Colorado get-together?

Old 03-01-2023, 06:21 AM
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Default March 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 1

February brought Colorado quite a variety of weather, from overnight lows of -14F with a daytime high of 7 in Denver to much more pleasant days reaching 60 degrees. I must say, we prefer the latter. Other parts of the state got even colder. But spring is just around the corner.

We have project notes from Dianne, Courtney and Dorothy this month. So let's get started.


Dianne tells us about a Vibra machine she has and her Singer 128, along with some ideas for quilting. She writes:

Hi Everyone,

About the middle of the month I set aside the Vibra, which still needs a new bobbin winder tire, and pulled out my Singer 128. This machine is a hand crank model, AB648502 from 1927 according to my records. This is one of the first vintage machines I purchased, way back in 2009. It was chosen for February because it uses standard feet - well, standard for my 15-91 (1952) which is the usual machine I use. Some half-square triangle blocks were the next project in line, and a machine that could use a quarter-inch foot was desirable.

A needlebar page shows the 128 being manufactured from 1916 to 1952 in Elizabethport and the 128K from 1912 to 1962 in Kilbowie. Over 4 million were made, so the model was well represented. One difference between the very similar 127 and 128 models is the shuttle carrier and shuttle. The manufacture of these two very similar models overlapped, with the 127 being produced to 1941 at Elizabethport and the 127K until 1939 at Kilbowie, producing over two and half million of them. That said, Singer made many more Model 66s - 8,906,297! That is a lot of sewing machines. But even that pales to the number of Model 15 and its variants, over 26 million machines.

My machine has the La Vencedora decal set, used from the beginning of production of this model to 1960. Was something else placed on those last few machines produced in Kilbowie, or is this information incorrect? That would be interesting to find out. The decals on my machine are fairly intact, despite the fact she seems to have been well used. The crank turns incredibly easily, and will continue turning for several stitches if you let go while in motion. There are no notable problems with this machine, but it does like smaller, older-style spools of thread rather than the newer and larger crosswound type. The upper thread will sometimes break if using those, but never did using smaller spools. It might be the angle the thread approaches the first guide or inconsistent pull off the spool that causes the breakage. Anyway, that problem was easily solved and the HSTs are almost all stitched into 16 patch blocks of various designs and sizes.

The size difference of the HSTs was due to having on hand a tall stack of scrappy 3 1/2" squares. Wanting to make some 3" finished HSTs, a line was drawn diagonally to stitch along; but not wanting to waste close to half the fabric, another line 1/2" away was drawn and also stitched. Cutting between the stitchings produces two half-square units. The 3" finish ones have been used with very little trimming needed; the smaller cut-off squares needed trimming, but that can easily be done to make 2 1/2" squares. So, ending up with 8" finish and 12" finish 16 square blocks, I will border the smaller ones up to 12" finish and alternate the two sizes in a quilt. This will separate each block from its neighbors and should make an interesting quilt.






Courtney tells us a bit about his activities and sewing interests this month, including stumbling upon a buttonholer. He tells us:

Dear All,

My report this month will be short but that is appropriate because February is short. Actually, February weather has seemed to last forever this year. Hopefully, Spring will be here shortly. A week or so ago we had a PCCP (Post-Christmas Christmas Party). A good friend had been in the hospital and recovering from a fall so we had to keep putting a Christmas celebration off several times. I raked in a bunch of loot, all sewing. I got a jelly roll and two charm packs, a couple of fun quilting activity books and a JoAnn gift card! Although, I have not done much concerning sewing machines this month, I have been working on a couple of quilts. After I finished my cowboy sougan (sugan, soogan, or whatever), I started on another quilt, which is about half pieced now.

