Colorado get-together?

Old 11-02-2022, 06:59 AM
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Default November 2022 Colorado Get-Together - Part 2


Dorothy, our only sewing professional, has recently retired from her job. She describes some of the things that she is doing with her time.

Halloween is here already! Best statement about that is from A Quilter's Corner with "It is erie in Erie"...

I have done nothing with a treadle base other than references to Mr Singer's middle name "Merritt" (Thanks Janey!) which has lead to India where it seems they make machines branded with Merritt.

I have used the buttonholer! The buttonholer is a Greist #10 designed for Necchi SuperNova (high shank) machines. The SuperNova comes with a buttonholer cam that makes square buttonholes. You need to control the length of the hole, it is not automatic.

The button holer is being used on a machine it was not designed for, but Yes! It works! It is offset by at least 1/16" too far to the right & is not centered in the attachment. This is something that can be remedied by removal of material from the attachment to the bar. There is enough material.

I have attached photos of a button hole in the machine showing how "off center" it is. The other photo is of (top left) a single pass at setting 4. The lower right is a double pass. Started at width 4 and a second pass at width 2 which makes a very nice button hole.

Buttonholes were added to a shirt for me. Next is a shirt started a while back but stubbornness indicated I should wait for this set up to complete.

Then again - Men's shirt buttons are not sold like they used to be & I was stumped not wanting milky white or black buttons for a fabric brown moose on green back ground. Finally found brown buttons which will better suit. I can not find the green ones bought at Colorado Fabrics closing. Sigh.

May you have a Grand rest of the week! Talk on Saturday!





Leon, our member at large from Kansas, is anticipating the acquisition of a machine. Leon recounts a story going back into his distant past. He writes:

It always good to be nice to former friends (and sometimes girlfriends).

Way back in 1969 I dated a young girl. We have kept in touch over the years through many stages of life. She made me an offer on a Henry Stewart VS treadle. It has some provenance. She is the third owner of it after her parents. But here are her words.

"The house on River was built and owned by J.D. Shower and his wife. My dad befriended her when he moved to Independence in 1945. When she was no longer able to care for herself, her son came from somewhere out east and took her home with him. He did not want any of the furnishings so we "inherited" a lot of stuff. (Including the VSM l,f)

I saw that house they bought so long ago when I saw her in 1969 but had no interest in sewing machines so I had to wait nearly 53 years to hear about the machine.

Here are some pictures of the machine. I am so eager to go pick it up and be it's latest caretaker.




Leon adds the following possibly relevant story:

Fun story from ISMACS close to the right time anyway. Who knows?

... to be continued
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Old 11-02-2022, 07:09 AM
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Default November 2022 Colorado Get-Together - Part 3


Courtney and his wife Connie have been busy over the last month. He recounts their activities:

Dear All,

With Connie being a famous SF writer, we go to 3 or 4 SF conventions a year. The weekend of Oct 20-23 was MileHiCon in Denver. I had volunteered to do a kid's program of sewing with hand crank machines. That meant that I could no longer procrastinate and had to get to the shop the make some hand-wheels I could use with hand cranks. I had experimented a couple of months ago, so it was time to actually make some. This time I used some 3/4 inch mdf and it worked out great. I didn't have time to paint them black, but I think they still looked acceptable and worked well. See picture.

The hand crank machines were ready to go BUT somehow, I had been left off of the kids' program so a number of adults showed up expecting me to talk give a formal talk about sewing machines. A friend had brought her mother's old Featherweight for me to service so that meant that I would at least have two machines to display, my homemade hand-crank and the Featherweight. BUT, another friend had come across a 19th century machine and had decided to buy it for me. She is from Santa Fe and brought it with her and gave it to me. It looks like a Singer 12 but I don't think it is official. Nowhere can I find Simanco or Singer. The shuttle is a boat shuttle but has a tension spring, so I think it is probably a European copy but built to a high standard. It still looks very nice and seems to work well. The case is a bit worn but I think I can refinish it and it will look nice. All in all, a great 19th century machine.

Nearly everyone knows I like sewing machines, so another friend showed up with a vintage Kenmore 158-504. It is not pristine but did come with a table and chair. She said she had tried to give it away a couple of times, but no one ever showed up to take it away, so I was going to have to take it. At least all of this happened before my presentation so now I was going to have 4 machines to display.

