Saturday, August 30, 2014

Return to Sender

I have never had to return a sewing machine. I might have wanted to but was not able to go back to the garage sale or it was a thrift store with "no returns or exchanges" policy. But now I have a sewing machine that I was initially enthralled with until...

Kenmore 158-16540
...I found out it only goes backwards! Augh! Again? Yes, I seem to be cursed with this syndrome but this time it looks like there is something actually missing. They do have a 14 day return policy at this store and I think since it didn't have any cords or foot controls with it AND it has this fatal flaw, I will be returning it. Sigh.

Sorry for the delay in posting this week but I was rear ended on my way to work and this necessitated a few days of rest (no sewing machines!). I'm fine but my car isn't so we might be spending time car shopping if it gets totaled. So now I finally could spend more time with this sewing machine and found out a few things. There was a switch on the back with plus and minus marks that didn't seem to be working. I took it apart and moved the mechanism, finding I could make some adjustments. This hooked into the reverse mechanism so I hoped it would have some effect. Success! It now stitches forward. It wasn't reading the cam like it should, not following the movement of the cam so the left side of a zig zag was distorted. It also didn't return to zero stitch width from a 4 (widest) setting. Much oil and and application of heat with a hair blow dryer and it moved better but not enough. Best to sleep on it.
Cam in place but not working right
 This morning I couldn't wait to try her out and what-do-you-know overnight the lubrication worked and it now would return from the widest zig zag right down to a zero for straight stitch! The cam mechanism was still a bit slow but in the many times around and my coaxing it to follow, it finally kicked in and moved as it should. Here's a photo of the inside with the zig zager on the left and the cam on the top of the photo:

It stitched very nice with hardly an adjustment to the tension. Success! When I tried other cams it had problems when they had forward and backward action (that stuck in reverse problem again!) but I can continue to work with it. This machine needs a cabinet so I will haul it out to the garage to see which one of the 12 cabinets stored there  would fit best.

So no return to send, another sewing machine was rescued, but where did I get a set of cams for this model? They were the $3 set I got for the Kenmore 158-1980. I know I was pretty excited when I found them but I ended up finding another set for the Kenmore 158-1980 with complete buttonholer and all the feet for only $20 on Ebay. See, it does all work out in the end.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


It's wonderful to get to work on a sewing machine that you didn't have to buy or wonder about selling it. Last week I finally got the chance to help a friend out who had a sewing machine she just couldn't get to work. After agreeing to "take a look" several weeks went by before we finally connected and by then we were both in a rush. She just handed me the machine and said maybe she just had the wrong sized bobbin in it and I had a glimmer of hope that it might not be much of a problem after all. Imagine my surprise when I got home and took the cover off to find a Pfaff:

Pfaff Elastic 6091
It looked in decent shape so I plugged it in but didn't want to move anything until I looked at the bobbin. In order to get to the bobbin, I needed to remove the front storage container but I couldn't get it open! Try as I might I just couldn't figure it out so after I walked away and came back it looked a bit easier and I just flipped up the lid and slid it out. Sometimes the easiest things can be most perplexing. I took a look at the problem bobbin and sure enough bobbin case had a style 66 bobbin in it instead of a special Pfaff. In looking at my own Pfaff 1222 I could see they were the same and fit the same so it was just a matter of the right bobbin. The case goes in in such a way that the little arm, or protrusion, points right instead of up as most sewing machines are made. Problem solved so I started it up and made some very nice stitches. It sounded very "mechanical" with a bit of a whine about it but I put it away until I had more time.

When I took another try at the Pfaff 6091 it still sounded funny so I took the top off and looked inside, oiling moving points and greasing the metal gears. I turned the hand wheel a few times and once it got stuck but moved forward again. That didn't seem right so I looked at the wheel closely and what did I find? A presser foot! There it was, stuck in a small cavity next to the wheel. I fished it out and tried the machine again: perfect pitch.

