Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holly Hobbie Vintage Toy Sewing Machine

Thanksgiving brought me some very tasty food, but also a new toy (literally?). My in-laws enjoy going to auctions and shopping for antiques, so they're always picking up vintage sewing items that they think I might like. May I present my new machine!

Okay, so it's not super impressive haha. You can see my Brother machine in the background for scale, and the squares on my cutting mat are 1". The decal says Holly Hobbie and I assume this is a toy. It's dated 1975 and is mostly plastic. The sad thing is, I cannot figure out how it works. Google isn't even helping me. If you're familiar with toy machines I would love some help! As you can see above, the bottom separates from the top once you loosen about 7 screws.

Here it is without the throat plate. There are feed dogs and a place for a needle. There was a broken needle in it when I got it.

The reason I can't figure out how it works is because there is no bobbin. No post for a bobbin (that I can see). There is only this weird copper piece below the feed dogs.

I don't see anything that would hold bobbin thread or move it up to connect with the needle.

Any ideas? Of course, there is the notion that it doesn't work at all. But it seems like it has all parts for a functioning top thread. There's even a tension knob. When you turn the handwheel, the whole thing appears to be doing SOMETHING. 

I would love to get this working and have AB use it. She's going to break my machine if she keeps trying to sew on it. I like the idea of it being hand-powered so it can't run away from her.

I also scored a box of vintage presser feet.

A few are duplicates of what I already have for my Singer 15-91, and a few appear to be for a different type of machine, But still fun to have!

Kids have restricted me from much antique shopping or thrifting, so I always appreciate when someone gives me items like this. Do you shop for vintage sewing items?


  1. Most toy machines are single thread chainstitch machines, so there is no bobbin. I don't know anything about the machine you have, but in general I've had nothing but trouble with toy sewing machines. I got my daughter a hand crank Singer 99k sewing machine to learn on instead. It ended up costing me about as much as a low-end new machine, but the 99k will probably still be in working order several generations from now, so I figured it was worth the investment.

    1. Thank you! I don't have any machines that do chainstitching so I have no idea what that looks like. At least now I can do some research!

  2. I am always on the lookout for those vintage items. :-)

  3. Interesting attachment in foreground of your photo. Do you have any idea what it is? The one beside it appears to be a ruffler of some sort, correct? I am a thrift store addict as well with almost 30 (I can't believe it!) vintage sewing machines in about 2 years of looking.

    John Thomas in NC

    1. Yes, the one on the right appears to be a ruffler, and the other is for making tucks. I only know because it says "tucker" on it!

  4. I have one of these sewing machines in storage along with my Holly Hobbie oven.


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