Saturday, May 20, 2017

Good Sewing Machine For a Serious Beginner

I was just asked about what sewing machine a serious beginner should buy, for less than $250.  It needs to be a good, durable sewing machine, that will grow with skill level.

To get a new machine that would be more durable, you’d need to spend at least $700.  There are a lot of new machines that have lots of bells and whistles, but they all have a plastic bobbin case, that can cause a lot of frustration.

You might want to look on Craigslist.com, and see what used machines are available in your area.  For new sewists, I recommend an old Kenmore 10 stitch, or something similar.  I LOVE the old Kenmores!  And you can usually find one in a thrift store for less than $25.  Some only have straight and zig-zag stitches, with a door on top to add cams.  You don’t want that, you want one with built-in cams/stitches.  You also don’t want the old, top-loading Kenmores, as that bobbin/hook system is a nightmare.  You want a front-loading machine with all metal hook and bobbin case, and a few extra stitches built-in. 
 

If you've got your heart set on a "NEW" machine,  Try a Singer "Simple."  It has the metal oscillating hook and some nice stitches.

Most people only use a handful of stitches.  The ones most people need are straight stitch, zig-zag, blind hem and serpentine (or broken zig-zag).  If you’re a quilter, you need the blanket-stitch for applique.  And a nice decorative stitch or two is good.  If you’re sewing heavy fabrics, you need a front loading, metal hook and bobbin case.  The plastic bobbin cases jam when you sew heavy fabric, and the needle goes right through them.  Then you have to buy a new bobbin case.  If you’re doing light sewing, like piecing a quilt, a cheap plastic machine will work just fine.

The auto thread cutters (under the needle plate) seem like a good idea, but they haven’t been perfected yet, and can cause a lot of grief.

To check the quality of a machine, grab the needle bar and try to wiggle it forward and backward.  If it has forward/backward wiggle, the needle hook distance (a timing setting) is variable and you’re not likely to get as good stitch quality.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Singer Bobbin Winder

I had a question about how to put a Singer 4562 bobbin winder back together.  Here's a picture of a Singer 30920 bobbin winder.  I hope they're similar enough.



As you can see, the spring hooks onto the arm above it, and just "pokes" into the hole below it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Singer 15-99 / Removing the Hook

I was asked how to remove the hook from a Singer model 99, so you can get some thread out of there.  Here's a picture of my Singer 15-99.




Here's the hook, all assembled.






The first thing to do, is unscrew the big, black screw.  When you get the screw out,  The retainer will come off.  Then you can pull the race cover and hook out.


Now you can clean any lint out.  Pay particular attention to getting the lint out of the race (which is the ledge that the hook sits on).  Put a drop of oil on the race.

When you put it back together, the hook goes in first, then the race cover.  Make sure the pins go through the little holes on each side of the race cover, and that the beveled edges are facing outward. 


Last, put the retainer back on.  Make sure the bent "hands" grab each side of the race cover.  Tighten the screw.