Here's what had happened (beyond someone dropping a foot down into an open top sewing machine). The Pfaff is known for its IDT, Independent Dual Transport, or it's own built-in walking foot. I wrote about it earlier, comparing it to a walking foot attachment. I don't change the feet on mine or disengage it so I wasn't sure what I was looking at but here was the set-up when I got the sewing machine:
The IDT is the black bar on the left in the photo above with the regular foot on the foot attachment. It made fine stitches but wasn't using the best feature of the machine.  I couldn't attach it and sew with the IDT. Then I found the foot lost, or hiding, inside the sewing machine and compared it to the foot currently on the machine:

Left: regular foot; right: IDT foot
You can see the regular foot is closed in the back so I couldn't attach the IDT but the IDT foot has an opening, just waiting for the IDT to be engaged. I put it on and it worked as they are supposed to, feeding the top fabric at the same rate and the bottom fabric. Success!
IDT attached to the correct open back foot
The stitches were a nice quality but there were no choices for stitch width except for a regular zigzag, somewhat of a downfall for me but it still produced all of the stitches you would want for normal sewing and did them well. On the stitch length dial, if you went past the buttonhole setting, you could find a section labeled "stretch" if you wanted to engage those stitches, nearly doubling the number of stitches.

Now I can return this fine sewing machine to it's user, it was really her sisters, knowing it will work for her with a selection of 4 Pfaff bobbins, a cleaning plus oil and grease where needed. And I got to play with a Pfaff, free of charge (or guilt).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mistaken Identity

The Singer Sewing Machine Company seemed to have a pattern in their numbering of models and then sometimes it seemed to be a bit random. Their 101, 201, 301, 401, 500 were all top-of-the-line (TOL) when they first came out. The subsequent models were lesser versions to some extent. The 301 is the darling of most sewers because of its versatility and lighter weight, yet the 306 has additional stitches with flat cams. The Singer 401, my all time favorite, is fully loaded with some built-in stitches and an extension of stitches with the add on cams. The subsequent numbers have less built in right down to the 404 which is straight stitch only. And now for the point of all this ruminating, the Singer 500, know as the Rocketeer, has all the features with the next-in-line having fewer built-ins. Imagine my delight when I find what appears to be a Rocketeer for only $20 at a local thrift store. The carrying case is pretty banged up and the latches are gone but the machine runs! Here she is, waiting to be cleaned up:

Singer 503 before cleaning
I notice she doesn't have the built-in stitches like my 401 and then it dawns on me: this is a 503, not a 500. But it has the sleek look and whole top opens, not just a door as per the 401.While I'm now a bit disappointed, I still think I have a real find so I proceed to clean her up. This takes quite a bit of the evening because she's been neglected and is dirty inside and out. I finally get her clean and start to sew. Hummm, the tension is taking a bit of adjustment and I finally have to change the bobbin tension before it sews an even zig zag on the top and bottom. I love the sound of these machines, all gear driven, and with some grease on those gears she can really move. I still have to play with different needles and weight of fabric but so far she's really nice to sew with:

Singer 503 after cleaning
Maybe I should call her a Rocketeer Jr. or how about a Rockette? Let's hope she doesn't dance across the table but she does perform well and is a beauty to behold!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sing Joyfully

Here's what I wrote in preparation for a post about mending the choir robes, a job that I have taken on for the school where I work:

This weekend is being devoted to repairing choir robes. The whole weekend is needed because there are 78 robes that need some form of repair. This is too big a task for just me so I have recruited a co-worker, Erica, to come help. Erica has her own Etsy shop, making a variety of items like wool mittens from re-purposed sweaters, candles in teacups, and her own jewelry. Trust me, she has the skills to hand sew a few hundred snaps. All of the satin "collars" are at home now, waiting for their frayed edged to be hand sewn back together and Velcro repaired or replaced with a sewing machine. My original Kenmore 158-1780 never liked Velcro but I have found most other sewing machines are just fine with this fuzzy little wonder. I will put a movie or two into the DVD player or find a TV series on Amazon Prime to keep me company as I do all that hand stitching at home. One afternoon Erica and I will find ourselves in the windowless band room sewing on snaps and mending rips: I hope to be almost done when the weekend is done so I can get back to my own craft business and fixing those sewing machines I love.

