right-hand door was the original manual for the sewing machine ... which had come apart and was being held together with a paper clip.  Someone cared enough about it to make sure that none of the pages got lost.

On the left, there is a small storage drawer.

Inside the drawer was practically a time capsule ... bobbins, a bobbin box, a package of embroidery needles, a wooden needle holder, a sharpener for scissors, and screwdrivers.  Look how the drawer even has a small built-in pin cushion.

The sewing machine itself is heavy and solid.  I crossed my fingers, plugged it in, and it appears to work PERFECTLY!  These old machines are fairly primitive, and they're made with all metal parts, so they last almost forever if kept out of dampness.  This machine has obviously been used and loved until quite recently.

The 1927 patent date on the motor suggests that it's from the late 1920s or early 1930s.

As I stood there in my workshop thinking about this, the bargain cabinet that I bought and originally thought I would paint and repurpose transformed into a sewing machine that was once part of someone's family.  I lost my nerve and my conscience took over ... this piece will NOT be dismantled and WILL continue its history as a functioning sewing machine ... in MY sewing room.  I have the space for it up there (but just barely), and I think it will come in really handy for some of the more heavy-duty sewing I do ... like my dog collars, which my current Kenmore machine sometimes refuses to handle.


Here is your daily reminder to vote for our grandson, Caleb, in the Parents Magazine cutest baby contest.  You can vote once per day, per computer.  Please share this link on your blog and FB, to reach as many folks as possible and help Caleb get to the top!

Edited ... Caleb didn't win the contest, even though we all know that he is, indeed, the cutest baby in the whole world!


  1. I think it's wonderful that you rescued this machine... anyone else may have just tossed the insides into the dump. :-))

  2. I have been wanting a basic sewing machine for awhile and that beast would have been perfect! I would have still wanted to refinish that cabinet, but would have kept the insides and would have used it. If it ever needs to leave your place and you think that it would enjoy a home in Alexandria, I have one for it!


  3. It's a little treasure that found a new home.

  4. What a steal! I have my Grandmothers old industrial Singer and it is in a cabinet similar to this one with the handy drawer etc. I LOVE that thing, it will sew thru anything and has made sewing thru heavy duty items a breeze. I am with you, keep it as is!

  5. I must say I am glad you are keeping it as a sewing machine. It's wonderful and well loved it seems. I voted again and I see Caleb is moving up...we will get him to #1!! hugs, Linda

  6. I've been in that thrift shop once. I'm so seriously jealous YOU found this sewing machine and cabinet! I grew up sewing on my mother's White sewing machine. LOVE the older machines - such work horses. Congrats!

  7. I'm so glad you're keeping it as is - it's a treasure!

  8. I love that you are saving that sewing machine!!! But what a favorite sewing machines are my singer featherweights, they perform better than my "new" singer (1978 HS graduation present) Use may turn out to be your favorite go to sewing machine! I voted on all computers in the house for Caleb!!! :) donna

  9. You, again, got a great piece for a steal. Wow!
    Several years ago, I came across a beautiful sewing machine chest. I loved the carved details on it. It was listed for $150, which I thought was a good buy. It had a bunch of pretties displayed on it that needed to be removed so I went to the store owner and told him that I wanted it but he would have to move it for me. We hadn't even talked about the price. I didn't even have to haggle. He immediately dropped the price to $100!! woohoo.
    After having it home a couple of days, I finally opened it up to do a little exploring and, lo and behold, there was a beautiful sewing machine inside!! I love it when things like that happen :)

  10. Oh my gosh, Connie... what a deal for a steal! That's a beautiful machine. I have my husband's grandmother's machine and I love it. I just might have to check the year on it, never even thought about doing that. I wish I had my grandmother's treadle machine!

  11. Hey girl,

    LOVE IT!!!!!!! so glad you will be it's new Mom ;->

    I voted again!!

    Janet xox

  12. Im glad to see the machine will go to good use! Must've been great discovering one treasure after another!

  13. I love this post, and I'm so glad it found a new home!

    A long time ago, my mother traded in her Singer Featherweight for a New Home machine with more options, and has regretted it ever since.

  14. When I was visiting my daughter in Virginia for Thanksgiving, we poked around in some thrift stores, looking for some tables we could paint/refinish for her apartment. We came upon a gorgeous solid oak sewing machine and stand. The bottom was cast iron, and the machine was perfect. They had it for $99. She thought she would like to paint it and use it for a bedside table. As we were talking about it, a woman near us showed us her part of the price tag, and said she was buying the machine. Disappointed, we left. Fast forward a few weeks, and I'm back home, 700 miles away, and I come upon a completely repurposed sewing machine cabinet. The machine had been taken out, and when you lifted the top, inside was a lovely little box, with various sections. A mirror had been applied under the lid. They had converted it into the sweetest little dressing table; for $145! Unable to get it to her, I just texted pics, telling her to keep looking, and we would adapt her piece as well when she found it.
    Your find is lovely, whatever you decide to do with it.


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