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!

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