Erica and I did work one afternoon and the grand total of finished robes: ten. TEN  That is not enough! I took three home for extensive rips around the zipper, replaced a zipper in one robe, still have over 30 satin collars to hand sew and then there is the Velcro...and this is just what is home, for now. I will have to spend all of Saturday and Sunday afternoon just to make a dent in the 78 robes. Now we are starting to prioritize the work by saying some items on the list aren't going to be done, such as torn stitching on the lining inside of a yoke. It doesn't show and doesn't effect the wear much either, so it's not going to be done.Here's a stack of the collars waiting for hand stitching:

Satin collars
Note they are on the arm of a recliner where I had just finished watching a movie but this is still what's left to do! Here are seven robes I took home (and finished) because they needed more extensive repair, such as hems and rips:

Choir robes hanging up in my basement
They are so large I need to put them up high to keep them out of the way. They go back as soon as possible, too.  I was productive enough today that I know I can  finish this job but next time I will either 1. start jobs like this earlier or 2. ask for more details to see how much time it might take. But, then again, I'm a sucker for saying yes to help someone out, too. Tonight I am weary of these robes but I hope to see them in use at the Christmas concert where they will stand too far away for me to see any of the details!

Painting the Town: part 8

At some point you just have to say "Stop!" and get on with your life. That point has now come for the repainting of the Singer 66 when it comes to the clear coats of spray paint. There are still some non-shiny parts but they are where you are not touching (underneath the arm) on a regular basis so it seems a bit insignificant to me. The bed looked as good as I have seen so far so I removed the tape to see how it would look. Of course, now the metal parts need a good cleaning with metal polish and I still have to finish up the bobbin winder and belt shield but here she is, in all her repainted splendor (so far):

Singer 66 with final clear coat

Singer 66 with shine on the bed (looks a bit glassy?)
I can tell it needs to set-up for several weeks to get it to the usable stage. It feels just a bit soft yet so I know that paint needs to "age" a bit and I'm willing to put it all back together and then set it aside while the paint really gets firm enough not to worry about pins, etc.

So far I am pleased. Yes, you can see the edges of some of the decals but I'm not going to pretend it's not a repaint and we all know it's my first so I'm learning along with you. I hope this has been a good series of posts and you would like to attempt this yourself. Allow plenty of time and be patient because the longer it takes you the better the outcome! Total cost was under $40.
Singer 66 with some of her metal back on

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When It Rains It Pours

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you know about my love for Viking sewing machines. I can't explain why but I have tried out so many others that are said to be wonderful: Bernina, Necchi, Pfaff, and Elna in particular. They are fine sewing machines and have their classic models that I've tried but nothing calls to me quite like a Viking sewing machine.

Last night I come home to a nice package with belts I ordered for a Bernina 730 Record, Necchi BU, and Pfaff 130. This was going to be a fun evening trying these belts out, especially on the Bernina. But first I needed to get to my yoga class so I tore out, stopping at the local Goodwill on my way. I usually don't make stops before class but this time I decided I could squeeze it in. You know where this story is going by now. Yup, there was a Viking in a gray suitcase, very dirty, but with the extension table. Upon a closer look I could see the foot control was gone but it was a model 6020! I have several of these but for parts maybe? I did walk away once but came back to plug it in and the light went on. It was mine.

It was hard to empty my mind while in yoga due to my excitement but I managed to hold it all together until I got home. I had to wipe it off just to begin to look at it but that's how this usually goes. The hand wheel moved but there was a hitch in the movement so I took things slow, cleaning at bit inside but it wasn't too bad in comparison to the outside, oiling and moving things along. I go find another foot control and plug it in: she not only runs, she sounds good! I put it back together, turn the dials, put some fabric in and now's when I find out it only goes backwards. No problem since I have already dealt with this issue and feel confident I can release the buttonhole mechanism to get it moving forward again. I did look in the back to see if the cam gear was cracked, a favorite failing point, but it was intact as far as I could tell. Of course, it came with only the extension table, no feet, not even the adapter for the snap-on feet, but it did come with one bobbin and the A stitch selector cam. Not bad for my $20 investment. Besides, I might just find a foot control at a different store, as I wrote about in earlier posts on Morse and Kenmore sewing machines. Here she is after testing (I know, seen one seen them all):
Viking 6020 (again)
What a day; I never did get to the belts that were waiting for me.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Alignment

Isn't it wonderful when everything just lines up and the world seems straightened out? Just for a moment? That has happened many times for me and it happened again yesterday. On Saturday I bought a Kenmore 158-1980 with only the foot control, no accessories, but it's such a great sewing machine I figured I could fairly easily buy the cams, buttonhole attachment, and other bits and pieces. I even tried out cams from another machine to make sure the top-hat, or C-cams, would work and they did. Of course, buying each of those kits would be anywhere from $10 to $30 on Ebay but I'm patient and can wait for the bargain. The bargain came just the next day.

