Sunday, August 18, 2013

Too many machines?

I have too many sewing machines. There, I said it. :)  But that doesn't stop me from buying them, I just don't keep them, and dh is okay with that!  Or i just play with them at the thrift store, reassemble the bobbin area which is often dismantled for some reason, and put it back on the shelf in better working condition for another lucky shopper. 

Here are some problems unique to having 30+ machines:

The color of thread and bobbins i need are always on the other machine.
When I go on a trip or take a class, which one do I take?? 
My tools and notions are tricky to find because of my many sewing tables, with many drawers.
I can only use one at a time, so some beauties are neglected.
I have a low shank walking foot, but not all my machines are low shank!
When I tell my children to get something and say it is by the sewing machine, they give me a blank look.
I have to get descriptive, i.e. "the one in the living room under the hand crank."

There are advantages though! 

I am not afraid to try a new machine, even if it is foreign to me.
I can set up one machine for appliqué and another for quilting and leave them that way.
I can come to the rescue when the machines at a church service project fail. (You need 5 machines to replace these? I'll be right back!)
When my quilt group meets at my house, no one has to bring their machine.
If one machine fails, I can get out a different one. This is only in theory, my machines are vintage and rarely fail, after I've given them the once over.
When I find cams at the thrift store, I usually have the machine they go to already.
I can lend a machine to a friend.

Can you think of any more? Post a comment!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Singer 403a Slant-o-matic

I am not a big fan of slant shank machines, probably because I already have a lot of low shank attachments that won't fit on this machine.  But I am loving this one.  It is fast and smooth, and I even like the table it is in.  Another winner from the earlier days of Singer.  The tension has issues, but I think we cleared that up, the discs were stuck together, probably with old oil and grime.  I wish it weren't tan, but I'll get over that. ;)  It is already for sale so I won't have it long!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Centennial Singer Featherweight Makeover

This little workhorse had a very hard previous life, was very bad cosmetically when we got her.  My husband, who is a spray paint master, took her down to bare metal and repainted her with automotive paint. Complete with a silver decal set, she is a beauty once again!

Here she is 'Before':

You can see that the finish is in bad shape with rubbed off decals, the clear coat was filmy and missing in places, 50 year old tape residue (aka concrete!), and she also had a chipped power receptacle on the right. But she is a Centennial and sews great.  She deserved a makeover!

Here she is 'After':

I don't agree with repainting Featherweights that are in perfectly great condition.  But this one was not in good shape!  Now she is brand new and ready for another 60 years of sewing. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

How I got hooked

This is my favorite sewing machine story. About 7-8 years ago, I was at our local thrift store, as I am quite often, and noticed a brown case on the very bottom shelf. I pulled it out to look inside, and there was a little tan sewing machine in there! I wasn't collecting them yet so I put it back on the shelf. Then I decided to check the price-it was $2 so I decided to get it. I hightailed it out of there thinking at any moment someone would tell me it was a mistake.

When I got home, my husband took it out of the case (I hadn't even done that at the store!), folded down the extension table, and that is when I knew what I had. It was a tan Singer Featherweight 221k, rare because it was only made one year. I had been with my mother both times that she purchased a Featherweight, so that is how I knew what it was. My husband knew I would sell it, so his only comment while I was jumping up and down was, "Does this mean we can get carpet in the basement now?"

It came with a buttonholer, manual, feet, and the case was in great shape. I sold it on eBay 2 weeks later for $1025, my biggest profit ever from thrift store shopping, and I was hooked. I turned right around and bought a black Featherweight with part of the money, I still have it and love it.

White Featherweight

I have been trying to get one of these on eBay for years, but I don't like to spend $300, so it took a while. Finally found this one for around $200, the auction ended at 4 am so I guess that's why I had less competition. It isn't perfect, the case is stained and I rigged a bamboo skewer to replace the spool pin, but it works. I also had to replace the bobbin winder.

It's been a while...

...but I have few new ones. First up is a green Kenmore 158-14001 model, paid $15 but it was missing the bobbin case so I spent $10 on a new one of those. I like these old Kenmores, very strong motors!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kenmore 158-1040 "Lunchbox"

I have been looking for this model ever since Rick mentioned it on Bernina Thirtysomethings. He said it is a great machine for young ones to learn on, along with the Featherweight, and I knew I had to find one for my Claire!

The price always goes too high for me on ebay, so I turned to my local classifieds site and eventually one turned up nearby. The lady had owned since her dad bought it for her in 1976--she was sad to see it go, but I assured her it was going to a good home.

This machine has a strong motor and is a nice compact size--great for taking to a class. It even has a few stitches built in including a zig zag, which the Featherweight does not! The real charm lies in the case--it is white plastic with stylized roses embossed on both sides.

As for repairs, we will have to find a solvent that can remove Gorilla glue, they glued the spool pin in because it kept falling into the machine. Now the case can't go on. Other than that, it is in great shape and only needs oiling and a good lint cleanout.

I used it last night to bind my little quilt and it ran like a champ. Love it!