Monday, August 15, 2011

Japanese Zig Zag

I found this sweet machine in Syracuse this past winter.  Steven and I went up one Saturday to pick up a Kenmore 158.1760 complete with cams and a pretty nice cabinet.  While there I checked out other CL postings and found this darling.  I was still working in the living room when we brought this home and I spent HOURS cleaning and oiling and cleaning.  I love this machine.  It has a class 15 bobbin and vertical hook.  It is an end loader.  The motor that came with it was a 1 amp motor.  I was told that meant that it was a powerful machine so I felt pretty good about my 40 buck investment.

I had a notion that I should check the brushes on this motor.  My naivete got the better of me and I broke one of the very delicate wire strands attached to the armature.  That was my first lesson in motor repair.  Don't mess with it if it isn't broken.  So now you know why I did not take the coils out of the housing on the 15-91.  Experience.

I was very upset over my stupidity.  I had spent HOURS cleaning this machine and  when I broke that motor (I was trying to get it back together) I cried.  I really sobbed.  Poor Steven.   I searched for used motors on eBay but I did not feel sure that I would get a good one.  Finally, after months, I caved and bought a nice new motor from SewClassic.  This machine sews FAST.  It is faster than any of the machines I have ever used.  It makes quite a lovely straight stitch and zig zag.  Interestingly, when in ss mode the needle sits totally to the left.   I really don't know if this is by design or not.  I did not take out the needle bar when I cleaned it so I can't imagine that I made any alteration to the needle position.  I don't have a manual for it so I have no way of knowing.  

I finally did locate a photo of this very same machine on the yahoo group vintage japanese sewing machines.  That one is named Empire.  It looks just like this machine.  That doesn't do me much good, really.  I still can't find a manual for it.


  1. I think I found a manual for this machine on eBay...
    Item number 310371720682

  2. You're welcome. I hope you were able to bid on it before the auction was up.
    I LOVE reading your blog! It's so informative.
    I am obsessed with old sewing machines too.
    They all look different & sound different, which is how I justify having so

  3. I had a Japanese machine that also had the needle position on the left for straight stitching. I didn't like it because when I sewed narrow bindings the fabric didn't feed properly, I think because it was only feeding on the left feed dog. The machine was a Riccar in a lovely shade of green and I bought it for $7 at a yard sale (1990 or so). It did make a good zig zag stitch but I couldn't justify the space for a zig zag-only machine, so I gave it to a friend to sell in his shop. It was gone in a day or so. Maybe the green color sold it. I later read that there are straight stitch feet available for left zz machines, but I wonder how well they work since a narrow seam will still be feeding on only one dog. I came upon your blog for the article on disassembling and cleaning a Singer 66. I also read your post about making ring connectors with solder -- nice! I'll be back when I start working on the 66, which is a hand crank with lotus decals. I'm very much enjoying your articles and fantastic pictures!