As per usual, I stopped at one of my regular thrift stores to find no sewing machines but there was a familiar light green box that I recognized as a Kenmore set of accessories. The top was just the plastic molded form, the regular lid was missing, that should have held a buttonhole attachment but there were no parts, just the formed plastic insert. But when I lifted it up there was a set of 21 cams in light green, top hat style, with a few miscellaneous screw drivers and other parts. These were going to fit the Kenmore 158-1980, I was sure of it. Even though I scoured the store for the rest of this set, especially the sewing machine that should be there, nothing else could be found. No price was on this box but it was taken in the back and priced it at $2.99. That's right, a mere $3 for the nearly full set of cams. I almost floated out to my car, I was so delighted.
Buttonhole set on left with lid, inset with cams underneath
The full buttonholer was from another sewing machine, just used in these photos for comparison. What I found at the store is on the right in the above photo

Opened up, buttonholer left with cams on right
What about the buttonholer? I can't quite figure out which model should be used with this sewing machine but I have two more sets to try out, having rejected two I have already tried.  But these things take time and I will come up with the right model, hoping it's one I already have due to a mistaken earlier purchase, as shown below:
Another buttonholer what might fit?
With every triumph there is a fall or fly-in-the-ointment so here is my next irritation/disappointment/fly.
The Singer 66 repaint is finally coming to an end with the final coat of clear. Almost. I keep having some areas that receive some overspray that does not go on thick enough for a shine but just a matte type of finish. I don't want this so I spray another coat only to have this happen in a different area. And it goes on. It keeps getting better though so I will keep trying and one of these coats will be the final one. Then I saw on Facebook someones vintage sewing machine repaint, with the exact same decals I used and the decals showed NO EDGE MARKS. What? Mine still show edges and I'm willing to live with this because I worked so hard on it and tell myself this was my first experiment. But theirs was perfect and I want mine to at least be better than it is. Sigh. So the Singer 66 is a bit of a disappointment all because I was comparing it to one that was painted by an auto-body shop. Of course it looked perfect! Oh well, the Pfaff 130 will have a different set of challenges but it will be better! I promise.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday's Market

It was a very profitable day in sewing-machine-land. Saturday's are a time to hit the road for Craigslist, garage sales, and don't forget about the thrift shops, too. When all three were done, I had three new-to-me sewing machines that I think are fantastic.

Stop number one found me driving twenty minutes to pick up a Craigslist find of a Huskylock serger. I couldn't believe it was only $20 but they said it wasn't working for them and the power cord was missing. I did a little research and found I might have a power cord/foot control that fit and in fact I found three candidates so I took them along with me. It was a fun young couple and they both told the story of how the serger was skipping stitches when sewing something a bit heavier and she bought another serger so just wanted it out of the house. I took it to my car and found one of the foot controls with power cord fit! We were all smiles then and I was offered some of their garden tomatoes. It was a very large garden for a tiny house but the tomatoes were spectacular, my first of the season, even if they weren't from my own garden. Here's the Huskylock 440:

Huskylock 440 serger
I did get it to make a decent stitch and then it would skip. Then it did fine on another sample. Then it skipped. I had to order new needles because that's one place to start when stitches are skipping. And now I wait for a package to arrive.

Stop number two was supposed to be to the fabric store to buy some interfacing but only one shop away was a thrift store, a favorite of mine, so I thought I'd just check it out. There they were, side by side, a Kenmore 158-1980 and a Singer 99. My heart be still! The Kenmore 1980 is one of their best models, much coveted, and this one was is pretty good shape. When I get it home I noticed it was pretty linty inside but I couldn't figure out how to get the bobbin race out so I could clean it. Tweezers, q-tips, needles, all worked to get this baby clean but here's what was left behind:

Bottom cover off and what do I find?

