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Old 03-31-2021, 05:23 AM
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Default April 2021 Colorado Sewing Machine Get Together - Part 1

Over one weekend, Colorado received its fourth largest snowfall ever in the month of March. Fortunately, snow disappears quickly here. With a little shoveling and a few days of sunshine, it was gone within a week.

While we are still under social distancing, some of our members have been exchanging thoughts and ideas via email; Janey with Cheryl and Courtney with James.

We have a few contributions for this month's meeting from our members.


James was the first to send his adventures with sewing machines over the last month. He sends a description and some pictures of machines he has been working on:

I finally got my 1879 English hand crank Willcox and Gibbs working properly. It took a good amount of sewing oil and lamp oil to unfreeze everything. I had to add a hair dryer to get the internal plunger spring unstuck since there was no other way to access it. My next problem was that the automatic tensioner was not working properly as my looper kept getting snarled with multiple threads. Pulling the thread by hand while cranking revealed that the tensioner was not holding the thread at the right point in the cycle. I gave the tensioner a good cleaning with dental floss and everything worked perfectly. I will be working on my first small sewing project ever on this machine! A small quilted place mat using the Ohio Star design to make it simple and interesting.

A recent machine I acquired a while back is a Singer 9W7 that probably dates from around 1910 based on the serial number. This one uses the older Wheeler and Wilson bagel type bobbins and of course the longer needle. I have not gotten around to work on it but things move freely and the front decals are in pretty nice shape with extensive wear on the bed and more decal loss at the rear. Still a nice looking machine.







Courtney has a particular liking for Willcox & Gibbs machines. He tells us about what he has been working on recently:

Dear All,

Most of my sewing machine time this past month was spent with mister's Willcox and Gibbs. The small portable W&G treadle I built a few years back has been sitting idle and collecting dust during the pandemic because the local museums have been closed for the pandemic. I got the treadle out and dusted it off and gave it a good oiling. I had been having a bit of trouble at times with the old belt so I thought I would try a urethane belt. Instead of "welding" the urethane together I thought I would try a W&G ferrule. The ferrule seems to screw tight to the urethane and so far it seems to be holding well. The picture I have included shows the ferrule attaching the two ends of the green urethane belt.

While I had the treadle out I thought I would try and get my very early glass tension W&G machine into sewing condition. I bought the machine a few months ago but had not really tried it out. The serial number dates the machine at about 1859. I put the machine in the treadle and gave it a try. A couple of the parts are worn but after a bit of fiddling with the glass tension I was able to get it to sew a good seam. I think I will make a Sanitary Commission housewife. Who knows I may have made some 160 years ago during the Civil War!

Since the urethane belt seemed to be working well on the treadle, I thought I would try one on a W&G English hand-crank. The leather belt has been slipping some. I cut the belt to length and again secured it with a W&G ferrule. Even though the urethane belt I am using is only 4mm (instead of 5mm) it seems to be working well. For display purposes the leather belts are most authentic, but for use the modern urethane belts seem to grip better.

Finally I have had several emails with James who has been working on his English hand-crank. I was finally able to free his presser foot bar but was still having troubles. After emailing back and forth several times, I think he has gotten it working.


... to be continued
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