Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reading Material

It seems it's not enough to just work on vintage sewing machines, but now I like to read about them. So where do I go to find any real authority? There are book published but very few so I have found myself reading a few blogs but the so-called mother load of information is on the Yahoo groups sites. It seems there is a group for anything and everything but I have joined and read daily the following:

Bernina Thirty Somethings
Elna Heirloom Sewing Machines
Elna Sergers
Necchi Sewing Machine Club
Old Kenmore Sewing Machines
Old Pfaff Forum
Viking Sewing Machines pre-1980
Vintage Japan Sewing Machines
Vintage Sewing Machine Repair
Vintage Singers
We Fix It

I also belong to Treadle On but do not have their messages sent to me daily because they are too active with up to 30 messages a day! I subscribe to the digest format so once a day I get one email with all of the posts for each group for that day (if any). This gives me an overview of what's going on, if I can contribute, or when I just scan through because I don't have that model or problem. There are a few experts that chime in, always patient with the newbies, giving suggestion of what to try next. I can't help but admire their generous nature.

When it comes to books, they are more difficult to find, and usually deal with machines I'm not as interested in. BUT there are a few I do use (and like):

An online book, How to Refurbish Sewing Machines, A step-by-step guide for Singer models 66, 99, 15K & 201 is a series of pdf's that I have found very useful, especially the explanation of the tension assembly. And it's free.

One book I wish I could purchase for myself is Sincere's Sewing Machine Service Book but it's selling for $200 now so I will have to settle for inter-library loan. Never mind that the last edition was in 1974, it covers many of the classics like the Singers listed above plus the Featherweight, White, New Homes, Sears, Wards, Western Auto, Pfaff 130,230,360, Riccar, Adler, Elna, Necchi, and many Japanese models. The diagrams are good and the explanations are fairly clear. But $200? Not at this time!

There is a list of recommended books at ISMAC that you might find interesting. You might find the whole ISMAC site interesting but I think it's poorly designed and laid out yet it still contains a wealth of information.

Sorry there are no pretty pictures of sewing machines or projects in this post but maybe you will take a look at some of these recommendations and learn something new as I have!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Anybody Got a Dime?

Once in awhile I get asked if I have any machines to "practically give away" and the answer is yes, I do. Because people give me sewing machines, there are times when I can give one away. If I had to put a sizable amount of money back into them (i.e.Elna power cord and foot control for $87) I think I need to charge for that so free to me isn't always free. But here's a selection I have currently that I would consider free (now don't bombard me with requests!):
Kenmore 158-13450

The Kenmore has a nice variety of basic stitches to give it enough versatility. It sews quite nicely but it's got a few scratches on the top and it's missing the extension table so it's always free-arm ready!

Singer 237

 The Singer 237  is a great retro sewing machine, having a straight stitch and zig zag. It's in good shape but doesn't have the carrying case that's in this photo but I have cabinets in the garage I would love to give away.

 
White (no model #!)
The White sewing machine has a fatal flaw of a cracked part so it stitches great but only the basic stitches and no stretch stitches. It comes with a manual and the extension table is intact. It will get the job done but if you need the stretch stitches, you are going to have to use a small zig zag.

There is nothing wrong with getting a free sewing machine that doesn't have all the bells and whistles but will still work for you. Most of the time we are only straight stitching and a bit of zig zag so all the other stitches are just a bit of frills. Do I enjoy making all those fancy stitches? Of course! But the majority of my sewing is straight stitch with an occasional buttonhole and some blind hem stitching. For free, you might take a few flaws and see how much you like sewing before you sink any more money into a hobby you might not actually enjoy. But I have heard people say they have been sewing on that old Singer 237, 457, etc. for 30 years and feel there's no need to trade theirs in for a newer model. And to that I have to say "To each his own."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Generosity