This is the pile of lint that accumulated
 I got the feeling it was never cleaned out or some very messy fabrics were used with it. Inside clean and oiled up and it runs like a dream. Here it is before I gave it a good polish:

Kenmore 158-1980
When you lift up the top lid there are the rest of the dials for stitch selector, cam insertion, bobbin winder, foot pressure and a few I have not heard of before. One is called cycle control and it makes the machine slower so it's like downshifting in a car for more power but less speed. There is another button to push that I read online gives you only one set of a pattern from the cam for when you only want one duckie or one sailboat. These are very nice features only found on top of the line sewing machines but this is labeled a Sears Best and it sure looks like it. No cams or attachments but they take C-class cams that I already have for another sewing machine and can be easily bought on Ebay.
Under the hood: all those stitches!

At the same stop was a very nice Singer 99, one of the 3/4 sized sewing machines. It came out of a cabinet because the hinges were attached and it is only missing the bobbin plate cover. Needing oil and a clean up, it gets in shape to sew perfect little stitches. Here it is before I gave it a wax clean and polish:
Another Singer 99
Of course I don't need another 99 but they are just so cute and sew wonderfully. After this shopping trip I go to a few garage sales (stop three plus), especially back to the one I visited earlier in the week with all the fabric. I got anything I wanted, in fabric, for half price so I stocked up with anything I could reasonably use. This netted me fabric for a jacket, knit tops, dress pants, and jumpers for my mother-in-law and this time the bill only came to $11.50.

Back home I realize I didn't stop in the fabric store for interfacing so that gets put on the list for another shopping trip. Now I get to play with these sewing machines and serger, seeing what they are capable of and their limitations. Of course, I'm still testing my limitations, too.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Graphic Novel

This is such a cool graphic I wanted to try out because it shows how a stitch is made with a standard home sewing machine:

From Sewing Machine Steve's website
Isn't that just cool? It clearly show how the needle goes down and has to hit the gray "hook" that catches the thread to lock the upper thread with the lower bobbin thread together. Of course, the feed dogs are moving everything right along so it can be repeated over and over again. Sometimes when we know how something works we can figure out why it doesn't.

Let me tell you about Sewing Machine Steve's website, where I found the above animation. He restores vintage sewing machines and has all kinds of information about his process but the part that really blew me away was his explanation about why you should buy a vintage over a new sewing machine. Entry level sewing machines are going to start at $250. Those are bottom of the line and a good one is closer to $1000 for entry level. You can buy a refurbished vintage sewing machine for $100-250 and get a really good one that won't have to go back to the dealer. Ever. Keep it oiled and clean and it will keep running as there really is very little that goes wrong. If so, you can learn to repair them as I have. But Steve goes on to say that right away you are ahead by $1000 and will never need to trade up since you are already at the top of the line. I couldn't agree more. Thanks, Steve for making it all a bit clearer for me (and now you).

A bit of a set-back with the decals on the Singer 66. You do have to gently sand away the edges with 1000 grit wet/dry multi-surface sandpaper and it can be done. BUT it takes a long time to accomplish this. After thirty minutes tonight I had to go do something else! It's really tedious. Really. Tedious. I will have to keep at it if I ever want to see it finished. This procedure dulls the surface and I will have to clear coat again. And probably again. All of this is to remind anyone else that you do this out of a labor of love because you will never get out of it what you put into it. Glad this was my first project. These episodes on my blog are become more like a graphic novel. Here's a photo of the sewing machine with the sanding done:

Sanding the edges of the decals
Stay tuned as SMMavin gives it the ol' college try with one more layer of clear coat!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Garage Sale Mania

I love a good garage sale! Today I was driving back from the gym at 8 am (that's right, AM) and saw a sale right on the way home. As I drove up I could see about twenty Rubbermaid bins with notes on the front that read "Fabric - Prices marked" so I was pretty excited. Sure enough, she was a quilter, crafter, sewer and was trying to de-stash her supplies. Oh boy, I started to plan. $31 later I came home with this:

