Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lavender Lady

On my big neighborhood garage sale adventure, I bought a Kenmore 158-1320 that was beautiful at one time but was now rusty underneath and looking pretty old:
A bobbin case all rusted into place
She came home with me only because of the lovely lavender color and the general decent shape of the cabinet. How to get rid of that much rust? I finally broke down and bought a quart of Evapo-Rust as per everyone's recommendation via the Vintage Sewing Machine Facebook group and various Yahoo group that I read. Parts that would come off got an Evapo-Rust bath and those that didn't were steel wooled or they got a 3M pad treatment. After cleaning it was oiled, and oiled, and oiled again, adjusted, and I found it would sew very nice. It came with a full set of accessories including extra feet, six cams for decorative stitches, even a needle threader that works.
Manual, cams, and a full box of accessories with a lavender lid
Next came the cabinet that was pretty nice but had some spots where it had been mistreated. I didn't think it needed a full strip-down and refinishing as that would not take care of the deep scratches anyway so opted for the Howard's Restor-A-Finish instead. Although it did not turn out remarkable, it was smooth now and the blotches of black tar-like substance were gone. We don't need to pretend that it's new, because it's not, so let's just embrace the vintage look with nicks and dings included.
Looks good in a photo, less in person, but it's a smooth finish
Testing the stitches with cams
You can see by the stitch sample that it makes a good stitch but there's a bit of fine tuning on the decorative stitches that is pretty fussy: sometimes I could get it right and have perfect satin stitches and sometimes they were too far spaced or too close and bunched up into a large wad of stitches. That's not the look I'm going for! As I continued to work with the stitch formation she started to whistle. Then the screeching began. It was terrible! I re-oiled everything but it continued. I took out the bobbin case (a new one, not the rusted one!) plus the hook and the sound almost went away. Next I oiled and reconditioned the whole area, put it back together and the screech was almost gone. I walked away for several hours and when I tried it again the screech was back even with all of the bobbin area removed. Now what?

I went back to using the Evapo-Rust and since I couldn't disassemble the whole bottom of the sewing machine I decided to follow a suggestion from someone else: saturate cloth or paper towels with Evapo-Rust and stuff it into the area that is still making noise. I did this to three different areas, wiped down with a cloth  generously soaked with water, dried, dried some more, oiled, run a bit to mix it all in, and let sit many hours so the oil can soak in. Fingers crossed? It worked great!

Kenmore 32, a lovely lavender lady


The Mad Plumbarian said...

I picked up that very same machine, at first it only the motor would turn, nothing else. I gave it a full cleaning, oil down, and let it sit for about 4months, yesterday I tried it out and I must say it runs great, it gets stuck every once and a while, just give it a little spin on the wheel and away it goes. I just don't really know anything on sewing machines and was wondering if you could give me any info on this machine?

Karen said...

Nice find! Do you need a manual? There is one on the Old Kenmore Facebook group or email me and I will send it to you. If you have the manual, start reading it and trying everything out! Kenmore makes a very easy to read and understand manual that will almost teach you how to sew. YouTube is your friend, also.

The Mad Plumbarian said...

No I don't have the manual, I'm on a kenmore Facebook group and don't see anything on there but I must say a few people said I snagged a little gem, I've been using a basic singer maybe 80's that my grandmother gave me for my basics, that's all I really know, I did see one of those monogram and thought that would be cool, especially if I keel up a little hobby making hankerchiefs, just gotta get a swing of this machine.. said...

Picked up same at good will same cabinet. I got face plate and new belt from Sears. I just d o an loaded manual for 14 1500 not the 32. No noises but did not catch the thread on first try. Will. Change needles bobbin thread etc but want to ask about tension disk
. This just rotates. Is there a way I can send pic or short video for advise ?

Karen said...

I'm sorry but I no longer have this sewing machine. There are many versions of exploded tension assemblies: try to find one similar to your model is my best advice.