From time to time sewing machines are donated to me to fix up or just to give them to a better home. Maybe this happens a lot to me, but I'm usually pretty happy about it and find a use for someone's cast-off. A co-worker approached me several weeks ago about her mother's old machine and I said sure, bring it over sometime. While I was at work yesterday she reminded me about the machine and I said I'd come over tonight to her house and pick them up but, no, she had them in her car so I could get them now. Sounded good to me so as we traveled over to where she parked her car and I heard more of the story I started to get pretty interested in what I might find. She said her mom had an old machine that was giving her "problems" and she bought a new one and didn't want this one back. But the other sewing machine (oh boy, now there are two!) was from the man her mother recently married, both having been widowed and found new love in their 80's. She said the machine was his first wife's and was different. It had little drawers for the feet and such so maybe if the sewing machine wasn't worth anything one of his daughters wanted to see if the feet would fit one of her sewing machines. Fair enough.

She opened up the trunk of her car and I just couldn't help it, my heart started to beat faster, because there was a while plastic carrying case and a green suitcase next to it. Yup, the tell-tale Bernina carrying case. Now let's all have a silent scream together: IT WAS A BERNINA 730 RECORD!

Bernina 730 Record (it's green, not beige)
I explained what a valuable sewing machine this was, thanked her over and over again, and she assured me they really didn't want them or have any interest in selling them on Craigslist or ebay. The poor sewing machine in the while plastic case was a White, nothing special, and when I got it home and worked with it I found out it has a cracked part that keeps it from shifting from the regular stitches to the stretch stitches. Yes, there were problems, as her mother tried to explain, since it still worked but would not make all of the stitches. Oh well, I will think about that one later.

When I got the 730 Record out of the suitcase, I could see it had the extension table to fit over the free arm and the "sewing kit" which is the set of swing open "drawers" my friend was referring to. They held all of the accessories, mainly the extra feet, but this one included a hoop for embroidery. Very nice. Then I found the service ticket from 2010 which said the light was broken: no charge. Yes, the light is broken, in fact, you can't even move the switch so it's probably not the connections but the switch itself. Bummer. So I look up in ebay to find another light but no luck yet I do find a light with a magnatized anchor and 20 led lights with a power cord. This might work just fine in the end. It really does stitch nice so I look inside and find black shreds. This is no mouse this time:
What a mess!

Close-up of belt: shredding on left
The upper belt has started to come apart, exposing the black rubbery core. The bottom belt is getting brittle, too, so I'm going to try and replace both of them. Of note, others say this isn't too difficult so I hope I don't mess anything up since this is a very fine machine and it's easy to get things slightly out of balance. All-in-all, it was a very generous donation and a wonderful sewing machine that can be brought back to life for about $50, the cost of two of the specialty feet for these older Berninas. Yep, worth it!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Portable

Do you like to travel? How about with your sewing machine? I've had the opportunity to repair choir robes but due to their size it works better if I travel to the robes instead of bringing them home with me. At spring break last year I spend about ten hours with my sewing machine in a hallway sewing zippers down and mending split seams on sleeves. At that time I took my Singer Featherweight with me:
Singer 221 the Featherweight
Somehow it made the job a little more fun! For the summer months I've been asked again if I can tackle the rest of the robes and I said "Sure, I'll have all summer to work on them." I got the keys and went to look at the scope of the job. Oh oh, there are 14 polyester robes and 74 velvet robes. Although each one is marked with what needs to be done, it's still a daunting task. Today I decided I better get started so I had to decide if I wanted to take the Featherweight again or.....?

When you have as many sewing machines as I do it seems like it might be a bit overwhelming but I came up with my victim model pretty fast: the Singer 354 Genie:
Here she is out of her carrying case
I wrote about her in an earlier post on 3/4 sized sewing machines but I hadn't taken her out since then and I wanted to see how she would sew on these difficult fabrics and situations. She has a nice feel, similar to the Singer 401,403, 404 series, and handled the polyester just fine. I did find the backstitch button to be stiff, having to keep it down firmly if you want to replicate the stitch you just did other wise it made teeny tiny stitches (which aren't too bad if you just want to lock in your stitches).