I have plans for my mother-in-law's wardrobe so I hope she will like some of my choices. She asked for another skirt but I was to pick the color so I suggested charcoal gray. Her response was "I guess I like black" so maybe I don't get to pick! I did find a mid-tone gray for a skirt and they are so easy to make that I don't mind making more than one. Or two. Or three. I matched some of these up to fabric I already had and think I might have some nice color combinations. The rest were for crafts, finding a nice watermelon print, tomatoes mini-print with coordinating border fabric, and fabric for the inside of a few of the quilted items I make. Even better yet, I asked her to call me at the end of the sale if she wanted to make-a-deal. She said Saturday might be half price day as I handed her my new business card.

So how is the repainting of the Singer 66 coming along? I'm really encouraged with this, hopefully, final coat of the clear spray. I'm stopping to buy the 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper to see if I can fade the outlines of the decals and that will be the final step in the painting process. I will use a razor blade to cut off the paint tape and then to clean up all of the metal. And now to see the final clear coat:

I won't be too modest because I think it's turning out better than I had hoped, especially for a first time. Yea!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lost and Found

It's always fun to find a good sewing machine tucked away on a shelf, looking a bit neglected (with a low price tag!). That's the story behind the Morse 6100, a terrific sewing machine that has gotten very little press. Here's the one I found at Goodwill last week:

Morse 6100
I recognized this machine immediately because I already had one that came in perfect condition, carrying case, box of accessories, and box of 21 cams for decorative stitches. No so with this one that only came with it's power cord and foot control. Actually, you could tell it came straight from a cabinet because the foot control had an added lever for knee control and the bottom wasn't there because it had been mounted inside a cabinet. I have a few others with missing bottom plates and it's a bit annoying because you really can't  just set them on the carpeting with the carbon contacts exposed. You need another control or to put the whole works into a cabinet. No problem, I have many cabinets! It was also missing the front plates on two of the dials but that's okay, too, because I have another machine to compare it to. She came home with me and sat on the floor while I took care of another situation (maybe it was Bernina day when I was given a 730?).

I finally get back to the Morse and give her a nice cleaning, quite a bit of oil, and grease on one gear. She starts to run pretty nice, a bit loud still, but she sews a very nice stitch. I get out the other Morse 6100 and try out some of the cams in this machine and she works great. How do I get just the right cams for this model when there is nothing written up about her? No trace on ebay? I try a search with just the terms "sewing machine cams" and it produces a huge number of listings but I'm patient and find the same ones! Exactly the same box, I compare to my other set: perfect match. But they are $30, way too much to complete this sewing machine. I ask the seller if they will take $20 but no reply so now I've insulted them. Sigh.

Stopping by a different Goodwill this week (yes, I visit 3 on a regular basis) I walk through the aisles and spot a cam box and accessory box taped together. I can't believe it. My heart starts to race. I open it up and yes, yes, yes it's the Morse 6100 cams!  No price sticker but there is quite a bit of tape wrapped around them. Oh yea, they were supposed to be with my machine but somehow got separated. They price them for me at $5 and I'm a very happy camper, practically singing my way out the door. Here's a few photos of what the Morse 6100 can do:
Cam case and accessory box
21 cams for special stitches

First attempts with a cleaned up Morse 6100
Now the lost has been found, put to the test, and measured for a cabinet. So many to choose from, which one will it be? I found one in the back of the garage that we kept all winter because it was just to nice to give away. It would fit in that one, a nice desk model and don't all those cams and accessories just beacon for a desk? Let's try it out:

Mores 6100 in desk cabinet
Not bad, huh?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Painting the town: part 7

The final two coats of clear before I can step back and call her done. I can't forget that I have the motor bracket and cover for the wheel/belt to finish up but while they are drying and the wheel cover gets a decal there is much to work on: tape needs to come off and then the tiny bits of cleanup and touch-up will take place. This could take a few hours and then there's the metal pieces that didn't require painting but will need metal polish. But here we are so far with the first coat of clear after the decals:
Singer 66 with clear coat after decals
It does look amazing but not perfect. When I spray too far away or not heavy enough you don't get the shine and if too heavy the paint can sag. I do have a few sag spots but they are where the motor sits so it's not a big deal but it reminds me to be very careful. There is also an outline around the edge of each decal that I'm supposed to sand off with 1000 grit sandpaper after the final coat of clear. This makes me very nervous but I will wait to see how the third coat of clear actually looks.

