Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eye Candy

Singer 403A
 Singer's finest.  OK so the 401A is Singer's finest, but this is just like it but without as many built in stitches.  I personally like this machine because it is simpler than the 401A.  Just as strong and reliable. Gear driven, internal motor.  Strong like bull

Sears Kenmore 158.1814
 This Kenmore has sleek lines and styling  It makes a lovely stitch.  Comes with cams for decorative stitching, too.
Kenmore 158.1930
I am partial to this type of Kenmore.  While the 1814 is a bit more modern, for some reason, this style appeals to me.  I love the extension table and how it fits into the carry case. No cams with this machine but it has every built in stitch anyone could desire. 

I have to admit it, this Kenmore 158.1940 is a favorite of mine.  It is very much like my 1760 but without the additional cams.  I can get by without it, but the free arm is just plain nice to have. 
 And check out the smocking stitch. 

Kenmores of the vintage (1970s) are really sweet machines,  But the Whites from the decade prior are  hefty and strong.  Hefty means heavy, folks.  They weigh a ton.  But when you are trying to sew heavy things, you need the ballast.  
I just took in another one, a bit simpler than this 167.  It is yet to be serviced. 

And then there is this White 477.  Looks like it could take off from the runway, yes?
Of course, my favorite White is the green one because I have it in my green treadle stand.  It can be converted back to electric.  If I ever wanted to do so.


I gave the dogs haircuts and baths last weekend.  I must have clipped Wrigley a bit close.  He was shaking his head and scratching at his face. One spot kept scabbing over and breaking open.  I tried everything.  It just kept getting worse. 

Finally we had to do it.  We put the collar on him

He did manage to catch a nap

I was sewing today and felt bad for him.  I decided to make a soft collar and see how that would work
 He caught another nap.....
The problem is that this one is too soft.  He can go through the dog door and flip it so that it sits on his shoulders like a shawl.  That won't work.  For now, though, he is wearing it and leaving the hot spot alone.  If worse comes to worse, we can put on the plastic one again.  But he does not like the cone of shame

Friday, November 22, 2013

You tube

I re-wired a 201-2 motor today.  I took a very bad video of it after I was finished.  I re-wired this motor for a friend.  Of course I had to try it out to be sure it would work before I shipped it to her.  It actually works better than the one that is on the machine.  Hmmmm.

It looked like this:
But now it sounds like this:

If you want to see the finished project:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vintage Apron

I finished the apron tonight.  It is baggy and doesn't fit all that well.  I never tried on the original so how do I know that it isn't supposed to fit this way?

 Frankly it looks better on the hanger than it does on me.  But I am not entering it in a contest nor am I a model.  It will suffice.
UPDATE.  Linda commented below and included a link.  Sometimes the linkiness of links doesn't transfer when the comment is published.  Here is the link

That apron looks a bit dressy, but perhaps when the Queen comes to visit I would wear it.  Hah.  Her Highness declined my most recent invitation so I won't be needing such fanciness. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Singer 115

(Note the color of thread sitting on the spool pin.) Yesterday I went to Betsy's to sew.  I wanted to take one of my machines.  She has plenty, no worries there.    I just thought it would be fun to play with this darling little, albeit worn, hand crank.  (I had it out to wind a bobbin for the 306.  I had removed its BW to reduce interference with the coil spring belt.  Works great.  Same bobbins.  I am so stinking clever to have thought of that.)

I packed the 115 up and trekked on over to Betsy's for our Sewing on Sundays session.  I wanted to make a vintage apron using an old one Betsy had as a pattern.   I found some nice vintage type fabric in her stash. The pattern calls for bias tape as accent and to finish the edge.  I made the bias tape myself.  True I had to refer to instructions found on the WWW.   Mostly to remind myself how it is done.  (Ahem)  The red check fabric is perfect.
I wound up a bobbin and was all set to go.  I love to wind a bobbin with this type of winder.  It is just so much fun to watch.   
I popped the bobbin in the shuttle and threaded up the machine and tested the stitch.  AWFUL.  The only way to get any kind of stitch at all was to wind the top tension ALL THE WAY DOWN to its tightest setting.  It would skip stitches and generally misbehave. 

The bobbin case seemed to have quite a bit of play when in the shuttle and I wondered if I was missing a part.  Tonight I looked at some photos that I took when I serviced the machine and looked at the machine itself.  Everything looked exactly the same. 
 I threaded the machine with some handy blue thread and popped a bobbin of yellow thread in the bobbin case and VOILA, perfect stitch.  So I put the red thread in again.  AAAKKKKK.  Terrible stitch.  Just to be sure, I tried the blue and yellow combo one more time.Again, it made a very nice stitch but with a wobble or two here and there on the underside. 