So here is where I worked today:

You can see the Genie on a table to the left and the massive rack with 88 robes. Now wait a minute, the piano sits between the sewing machine and robes and it has 88 keys. There's some symmetry going on there, right? Today only found the 14 girls choir robes finished and I've recruited a co-worker to help me on the velvet robes since it looks like I might have to spend every weekend doing this if I don't have help. Now which sewing machine should I take next time?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Craft Fairs

With so many sewing machines I find it harder and harder to actually sit down to sew. I could spend all of my time tinkering with and selling those I already have but the whole point of it was to find a better sewing machine for the sewing I already loved to do. Since I've always enjoyed sewing as a creative activity, it doesn't stop just because your kids grow up and no longer need you to provide clothing or if your closet is full of perfectly good clothing. There are only so many pillows your home needs and friends and family do get tired of your home-made gifts after awhile. So what's a body to do? Enter craft fairs and shows! This has been a great outlet for the wide variety of crafts I do so my sale list includes:

Rag dolls
Quilted hot-mitts pot holders
Quilted tea cozies
Knitted baby back-zip sweaters
Knitted sock-monkey cup cozy
As you can imagine, there's a learning curve to this business, too. Marketing, marketing, marketing! How things are displayed is of the highest importance. If they can't see it, or it doesn't catch the attention of a passerby, it might as well be under the table. My sister's advise rings true: vary height, suggest reasons for buying, have reorder cards. After a we-didn't-break-even event this spring, we decided if we are going to continue in this part of the business I need to get down to business.
  • Lighting: spotlight, rope lights, lights, lights, lights!
  • Uniform table covers that are a backdrop, not competing with the product
  • Gift displays: Teacher gifts: jar sewing kits, teabag holders, hot mitts or New Moms: baby sweater, jar sewing kit, rag dolls (for child at home) or Grandmothers: tea cozy, hot mitts
  • Talk to customers: compliment something they have, purchase they made, ask what kind of an item they are interested in, suggest items (could be from another booth) to be genuinely helpful
  • Charge capability: open a Square account or PayPal so they can pay another way & postthier ability to charge it
I'm very please to get into one of the biggest craft shows in November but I had to be at one of their smaller ones in March to get my foot in the door. Here is my daughter, Kelly, and I at Salem Covenant Church last November where we did fantastic:
Hard to believe we did so well with this set-up!

Loved the gridwall for extra vertical space

Kelly with some of her jewelry
So I'm still learning and didn't always appreciate the helpful comments by my husband but he is right: we need to market this better if we expect better end results. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comparing Apple to Apples?

Although I'm new to using a serger, having an Elna Pro 5DC, I couldn't resist the urge to purchase another one, this time a Bernette Funlock 004D. I was hoping to compare apples to apples but it's more like comparing a red delicious to a honeycrisp apple: they are both apples but taste way different!
Funlock 004D
For starters, the Elna has an LCD panel to show all the stitches it can do with the corresponding settings. This is a great idea but it might be due to the very poor manual that doesn't even tell you how to change a needle! It also doesn't display everything on the panel so that lovely readout is limited but, still, it's really, really nice. Now that I've learned how to use it for a 4 needle overlock stitch, I haven't figured out how to do anything else! I think it's easy to thread with the chart right on the machine with no tricky thread placements. Mine came with a nice pad that it sits on with an opening for a handy bag to catch the scraps. But still, I would like to learn how to make a rolled hem or any other kind of hem.
Elna Pro5DC
Now the lovely Bernette comes to live/visit at my house and she is pretty nice, too. Bernette is a division of Bernina, a well known and loved maker of fine sewing machines so we already have a high opinion as she enters the door. She travels with a soft sided bag, small pouch of accessories, and a manual. This one had the bonus of a Singer book on using a serger and I've gotten some good ideas and tips from this book, too. I have trouble with the thread breaking on only one needle so I keep trying and finally find out I missed one step in the threading and it was crucial: thread goes behind, not over, the other looper. Once I get that straight she sews good but will need more adjustment of tensions that I can get from either the manual or the colorful Singer book. But I still want a serger to make a rolled hem and with the Bernette I can follow the directions and get it to work. The first sample is a firm fabric and I'm not impressed but when I change to a silky lining fabric, it does exactly what you would expect: a fine rolled hem on fabric you cannot do this with so easily. Wow.

