People often wonder if my dedication to vintage Necchi sewing machines and in particular the Necchi BU is real or not. In today’s world of faked social media, I get it. I love them enough that I have stood outside in the snow to buy a Necchi Sewing machine. Not only that but I have several of the same model, just in case.
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History of Necchi Sewing Machines
If you have never heard of a vintage Necchi sewing machine I have some background information on them on my Necchi page. Vittorio, the man who started the company, not my kitty, had a very confusing way of naming the models of sewing machines he made, machines used the same initials but were truly different machines. We are going to focus on the series of vintage Necchi sewing machines that use BU.
There are BF machines with the same names, those are straight stitch-only machines. I don’t speak Italian and translation didn’t help with BU into English. In terms of sewing machines, it means zig-zag. There was a BDU, BU, BU Nova, BU Mira, and the Supernova BU. I don’t have a BDU and the Supernova BU does function more like a Supernova than the rest so we are going to eliminate it from this discussion. I have been told that the BDU is almost identical to the later BU so everything here should cover it. The BU uses high-shank feet while the BF uses low-shank feet.
Cabinets For Necchi BU Sewing Machines
Necchi made cabinets for the BU sewing machines. It is our belief that the only Necchi BU sewing machine we have that came in its original cabinet though is my first BU Mira. My first BU came in a cabinet that looks very similar to cabinets we’ve seen advertisements for but it lacks the hallmark “another Necchi cabinet” badge that all of our other Necchi cabinets have. Since I knew of the woman who originally bought the machine it is my belief that either her husband or son built the cabinet from the pictures or even from looking at a display model. It wasn’t uncommon during that time for sons to build that kind of cabinet in shop class and we had some amazing wood-shop teachers back then.
All Necchi machines will not fit in all Necchi cabinets though. My BUs have no problem trading tables among themselves but they don’t fit in Supernova cabinets and Supernovas don’t fit in Necchi BU cabinets.
Necchi Cornet Cabinet
The BU Mira came in a cabinet called Cornet. It has a fairly small footprint. When you pull on the handles it reveals a chair. In the chair, there is a drawer for your accessories. The one thing I don’t like about this cabinet is the chair is uncomfortable for long periods of sewing. If you don’t use the chair then you have to figure out where to put the chair.
The last cabinet we have a Necchi BU machine is an industrial table. We recently picked up a BU Nova industrial table. This is an interesting setup. The tabletop was made in Reading, PA. The clutch system was made by J&K, which we need to do more research on, which is the same as the table we have our Singer 31 in. The mechanism that works the knee lift and such are marked Italy which implies that they are made for this machine.
Oiling and Maintaining a Necchi BU
If your machine is frozen you need to go through our resurrecting sewing machines series first. Unlike a lot of vintage sewing machines, the Necchi BU manuals actually say you need to oil your machine every time you sit down to sew. I have found that with the higher quality lubricants that we have today I don’t find the need to oil every time I sew. I do oil once a week.
When you oil be sure to oil the bobbin race. If it dries out it can cause issues with your stitching. I found this out the hard way. My BU would randomly mess up. I could tell it had something in the bobbin area that wasn’t working. We checked the race for burs, we checked the case, changed cases, changed bobbins, and tried to recreate it with the speed I was sewing. There was no rhyme or reason. It finally clicked that it would go away when I oiled the race. It would come back when I had skipped that on my oil routine.
Threading Necchi BU Sewing Machines
Threading for all three machines are the same with one exception. The Mira does not have the second to last guide.
Necchi BU Bobbins and Needles
The BU machines take class 15 bobbins. They do prefer metal bobbins over plastic ones. They take a 15×1 needle. Those are the needles you can find in every store that carries needles. I do suggest, as always, a high-quality needle such as Schmetz or Klasse.
This is the OG Bu and not just in my house. This is one of the earlier BU machines putting it in the 1935 era. They were introduced in 1932 but I’m giving sometime for the machines to make it stateside. There are two versions of this BU the one shown below and the “newer” version looks like the Nova below. The difference is a BU will not have a badge like the Nova or Mira. You’ll notice the piece to the right of the machine. Remember how I said not all Necchi machines fit in all Necchi cabinets? This is a Supernova cabinet and that’s the modification we did so I could put my beloved in my recording studio.
This BU Nova was set up for light industrial work and we have kept it in that configuration. There is no difference in functionality between a BU and a BU Nova.
This machine!!!!! I stood out in a snowstorm so I could buy this at an auction. Grandma Green always said, “Not smart enough to come in from the rain”, not sure where not coming in from the snow ranked on her “dumb move scale” but I’m guessing it’s worse than rain. The Mira offered some functionality that the other BU models didn’t. You could do automatic decorative stitches with the Wonderwheel.
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The machine in the newsletter sign-up is a Necchi Nora. It does look similar to the BU machines but is not in the same family. The kitty is Vittorio, named for the man who founded Necchi sewing machines.
Frequently Asked Questions About Necchi BU Sewing Machines
Is my Necchi BU a vintage sewing machine or an antique sewing machine?
There is a lot of debate in the antique world if sewing machines should even be classified as antique but that’s an article in and of itself so we won’t debate the merit of if they should be considered or not. Antiques are considered to be over 100 years old and the Necchi Sewing Machine company was founded in 1924 which means there are no antique Necchi sewing machines. The first Necchi BU was made in 1932 so it will be 2032 before any Necchi BU is considered an antique.
Where can I look up the serial number of my Necchi BU?
You can’t. Necchi didn’t keep the meticulous records that Singer did. The dates provided for Necchi machines here are based on documentation from the company and historical documents that were translated. We don’t have a way to know the allocation dates of serial numbers.