My one sewing machine activity occurred quite by accident. While wandering through my local thrift shop I noticed a "YS Star" YS-4455 industrial buttonholer. I do have a couple of semi-industrial machines that use high shank feet and a couple of older domestic machines that also use a high shank feet. I have not had a chance to try it out yet but everything was in the box and ready to go. This style of buttonholer has been around since the 1890s. In fact, this one looks almost identical to a "Famous" buttonholer from the 1930s. (I have a "Famous" down in the basement but could not find it). I did take a picture of the "YS Star" and a pre-war, pre-cam Singer buttonholer. Both the Star and Singer work nearly identical but the Singer did move things around a bit. During the pandemic one of my daughter's friends was given a Featherweght and so she decided to take up sewing. It included an early Singer buttonholer so I sent her information on its use as well as a couple of YouTube videos on its use. The nice thing about these buttonholers is that unlike the cam type of buttonholers, they can sew custom buttonholes. You can adjust the width of the zig-zag on the sides (bight), the length, and the cutting width (space between the two parallel sides.) It is amazing what they can do with a straight stitch sewing machine. Buttonholers are quite amazing machines themselves(and cute)!




to be continued...
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Old 03-01-2023, 06:24 AM
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Default March 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 2


Dorothy sent us the following notes of the last month and some associated pictures. She says:


Feb passed quickly as any 28 day month.

I did find a Griest treasure in an accessory kit consisting of all the plastic cams for the buttonholer! It includes an eyelet templete. Not sure the difference between a cam and template, but the box calls them templates!

There other activity predates the sewing machine, requiring a repair to a pair of shoes my daughter bought from Poshmark, A used item site. She purchased a pair of Haflinger wool clogs with the stitching letting loose. Roughly 5 hours of needle & pliers "by hand" completed the repair. (I do confess to the feeling it took 7 hours to thread the 3 ply thread into a too small needle which was easy to manipulate inside the shoe.) The repair was rather successful. The photo shows the area across the instep where the stitching let loose and after stitching. Stitching had also let loose around the foot opening which was stitched again and the rear tab was glued and stitched back into place. A small pair of jewellers needle nose pliers were employed. I got a lunch in payment.

It elicited a comment from my daughter that she should learn how to do these repairs herself as her Dad & I will stop doing them at some point.

Looking forward to Saturday!





In Closing

Thanks to Dianne, Courtney and Dorothy for sharing their interests with us this month. We will post here again next month. Until then, thank you for reading.
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Old Yesterday, 06:06 AM
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Default April 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 1

They say, 'In like a lion, out like a lamb.' Colorado has been experiencing warmer temperatures, with winter occasionally spitting out short bursts of light snow and cold weather. Buds are forming, hopefully not too soon. And birds have begun their pretty and distinctive springtime songs. What a variety of weather we are fortunate enough to have here!

This month we have write-ups from Dianne and Courtney. We'll begin with Dianne.


Dianne has been featuring a different machine from her nice collection each month. This month she tells us about a machine called a Hexagon. She writes:

This month's adventure in antique sewing happened using a Hexagon sewing machine. It was made by the Standard Sewing Machine Co. of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1920s. It seems they were sold mostly or exclusively in Europe. Mine has a serial number of X12306 and its decals and overall finish are not anywhere near pristine, but it is quite attractive. The small, disintegrating manual is dated 1919. There was, at least in name, a Hexagon Sewing Machine Company Ltd. (as printed on the manual) but it is accepted that Standard made the machine. Standard was taken over by Frederick Osann (maker of Sewhandy machines) in 1928, and then by Singer in 1934. This machine is also badged Harris #5 and Nelson's #61. The battering ram or tank-like look created by the metal on the sides of the left end of the machine are distinctive. There is a hexagonal metal piece on top, and the stitch length area has an oversized metal covering. Many parts of the sewing machine are interchangeable with the Singer 128.

Shortly after cleaning up and oiling the machine, a problem developed with the stitching. There were occasional loops on the bottom - not the consistent looping caused by tension problems. The shuttle was suspected, and replacing it with the shuttle from a Singer 128 solved the problem immediately. Lucky guess.