Maybe I can go back and make these changes on the Elna now that I have some measure of success with the BB (Bernette by Bernina). Here's a sample of rolled hem on both machines and a narrow hem on the Elna:

Top: narrow hem on Elna, middle: rolled hem on Elna, Bottom: rolled hem on BB

They all turn out pretty nice, especially for a first try! A rolled hem on a silky fabric (navy) is nearly impossible and this one, even with regular serger cone thread is pretty nice; think of what it would be like with a wooly thread like they recommend. Next is the rolled hem using the Elna and on a piece of interfacing to see how sheer would look. Finally, the narrow hem with the Elna is on a piece of bias cut cotton and it also passes inspection. They all look different so maybe I will have to just keep sewing on them to see how I can apply the different effects. They really are fun to use and the problem of threading? Just have 2 sergers, one with light thread and one with dark. Simple!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Cutting Edge

Sewing machines are not the only thing I end up with when I buy a machine, especially one in a cabinet. Lately I have found several pairs of scissors that have been quite good. Of course for every good pair there's a bad pair but I've been especially lucky to have found more good than bad.

Remember electric scissors? I used a pair in high school when I made a jumper for a friend out of a fairly stiff double knit fabric. She loaned me the pair, having been advised I was going to need them. As it turned out, I didn't think they worked very well so I used the scissors I knew how to use. I thought maybe they were a thing of the past but I did come across a pair with a vintage  machine that had an electric cord and still worked. They worked quite well and it's possible I will put them to use when cutting something especially heavy or difficult. But just two week ago I found a pair in a cabinet that weren't very old since they were battery operated and the batteries were dated 2002. We found new AA batteries and away they went:

Battery and electric scissors make a come-back
I tried the battery Singer scissors to cut out a dress and it took a little getting used to. The end result was okay but not perfect so I hope my mother-in-law's dress is flexible enough to allow for some smaller-than-intended sizing. Yet the fun factor was there and I hope to continue to practice with them.

Pinking shears are another tool that is either loved or hated. It seems they get out of alignment or dull too quickly or are just hard on your hands if the fabric is too heavy. I have a very nice pair I've used for years but when two more pairs showed up  this spring I was happy to put them to the test. Both were Fiskars and seems a bit stiff but cut right through almost any fabric you would want to use pinking shears on.

Fiskar pinking shears, top with comfort grip
Since I now have a serger, though, I might be finishing my seams with it instead of pinking the edge but then I would have to change the method of construction and I don't know if I want to change that much! Back to pinking the edges.

The best find of all was a pair of Singer scissors that were in a Singer 401A cabinet with several pairs of scissors that were terrible and now assigned to the garage (don't need much of an edge to cut open bags or twine). Not expecting much,  with such a low preconceived opinion, they could only go up, way up, when I used them.

Singer shears
They are sharp, precise, easy to grip for comfort, an all around great pair of cutters. They are my new best scissors. From Singer? I hadn't thought Singer had made anything good in the last thirty years but wait, those battery powered scissors were Singer also. Now I have to sit back and consider that Singer might be missing the boat on good sewing machines (please don't buy one at JoAnn Fabrics, please) but they might be still making some items worthwhile. So much for brand support or dismay: everything needs to be judged on its own merits.

New-to-me cutting implements
As a final word, I'm left handed so I don't just pick up any pair of scissors and use them comfortably. But there is something new: a design to fit either hand that is more comfortable that just left handed scissors. There's supposed to be about 10% of the population that ends up left-handed so it's pretty amazing we have had special scissors at all!

