Friday, November 13, 2015

Free Again

Although I do pursue and buy vintage sewing machines, sometimes they are given to me. Lately, that has been quite a blessing as I got three sewing machines given to me just this week. So here is their story.

Susan was worried about her Singer 301 and asked if I would "listen" to it. Now I am the sewing machine whisperer? For Susan, I would gladly listen to any one of her machines she is concerned about. As payment, she is bringing me a Montgomery Wards Signature sewing machine she bought just for the case and didn't need this machine.
Signature UHT-J278
I would have welcomed a visit from Susan even without the bribe but it did make the visit a bit sweeter. She arrived with not one, but two sewing machines:
New Home 443 by Janome
This classy beauty does remind me of cars from the '50's with its greenish color and chrome trim. After listening to her 301, which sounded quite healthy, I plugged my freebies in and listened to each one and they seemed to be fine. It took a few days until I could get back to them with a deeper cleaning and possible adjustments. The Signature is a great sewing machine with an early stretch stitch: according to the manual, just hold the reverse button in and turn the stitch selector dial to "Stretch" and it's ready. This is not intuitive so I was very glad to have a paper manual! It's is a very nice machine with zig zag, a four step buttonhole on a dial, blind hem stitch, and the stretch stitch that incorporates a forward and reverse movement of stitches. Montgomery Wards made some nice machines, or maybe I should say they put their name on some very good Japanese models.

The New Home 443 by Janome is another good machine in its bright color but it didn't seem to be making a very long stitch at the highest number. It also got cleaned and oiled but it still didn't seem right. I walked away as a technique for repair (insight will come later?) and when I looked at the underside again I could see the lever to drop the feed dogs had not engaged fully. This kept the feed dogs from moving the fabric along so I was getting a shorter stitch. Once I pushed the lever to fully engage, the stitches were longer. How did I know this? Same thing just happened on a Singer 201 that just wasn't performing well so I read up on the possible causes and one was about the feed dogs. As I checked them out I could see they were not raised up high enough so I raised them up by taking out one screw and rotating until the feed dog were raised higher. This made all the difference in the world so it was nice to put this new skill to use just a few days later with the New Home 443.

I'm up two new machines and I get an email from Mary Beth who bought the cool Phoenix in its refinished cabinet. She reminded me that she offered her old machine and now she was ready to bring it over. Delivery? That's just too much but her son brought it over during a stormy day and left it wrapped in a black plastic bag in a protected spot. I had never seen a Singer 177C, made in Brazil, but here she is:
Singer 177C
The finish is slightly textured and the whole thing is in pretty good shape. As I'm taking it apart I notice the bobbin case is like a Singer 15. The tension unit is exactly like a Singer 15. This is a Singer 15 model but it has a class 66 bobbin in the bobbin case. This would not be good and could have been frustrating to use a machine with the wrong size bobbin, possibly jamming or producing poorer stitches. All is right in the world now as she has a class 15 bobbin and sews very nicely. She is a bit dim as there is no light attached but that's okay as I can just use a portable light to illumine the whole area.

Speaking about lights, I have been trying out the new LED's for sewing machines and think I'm sold on this type of bulb for all of my sewing machines. They are cool to the touch so it's especially nice in  machines where your hand brushes up against the bulb, as on a Featherweight or Singer 15. The ones I bought are the cool white style so it's pretty bright and now I'm going to try the warm white style to see how I like them. I do notice it makes a difference where the light shines: a Bernina Record 830 has the light over the needle plate but a Viking 19 has the light over the bed so it's an entirely different experience. I should probably use a side light when sewing on the Bernina since I find the light, not dim, but too small of an area.

So, once again, I'm busy with sewing machines instead of actually sewing but I'm trying my best to replenish my stock for the next craft fair. Hurry, hurry, hurry...but enjoy using the machines!

1 comment:

Thin Man Sewing said...

Nice machines especially when they were free. I am glad to see your review of LED bulbs since I was thinking of trying them.