Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Getting Started With Vintage Machines

I have been tinkering with my new/old Singer Featherweight. Since my "herd" has expanded over the years, I have needed to learn more about how to maintain and repair sewing machines. 


It always starts with cleaning the machine. I take apart everything, clean with rags and Qtips, and oil liberally. 
Click here for a great article on how to oil a sewing machine.



I am very careful about keeping track of tiny parts like this bitty screw. I look for possible issues, like threads caught in places like the bobbin casing and fix them up. Do you see the thread caught in this one at the 12 o'clock position?

I make notes about threading and bobbins that are particular to the machine. Each vintage machine takes different kinds of bobbins and I try hard to keep all of these bobbins with their own machines. They also have varying positions for needles (flat to the back, flat to the side, etc) and different methods of threading the needle (front threading, side threading, etc.)
This is how my new baby was looking. I had to take apart the whole thread tension assembly. I discovered it needed a new spring... see the weird shaped coil on the left of all the pieces? It shouldn't look like that!
My trusty mechanic ordered me a new one, so stay tuned to see if I can get this baby going again!

14 comments:

  1. Good for you for learning to take care and service your machines. I think that understanding is always a plus. She looks so happy that she is getting some love.

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  2. Thank you, Kathy!! I need to know how to do this...and I think that little pink quilt is pretty cute!

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  3. I love sewing vintage and I love that you service your own machines too! I do as well :) Thanks for sharing your vintage machine love today and good luck on your tension spring! Kathi

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  4. I wish I was lucky enough to own an old machine like this. Lucky you

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  5. I admire your ability to do this kind of machine fixing and maintenance.

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  6. I like how you do that. I am waiting on a new foot pedal for my featherweight. I cleaned and oiled last week or was it two weeks ago - the foot pedal is taking it's time to get here - then I can see how it is working.

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  7. I will tackle the bobbin area but haven't attempted the tension dial. Lots of pieces and the important part of the machine. Good thing you have a guy that can hook you up with the necessary parts!!

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  8. I have several vintage machines, including a featherweight, a 99K and a 15-91, so I always appreciate good advice on how to care for them! My 15-91 was my grandmother's and we had to cut the cords off to get it out of the cabinet - they all needed to be replaced anyway - and I've just kept it on top of my filing cabinet as a display machine. One of these days I want to get it down, order new cords and get it running. She taught me to sew on this machine when I was 12 years old :)

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  9. Hi there Kathy,
    I recently became the 'new mom' of a Singer 15-90 or 15-91, made in 1948…I've had conflicting reports from various sources…anyway, having never owned a vintage Singer before(though I do have a 1960's era one), I broke several needles before finding out online that my needle was in the wrong way. Now that I have it flat to the left, it is running smooth. YAY!!! I can see myself purchasing another Singer to add to my collection. By the way, I go my 15-90/91 for only $40 from Craig's list. Am I right in thinking that I got a heck of a deal?
    Quitly Huggs,
    Jacqueline
    http://www.quilt-sewhappy.blogspot.com

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  10. I admire your know-how! I don't think I would dare tackle the tension dial, but am pretty proud to know someone who does! : )

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  11. I've been on the lookout for one of these. I hope it all turns out so you can sew with it.

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  12. Thank you so much for the link ! It was very instructive !!

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  13. You are pretty brave to take apart the tension assembly! I'd be too scared to. LOL

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  14. It's lovely when you get one of these old girls back into service. :o)

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