Monday, July 21, 2014

So Many Machines, So Little Time

Non-sewing people ask "Why do you have so many sewing machines? Do you use them all?" and I can hardly blame them. It's the kind of thing anyone says when they don't understand how a hobby might actually work. This is my opportunity to explain. Or maybe defend myself? Who knows!

For quilting, nothing beats a built in walking foot like the Pfaff:

My Pfaff 1222

IDT system of walking foot
I have tried to go back to the add on walking foot attachment but it just doesn't compare to this system, written about earlier in this post. Now to using a serger. If you have never tried one, they are great at seaming with a sturdy seam and a ready to go finish since it sews and trims as it goes. Perfect!

My Elna Pro 5DC
I was having a bit of trouble with this one earlier this week but I changed the needles (not explained in the manual!) and found out the foot was not firmly attached so think that was the cause of breaking thread. You might remember when I first got this serger or read about it in this post. Onto my main sewing machine, the Viking 1100:

My Viking 1100
Here's an explanation of how I used these machine just this week. I was making a toaster cover for a friend so I used the Pfaff to quilt the pieces together and sew on the bias binding. She wants a cover for her standing mixer so I will need to use the Viking to sew the pieces together and add a special stitch boarder with cassettes that snap in and out of the top right of the machine:
Stitch card A on Viking

 Cards B, C, D

Card A allows you to do all of the basic stitches of straight, zigzag, stretch stitches, and buttonholes. Cards B and C are uppercase letters for monograms, and card D has fancy stitches like roses on a vine, for really special effects.


When making tote bags out of calendar towels, I use the serger for the seams, the Viking for the corners of the bag and lining, the fancy stitches for the handles or around the top edge, and the Viking for the final stitching of the bag to the lining. Here's a sample bag:

Isn't that reason enough for 2 sewing machines? Now here's what I did with the toaster cover:
Ready for final hem binding
Once I get the final height measurement I can put the binding on and maybe a decorative stitching around the binding? We shall see!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Males and Females

The joys of electrical connections! But I am not joyful. On New Years Day, we have our neighbors over for home-made donuts for a nice end to the holiday season and a way for us to connect before we all go inside for the winter and only see each other passing by in our cars. Our next door neighbor, Bob, has a long history with sewing machines since his own dad repaired them for a school district. We showed him the Damascus, a sleek beauty with a potted motor (potted motor = stuck on the back but integrated into the machine, not a separate piece you can trade out) and in good physical shape. Here's where the male and female parts come in: the electric plugs at the motor have one male, one female. The male outlet needs a female plug for the foot control and the female outlet need a male plug for the connection to the electric outlet in the wall.

We only got the foot control part so no connection to the electric source. We took it all apart with Bob's help to see if we could change the outlets/plugs but didn't see how that was possible so it got put into a box and there it sits. Until now. Same machine, different name, potted motor, both the same male and female plugs came up on Goodwill Online Auction this week and, yes, I did win it. No shipping & handling charge since I can drive into their center in St. Paul to pick it up so it's more affordable and I could bid a bit higher than others. For under $20 she came home with me today.

1st Damascus on left, auction item on right
 Now I have the electric plug so I can finally test this all out. The plug end looks okay but the wires will need to be fixed but that should be okay, too.
female left, male right
Very funky foot control, too!
Even the foot controls are different with the bottom of the shoe shape and weird vented box on the side. But things don't go as I expected when I cannot get the motor back into the sewing machine. The carbon brushes are out, nothing to obstruct, but it doesn't go in. While I wait for inspiration to strike I start to turn the hand wheel and find out this thing barely moves. I get it oiled and keep trying to keep things moving but they haven't moved in a long time and are reluctant to start now. I go back to the machine from the auction and it moves great, of course. So the machine that looks great is not moving, motor pulled out (and not going back in too well) but the machine that looks crummy is moving right along. Oh boy, now I have a dilemma. Keep working on the bright shiny model or try to clean up the poor one in hopes of getting it to work? No! I will not give up but will find a way to get that motor back inside and working again. It isn't going to be easy so stay tuned. Just like in all relationships it's not always about the obvious but it's the little things that can do us in!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Look What $5 Will Buy

