Monday, May 21, 2018

Singer Stylist 457 - replaced the gear and ready to roll

I have been venturing out further from my original interest in the old black Singers of the 1940s-1950s.  First I branched out to the Slant-O-Matics of the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Then I starting coming across various late-1960s models that kind of bridge the gap between the classic all metal machines that last practically forever, and the machines with a more limited life span due to nylon gears and more plastic parts.

This one is right on the cusp - the Singer Stylist 457 from 1969.  For the most part, this is still a solid, metal machine, but it DOES have some nylon gears which are bound to deteriorate after a few decades of use.

Singer Stylist 457

Now, I didn't go out seeking this machine, but it just "found" me at a thrift store.  It was less than $20 and I knew before I bought it that it would almost certainly need new gears. Sure enough, before I even tried to run it, I opened it up and found this bad boy (on the right) lurking inside.  This is the top gear that turns the vertical shaft that drives the machine.

Gear on the right has crumbled to pieces, but it's worth replacing.

Happily, these gears are still available and only cost about $10 so I was able to replace it.  That's basically all it took to get this machine back in tip-top condition.  Of course I also had to time the hook after I was done, but that isn't as mysterious as it sounds and it worked out fine.  The stitches are actually pretty nice.

Nice stitching, can't complain.

All it does is straight, zigzag, and blind stitch, but for 99% of your sewing that's all you'll ever need.  It has three needle positions, so you can make your four-step buttonholes, and it takes a twin needle so you can hem your knits or even make a little decorative stitching.

In spite of being a rotary hook machine, this isn't the fastest or quietest machine I've ever used, but it gets the job done.  (Surprisingly, the 237 Fashion Mate, a cheaper machine in its day and with a vertical oscillating hook, runs smoother than this one.)

If you happen to come across one of these for under $50, it might be worth your while to pick it up even knowing that you'll most likely have to replace the top gear.  If you DIY, it's just $10 for the price of the gear and less than an hour of your time.

I don't need more sewing machines around the house, but it is kinda cool to be able to "rescue" them from a thrift store where people just chuck their old machines that no longer work.  Bringing them back to life so they can be used again is very rewarding.

PS... I sold it  :)

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