In the meantime,the new ceiling tiles are in place and I cleaned up and moved back into the sewing machine workroom. My relaxing yoga class was all wasted when I went home to lift 30 pound sewing machines; it certainly counts as a workout! I put the new shelves in place (after trying to set them up 6 different ways), reinforced the bottom so it could hold the weight, and moved some onto these shelves:

There was only one top shelf so I placed it at the back and only put light items there. It was a good move, giving me a chance to make sure they all had labels and were placed in the right categories: repair, sale, listed, or ? , meaning I know there is something wrong but not sure what it is. There are actually not as many that need repair as I thought so that is good.

Craft season is coming very soon and I have one sale in September so I have to get cracking with the inventory. So many plans, so little time!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Painting the Town: part 6

Finally, the coats of black paint are done. Only one coat of clear needed to be applied before the decals but I went back and sprayed the spots that weren't shiny. Now I'm finally ready for the water slide decals. Boy, am I nervous! They give you an "extra" to practice with but where would you actually practice? I decided I would practice right on the back where the motor is going to touch. Who would ever see that? I would show you a photo of the clear coat but there's just nothing to see.

Just came back from the practice run and changed my mind. I tried it out on the Pfaff 130 I hope to paint next, going through the steps and putting the black decal on the black sewing machine. Of course, it doesn't look like much but I got to see how long it takes for the decal to get thoroughly wet and how I would slide it into place. So that's why they call them water-slide decals: they slide off the paper backing only using water. And to think I was hoping this had something to do with a water park...

I am a bit concerned about all those decals and where they might go. My photo of the original isn't that good so I look to see if I have another 66 with the same filigree trims and I find a 99 so I get it all set up with the decals cut apart and ready for the water treatment:

Set-up: 99 in the back and the 66 in the front
I started on the back of the arm and it went okay but I was not impressed. The decal also went over a screw hole so I will have to go back and cut that hole out (after it dries). Next I did the decal on the back of the bed:
Placement on the back of the bed
From there I went to the front of the bed but had problems with making all 3 of the pieces meet up. My sample on the 99 didn't help since so much was worn away but it also has a shorter bed. I tried to make the best of the situation:
Where the extension piece meets up
I also notice I have placed them too far from the edge so now I have to make the front decals just as far away to make them match. Next is the part on the upright arm and it was easy; I'm getting more confident! Below is how it looks so far:
Almost done: need 2 more
Down to the final name on the front and the center of the bed. I'm starting to do a happy dance. Here she is below, finally done with the decals:
She's done!
Another angle when done
So I learned quite a bit in using this as the test project. Decals are not as fragile as they make it sound. Yes, you can certainly wreck them and there are no extras on the sheet, but you would have to be pretty sloppy for that to happen. One of the water bottles was to have a touch of detergent so the decal would slide better and I found that to be the only one I used. You need a large enough water-for-soaking container for the long length of the nameplate pieces so plan accordingly. It also takes longer for them to get really soaked than the 30-45 seconds but maybe I just can't judge time when I'm so anxious to see the results. When all is dry they seem to just melt into the paint and I can hardly see an edge on most of them. Yea! 

Next up: final coats of the clear. Stay tuned as our Mavin adds the final coats and thinks about reassembly of the Singer 66.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Painting the town: part 5

Remember that list of steps for repainting a sewing machine? Ah, that's only a guideline because as you go through the process you learn and finally get a feel for when things are going in the right direction or not. I'm not at that place yet but I do think the light is just beginning to dawn.

How do I get a dust-free paint booth? I think this is key since so many of my delays are due to fine specks in what I hoped would be the last coat of paint. As I do my research I find the auto body guys say it's the paint, not dust in the environment. One says he even paints outdoors! They also think you could be adding dust with your wipes. Hummm. All that could be true so I continue to read advice from Eric who has his process fairly refined (read: he's done more than one successfully). Now I read I should use flat black spray paint because it's the clear coat that will give the shine. What? Should I go get a can of flat finish? I give it another coat under the arm tonight and the bed where the hair had landed (sigh) and will check in the morning.

