Sunday, November 17, 2013

I've re-arranged things...

If you'll look at the top of my blog, you'll see that I've put the best stuff on separate pages.  Now you can find Hall of Shame, How to Clean and Oil Your Machine, Sewing Machine Tensions and Bobbin Winder Clutch, by clicking on the tab.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Refurbished Sewing Machine Update

I've been able to sell all but one of my refurbished sewing machines.  I only sold the drop-in bobbin Kenmore at my sewing machine yard sale, for $50.

Then I sold the other Kenmore for $100, the Montgomery Ward for $100, and the Riccar for $50, to the same person.  She has about 15 ladies who sew cheerleader, drill team and ballroom dance costumes for her.

The White is the only one left.  I'm asking $110 for it.  I had a woman come to look at it, and it wouldn't work.  We got it into the buttonhole system, and couldn't get it back out.  Of course, as she was driving away, Karl (my DH) flipped the switch and it popped right out.  I will de-gum it and make sure it won't do that again, before I sell it.

Update:  The White has a new home.  I got $100 for it.

All but one of my machines were bought by people I know through my job or quilt guild.  I give a 30-day warranty with all of my refurbished machines.  And I hope they will feel free to contact me if there are any problems.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Refurbished Sewing Machines

I've been collecting and repairing machines for a few months, and have 6 ready to sell.  I'm thinking about having a sewing machine garage sale.  Here's what I've got...

I've written a list for each machine that points out it's positive and negative points.  Here's a closer look at each one.  You can click on the photo to get a bigger image.

Bernette Model #715
Oscillating hook, Bernette (made for Bernina), has it's sew table, and a good variety of stitches.

The logo washed off of the front, so I didn't dare wash off the logo on the back.  It's the only way to tell what it is.

It sewed off really nice.

Kenmore Model #158-16031
This is a beauty!  The one draw-back on this one is that it's a flat-bed.  It has some nice stitches built-in, oscillating hook, and clean.

It sewed off well, but I ran off the edge a bit.

Kenmore Model #158-17800
This one, I probably wouldn't have bought, just because it's a drop-in bobbin, but my DH brought it home.  It doesn't have any cams, and the buttonhole system is missing parts for it to work.

It sewed off pretty good, but I haven't cut off the top row of stitches, which were before I had the tensions balanced.

Montgomery Ward Model #UHT J1930
Lots of stitches on this one!  And it has a few accessories, oscillating hook, and a nifty spring-loaded sew table.

Sewed off well, too.
Riccar Model #333
No bells or whistles, oscillating hook, carry case.  I won't ask too much for this one, but I think it would be just fine with the right person.

It only has straight and zig-zag stitches, but what a solid machine!
 White model #701
This is another one I wouldn't have bought, but DH did.  And I'm glad he did!  It has some fun engineering!  The knob on the lower, left side releases a sew table in the front if you turn it one way, and another sew table in the back if you turn it the other way.  In the top, it has its dials and knobs for selecting stitches and even has a buttonhole system that you can set the size.

Lots of stitches on this one, and it sewed off surprisingly well for a rotary hook.

So, what do I look for in a thrift store machine?  
#1  does it have an oscillating hook system.  Yes, I'm prejudiced, but am softening a bit.
#2  does it have all of its parts?  hook, bobbin case, presser foot, foot control, needle plate, sew table, etc.
#3  does it run and function like it should?  We bought one that was missing its back-stitch mechanism, and was too old to get a replacement.
#4  Has it been knocked or dropped, and is the race intact?  If the race, or ledge that the hook sits on, is broken off, it might sew but will make a terrible banging sound.  If it's been knocked or dropped, it may have some bent shafts or broken internal parts.

We can tweak things like a burr on the hook or the timing (unless its been scrambled beyond repair).  We can clean up the old gummy oil, most of the time.  Some machines would take major surgery to clean up the old oil, and it wouldn't be cost effective.  I'm having a bit of trouble with noisy Kenmores.  I know they have a rattle, but these are extra loud.  I haven't figured out how to quiet them, yet.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Drop-in Bobbin Case Position

Here's a picture of an open Drop-in Bobbin System.  This is a picture I took of a Bernette, but is similar to a Singer 7422.  The bobbin holder (sometimes called a bobbin basket or bobbin case) is in its place in the top picture.  You shouldn't have to loosen any screws to remove the bobbin holder.  But if it's hard to get out, turn the hand wheel until the opening in the hook is just below the retention finger.  The hook is the metal ring that goes around when you turn the hand wheel.  To put the bobbin holder back in, there's a small bump at the front, that can bounce on the spring.  And a bigger, flat bump on the opposite side that the finger will touch.

Some other sewing machine mechanic wanted to charge $40 to put a bobbin holder in!?!?  You can do this!!!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Take A Closer Look At Your Bobbin

The bobbin is a simple thing, but it can cause some big problems.  Here are a few examples...

This bobbin has multiple layers of thread wound onto it.  Yes, it's frugal, but have you thought about what's going to happen when one layer comes to an end or gets tangled under another layer?  It may cause the needle to jerk, and put a burr on your hook and/or break a needle.

This bobbin has been wound very loosely.  It won't feed evenly, and your tension will look very bad.

This bobbin has a loose thread, so instead of spinning smoothly inside the bobbin case, it will rattle and jerk and give you a bad stitch.

This bobbin also has a loose thread that got wrapped around the outside.  It cannot give you a smooth stitch.

So, pay attention to the little things!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How To Use a Seam Jack

If you're sewing over bulky seams, a "seam jack" can be your best friend.

A "seam jack" or "jeans jack," can be purchased where sewing machine accessories are sold.  Bernina calls theirs a “height compensation tool.”  Or you can fold some light-weight cardboard or plastic to a thickness of 1/16” to 3/16.”  

The reason we have a hard time getting a good stitch, or with breaking needles on thicker fabrics, is because the presser foot tilts as you go over a thick seam.  A seam jack helps keep the presser foot even, so that the connection to the feed dogs  underneath is even. 

#1.  As the presser foot tilts, it loses its grip on the feed dogs, and the needle gets pulled into the presser foot or needle plate.


#2.  As you approach a thick seam, put the needle in the down position and lift the presser foot.  Insert the seam jack right behind the needle, and let the presser foot back down.  Sew across the seam, and stop with the needle in the down position. 

#3.  When the presser foot is sitting evenly, on top of the seam, and about to start tilting forward, as it goes down the other side of the seam, put the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and remove the seam jack.  

#4.  Place the seam jack under the front of the presser foot, but only under one side. 

#5.  Let the presser foot down, and continue sewing until the back of your presser foot is ready to sew off of the seam. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mechanic Hands

I enjoy being a sewing machine mechanic, 
but it sure is hard on my hands.

I put a screw driver through my pinky fingernail, 
and smashed my thumbnail.

Some days they just don't get clean, 
no matter how many times I wash them.

It's a good thing I love my job!