Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dressmaster


I had the funniest experience last week! I got a nice email from a lady named Caroline who saw my post about my Grandma's Dressmaster sewing machine. She had googled "Dressmaster sewing machine manual". Anyway, she was looking for a manual as am I. I wasn't much help to her except that I could tell her that the manufacturer was White. She showed me a photo of her Dressmaster and I sent back a photo of mine. Hers was a really cool fifties looking machine so I didn't feel I could be much help. Well, mine looks exactly like the Domestic Rotary Electric she just purchased complete with manual for $20! Here's a link to her blog post.
The funny thing about her Domestic was that the company was bought by White in 1924 and apparently they just kept on making the same machines but with new name plates. Well, okay, that's not funny. What's funny is that my machine, which looks exactly like hers (except for the name plates), is twenty years newer than hers. So I decided to do a little looking and it seems to be the same way across the board. From the first electric machines which I guess would be the 1920's right up to about 1950, the machines were all heavy cast iron (as were the treadle machines before that). I'm guessing that the development of stable plastics during WWII brought the change about. The same thing can be seen with dolls. Composition was the material for dolls from 1900 to 1950. Once plastics were adopted, it became the universal standard. Now, I'm not saying plastic is a bad thing. After all, this sewing machine weighs a ton! And composition dolls cracked and peeled, but it does seem a shame that there's nothing being made new with these old materials. I mean, we still make bisque dolls and that's an old material. Oh well, I guess it just means that we need to treasure what is left from the older eras. And this machine is a dream. It is just so smooth and solid. Oh, and Caroline has the manual! And she is going to copy it and send it to me! Yay! Thank you so much, Caroline!

16 friends said....:

  1. My beloved '51 machine is cast iron also. I'll say it, "the plastic machines are carp!" Haha. You have to work hard and spend dough to get a machine that's not full of plastic parts. Just another aspect of being a throwaway culture. Love the pix!

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  2. The power of the Internet! Too cool! Josephine

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  3. I have the SAME machine. I just got it from our church. The previous owner said it STILL works! I am taking it to a sewing machine shop to check it out for me. Where are you getting the manual for yours? I have a "Dressmaker Rotary" and the number under the machine is 813. I would love to talk to you.

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  4. My mom gave me her old Dressmaster Rotary. It's black, cast iron, and portable, which really means "luggable." It's heavy! My mom was married in 1951 and she might have gotten the sewing machine as a wedding present. Oddly enough, it would have been purchased in Sacramento (maybe at the same store as yours Bettsi?) where my family is from.

    My Dressmaster was built by White Sewing Machine Corp. and the model number is E-6354. I'd ask for a copy of the manual, but this machine doesn't do much and I'm not much of a seamstress. I lug it out every once in awhile to a fix a seam, etc.

    Nice to know this old beauty still residing in its brown basketweave-look "portable" case has fans.

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  5. Hi!

    I just came across a green cast-iron Dressmaster E-6354 with full travel case this afternoon for $20 and could not resist buying it.

    Is there any way to research the year of manufacture?

    More importantly, did you ever get a scan of the manual that you would be willing to share?

    You know what, at this point I'd be satisfied if someone just taught me how to spool the darned thing. ;)

    Many thanks,
    Craig

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  6. HI everyone. Craig, I was interested in your comment. I just found the exact machine as yours, green, E-6354, model 813-2. Don't know anything about it.
    Have you found out anything about this model/make of machine?

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  7. http://sewingmachine221sale.bizland.com/store/page43.html

    I found this link for manuals. I recently bought a dressmaster 423 from someone on craigslist and I cant find any info about it. If anyone has any that would be great!

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  8. Your machine looks just like the one I picked up today. Did you get a manual for it? Do you have instructions on how to thread it?

    Mine came with some great attachments - zigzag, buttonholer, hemmer, etc.

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  9. I just was given a 1955 Dressmaster Rotary from my MIL. She bought it new at Robert Simpson, Montreal. Still has the bill of sale and the manual, but it's in French. I'd love to know more about this machine. It's # is 813-5. That's the only number I can find except its own serial number.

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  10. Wendy,
    If it helps, I may be able to get your French manual translated... Email it to me at craviationgmail.com and I'll see what I can do!
    Cheers,
    Craig

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  11. Mark,
    My paternal grandmother had the identical Dressmaster Rotary in the original carrying case. I would quess that her machine was a Early 1950's model. She was a custom seamstress for wealthy women in the community.
    My younger sister has the machine now and I have promised to refurbish it for her. I do not actively sew myself but my hobby is restoring vintage and antique sewing machines.

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  12. You can now go to the Singer website under customer support, instruction manuals and get free manuals for most machines.... if it's a white machine put "W" in front of the number....mine had a serial number so I typed in "W127" and the manual for 127 and 128 came up. Mine is a white dressmaster rotary. The quality isn't awesome, but it's legible and free!

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  13. I have a Dressmaster "White" sewing machine complete with manual and all attachments. You e-mail me at lindahayden@suddenlink.net

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  14. I have a White Dressmaster E-6354-6054 203. the machine and stand is spotless. I can't find any other info on this machine but I am wondering how old it is.
    solid metal, not a scratch...still turns on when I plug it in...probably hasn't been used in 30 years.

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  15. Brutal- No info re Domestic SPECIAL Dressmaster model E6354 serial #6059491 from the White Sewing Machine Corp. Its also green cast iron -there goes my $10 investment

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  16. Just came across a Dress Master Rotary from 1927 (I think-It says "patented October 25,1927). There is no model number, but it looks like all the pictures I've seen online. It's in a home that I am hopefully buying and I'm not sure if I should tell the sellers to take it or leave it. I don't sew, but there is something cool about old appliances. Thoughts about what to do with it would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!