Obsessed With Sewing Machines? Mini Machines Make Big Impacts On Collectors

Posted on: 7 July 2015


If you love to sew, chances are you love sewing machines and enjoy finding new ones to add to your collection. Perhaps you enjoy using the newer computerized machines with all of their time-saving features, but you still can't resist the timeless beauty of older machines. 

You may dream of collecting older models, especially treadle-style machines. Maybe you're already the proud owner of an antique machine passed down from a loved one or you've located a few treasures at yard sales or flea markets. 

Like many sewers, who enjoy collecting sewing machines, you may find it challenging to display your collection of full-sized machines. To remedy the problem, some collectors have turned to collecting miniature machines.

A brief history of miniature machines

In the latter half of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution sparked mass production in the sewing machine market. Machines became more affordable and grew in popularity. Toy sewing machines began to be produced for little girls who desired to be just like mom.

The original toy machines were made of cast iron and were extremely heavy. Eventually, tin plate designs replaced the cast iron, reduced the weight of the machines, and allowed for colorful and intricate designs to be developed.

Most early models were made in Germany and America. A few popular manufacturers of toy machines were:

  • Smith & Egge
  • Batchelor & Stenson
  • Singer
  • The National Sewing Machine Company

Toy machines are still manufactured today to encourage kids to learn to sew, but these newer toy machines are not considered collectibles.

Where to find toy machines

Toy machines are most likely to be found in antique shops or online, but visiting local thrift stores and frequenting yard sales can be good sources. Collector's organizations exist online and are valuable resources for information. Prices can range greatly depending upon the condition of the machine.

Whether you are looking for ornate hand-cranked machines or electric post-war era machines, you will find shopping for toy sewing machines to be a fun and exciting hobby.

Buying tips

If you are interested in owning machines that hold their value, you will want to look for machines in good condition with as many of their original parts as possible. Machines with their original boxes, instruction books, and clamps are most valuable.

If you are more interested in accumulating a sizable collection just to display for your own personal enjoyment, you will likely want to buy every machine you can get your hands on.

Displaying your machines

The real beauty of miniature machines is how easy it is to display your collection. Several wall-mounted shelves will be sufficient. Standing bookcases are also useful, especially for new collectors. You can always add more bookcases for display as you need them. 

There's only one negative side to collecting toy sewing machines - once you start, you won't want to stop. Just think how much fun it will be telling your sewing friends how many machines you have and shopping for rare and beautiful treasures to add to your growing collection. Contact a local outlet, such as The Sewing Studio Fabric Superstore, for further assistance.