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Thread: 1935 Singer model 15-89

  1. #1
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    1935 Singer model 15-89

    My mother is having trouble with her machine. This was a wedding gift to her from my father, and will someday be mine. The problem is: the upper thread is constantly breaking, like every couple of inches of sewing. Mom showed me how to do a thorough cleaning and oiling on the machine, but this did not help the thread breaking problem. I tried new needle and thread but no help.

    I know that the spring in the upper tensioner is shot. I suspect replacing that spring will solve the problem. Is there anything else that I should be looking at?
    Shirley in Arizona

  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    ShirlinAZ,

    On a situation like that the only thing I've found to work is to remove the top tension, disassemble it and thoroughly clean it. Dry it, reassemble it and then adjust it.

    Might as well do the bottom end at the same time.

    The TFSR manual { http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...machine_manual } contains all the information you'll need to do the job.

    Joe

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    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Is the spring actually broken? I've seen those just in a wrong position or get gunked up with oil - if it is there, do like Joe said, follow the directions in the TFSR book for Singer 15 tensions. I copied out the page then enlarged it to make it easier to see at a glance. If you do it according to their directions it should work if all the parts are there. You can get the spring from Sew-classic if it is missing or sprung.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

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    Thank you both. Yes, the spring is there. It doesn't drop back down like it should, so the thread just runs straight through like there was no spring at all. Joe, I thought the bottom tension was just the screw setting in the bobbin case? Or are you saying to clean - degunk - the whole underside of the machine? I haven't disassembled anything yet, but it sounds like that's where I should start.

    I don't think I'll degunk everything at this point, as Mom and the machine are 300 miles away. She told me I could bring the machine home with me next visit since it doesn't sew right, but she said it with such longing in her voice that I'd really like to get it fixed so she can use it for what sewing she does now, which it not much. I think I should buy a spring and take with me just in case I need it. Does this sound reasonable?
    Shirley in Arizona

  5. #5
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    A while back a bought a vintage machine-a Domestic looks great but will not pick up the bobbin thread .It rotates fine but will not sew.Is it junk or an easy fix?
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

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    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    "Yes, the spring is there. It doesn't drop back down like it should, so the thread just runs straight through like there was no spring at all."

    There is more than one spring in a tension. There is a thread spring and a spring inside. One of the springs could be in the wrong position. The tension pin could be missing or in backwards or not hitting where it is suppose to - if all the parts are there, it is a simple thing to fix if you follow the directions step by step when you take apart and redo the tension. When you lift the foot lever do the tension disks travel at all? If the pin is missing they won't - The pin runs through the tension and that pin sticks out the back and hits the foot lever. Are there any set screws missing? I have one with 2 missing screws - impossible to fix without the screws. I'm waiting for some screws maybe from a junk machine. It will act as you described if it has parts missing or if the parts are not assembled right. You can also just buy a new tension and put it on there but you may have to adjust the way the spring is set anyway.

    You do not need to dis-assemble anything other than that tension and the bobbin area. Put a drop of Tri-flow on every moving part. If there is a lot of varnish and nothing moves, you might have to get more aggressive. Most of the varnish doesn't matter one little bit - it is the dried up varnish/oil you don't see that matters. Muv has a wonderful video about cleaning and oiling a machine: HOW TO CLEAN UP and use a vintage sewing machine - videos by Muv and Fav this is on the sticky notes at the top of the machine page as well. Maybe we can talk her into doing a video about how to rebuild a tension...
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolph33 View Post
    A while back a bought a vintage machine-a Domestic looks great but will not pick up the bobbin thread .It rotates fine but will not sew.Is it junk or an easy fix?
    Is the needle in right - does that machine turn toward you or away from you?
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  8. #8
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Shirley,

    No, you don't have to degunk the whole machine. But the bobbin area and especially the case, hook, feed dogs, and needle plate need to be clean and free from lint, thread, old oil and gunk. All of that will affect the tension.
    On the bobbin case lint and debris can built up under the little tension spring too, so that needs to be cleaned as well.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Is the needle in right - does that machine turn toward you or away from you?
    The wheel should turn away from you...just like an old White or Kenmore rotary.

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    If you are using a plastic bobbin, check around all the edges too. My thread was breaking on one of my machines and it was a bobbin with a little barb on the edge.

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