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!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why Old vs. New?

I love old sewing machines.  I think it is because I learned to sew on my mother's old, metal, blue JC Penney Penncrest 2550 machine.  That machine made my dresses, quilts, toys, pillows, curtains, you name it!  When I grew up, I tried to sew on a new machine and it was so foreign to me that I gave up. Until I found an old metal Elgin at the thrift store--then I was back up and running.

But besides that, vintage sewing machine enthusiasts will tell you that metal mechanical machines are far superior to the new plastic ones they make today.  They were built to last a lifetime and beyond.  There are no computers inside to go obsolete, and if they break down they are nearly always fixable.  Metal gears and strong motors, no electronics besides the pedal and motor, means they are workhorses.  New machines have lots of decorative stitches, but do you ever really use those? I don't.

Keep your machines oiled!  I cannot stress that enough.  We recently repaired a Singer 301A that was completely frozen, no movement at all, and it looked as though it literally had never been oiled, ever.  It was dry as a bone and there was not even that old oil scent to it.  Thanks to the info on the online groups, we were able to get it running by using heat and a lot of oil.  I will use this machine for a couple of weeks and then it will be up for sale.


My husband and I love to rescue, repair and refurbish sewing machines.  Did you ever watch those house-flipping shows back in 2007?  Well, we couldn't afford to flip a house, so we started small, with sewing machines.  We are not official servicemen, but with Todd's mechanical fixing talents and my sewing knowledge as well as bargain hunting, we are able to bring these oldies but goodies back to life and find them new homes.  We always sew with them for a while before selling them, and offer a money back guarantee against any unforeseen problems.  We have never had a return!

Yesterday, I had a call from a woman wanting a Singer 301, and she asked if I had one for sale.  This led me to remember that I did have one downstairs tucked away.  I couldn't remember where I got it or how much I paid for it, and this led me to decide that I needed to start documenting these machines and this blog was born.

I will post about our new finds, as well as try and "catch up" with the ones we have already sold.  Hopefully this will become something of a resource for others.  We are very grateful for the assistance of kind people on various sewing machine boards, which I have listed on the sidebar.  Thank you!