Out came the needle and sure enough, rough tip aka BOB (Big Old Burr).

It's late.  I'm tired.  I don't know what it is about red thread and this machine. I am not going to fuss with it anymore right now.   Fortunately I can finish the apron project on the 306K.  It isn't so fussy. (I had to put the motor back on the 306.  That noise from the coil spring belt drove me up the wall).

I am relieved, though.  I was a bit worried that my little 115 was a goner.  WHEW.  It is just so adorable and I love the bobbin winder.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

After again

 And so you don't have to scroll back to a previous post:
I spent five hours out there today.  More to be done, admittedly.  Someday.  The dogs need baths and haircuts.  If I am lucky I can get them tended to early this weekend and get back out there. 

Along the way I came across these things:

This was in my staple gun storage case.  I had left it in the garden shed. 
 This Pfaff takes an odd needle and is missing its bobbin case.  I have no idea what size bobbin case to look for.  I am pretty sure this was made before the Berlin Wall came down.
Remember the Pfaff (not this one, but there is a story with this one, too)
 I want to play with this one.  It lives in a home made case.  The case weighs more than the machine, I think
Montgomery Ward
 This is not really part of the shop.  At least it isn't supposed to be.  Steven forbade me to spill over into his section.  Do you think he is trying to tell me something?
Coffin top re-glued

Someone re-wired this motor and light block.  Not me.  I think it will be ok.  I just wish I knew where it belongs.  Sigh.
It is always good to spend some time organizing and re-discovering things.  I would love to unload the Pfaff but I can't without the proper parts.  I think that the Montgomery Ward machine is a good one and will suit a beginner.   I have a light weight case for it.  But I hate to dispose of that nice, hefty homemade case.  It is very nicely constructed. 

I also dug out the vintage boom box and a box of cassette tapes.  Tunes to mech by. 

Kenmore 158.1802

I love this machine. I just love it. 
Kenmore 158.1802
   All clean and shiny and ready to go home. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Odd, but worth it.

 Most domestic sewing machines take the common 15 X 1 (or 130/705 system ) sewing machine needle.  This is quite convenient. The Singer 206, 306 and 319, don't.  You must use a 206X13 needle in those machines. It isn't a huge deal.  The needles are available, though a bit more dear than the 130/705 system.  For that reason I have avoided using my 306K and 319W.

Singer 319W
Singer 306K
The 206 still needs some work, I am ashamed to admit. It has been sitting on the shelf since I returned from Ray White class two years ago. 
Singer 206K
 Tonight, after dinner, but before Downton Abbey,  I thought I would set up a zig zag machine in preparation for inside sewing.   It is much too cold out in the sewing loft now.   I was going to haul the Riccar in from the loft.  Brrrr. I really didn't want to traipse out there to fetch a machine.  Aha, the 319W lives inside.  No, no, no, remember how hard it was to get it out of that base?  Use the 306K!


The leather belt that fit the 66 so well was way too tight for the 306. I had to install the coil spring belt . It took me about 5 minutes to do so.  I also took off the bobbin winder.  The belt rubbed against it and the noise drove me nuts.  The belt does rub against the metal lift spring, too, but I buffered that with some tape.  I know, I know, TACKY. 

 Still,  the stitch is worth it. 
Top stitches
Bottom stitches

Sunday, November 10, 2013


The problem with Before and After photos; before you know it after has become before so that it comes time to create after, again.

Such is the way with my shop.  It is a huge mess.  I tried the mantra "Less is More."  I suppose one day I will believe it.  Less stuff means more space.  The key to organization is less stuff.  I spent some time today trying to organize.  I did manage to get the table next to the work bench cleared somewhat.
I tired of this chore and set to repairing a coffin top that has been kicking around the shop in pieces.   November in Westford means cool weather and today was rainy and raw.  November. 