Just as I was setting up for my talk a fellow showed up with a Willcox and Gibbs glass tension machine. He said that he had bought it in England 30 years ago for about 5 pounds and was never going to use it and asked if I could. I quickly accepted the machine. It needs to be cleaned up a bit but seems to turn freely and be in good working condition. The very first W&G machines were glass tension machines starting in the late 1850's but in 1876 W&G introduced their automatic machines which became quite popular. At first glance I could only see 5 serial numbers which would have placed it in the early 1860s. but after I got it home, I was able to find a 6th serial number placing it about 20-25 years later but definitely a 19th century machine. All in all, I ended up with 5 machines ranging from mid to late 19th century to mid to late 20th century to demonstrate while I talked about the history of sewing machines. I think the talk went well and I came home with 3 new (to me) sewing machines!

This coming month I will have to get my homemade hand-wheels painted, clean up the model 12 and W&G machines, and work on the model 12 case. Sounds like fun.


PS I have worked on the W&G since I wrote this letter. It was missing a needle screw, but I was able to dig one up. I think the machine was used commercially because it was VERY dirty. It is still not clean, but it is much better than it was. I put in a needle, adjusted the tension and gave it a try. It sews! The hand wheel was drilled for a crank handle, so I put on a cute red one. And quickly made a base for it. I still need to put a finish on one end of the base but the whole thing is starting to look quite nice.




As a last minute followup Courtney sent a note and additional picture:

Just a quick picture of the little W&G with needle and needle nut, hand crank, and base. It still needs a lot of cleaning but I think it is rather cute looking.


In Closing

Our thanks to the members who shared their varied activities with us. And thank you for reading. We will post here again next month.
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Old 11-30-2022, 06:57 AM
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Default December 2022 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together

With Christmas fast approaching, at the North Pole, Santa and his elves are stitching up a storm on their many varied sewing machines.

Meanwhile, here in Colorado, we have cold temperatures, a fresh dusting of snow, people putting up Christmas decorations and it's again time for another Colorado sewing machine get-together.

We have a variety of topics to offer from our members, along with some pictures, so let's begin our post.


Leon, who is our member-at-large from the state of Kansas, sends a picture of one of his machines on display at a museum.

FYI this is my Wilcox and Gibbs on display at a Museum



As a followup to last month's meeting, Courtney sent a note to Dianne about the bobbin winder tire for her Little Worker machine.

Sorry to take so long to respond. I think you need a new bobbin tire. The bobbin wheel is a bit bigger than a normal bobbin wheel but with a bit of work, you can get a regular bobbin tire to fit. I have enclosed a picture of my "Little Worker" bobbin winder. I believe when I originally received my machine it had a rotten normal bobbin tire. I replaced it with a normal tire. I have just ordered a couple of Singer Model 12 bobbin winder tires for my new transverse machine. I tried one on the "Little Worker" and it seemed to work well. I would be glad to send you the extra one if you would like. I have never seen a bobbin tire like in your photograph. I agree, I don't think there is any way to disengage the mechanism while winding the bobbin.




Dorothy, who retired last month from her professional sewing job, is turning her attention to personal sewing projects that she has been wanting to do. She writes:

Yes to Saturday and hope I am not scattered.

I have a sewing project that is going to need help and experimenting. There are 2 stitch lines on a patch that does not get folded under. The straight stitch at 1/8" from raw edge and that edge is curling UP showing white. (A Marcy Tilton knit shirt.) There are a variety of unusual steps mostly to reduce bulk which may not have a finished effect I like. We will see.

The fabric is a 4 way extreme stretch that I hope to sew decorative stitches on my Supernova Necchi. Currently, that is not working out. The decorative stitch is gathering the fabric producing bunching in between threads. Sews on woven "Just Fine". More work is needed on the basic tension and then I will start working with stabilizers. Easiest will probably be tissue paper. Not sure I want to pick tissue out of a pattern stitch. Thinking wash away stabilizer will be an easier solution. One of the quilting stores should have that product.
Until Saturday!



James sends the following note about his activities over the last month.

I finally got started in making my second bedroom into my sewing room/museum/ and possible guest room. I did have to rent a storage unit to hold stuff that has accumulated in the 20 plus years I have been at my small location. Most of it is likely stuff that I will donate like books and such. There also a huge number of rocks I had collected over the years. My sister came by to help me clean while I took the entire week off from work. I did move my two working treadles into the living room/dining room space once I cleared out enough space. One is a National Two Spool and the other a Wilcox and Gibbs.

I have an antique barrister stackable bookcase with plain glass fronts that I hope to use to display a few of my sewing machines in the second bedroom. It is a Globe-Wernicke with 5 shelves with the rarer standing legged base in golden sawed quartered oak with brass oxidized trimmings. The room has a nice wall at an angle that will be perfect for pattern matching while designing and making quilts. Also handy for displaying quilts in zoom meetings once I figure out how to hang them! I have three electric tables that will go into the room as well as the multi top treadle that I still need to make the tops for. Also multiple heads with some cases.