Kenmore 158-1211
Here's the last purchase I made on Craigslist. No power cord, no photo, but a sad story of giving up on her desire to sew. Good intentions started out with this sewing machine but after a move and a lost power cord, that was the last straw. I took a chance, hoping I had a Kenmore power cord that would match, so I picked it up after work, about a 15 minute drive, and she came home with me.

As I sat in slow traffic and she was next to me in the passengers seat, I couldn't resist grabbing a screwdriver and taking the top off. One plastic gear but very clean so I was encouraged. Once home I had about 20 minutes to eat dinner and get to yoga class but I managed to run downstairs with her and find a power cord. Yup, there was one from a sewing machine that was iffy (could I get it working better?) so it was tried and run for a few minutes. It sounded okay, a little slow from the long wait to be used. After yoga, where I had a difficult time emptying my mind of other thoughts (she kept calling to me "Karen, Karen...), I came home to check her out better. While the inside of the machine might have been clean, the other openings revealed she was pretty dirty with packed-in lint and threads. Here's where my handy vacuum cleaner attachment comes in to suck out all the link and thread bits. Now I had to take the bottom covers off to see how much else there was and I'm glad I did because it really needed a suction treatment!
Kenmore 158-1211 bobbin area cleaned up
  It appears she needed more oil and gentle treatment to get the rattley noises out. When there is that much lint present, it can actually insulate noise and help a sewing machine sound better. Not work better, just sound better! Now that it's all clean you can hear those parts touching each other and adjustments need to be made. All cleaned up, running great, I emailed the last owner back and told her that she did have a nice sewing machine, thanks for her kindness in passing it along, and I will see that it gets a new home with someone who can't afford even a $50 sewing machine. She wrote back and said she was glad it was going to someone who could use it.

Not an exciting story, no great secrets revealed, but isn't this just like most of our lives? We are just moving forward (like there is a choice?), helping along the way, getting a few moments to smile, rejoice, get frustrated, keep going, and somehow manage to feel good about what we do.

Monday, July 14, 2014

There's Tension in the Air

There is always a bit of tension when someone says "there are tension issues" when describing a sewing machine. There is a bit of art in learning how to adjust the tension for various stitches and fabric and I'm afraid many people just don't spend the time to learn how it is done on their particular sewing machine, let alone perfect the art of adjustments. In the repair of sewing machines, this can be a deal breaker, for sure. Recently, I sold a sewing machine to a relative via email photos. He wanted a black sewing machine and he already had a desk to drop it into. I knew he would love a Singer model 15 or one of its clones. Enter our contestant for today:
Model 15 faceplate with tension assembly
A very nice model 15 with a cloverleaf design. I stitched a few sample stitches and it worked fine but was dirty so I removed the faceplate that has the tension assembly attached to it, towards the back of the machine. Upon reassembly, it won't stitch, acting like it is not threaded correctly. I discover it's not engaging the tension disks so I remove it again , examine, retest (all of this several times) before I go find my source of tension adjustments for older sewing machines. The hold up seems to be the pin you can barely see in the photo below:
Small pin in center of tension assembly
That pin should engage with the release lever for the foot, riding in a groove or small hole. there is no small hole so I check out another model 15 and it looks like the one below (Ms. Cloverleaf) and it works fine. Back to the offending pin: it does not engage or release, there is no pin hole for insertion. As per instructions, I could tap it into place but it's just one long slide piece, not a groove.
You bet I now have a tension headache! Sometimes I have completely removed the tension assembly from the machine and replaced it with one from a donor machine (bet you didn't know I was a transplant doctor) so I haven't gone looking for one yet but discouragement is growing. I have another Singer 15 in moderate cosmetic shape that could be substituted but that's a bit like offering Miss Didn't-make-the-pageant in place of Miss America. It will work in the end but sure aint purty.

