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Thread: The Machine That I Fiddled With Today

  1. #1
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    The Machine That I Fiddled With Today

    OK, most of us vintage sewing machine enthusiasts have several machines, and we try to accumulate even more. Some of us have machines that we fix and re-home, (or, flip for profit if you will). Some of us have machines that we have had stashed away from years ago, maybe received from a family member that “dumped” them on us, and we’ve finally decided to take a look at it. Some of us have been searching for and finally found that one machine that we’ve been coveting. Some of us have picked up a sewing machine at a yardsale and don’t know a thing about it yet.


    Whatever the circumstances, let us hear about what machine you’ve been fiddling with today, and what happened..... What is going on with you and your machine?


    I’ll start: It’s not a quilting machine, but lately I’ve been re-working a machine that I came upon that once belonged to a long-time upholstery icon within the neighborhood. His name was Jim, and he did re-upholstery in my small rural town for a long time. He did the community upholstery work from 1961 until 2008. That’s 47, or 48 years, depending on how you look at it. That’s a very long time!


    I got my hands on one of Jim’s old walking foot upholstery machines. It’s a German-made 1959 Singer 111W156. After going through it, I think (hope) that it was a machine that he must have bought from someone to help them out, and that he never actually depended upon it for his work. His main machine (that I saw him use) was a Pfaff Industrial. This Singer machine was a basket-case, and he never could have sewn on it in the condition that it was in (at least, its condition when I received it). The timing was out of whack , parts were missing, cheeshe! It couldn’t have sewn as it was, but I am certain that he owned it at one time, and that he had it in his shop.


    Well, today, after weeks of tweaking this and tweaking that, then searching for help and waiting for parts, it sews! I had test-sewn it a few days ago, by simply hand wheeling it. But today, even though it was possibly the coldest day of the year in my Bikeshop, I fired it up and sewed with it in a power stand! Whoohoo! It sews like Champ!


    I love it when things come together! I’m going to put this one into my lineup of “go-to” machines!


    Please share your experience of fiddling with your machine. Photos would be nice, but not required. What machine did you fiddle with today? Tell us about it!


    CD in Oklahoma
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    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    I too just love it when they sew like a charm or are better than we expected. Good save.

    Yesterday I had to get my truck oil changed, tires rotated etc, so I did a quick run through my favorite Redding thrifts trying to beat the fast approaching snow storm home..LOL. So today I fiddled with a Touch and Sew. I wasn't really looking for one but after reading the threads here about them just a few days ago I was intrigued. So when I found one for sale cheap...I bought it. I thought what the heck I will play with it and see what all the hoopla is about. It is a Singer 758.

    Well, it IS different. Took me awhile just to get the top and bottom off. My 758 fortunately is like new, I really lucked out with it. I never know what to expect from thrift stores. It was just a little dusty and cleaned up spotless. I need the cams, the feed dog cover plate if it came with one originally, bobbins and the spool cover material stuff is shot.
    I downloaded a manual so now I will try to find the other items so I can see how she sews. I want to find the vintage bobbins that came with the machine if I can. If not I will try the aftermarket ones but so far most peeps haven't liked them. She has all kinds of unique and fun differences for her time and so far I like her...a lot. I really like how to store the foot control inside the case cover. It is probably the quickest, easiest and neatest one I have so far.
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  3. #3
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    Hoping to get this Hamilton Beach motor rewired and running

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    Need some brake cleaner, and new brushes, and decide whether I should turn down the armature as it's grooved pretty deep, probably won't. Do you know what happens if it gets turned down too far? and the gunk built up between the sections, should it be cleaned out? I have in the past and they worked after...
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  4. #4
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    I haven't played with any today. Yesterday I fooled around with the Wards machine I just picked up. Found the problem with the bobbin winder. It was a loose screw so the spring wasn't engaging correctly. Found out the buttonholer function wasn't working and fixed that. That one was a combination of being frozen a bit and the knob was spinning on the shaft so it looked like it was working but was really just sitting there. The frozen knob for the feed dog release is still thwarting my attempts to free it. The set screw for the knob is stuck-I broke a screwdriver in it- it's in a reachable but awkward position making it difficult to get on it securely enough to get any leverage. I'll get it eventually. I also scrubbed the top of the plastic carrying case down with some soft scrub. That got rid of about 90% of the crud and scuff marks on it. I still need to scrub down the base.
    This evening I may do some sewing on the quilt I'm making on my Singer 66.
    Rodney

  5. #5
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Jim you posted at the same time as me. That's a beauty of a New Home.
    Rodney

  6. #6
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    I haven't 'fiddled' with it for a few weeks now due to space restrictions and cold weather ( painting isn't a good idea in the cold in an un-insulated garage) but, I'm in the middle of my first ever restoration. I jumped in with both feet onto a 221 and have it all apart. I took 'before' pictures and will take 'after' shots when I'm done with it.

