Monday, February 18, 2013

What can I say - Necchi BU

A pile of sewing machines in the basement, and what do I do? Buy another, of course. In a cabinet.... that's coming apart at the veneer. And the machine is quite neglected and rusty. But there's a story here. Read on.

A couple weeks ago I visited the local Goodwill. Oh, look, a Necchi BU sewing machine in a cabinet. On closer examination, the machine was marked $299.99 on the blue tag. Way too much for me, and I presumed at the time that, even when the blue tags got to 50% off in a couple weeks, nobody would put down $150 for the thing. So there was a good chance this deteriorating vintage wonder would end up being bought by some fortunate person during the $1.29 blue tag Monday sale.

Fast forward a couple weeks, to the Saturday before Presidents Day (two days ago). We stopped in at the Goodwill and saw an advertisement for 99-cent blue tags on Monday, not $1.29. And look, the machine was still available (not surprising). Plans were put into motion to show up early Monday morning. We rolled into the parking lot at 7:40 to find 11 people lined up at the door. Bummer. Eight o'clock and everyone rushed inside, some having scoped out their areas of focus beforehand. I rushed to the place my (a little bold aren't we, since it isn't mine yet) sewing machine had been, and............ it was still there. I got to it in time. A Necchi BU with a box of accessories and owners manual for $0.99. Wow.

One of the small pleasures of buying a machine is getting something like this (what could it contain?):


Even cooler...

Notice the buttonhole knife, complete with three different blades, and the darning foot.

Every one of the accessories listed in the manual were with the machine except the 4" screwdriver and oil can.

A few items of vintage packaging.

I really enjoy getting an original owners manual (dated "First Edition December 1951").

Oh, and the cabinet is also date-stamped "JAN 23 1951". I'd hazard a guess that this machine is from the early 50s. What do you think?

An update after cleaning this thing up. At first the sewing machine would get stuck after about half a revolution (maybe that's why nobody wanted it at Goodwill), but once I oiled it up (a lot) and ran it for a little while, it smoothed out and works superbly now. The paint is cracking and there are rust spots here and there but all in all, it doesn't look half bad for probably having sat in someone's garage or damp basement for 40 years.

The machine was worse than it looks in this next photo. I tried to capture the tundra inside the machine but it didn't turn out very good. All the linkages were completely dry and almost seized.

I suppose if I tried waxing it, the paint might look a little nicer.


  1. My mother died 28 years ago and one of the things I kept was her necchi be supernova that I learned to see on. I have had new machines thru the years but recently decided to have my husband (who worked for singer when we first married ) clean it up and get it going The cabinet still in really good shape and it wast seized much. Lots of oiling has it moving and Geting ready to get a new foot and cord. The cord is shot lol. I still have the original foot pedal. Starch meant and box with all instructions. I remember the perfect stitch it made. Can't wait to try it out once again.

  2. I just picked one of these up in absolute mint condition. It's one of the best sewing machine finds I've ever come across. Absolute beauty, no rust, no scratches. Works perfectly and absolutely mint in a cherry red gorgeously well-maintained cabinet. My favorite vintage sewing machine thus far!

  3. Wow. What a price! It pays to keep your eyes open and know how things work at the Goodwill. I purchased a BU Nova (same machine, just a year newer) several months ago from an estate. I could only offer about half of what was being asked, but when the owner's son found out that I was planning to use it and take care of it, he accepted my offer. It was in beautiful condition with almost all of the accessories, in a portable case. I'm planning to restore a 1906 Singer treadle cabinet to put it into so it can be either treadled or used with the motor (which needs a good cleaning). It's already my favorite machine -- so quiet and solid, with such gorgeous stitching! - Mrs. Clint