Wednesday, April 13, 2016

She's So Fair

In celebration of the World's Fair in 1964 held in New York City, there were many products introduced, including sewing machines. One that has become notable is the White (brand) model 764 that is called "My Fair Lady" as indeed it is. I had one of these a couple years ago and didn't know the significance of the model; I just liked the cool look of it, with the handle on the top and it's pearlized mocha color. I've been on the lookout ever since and I spied one in our local ads this week and rushed out to get it. It was one of those 45 minute drives due to rush hour traffic but that's the only time we could work it out and I was game if they were. A few last minute emails with apologies they explained that the cabinet/desk was in pretty poor shape but they thought the machine was good even though it had been run eight years ago. That's not so bad if it was stored inside but I fear this one might have been in a corner of the garage. Oh oh. What would I find?

I found a nice young couple passing their little baby daughter between them as they explained it was her grandmother's passed along to her mother who told her "That's worth something: don't just throw it away!" That might have been in their thoughts because of the poor condition of the cabinet: the legs on one side had not only cracked but were tied together with zip ties. He took the head out of the cabinet so I could get it out of my car once I was home but, honestly, I don't think I'm even going to take it out of the car. I managed to pull the drawers out and empty their contents into a pile (oh, the treasures!) but the rest is riding around with me today. My plan is to see if a donation center will take it and, if not, we will break it down and put it out for trash it's that bad. But the Fair Lady...

White 764 with her backside showing
is not so fair. She's a bit of a dirty bird but it's not her fault  so she's going to get the spa treatment. Out came the TR3 car cleaner and wax, cotton balls, flannel for polishing, metal cleaner, Triflow, cotton swabs, screw drivers, and tweezers just to start. Each cotton ball gets used three times: one side until dirty, flip side until dirty, then you usually have a small chunk left as a third side still clean and ready to work. I laid the machine down on old towels and worked on taking off the top, the plate covering the side and belt, needle plate, presser foot, and needle. As I worked on cleaning off the dirt and dots of mold, the chrome knob that screws into the handwheel came off as well as the bobbin winder guide on the bed of the machine. By the time I turned it over to look underneath, I was already an hour into this project and found trapped moisture had caused the back section to rust. The metal cleaner took care of most of it but there are always parts you just can get into so oil and movement was employed in hopes of a flushing out of the lingering rust. Back together again and looking spiffy:
White 764 is now a Fair Lady

until I plug her in and hear this screeching sound. More oil, looking for places I might have missed, and it's better but then when fabric goes through the feed dogs there is a squeal that fades a bit with usage. I can see she's going to need a bit more tender care but her stitches look fine and she's pretty versatile for 1964: straight and zigzag, scallops, blind hem, and a four-step buttonhole. She runs pretty smooth and is very, very heavy so I think a new cabinet is called for. This means I'm on the hunt for the perfect cabinet that will show her off. Here's her badge of honor (before I cleaned her up):
HGT: Selected by the House of Good Taste New York World's Fair
She will be waiting to enter another house and bring all of her "good taste" with her. She's so fair.

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