I lit a fire in the stove and when the temperature rose to 60 got to it.  I love yellow carpenter's wood glue.  It holds well and sets up quickly but is forgiving for a bit of time.  I needed a weight to hold the top in place and a Singer 27 was just the ticket. You can see the glue seeping out of the joint.  I wiped it off with a damp rag. 
I was able to glue the broken piece back on as well but the fit was lousy.  I will have to rasp the edge and sand it smooth so that nothing gets caught on it.  But at least the top is back together.  Considering it was in about six different pieces, I am not unhappy.  I started this project before the TOGA, back in September. I am the president of the local Procrastinator's club.  We haven't had our first meeting yet.    
First step undertaken in September

I also serviced the 158.1802 that I took in last week.  I really must take a photo of the machine.  It is lovely.  I have never seen a more perfect smocking stitch ever.  What a privilege to work on such a nice machine.  If I wasn't trying to get organized I would be on the look out for one.

Do you believe that I am not?  HAH !

Friday, November 8, 2013

How do you spell neglect? J U K I

  This serger has been sitting and waiting for me since June.  A. chastised me when she was here for the TOGA.  I felt a bit guilty.  Not enough to drop everything and start using it then, though.  I did think about it every day.  I guess the guilt got to me finally and today I was determined to set it up with "real" thread.  It had been threaded with red, blue, green and yellow to help me learn how to adjust the tension.  Nice combination of thread colors for Halloween.  Not for making fleece hats. 

I think the thing intimidates me. I managed to get some thread tangled up as I re-threaded it.  I tried tying the new thread to the old, but it came un-tied.  I made a better knot and was successful in just sewing the new thread through on the final thread. I was surprised that the knot actually went through the eye of the needle.

Next time I am going to try that with all of the threads.  But one at a time. 

Sergers are not sewing machines.  They do not function at all like sewing machines.  I think that intimidates me.  Once I set it up and played with it, I remembered how much fun it was to use. 

Last December I went nuts buying fleece when I went to NC.  I bought more when I went back in August.  I have a lifetime supply of fleece.  Perhaps that is hyperbole.  Let's just say I have a sufficiency and anything more would be a superfluity. (I must add here that there are members of my family who believe that I have a superfluity of sewing machines.  Ahem.)   Tomorrow I plan to make some fleece hats.  I made a few last winter while in NC.  I have been unhappy with the results.  They don't fit right.

Just before Betsy went home she helped me use the serger to go over the top seam of one of those hats.  By "help" I mean that she stood next to me while I used the JUKI.  She was there for moral support.    The hat fits much more comfortably now.  I think it would feel even better were it to have a true serged seam.  Tomorrow.  The serger will come out Tomorrow. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thread Catcher

Who noticed that thread catcher in the previous post?  It is a wonderful tool.  My friend Linda gave it to me.  She also gave me some famous Biscotti. Those are all gone.  Steven ate a few.  I ate most of them.   They were absolutely delicious.

Here is a link to Linda's blog:  featuring my thread catcher.

I am going to make a few soon.  I am sure that Steven has some old door hinges around. I know I don't have any big beautiful buttons,though.  Now I am on a mission to find some.


H. came over today to sew some more. This time I had Zydeco playing on Pandora when she arrived.  I turned it off.  Not, however, before she had a chance to hear what she would be missing.

What a perfect arrangement for me.  Company while I play in the loft, all in the pretense of teaching her to sew.  H. knows how to use her machine.  She just needs guidance, which I provided.  Just the same, I think I was mostly there to provide support and encouragement.

She was having trouble, admittedly, with the fabric feeding poorly.  She would have to fight to keep the fabric straight. I took a look and agreed.  I tried out her machine and it would feed the fabric all screwy.  So I screwed on a different foot.  Fixed.  Her Brother came with one of those snap on feet.  It felt flimsy to me.  I put on  a simple, hinged,  low shank, zz foot.  It worked quite nicely. 

While she sewed, I put the White 130 in the green treadle stand.  At least I tried to.  It didn't really fit.  You can see where the machine has extra stuff under the bed. 

I got out a hack saw (because that is the only small saw I own) and hacked off some of the treadle stand to accommodate the machine's shape.  It was pretty easy to do and I am sure that the other machines will still fit.  I had no qualms about whacking away part of this 100 + year old stand. 
This treadle stand needs more work.  I should shim the machine hinges because they truly don't fit so well.  Maybe I can caulk them.  Steven always says "Putty and paint make the carpenter a saint."  

So, what's my verdict on this machine?  I don't believe that there are any plastic parts.  I looked under the "hood."

I did see something that alarmed me; a part that looks broken.  It works, so I reckon it ain't broke and I am not going to fix it !  The stitch width lever is locked into place by turning the knob to which this piece is attached.  Seems fine.  I am happy and now I have a new favorite machine.  I have not tested the satin stitch.  No satin stitch foot.  Soon.  I promise.