Thanh has been traveling and sends us some pictures of interest from his trip.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I'm flying back to Denver this Saturday so I'll miss the meeting again. Here's my short update for November:

I've been traveling the whole month so no major acquisitions. However, I did manage to find another round eyelet button hole cam in an antique shop. It came with a Singer slant shank buttonholer which included all 10 Singer cams.

I was in Europe for first half of November and visited a couple of museums in the Czech Republic. One museum was someone's private collection of vintage cars and household items. We got to see some sewing machine brands you don't find very often in the USA such as a Bagat 706 Visnja, Lada and Bynov.

The other was an applied arts museum in Brno which had a couple of Minerva Boskovice machines on display. Minerva Boskovice had its beginnings in Austria and slowly moved operations to Czech. It was nationalized after WWII and included in the national enterprise MILA based in Opava. In 1950, the company became independent again and gradually became the largest sewing machine manufacturer for households in Czechoslovakia. After 1968 the manufacturing program reoriented only to industrial machines and since 2001, Minerva Boskovice has been the main manufacturer of industrial sewing machines for the group Durkopp Adler.

Other than that just looking forward to getting back home and working on an Elna Supermatic that's waiting on my bench.






In Closing

We hope that everyone has a warm and enjoyable holiday season and a happy and prosperous new year!

We will post here again next month. Thank you to our contributors for sharing and to our followers for reading.
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Old 01-04-2023, 07:50 AM
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Default January 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 1

Here we are with the first posting of the Colorado get-together for the new year 2023. We want to wish everyone reading this the very best for an interesting and prosperous coming year.

This past December, as with much of the country, winter arrived in earnest. One day in particular offered us both high and low temperatures well below zero degrees. After that, a temperature of 20 degrees F seems almost moderate. It's a perspective thing.

In our new year's posting we have pictures and comments from some of our members. So let's get started.

Cheryl & Chris

Cheryl and Chris tell us about a cute little machine they have, which needed some wiring replacement work:

Chris did some electrical work on this little Dynamic that Emily picked up back in 2017. It's not the best for sewing, but she likes it.

When the daughter brought this machine home, the wiring was in very bad shape. It was in the kind of shape that would start a fire, burn the house down and then trip the breaker. Seriously, there were bare wires coming out of motor and the insulation was perished on large chunks of the rest of the wires. So, ALL the wire had to be replaced.

The outlet that is used for the "light" and "motor" connections was the first point attack. Of course, this part was not made to be serviced so the manufacturer graciously ground down the screw heads on the back to prevent access. (Sorry, really should have taken pictures.) With a little persuasion, the back came off. Apparently, the OEM really didn't want anyone servicing this, because inside the assembly the wires were riveted to the contact strips. But with the aid of some hardware from my "collection" the old wire was replaced with brand new wire. Screws, with heads, replaced the ground off old screws that held back plate on and all was right with the world.

Next up was replacing the naked wiring to the motor. The motor casing was removed, the old wires unsoldered and new, clothed wires were soldered in their place. The strain-relief on the motor casing was a bit of a tight fit owing to the thicker insulation on the new wires (bulkier clothes for the winter?). However, since the new motor wire had a modern pre-molded polarized plug on the end (can you say "repurposed extension cord"?) a bit of filing was needed so the plug would fit into the "light"/"motor" connector, which was NOT polarized. (Yet another reason to keep a mill file around.)

The foot controller was the easiest part of the three to rewire. The bottom plate slides off, the wires are well dressed and screwed into place. So that was a pleasant surprise.

C & C





to be continued
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Old 01-04-2023, 07:57 AM
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Default January 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 2


Last month, Dorothy was considering work with some very stretchy fabric. Janey suggested a product called "PerfectSew" as a possible method of stiffening the fabric. Dorothy responded:

Thank you Janey!

The PerfectSew worked well enough that a lovely edging was made without fabric distortion. I did Not take a photo of the actual edge- I thought I did, but no.

I did attach the woven stitch sampling to get the one I chose ( on right). The knit sample shows different with a smaller loop and more distance between. I think it looks good.

I will have a full report for Jan. Thanks again for the PerfectSew idea!




Dec is over and it went fast! May the new year be a good one!

Hem stitching has come up in some conversations and it is puzzling me. Hem stitching is a form of cut & drawn work, with information so far indicating "It is excellent for hems". (Source a Butterick sewing book from 1921). There are illustrations of hem stitch & drawn work but no definitive definition, must be lots of assumed knowledge of the day. Confusion really comes in with modern machine "Hemstitch" done with a wing needle and program which is not drawn work, even if delightfully pretty.