This is my dilemma today: keep working with present tension assembly, find a donor, or offer a different sewing machine to my relative. Not excited about any of them but who said this would be exciting every  day? Well, I'm going to pick up a Kenmore 158-1211 after work that doesn't have a foot control or cords but hope seems to spring up anyway. Maybe I already have a plug that would work!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

She's Wired

Sometimes I wonder if I like the handcrank and treadle (termed "people powered" amongst their fans) sewing machines because I don't have to worry about the electrical connections. Today I decided to put my new-found electrical skills to the test. I have a section of the work area with machines labeled for various wiring jobs and picked two out that I thought I could successfully tackle. Here are some before photos of the offending parts:
Cracked rubber casing exposes wiring

Wires between motor and 3 prong receptical
The motors were opened, inspected, cleaned out but re-wiring was not in order just some electrical tape as reinforcement.
Motor insides are quite mysterious

After the motor was reassembled, now came the part I was most unsure about since I had placed the cords in the wrong 1,2,and 3 prong spots before. I made a diagram on a post-it:
Not an artist but accuracy was the skill
I second guess myself on the foot control wire so asked hubby for his opinion and changed it back.
Success!
I plugged everything in, got the motor and light firmly attached, and hit the gas. Okay, so I made quite a few adjustments before it ran smoothly but here's the Singer 15 now all ready to go:
Singer 15
With this much success I tackled the next one with similar problems but this time the motor was newer and slightly different. It did not want to come together but I finally got it to work but not too smoothly. This is where my research helped because they said after you run it awhile the bearings will adjust and they were right. Here's both the Singer 15 and 66 (second sewing machine to get wiring):
Neither of them are beauties cosmetically but the 15 is a great machine and sews beautifully so a few wear marks on her are fine. Now the 66 is a different story because it has initials scratched into it; I think this will be my first paint job. It's amazing what a little success can lead you to try!

Where to Begin

So many parts in wiring a Pfaff 130
I was so proud to finally find a Pfaff 130 that I almost disregarded the state it was in. Not to be too discouraged, I got the price down to what it was worth at this stage of disrepair, but I would need to put  quite a bit of time into the cabinet as well as the machine itself. The cabinet is another very long story of grief I wrote about in this post but today I will address the sewing machine itself. Hubby and I looked over the wiring, knowing it had to be replaced, determining we would have to order a new set of wires. Order was done and I had to wait only a few days but it was with bated breathe. On the day it arrived you can see by the mess on the kitchen table what happened.
Wires done wrong!
In discussion about how electrical wiring works, I followed my husbands advice but didn't dare try it out until he checked it over. Glad I waited until he did because the next photo notes the wrong way to put the light and motor wires onto the three pins. We tested and reversed wires until it was running correctly.
While waiting, I cleaned the part of the machine that would be more difficult to clean when the light and motor were put back on but you can see it's in pretty poor condition with paint bubbling up and peeling off the bed. This is not acceptable for sewing when paint chips off onto your fabric! I fear we are looking at a new paint job. Will this sewing machine be worth it?
Note poor paint condition on bed

Stitch sample
With the wiring all done and put back together I got it all oiled up and started to sew. Many adjustments later and warming up in general (how long had she been on that porch before coming home to me?) I finally got it to sew. Note the fine stitches I got right from the first! It's a honey of a sewing machine and will be worth a repaint job.
Her papers

I even took a photo of the paperwork that came with her (no longer an "it" but now a "her"!), noting it was bought on April 28, 1953. The cabinet model number is 144,  The Californian, so modern, so new. It's not love but it's certainly admiration that I have for this old girl who is going to enjoy getting spiffed up.