Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Holidays

"Tis the season to be ...buying a vintage sewing machine? The time between Thanksgiving and New Years has been a good time to sell sewing machines, at least that's my experience. It's possible we are all looking for ways to keep busy during the cold months in Minnesota or maybe learn a new skill in the new year. Here's the activity at my house in the past week:

The very lovely Singer 15-90 was called into duty as Bobbi wanted to finish the quilts she started for her two sons. Previously she was hand-stitching them, partly due to the curves in the pattern but now she knew if she was to get the quilts done she would need a sewing machine. Not only is this a classic and a good strong sewing machine, it was in excellent shape with a refinished Queen Anne #40 cabinet. This was the same one I rescued after I got a phone call from a friend who spotted it at a neighborhood garage sale. I'm very please it is now going to a good home. As her son carried it out to the car she confided it was her Christmas present. Merry Christmas, Bobbi!
Singer 15-90 as a Christmas present

Next up and out the door was the Kenmore 32, a wonderful lavender model that was finally going to Larry. I say finally because Larry had been in touch with me over the past several weeks but only wanted to come during the day and we kept missing each other. As I relisted the ad he called again and we managed to make it happen. Whew! The lavender lady was finally going to someone who has wanted it for some time. What is Larry sewing? Upholstery was the project that needed this all-metal sewing machine, complete with cams and accessories in a restored table.  Thanks, Larry!
Kenmore 158-321 in lavender
Now we have a Singer 99 in a bentwood case with a hand-crank that caught the eye of a quilter. Suzanne came with her husband and she tried it out already knowing it would work nicely when they go up to the cabin where there is no electricity. We discovered I did not have the bobbin winder repositioned for the hand-crank but she also didn't have enough cash on hand since they came from antique shopping. It was agreed upon that I would fix the bobbin winder and she would have her husband come over and pick it up the next day while she was at a quilting session with friends. He came the following day and told me he was told he was not to bring it home but needed to bring it to her quilting friends so they could see this new wonder. Sometimes what is old is new again, Suzanne!
Singer 99 with a hand crank attached in bentwood case
And finally, through a snow storm, a whole family came to try out the Elna Lock Pro 5DC serger. They called after work to see if I was still willing to show them the serger and I reminded them of the road conditions but they really, really wanted to come now.  This was a fully loaded model  with ten different stitches but electronic so it displays the settings for each stitch making the manual almost unnecessary.
Elna serger with display
 It was the first serger I bought and now I see it was just more than I could handle and I really didn't bond with it so I hoped this was the right serger for the right person. Fortunately, this was not her first serger but after having an unfortunate experience with one from Walmart she was looking for a better machine. This is a very nice machine so we ran through rolled hem, 3-thread overlock, and 4-thread overlock. Needles were taken out and added back in, adjustments made, and the foolproof test of taking all tension adjustments down to zero and back up one at a time. Although it's a bit of a tedious process, it will show you how to adjust tension nearly perfectly every time. Even though the screen will tell you where to set the tension, different fabrics and layers can give varying results. Taking each adjustment through the tension numbers, zero to nine, you can find where it stitches best and then repeating for each thread. If you start with the upper looper to find the best tension, go to the lower looper, then proceed to the needles, in the end each one will be set on optimal tension number for the best stitch. It really works! When I first learned this in a seminar I thought it seemed like a lot of work but I've since used the process in a bit less formal way and have found it easy and only takes as long as it takes to serger four strips of fabric. In the end, she felt like she could do this on her own and I thought she had a good understanding of the process. Yea, another serger found a good home!
Elna Lock Pro5DC

Four sewing machines in four days was a bit of a whirlwind, especially since the serger had only been posted for a day before it was sold, but the two cabinets that left my living room gave us much to be thankful for. With only four or five cabinets left we could rejoice except for the new cabinet that joined us, but that was another post for another day.

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