Selectric Cozy

Bias-tape bound seams out looks better, even if the sewing job is obviously uneven.

Some months ago I decided I wanted to play with an IBM Selectric typewriter, and after some fuckery, obtained and started working on an example of the dual-pitch, correcting Selectric II I find most appealing. At some point there will be an extended post about that, but 1. I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m talking about yet, and 2. Too much writing at the time I was working on it. This post is not about the machine, just the cover I made for it.

Selectrics are extremely fiddly machines, and some of the protective features to keep them in working order have not aged gracefully – the sound deadening, crud-deflecting foam layer under the keyboard, for example, has reverted to a petroleum-type substance in almost every extant example – so I wanted a decent cover to keep it in operable condition. They’re also rather large and awkwardly shaped, so a cover that looks OK sitting out is preferable.

Kraft paper muslin/pattern/temporary cover.

My Selectric has been sitting under a kraft paper cover for the last few months, but the intention was always that the kraft paper was a muslin for a quilted (well, pre-quilted fabric) cover, in part because I wanted a sewing project and my sewing machine was due for some exercise. So, I ordered a yard of cheap double sided pre-quilted fabric, a length of matching-ish bias tape, and went at it.

There was only one antique sewing machine related incident during the job, the feed dogs somehow managed to work their pair of hold-down screws out under the needle plate, but that was just a few moments with a screwdriver to re-fasten them when I noticed it wasn’t feeding.

The finished product isn’t perfect from up close – largely because I was using it to teach myself how to use bias tape, and it shows that I had no idea what I was doing – but looks fine from a couple feet back, and does the job nicely. The little clearance along the back was totally intentional to allow the power cable to pass through, and not a transcription error.

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2 Responses to Selectric Cozy

  1. Lisa Stoner says:

    The cover looks good. Did you use your antique White Rotary sewing machine? Thank you for posting an earlier article about working on this sewing machine. Your article had a link to the source for new carbon brushes for the motor at a very reasonable price. I work on fixing up older sewing machines, and this could be a valuable resource for other sewing machine motor brushes.

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