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Thread: Vintage Sewing Machine Shop.....Come on in and sit a spell

  1. #42876
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    Ah! Well stated. Thank you for the insight. This machines have never proven themselves to me. That's why I've asked. Clearly there is something about them that have endeared themselves to folks. Perhaps the Featherweight I learned on has skewed my opinion. Hearing the opinion of others help me keep an open mind.
    I love the older Singers. Intuitive to thread, clean up easily and not real fussy machines. Both of my daughters, who don't sew much, can operate them without much guidance. That being said, my featherweights are a pain in my patookis and both have personality issues as far as I'm concerned. Other people really love those little buggers. Actually, they remind me of the Shetland pony my siblings and I learned to ride on as children - obstinate with his own way of doing things.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  2. #42877
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    I love the older Singers. Intuitive to thread, clean up easily and not real fussy machines. Both of my daughters, who don't sew much, can operate them without much guidance. That being said, my featherweights are a pain in my patookis and both have personality issues as far as I'm concerned. Other people really love those little buggers. Actually, they remind me of the Shetland pony my siblings and I learned to ride on as children - obstinate with his own way of doing things.
    FW and 301s are my least favorite straight stitch vintage Singer - I think it is the PITB bobbin area. When they get tangled (which they DO) they are hard to untangle.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  3. #42878
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    FW and 301s are my least favorite straight stitch vintage Singer - I think it is the PITB bobbin area. When they get tangled (which they DO) they are hard to untangle.
    Love my 301. I will, admit that the bobbin area can be a real hassle but she is so quiet and easy to use. What I don't like is that she is picky about the bobbins that I have on hand. I have one vintage bobbin that she doesn't like and I know it when I attempt to use it but operator head space error never remembers to take it out of the box with all the other bobbins.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  4. #42879
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I have to put in my 2cents worth. I love my FWs (I have 4) but you are correct. They have their own personalities. I use them for piecing almost exclusively. But my 1947 is my favorite (also my 1st) and the 2nd one I bought comes in a close second. The last one I got has it's issues..... foot pedal needs to have the cord lengthened. Someone cut it so short that it doesn't even reach the floor to sew. And this one had a thread in the bobbin area that was really difficult to get out..... I've put that one away to work on when I'm not so busy.
    --- Jean

    I'd rather spend money on my quilting hobby than the therapist.... I'm probably $$$ ahead.... and I'm happy!!

  5. #42880
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear from everyone! With the overwhelming love of Singers, I thought I was missing something. My Singer 99K sounds like my mother's FW.

    That click, click, is a muffled sound from my childhood. My mother stitching together her daughters' prom dresses, fixing Daddy's work shirts, and my everyday clothes at the kitchen table in the wee night hours with that amazing machine... They had a symbiotic relationship. It never gave her the fits it gave the rest of us.

    I remain a fan of all things not Singer. Perhaps some day, a special machine will change my perspective!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  6. #42881
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Isn't it funny how sounds can stay with you? Wilbur is fascinated with the sound of his momma's serger. I asked her when it was oiled last... LOL I wonder if I taught him that though. We were working on a Kenmore and the thing sounded funny to me. I commented on it when I was oiling it and it quit. Wilbur picked up on sewing machine sounds - motor sounds - bobbin sounds - other sounds. Some machines don't have much sound some sound like a freight train. I was using Tri-Flow that day and now he thinks Tri-Flow will fix anything. By the way Bob the Builder is no longer Wilbur's hero. He has figured out that Bob the Builder doesn't fix or DO anything. Real people fix and do things. Farmers fix and do things. He thinks he is a farmer now. Oh and he turns 4 on Thursday. Hard to believe.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  7. #42882
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I love sewing with my Singers! I have Featherweights,a 301. The treadles are a 15,201,115 and 237. All of them sew very well.
    Sharon

  8. #42883
    Super Member missgigglewings's Avatar
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    Can someone tell me a little about a Singer 99K..good old machine or not worth the 40.00 asking price. It looks pretty and is in a nice case.

  9. #42884
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I like the old Singer 99s - pretty much goof proof - I usually get $50 for one all cleaned up and adjusted.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  10. #42885
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    I just got $50 for one....

  11. #42886
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nanna-up-north View Post
    how you clean up the presser bar lever.... It has that heavy spring around it and it's hard to get to. What do you suggest?