There has been something niggling at the back of my brain that said "the motor doesn't need to be repainted" but what about the hand wheel? I finally go get the box and see what kind of shape the hand wheel is in (fine) but then I find these 2 pieces:

Bobbin winder and motor bracket
The bobbin winder has some fancy decal scroll work that has faded pretty bad but both pieces need a cleaning and painting. I can't get the bobbin winder apart so I'll have to tape it well and use stripper on it. Just when I thought I was done with chemical stripper! At least I caught it before I went to assemble the parts.

We are having ceiling tile replaced in half of our basement and half of that space has sewing machines in it. They all got moved to the other side of the basement last night and I don't need to tell you how well I slept out of sheer exhaustion. I'll count them when I bring them back into the room. Part of the deal with these workmen was for them to bring up two cabinets that were too heavy for me to carry since they have Singer 306's in them. I usually can manage to move things if I get them in pieces but this time that wasn't going to work. So now I have all the extra cabinets in the garage and I'm determined to find new homes for them before the snow flies. Here's the Singer 306 in an art deco cabinet:

Love the look of this cabinet and it has a
foot control lever on the bottom coming
out of the drawer side. Neat.

 But not only the top needs refinishing,
it just needs it the most!

Here's the latest coat of paint: (yup, I got up early just for you!)
Singer 66: coat 4
I think I've finally got it right and am done with the black coat. Stay tuned for the next episode of Sewing Machine Mavin when she applies the first coat of clearcoat!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Painting the Town: part 4

The decals arrived in yesterday's mail so I'm a happy camper. First coat of the black paint needed quite a bit of sanding, much to my dismay, but I used a 3M sanding pad for metal for finishing. It took all those tiny flecks off but also the shine so I was disappointed. Another coat of the black, starting with it turned upside down, came out pretty good:
Coat 2 of black
For some reason, the top came out a bit more matte finish but I will have to do many more coats so that's okay. I did some more reading and find out I can have as many coats as it takes so I might have to do 2 more to get the finish I want. The decals go on over the first coat of clear-coat with 2 more coats of the clear to seal it all in.

Coat 3 came out even better so I'm becoming a little more hopeful:
Coat 3 of black
I've been trying to figure out how to keep any debris out of the paint so I placed a new sheet of paper in the bottom of my improvised spray booth. I was happy with the results until I found this, right on the front edge:
Hair in the spray!
Hair! Only one piece, and fairly fine at that, but now I will have to wet sand and spray again. On the plus side, it does turn out better each time. This time I will spray under the "arm" as well as the bed but hope this is the last coat of black.

Once again, while I'm waiting for coats to dry, I'm working on the cabinets I have. A very good but in poor condition is a Stratavario cabinet. It's all stripped now but needs a good sanding before I even think about any finishing coats:
Stratavario cabinet stripped
There was a small plastic tray on the inside of the front door but it had broken off and was long gone. I dug through my stuff and found 2 of those drawers and one is a perfect fit, right down to the screw holes. Score! It will be nice to have it complete again and this cabinet really is nice wood.

So we continue to wait and watch paint dry. It will be worth it, I keep telling myself but I have this gut feeling that the hardest part is yet to come. So continue with the Sewing Machine Mavin as she adds coats of paint. Can she do it? Stay tuned!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Interlude: Singer Decals

Here we are again, looking for progress on the Singer 66 (with filigree decals) repainting. It's taking a long time for the first coat of black paint to dry but the plan is to wet sand between coat one and two before the water slide decals can be added. While we wait, let's talk about the various decals you can have for a Singer 66. The ISMACS website has a list of the various Singer styles for home sewing machines but here are some of the more common ones you might find:

Tiffany or Gingerbread
Sphinx or Memphis
Egyptian or Lotus
La Vencedora
Red Eye
Now that we have some lovely photos from the ISMACS website, let's see how well you do in identifying my own collection of Singer decal sewing machines:
Exhibit  #1
Exhibit #2

Exhibit #3
Exhibit #4
Exhibit #5
Bravo for trying!Which ones do you have or are you longing for?