Friday, August 7, 2015

Johnny on the Spot

I hinted in my last post that something wonderful was up so now I have to deliver. While I was getting ready for company and had so much to do, I received a request to see a Kenmore that
I had on the local Craigslist. We agreed on Saturday morning early but a phone call at 7:30 to come now did catch me off guard but I still scrambled and was ready by 8 am. Although he was a bit later than planned, I got the Singer 15-91 in a cabinet cleaned up a bit so the waiting time was put to good use. The Kenmore was sold to Nate who needed to make boat seat covers and I proved the Kenmore was more than able to stitch two layers of vinyl. An interesting conversation was had when I found out he was a machinist and he was very willing to try out his 3-d software and printer to make parts for sewing machines. I've got his phone number!

After he left I continued to work on the Singer 15-91, knowing I would be in trouble later in the day when the pressure to get all of the other things done would not be realized. What could get cut from the list? How about washing windows? Maybe dinner could be really, really simple like reheated leftovers. Then I started to rationalize: it was my vacation and I should spend some of that time doing things I like to do, such as sewing machine repair. Yea, that sounded about right. By noon I was back inside and nose to the grindstone as I cleaned and prepped for company. By four o'clock I was beat and told my husband I was going to take a nap out on the porch. I sat down with my smart phone and looked at the local ads for sewing machines when I found a "Singer sewing machine: old and think it works" with photos. It was a Singer alright, a Singer 221 a.k.a. The Featherweight. I checked and saw the ad was two hours old. AUGH!!!!! It would be gone by now but I fired up my husbands laptop so I could see the contact info better. Hurry, hurry, hurry! I wasn't sleepy anymore as the adrenaline was rushing through my body. A Featherweight! Cheap! I could call or text so I sent a quick text and then phoned. She answered and said "Oh good! We were hoping someone would want it!" Clearly, they didn't know what they had. It was at her mothers house and they even lived nearby so I left immediately and was there within fifteen minutes. I got the low-down on why they were selling and its history: the young woman I talked to was going on a trip with a girlfriend to California and were raising money for the trip. They asked friends and family to donate things for a small garage sale and her mom said she had a sewing machine from her grandmother. They pulled it out of the carrying case and it had been used so was dirty but was not musty. There was the green Singer buttonhole kit but almost no other accessories, no bobbins but the bobbin case was there. We plugged it in and she ran slow but fine. The mom told me she had it serviced when her grandmother gave it to her many years before and she even used the buttonhole maker way back when so she knew it worked. They were charmed that I knew about these old sewing machines and would even use it. Then she told me the kicker, at least to those of us who love and use vintage sewing machines: she already had a computerized sewing machine and didn't need or use this one. Thank you: I will find several people who will gladly use this sewing machine even if it is old and not computerized. I smiled all the way home, gleeful to have found such a gem:

First pass with cleaning and she looks great

Now I needed to work on this baby so more things got cut from my to-do list as I cleaned, oiled, adjusted, sewed until she was acceptable. Yes, I was vacuuming at 10 pm but it was so worth it. Although there were nicks and scratches on the bed of this Featherweight,

Chips on the edge but well loved
the carrying case was better because of the lack of smell. Sunday morning I got up early and cleaned the metal parts on the case and they came out nearly gleaming.
One of the better cases

Although it was almost one fourth of the price of the last one I found in an antique shop, condition is everything. Scratches on the bed versus smelly case: maybe I would switch them? Nah, I'm going to continue to find ways to clean out the odor of the antique store find and have a very nice specimen  that will be reflected in the price and one with a bit more wear that will be priced accordingly. Sometimes stopping to take a nap can bring surprising results and it always pays to be johnny-on-the-spot (even two hours later).

Singer 221 posed with buttonhole kit and case (doesn't she glow?)


Thin Man Sewing said...

Nice find. I have a 301 that had a musty smelling case when i got it. I checked the internet to find a dryer sheet left in the case will work. It took a few weeks, but smells pretty good now. Also, it could be the felt pad in the bottom of the machine. Those are available online.

Karen said...

Good suggestion about the dryer sheet; I don't use fabric softener so will have to go get some. I already removed the felt pad but maybe there's residual odor there. Thanks!