ABOUT THE NADELFRAU
I live in San Antonio, TX with my husband and all the vintage sewing machines and paraphernalia I have room for. We share the love of old and vintage things.
We appreciate the craftsmanship and built-to-last things from the days of old. My husband was born in Germany and lived there until he was a young adult. He is the inspiration for my name “The Nadelfrau” (needle woman.) German is part of my heritage, so I know my great-grandmother would approve. Like so many others she came to the US through Ellis Island when she was a young woman.
My love of sewing and sewing machines began when I was 8-yrs old. My dear Mother had a model 99 Singer machine that she bought second hand to make clothes for herself and my older sister and me. I was always intrigued. In her sewing items, I came across a package of bias tape that had an offer inside the paper label. For 25 cents you could send off for scraps of trims/laces. I could swing that 25 cents!! I sent off for those scraps and received some fancy green fringe among other things. It all started with that fringe! My Mother let me use her sewing machine and I made what I thought was the most beautiful quilt for my Barbie doll. It was white with that green fringe sewn on the front. From there was a natural progression to Barbie doll clothes. I loved that sewing machine and sewing!
I think I made my first garment for myself at age 11. Of course there was Home Economics and many more garments. I have a special friend that I have known since second grade. We used to spend some Saturday nights sitting around a card table sewing. We lived in San Angelo, TX which was the wool capital of the world. She entered the “Make It With Wool Sewing Contest” for several years. I don’t remember about every year, but one year she won best of show.
When I first married in 1970, I bought a used Singer machine from the Singer Sewing Machine company in our town. I miss those stores! I don’t remember what model it was. It was tan and used cams, that is all I remember. I traded it for a new Bernina in 1982. It was a great machine, but I wanted an old black machine like my Mother’s. My then-husband rescued a 1934 Singer model 66 crinkle finish. A co-worker was getting a divorce and that machine was going to the dump. It was in like-new condition and in a cabinet. That was 30 years ago and I am still sewing on that machine. I have about 30 vintage Singers now including 6 Featherweights. They just speak to my heart!
Soon the obsession for vintage attachments began! I always noticed that little box of daunting machine attachments in my Mother’s sewing machine drawer. They just looked too complicated to deal with. Decades passed, the pages of history were turned. We lost my Grandmother and special neighbors. My Mother received sewing items from both the afore mentioned. At the age of about 58 (50 years after my first sewing experience), my Mother told me I could go through her sewing items and take what I wanted. I came across a very strange attachment that neither of us could identify. I put it in a drawer for a couple of years. I later learned it was a Singer two thread embroidery attachment. I was astonished that so many years ago, without modern technology, such a wonderful attachment could have been created. I have now taught myself to use those daunting attachments and always on the search for the elusive one that I can’t live without. I never knew Singer had so many attachments beyond the standard ones included with the purchase of a machine. The vintage attachments are truly amazing.