Sunday, January 14, 2018

Treadling into New Territory with a Singer 15-90

Well here's something I had never planned to do!

A couple of years ago, an elderly neighbor lady gave me this Singer treadle cabinet because she knew I liked "old" Singers.  I thought it was a cool piece of furniture and I put it in my entrance hall and plopped a bowl of seashells and a vase of flowers on top.  There it has stood ever since.

Just sitting there doing nothing

Now, I'm in a period where I have a lot of downtime and start looking around for stimulating, but ultimately useless little projects to keep me occupied.  I spied this table, and remembered that I had gifted a relative with a 15-90 in a carrying case several years ago.  Since I had more recently given her a newer model machine in a cabinet, I figured maybe she'd be willing to give me this one back - and she did.  (The 15-90 is identical to a 15-91 except that it has an external motor with a belt therefore can be treadled.)

Leather sewing machine treadle belt, $6.99 on Amazon

I bought a new belt on Amazon, and was surprised how cheap and easy to find it was!

Putting the machine into the cabinet was a snap, although I did discover that the hinge type is slight different than the ones I'm used to. It has two holes which screw each hinge into the cabinet instead of one.  I ordered a set of hinges on eBay. (For now it is installed in the cabinet with the other hinges, but they aren't screwed down.)

Treadle cabinet hinges, $12.99 on eBay

Not bad, I've spent $20 and I've got everything I need

Problem is, when I tried to work the treadle all I got was a screeching sound and the wheel would barely move.  I could maybe get it to spin around once and then it would get caught up again.  I oiled and inspected all the moving parts and finally saw that the skirt guard was too close to the wheel.  It was rubbing against it and impeding the movement.

Well, now, I'll just pull it away a little bit and see if that helps. YES, it does!  Now the wheel is moving freely.  But when I let go, it leaned on the wheel again, and stopped it.  Hmmm....if I can just pull it out a little, maybe I can "bend" it into place.

Okay, so maybe everyone else realizes cast iron is brittle, and it doesn't bend.  I guess I kind of knew that too, but I was hoping it would bend just a little.  Well, no, it didn't, it completely snapped off right in my hand.  I mean I ripped that sucker right off the base!

My husband helpfully told me I could weld it back on.  (Or not.)  This was supposed to be a simple, inexpensive project, after all, and neither one of us knows how to weld let alone weld cast iron.

So, sadly, I resorted to this:

No, you're not seeing things, that is duct tape on the left.  On the right I taped over the duct tape with black electrical tape just so it would blend in. 

But... and here's the "good" thing... it works perfectly!  Once I got that guard under control (and boy, did I ever show it who's boss!) the wheel spins smoothly and perfectly.  The 15-90 is a nice machine to begin with, so I'm lucky to have that advantage.  

Now, I'm waiting for someone to comment and tell me how there is an easy way to adjust the position of the guard and if I had just done a simple X-Y-Z, I could have repositioned it without ripping it off.  And I would really be glad to hear those comments, although I might cry when I realize how easily I could have have avoided tearing up my beautiful treadle base!

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Singer 301 Family is Complete - LBOW

A few years ago I picked up a Singer 301-1 black short bed.  It quickly became my favorite machine, and now lives in a beautiful #42 cabinet.  That's all I could ever want. Except...

I then came across a 301-2 beige long bed in a case for a good price.  That would round out my collection (one of each color, one of each style.)  Except...

There was one more color I didn't have, which is the Light Beige Oyster White (LBOW.)  I was okay if I never got one, but when I saw one being offered at an Estate Sale, I couldn't resist the siren song.

I wanted to be the first one in line, so I got there an hour early and waited in the pouring rain.  Good thing I did because someone right behind me was after it too.  It was only $40 because it didn't work.

However, I disagree.  It absolutely does work!

And it makes a perfect stitch

But it wasn't working - that is the wheel wouldn't turn - when I bought it, and all the better to my advantage.  However, I knew this:  as long as the bobbin case was in there (and it was) it was worth $40 because the bobbin case alone is worth more than that.  I was also pretty sure I could get it running anyway.  I've done it before, after all.  But if I couldn't get it working, then I would part it out and come out ahead, so win/win.

So here, just as I suspected, was the problem.  First of all, YUCK.  
Gobs of lint that hadn't been cleaned out in years.

But even worse, there was a thread wrapped around the hook

It took a while, but I finally got it free.  It was wrapped up in there pretty tight.

So maybe a messy hour of my time, and I got a machine that had been written off as not working right back into operation.  It was also bone dry and needed some oiling and lubing.  It still sounds a little hard, but it runs fast and the stitch is perfect like any 301.  (Hopefully after running and oiling it a little more, it will settle down.)

             I'll be selling one of them soon, but for now it's kind of cool to have the whole set.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Singer 301 - Sharing the Love

I paid "too much" on eBay for this beautiful, original full-color brochure.  Since I spent so much on it, I figure I should share the love.  💕

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Singer Monogrammer - the "other" one

I've raved about my Singer Deluxe Monogrammer, and honestly I still think it is about the coolest gadget I have.  I will find ANY excuse to use it.  (Sorry family and friends, you know you'll get something monogrammed from me!)

This is the other one - the one that makes tiny little letters suitable for cuffs or collars or even a dainty little hanky.

These are pretty cheap on eBay - about $20 - and they work on all slant shank Singers.  Keep in mind though, that you need a zigzag machine to make the satin stitch (so the 301 and 404 won't work.)  You also need a special feed cover plate even though the Slant-O-Matics have an elevated throat plate system to bypass the feed dogs. Using the elevated throat plate just doesn't work for this, I tried it.

According to the instruction booklet this should be included so if you're buying one from eBay make sure it is in there. Mine was missing, and they are almost impossible to find one on it's own.  Fortunately I, being blessed by the vintage Singer gods, did find one in the accessory box of a 503 at an Estate Sale. 
Simanco part #161825

If you've ever used a Singer automatic buttonholer, then this will be somewhat familiar.  It attaches to the machine the same way, and you open it and insert cams in a similar way as well.

There is a placement guide with a needle hole for each letter so you will know exactly where to begin to get your letter properly positioned (I'm not showing that step.)

Now you just set your stitch width to 2-1/2 for best results, and away you go.

This makes a super cute little monogram that would look really posh on a men's shirt collar or a dainty hanky for your grandma.  (Just be sure to use a wash away or tear away stabilizer if you're monogramming a hanky)