    Also, do you take everything apart? I haven't ever disconnected everything..... and can't always get to things as well as I'd like. The 128 is an example of what I'm talking about. When I moved that little chrome tag-looking plate on the front, the moving part inside looked like it needed more cleaning but I couldn't really get to it very well. What do you do?
    Hi Jean - I know you're asking Miriam this but there might be a few different ways of doing it. As for the spring, if it's working and looks clean enough, I wouldn't touch it - but if it really needs cleaning my weapon of choice is a toothbrush. Kids ones are good. Also interdental toothbrushes are awesome but they are a little expensive here, not sure about in the US. I buy them because they literally grab all the stuff into their bristles so if you're scrubbing with them, you don't have to worry about pushing gunk or lint further into the machine. I like to use oil or metal polish where possible on japanned machines but if it's really gunky I use isopropyl alcohol and you have to cover all of the machine finish to protect it, especially if you're using it with a toothbrush because it's hard to control the spray. I think if you're really careful and patient then it's fine, but I have to put in the disclaimer that it's generally not recommended to use IA on any machine where you want to protect the finish - at the very least, to guard against accidental damage.

    It's good to take everything that comes off easily with a screw, like that little tag on the 28. I went out and bought two sizes of screw driver that are better quality ones with nice, fine blades on them as the screws on older sewing machines often have a very skinny slot to put the blade of the screwdriver into. Just make sure you're not working on a decking or floorboards that have gaps between the boards, or near a floor vent....... just in case I always just take photos if I'm taking something apart, step by step - or line up the parts in the order I took them off. I also use a container with little compartments (like a tackle box) to put the part and the screw(s) that go together in each compartment. I've learned so much taking things apart and putting them back together and it's been really fun!
    Last edited by frudemoo; 11-05-2013 at 01:53 PM.

  12. #42887
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Hey I did not give a good answer to that did I. You can unscrew the pressure screw, pull the spring out and clean every thing. You WILL need an adjuster's manual to set the pressure screw again though.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  13. #42888
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Hey I did not give a good answer to that did I. You can unscrew the pressure screw, pull the spring out and clean every thing. You WILL need an adjuster's manual to set the pressure screw again though.
    Now THAT sounds like fun! LOL

  14. #42889
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    It isn't a whole lot of fun if you don't know how it is suppose to go back together... getting it apart is a job Wilbur could do but I won't let him. If that spring decides to take off.... just saying... better have protective eye wear....
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  15. #42890
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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    I have been hanging out in this section of QB for a while now and really enjoy the way you all share info and pictures.

    I wanted to tell you a story though... one time I asked a Singer dealer/service rep how to get training on sewing machine repair. I was probably in my late 20s, had been sewing for half my life at that point and had no career other than raising my babies. He told me "it really wasn't the kind of job for a woman" and basically blew me off. Thinking back, he probably just didn't want any competition. But clearly he was WRONG! LOL
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  16. #42891
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltingVagabond View Post
    I have been hanging out in this section of QB for a while now and really enjoy the way you all share info and pictures.

    I wanted to tell you a story though... one time I asked a Singer dealer/service rep how to get training on sewing machine repair. I was probably in my late 20s, had been sewing for half my life at that point and had no career other than raising my babies. He told me "it really wasn't the kind of job for a woman" and basically blew me off. Thinking back, he probably just didn't want any competition. But clearly he was WRONG! LOL
    You bet repairs are something women can do but you sure never saw women work on machines back in the day. I was blown off way back then, too when I wanted to learn. I have had to figure things out myself. I thank God for the internet. Everybody here is so encouraging and there is such a wealth of info. I'm also thankful I can find parts and repair manuals! If you want to learn sewing machine repairs get a cheap old junk machine and take things off and put them back on. If you botch it oh well - we all have little boxes of parts to our shame... well maybe except Joe. But then you could also look at it as having a box of junk you can always use to keep some other machine alive and you know where those parts came from.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  17. #42892
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    My 301 is my go to machine for piecing and FMQ both. I've never had a bobbin jam in the three years I've owned one. Nor do I have to hold the thread to start so the bobbin won't jam - I did that for 40 years with the Elna. My kids disliked that machine for that reason. BTW, I love Miss Elna - just not for anything concerning a quilt.

