Sew Cranky Offers “Hands-on History” with Hand Crank Sewing Machines

Sew Cranky, located in the Copper Country of Michigan, is a unique business that offers a hands-on experience with history through their collection of antique hand-crank sewing machines. The owners, Ginger Alberti and Mike Sabo, started the business in California where Alberti sewed historic clothing for several years and brought a hand-crank sewing machine on location with her. The couple then fell into a large collection of machines from Europe and decided to open their business in Hancock in 2017.

Ginger Alberti is a professional seamstress and her husband Mike Sabo is a handyman, making them the perfect team to restore, repair and sell these antique machines. The collection includes hundreds of hand-crank machines dating from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, and the couple takes great care in restoring them to their original condition while preserving their historic elements such as gold work, design and mother of pearl inlay.

The experience on a hand-crank sewing machine is quite different from using a modern electric machine. As Alberti explains, “You’re in complete control, you turn that crank, your hand your eye coordination is automatic almost. It’s not like a treadle, which is the furniture model of the same basic machine from the 1800s to the early 1900s, pre-electric. But on the treadle you have to coordinate your feet and your hands and your eyes with your project, whereas this, you’re in complete control and you immediately feel it and you feel confident. The people who stitch here are happy.”

Sew Cranky offers workshops for all ages on how to use a hand crank sewing machine. The classes and workshops not only provide a fun and educational experience, but they also help preserve a piece of history. These machines are becoming increasingly rare, and by keeping them in use, Sew Cranky is helping to ensure that they are not forgotten. To learn more about Sew Cranky and their workshops, you can visit their website

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