I did decorative stitching on the knit garment. It was really helped by the Perfect Sew Janey suggested. Not perfect (compared to the Necchi stitch guide) but has the interest wanted! Variation from the stitch guide is most likely due to needing a good under carriage oiling. Another thing to get to as the lift mechanism wedges and requires extra effort to lift. Sigh.

I look forward to Saturday!





Courtney has had a busy time. He shares this, as well as a little about his Christmas:

My sewing machine adventures have been quite interesting for the past couple of months. In my November report I mentioned that I had been given three sewing machines at a recent Science Fiction Convention, a Kenmore from the late 1960s, a Willcox and Gibbs from about 1885, and a transverse shuttle machine in great shape that resembled a Singer model 12.

I got the Willcox and Gibbs cleaned up and adjusted so now it sews. It is kind of interesting in that it is not the automatic model but an original glass tension model. I haven't had time to work on the Kenmore but I don't think it will cause much of a problem to get running. It's the transverse shuttle machine that has taken up most of my time. After Janey and John put the notes up on Victorian Sweatshop, Olaf from Norway commented on the picture and identified the machine as a Stoewer machine and said that he could tell me the date of manufacture if I could provide him with the serial number. I quickly responded and he said the machine was made in 1904. He also sent directions on how to wind a bobbin. I now had a name I could search for online. Although the Stoewer Company was the second oldest sewing machine company in Germany, I had trouble finding much about my machine. I did find some very old Stoewer literature online, but the major difficulty was that is was in an old German script. I don't read German but I do have a quilting buddy, Jill, who was a German major in college and has spent some time in Germany. We met for coffee and crepes. She had some difficulty with the old script, but I was able to get nearly all my questions answered. There was one small part on threading the bobbin she was unsure about, so she sent it to a friend in Switzerland to confirm her translation. Wow, this machine has sure given me a feeling for how small the world has become and how international!

While we were still at the little restaurant, Jill pulled out her grandmother's sewing machine. It was a little model 20. It has a very interesting story that I hope to tell you next month. The talk with Jill about her grandmother's Singer model 20 got me thinking that I had a couple of girl's machines in the basement. One of the machines was a Singer Sewhandy from the 50s. a newer model 20. It was not in nearly as nice a condition as Jill's grandmother's machine although it was probably 10 to 20 years younger. Many of the moving parts had gotten rusty, particularly the tension mechanism. I got out the Evaporust, cleaned and adjusted the machine. It now sews okay but I think I still need to do some tension work. The other machine was an old motorized Betsy Ross that had a bad motor and the machine itself was frozen tight. However, the Betsy Ross had no rust, so I sprayed some WD40 on all the moving parts and let it set for some time on top of the furnace. The combination of heat and WD40 did the trick and as soon as it started to move, I oiled it up. Both machines were missing the knob for the hand crank. Fortunately, I had purchased a gross of little red knobs on eBay several years ago so both machines now have little red knobs. Although the Singer needs a bit more work the Betsy Ross is sewing very well. (The four-patch pillow in the picture was done on the Stoewer hand crank.)

Santa Claus was nice to me this year. I have been a good boy all year, I promise. My big present was a folding Gorilla Cart. Now I will be able to wheel around 3 machines at once instead of having to carry each one individually.) The picture shows the rest of my stash in the bottom of the Gorilla Cart. The stash includes a moda layer cake, a fat quarter bundle, and some bulldog fabric! I also got a stitch guide for setting the width of seams and a couple of the antique sewing machine trading cards, one Singer and one New Home. I got a slew of quilting books for inspiration. Connie gave me a reprint of how to use attachments with old Singer model 27 machines. We still have the #27 machine her grandmother sewed Connie's wedding dress on. (Connie's grandmother inherited the machine from her grandmother, so it originally was Connie's great great grandmother's machine!) Finally, a good friend gave me a 1929 copy of the White Schools of Costume Design Handbook. With the following note attached:

"I remember my mom first teaching me to sew on a White sewing machine. Most likely this White Handbook came with it. I thought you might like to have it. Note that true to the time that she would have gotten it she signed her name as Mrs. Harry Olson and not as Sylvia Olson.

When I was about 13 she bought the Singer Featherweight which is part of my collection of four machines. I will never catch up with you. Ha! Carol"

(PS Carol is now 85)

Hope everyone else had a great Holiday Season. Best Wishes,




In Closing

May the new year bring good fortune to everyone! We will post here again next month to share the activities of our members. Thank you for reading.
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