  7. #7
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Iím switching industrial power stands to make use of a better motor setup, so I took the dual-wheel trolleys out from under the Singer 111W153 stand and put them under a stand that Iím going to put my Singer 111G156 machine into. I got those dual-wheeled casters at a yardsale from a woodworker and built my own trolleys under each end of my power stand.

    While I was doing that, I had to move a tote-full of scrap vinyl, and had been thinking about a Christmas project using a little bit of it. I figured that I had better get it done if I was going to do it. I set the Singer 31-15 treadle up with black thread and made two little pint-sized billfolds for a couple of my pint-sized grandsons.


    CD in Oklahoma
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    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
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  8. #8
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunflowerzz View Post
    I too just love it when they sew like a charm or are better than we expected. Good save.

    Yesterday I had to get my truck oil changed, tires rotated etc, so I did a quick run through my favorite Redding thrifts trying to beat the fast approaching snow storm home..LOL. So today I fiddled with a Touch and Sew. I wasn't really looking for one but after reading the threads here about them just a few days ago I was intrigued. So when I found one for sale cheap...I bought it. I thought what the heck I will play with it and see what all the hoopla is about. It is a Singer 758.

    Well, it IS different. Took me awhile just to get the top and bottom off. My 758 fortunately is like new, I really lucked out with it. I never know what to expect from thrift stores. It was just a little dusty and cleaned up spotless. I need the cams, the feed dog cover plate if it came with one originally, bobbins and the spool cover material stuff is shot.
    I downloaded a manual so now I will try to find the other items so I can see how she sews. I want to find the vintage bobbins that came with the machine if I can. If not I will try the aftermarket ones but so far most peeps haven't liked them. She has all kinds of unique and fun differences for her time and so far I like her...a lot. I really like how to store the foot control inside the case cover. It is probably the quickest, easiest and neatest one I have so far.
    I have some parts for those machines.
    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

  9. #9
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I'm missing a screw but you already knew that.... When I took the screw out of the tension end of a Singer 401a it went flying across the shop. No telling where it went. Why is it the smallest screws fly the farthest and the fastest? I crawled around with a magnet and still never have found it. Maybe I should shake the machine up a little... see if it falls out... I'll have to rob something else for the set screw. Maybe I can pay a finder fee to Wilbur and Lovie next time they are over. LOL Teach them what 'real' sewing repairs are?

    Ok back to what I worked on. I had 3 machines yesterday with buggered up tensions. It was the end of the day and I was exhausted. Before I went to bed I had a little brain fart - maybe I forgot to get the dried up oil off the little tiny pin that never sees the light of day and gets lost when you pull the tension off a machine. So when I got up I messed with the first tension. Pulled it off the machine, re-cleaned and oiled it. I had not pulled the pin out - my bad. The tension works just fine on straight stitch. On zig zag no matter what I do the thread pulls to one side. The machine zigs and zags like it should - the needle swings fine - no crud in the system. I took off all the jewelery so I could see the hook. It is nabbing the thread so it isn't out of timing. I have to go back and explore. I had another Singer 401a with a buyer showing up in a hurry and it's tension wasn't working either - same dried up crud. So that one tension is gone to the machine that is now out the door. The quick fix for the one out the door was the tension off the messed up machine. Now I have the tension for the machine that is out the door missing a set screw and the machine still doesn't zig and zag with good tension. I may pull a tension off a Fashion Mate and see if it works. I'm thinking somebody jimmied up the machine somewhere. Parts were all in a box. The tension was put together wrong. Other parts were pulled from the machine. The other machine I was having fun with was a Brother Flairmatic - it's problem was dried up oil on the little pin that goes in the center of the tension where it never sees the light of day. I got it cleaned, oiled and returned. I like that machine. The Brother Flairmatic seems to be a good solid machine. It would be great for learning to sew! Three tensions with dried up oil on the pin. Does that tell me something? NEVER LET A SEWING MACHINE KNOW YOU ARE IN A HURRY.
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    Last edited by miriam; 12-08-2013 at 03:36 PM.
    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

  10. #10
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    I don't ever oil those tension release pins. I run'em dry.

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
    ThayerRags Fabric Center
    http://thayerrags.com/

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