  18. #42893
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    You bet repairs are something women can do but you sure never saw women work on machines back in the day.
    Depends on what "in the day" you are discussing.
    These are from an article in the Scientific American from 1889(ish) showing the inside of the Wheeler & Wilson factory.
    Name:  Wheeler Wilson  factory from SA #4.jpg
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    Name:  Wheeler Wilson  factory from SA #5.jpg
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  19. #42894
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Not in my day - not repairs. I've seen the Singer factory movie where women worked in the factory but not in the repair shops I was in. They maybe sold machines and vacuum cleaners but did not do repairs. I don't think the men wanted women to know how to do anything - they wanted them to bring machines in for every little thing and then sell them a new machine if they could. It took nearly 50 years after they were invented before men would buy a sewing machine for a woman to use at home. Things are so darn sexist with sewing machines. I get men coming to my shop very sheepishly telling me they want a sewing machine for themselves - when I tell them there are plenty of men that sew they look so relieved - some sew for business some sew just to relax - I don't know why they sew but they do - probably for the same reasons women sew... What ever... LOL

    The last OSMG stash I bought out had a stack of 3M paper with prices. Some time I should type some in. The OSMG must have died in the mid 1970s or early 80s. Stuff was tossed into a closet. Cheeky grin. It is all prior to that time. I could shoot a picture but the print is so small it won't show up very well. Maybe someone with a scanner could print scan it and make a pdf or some such. Computers are not my area of expertise. Oh I have every kind of plastic gear - rattle my cage if you need some. I have some kind of early electronic part thingy too. so adhd.......
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  20. #42895
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    A 99 Singer is a strong sewer with a dependable stitch. They are easy to maintain and take standard needles and bobbins. The price you pay depends on where you live and the quality of the machine. I've seen perfect ones, in a cabinet, in the Pacific NW go for $100 easily. Food for thought.
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  21. #42896
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    My VS2 (Rosie) is capable of buttonholes! I looked around for information about attachments then hooked the buttonholer to her and started treadling. Here is the result:
    Name:  vs2_Buttonholer.jpg
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    Haven't tried yet but I'm quite sure I'd have the same level of success with the swiss zigzagger. Is there nothing we can't do with these old soldiers?
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

  22. #42897
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quoting Manicmike: "Is there nothing we can't do with these old soldiers?"
    Probably not. I loaned one to a friend and he said it could be used a self-defense weapon by the lady in the house because of the weight. I agreed having dropped one on my foot only once but that was enough. Thankfully nothing broke on me or the machine.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  23. #42898
    Super Member manicmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Thankfully nothing broke on me or the machine.
    It must have missed all of your bones then! With the featherweights being the exception, all of my machines would break your foot if you dropped them from almost any height. Very lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it).

    I always have dreams of being self sufficient with every machine, but they're like friends so I guess I'm only helping to raise their self-esteem
    Singers: model 12 MOP (1885) Improved Family 29k58 (1939) 44K11 (1921) 201K2, 201K23 206k11 (1950) 222k (1959) 320k2(1959), 15K90, Bernina 530, Pfaff:360 (1959) http://tailororfailure.blogspot.com

  24. #42899
    Senior Member grant15clone's Avatar
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    Manicmike, I have to say, that is a pretty machine.
    Sorry for the absence, trying to catch up on threads here. A Yahoo update has screwed up everything.

    I would like to mention something that came to my attention recently. A woman asked her local SMG if he would work on her vintage machines. A 66 and a 201-2. He said that they were too old, and declined to take them in for maintenance. She found me (I think from QB) and I did the necessary work for her. She couldn't find anyone local to work on them. She drove 1.5 hours each way to drop them off and pick them up so, six hours drive time total. I have to admit, I felt bad about the drive time she had.

    Has anyone else had that happen to them? A local shop here has started to take in restorations and I am doing them for him because he only knows the plastic machines. I have asked him about a Singer 66 and he looks at me like I am speaking Greek to him.

    Also, as far as women doing repairs, my mom grew up on a farm back in the 40's and she taught me a lot about how to fix things. Some have it and some don't, no matter what the gender is.
    ~G~

  25. #42900
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I was out and about yesterday - on my path was a thrift store I stop at when I go that way. It is a tiny one - it supports a shelter among other things. Anyway I found a couple things and saw a sewing machine. I looked it over, closed the lid and went to pay. The manager asked me why I didn't buy the SM - I told him it needed work. He said yeah it has a cord we can't figure out where it goes. So I showed him. Then I showed him what else I saw wrong. Then he said well I guess we should throw it away. I guess I looked at him funny so he said would you pay me $3 for it. Sure. I bought it. They even put it in my car for me. Then I got thinking. I went back in and we worked out a deal for me to buy the derelict machines for sure and he would call if something came in - either way and I can evaluate them. I think I know where some of my working machines are going to go now. I like that place. The bigger thrift stores aren't so willing to work things out - at least not around here.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

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