Of course, with a machine badged Hexagon, one must sew hexagons! I settled for simple pieced half hexagons cut from leftover 2-1/2" strips. A template made by Westalee efficiently cut the pieces, having a handle and corners to snip off, making aligning the angled pieces a cinch. It took quite a few pieces to put together this 41 x 62 inch flimsy. The rows were pieced on the Hexagon, but the assembly of the rows was accomplished on a Singer 15-91. Sewing all those rows on a handcrank machine simply wasn't in the stars.





to be continued ...
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Old Yesterday, 06:33 AM
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Default April 2023 Colorado Sewing Machine Get-Together - Part 2


Courtney, who lives in northern Colorado, tells us about the machines that he has worked on over the last month. He sent us the following pictures and notes:

Dear All,

During our Zoom call last month, I mentioned that I had just been given a 1942 Singer 201. It was in the last batch manufactured before the Singer factories switched over war work. I am sure that whoever bought the machine was very happy (and lucky) because sewing machines were hard to come by during World War II. The machine was not in great cosmetic shape and was missing the dust guard up by the spool pin and the machine ran very slowly. The case also had some problems in that it was missing a handle and one of the hinges was missing. I gave her a good lubrication and cut a circle out of card stock to cover the lubrication holes near the spool pin (I also put a large spool pin cover my daughter had crocheted over the area to also keep any dust from getting inside the machine.) When I looked at the control pedal, I found that it was actually for 220V rather than 110V. I replaced it with a 110V control and was really surprised. I think this is the smoothest and most responsive machine I have ever had.

I started thinking about looking at my other Singer 201s. The first machine I ever purchased was a 1948 Singer 201-2. The machine runs and sews very well but there is a quiet knock in the bobbin area. I have searched and searched for the knock and simply cannot find it. I purchased a 1947 Singer 201-3 in Portales, NM a few years ago. I have converted it to a 201-1 hand crank with an original Singer hand crank and spoked wheel. I was surprised to find such a machine in Portales, since nearly all-American machines were 201-2 machines with potted motors. This machine was made in Great Britain and Portales in not a major sewing machine hub. My third machine is a 1937 201-2 that is rather unusual. It has a potted motor, but it appears to have been drilled so the potted motor can be removed, and a 201-3 belt guard and bobbin winder can be attached to turn the machine into a 201-3 (or -1 or -4.) The only difference between 201-1s, 201-3s and 201-4s is whether they are treadle, external motor, or hand crank machines. I have included a picture of my converted 201-2 machine, and you can see it still has the built in light and the wires for the light sticking out at the back of the machine. I have also included a picture of the external motor I now have on the machine. I have always been interested in why the potted motor machine (-2) was almost ubiquitous here in the US and why the other models (-1,-3,-4) were so popular overseas.

After working on the 201s I got to thinking it would be nice to have one of the aluminum bodied 201s made in England after the war, but Colorado is a very long way from England. Then I remembered that the 201 in the US was basically replaced by the 404 which has an aluminum body. So down to the basement I went and brought up my two 404s. I cleaned and lubricated both machines and they also run very nicely (although I think the 201 is much smoother and quieter.) While working on the 404s I noticed they were not exactly the same. In the picture I have removed the top plate on each machine. The machine with the lowest serial number (AN023722 right) has a different internal casting than the machine with the higher serial number (AN126894 left) even though the serial numbers on both machines are reasonably close. The machine with the higher serial number has a casting which goes all the way from front to back for more support than the other machine. The other major difference is the drip plate. The machine with the lower serial number has a drip plate similar to a Featherweight or 301. It is a metal plate with a felt pad which screws on the bottom of the machine. The machine with a higher serial number has replaced the metal plate with a plastic cover which covers the entire bottom. Both of these differences can be seen in the photo. I don't know but perhaps the difference is how the machine was sold. If it was sold in a cabinet, it might be like the low numbered machine and if it was sold as a portable then perhaps it came similar to the higher numbered machine.

Until next month,







In Closing

Thank you to our members Dianne and Courtney for their offerings this month. We will post here again next month. Until then, thank you for reading.
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Old Today, 12:57 AM
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thanks for the info !
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