Friday, November 29, 2013

Dressmaker 650 - built Ford tough

These old sewing machines are nearly indestructible. Take this cast iron Dressmaker 650. I could probably run over this thing with my 6,600 pound Ford F250 4x4 and it would still work. Little bits might snap off or bend and it wouldn't look pretty but it is so beefy that it would probably still work.

Another banner day at Goodwill - although 'banner' may be a little strong

Thinking in a normal person's terms, snagging three sewing machines in one day would be a banner day. Or a worst nightmare maybe for the spouse of someone bringing home three sewing machines in one day. I guess it depends on your perspective. For me it was a pretty normal haul.

Today being Black Friday, the Goodwill stores in our area had a 50% off sale on any item that had a colored tag. I'm weak, I just couldn't resist. The first Goodwill had a Singer 6212C. I'm not sure if it works yet but it is fairly new so it shouldn't be a problem. Strange thing is, on most of my sewing machine purchases, the lamp on nearly every one of them still works. No extra charge for that tidbit of information. Here's the Singer.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kenmore's Finest... back in 1949 - Kenmore 117.959

I have a JPG file of an old Kenmore ad that states the model 95 was Kenmore's Finest. Well, what was once the finest machine Sears sold some 64 years ago is now an outcast Goodwill relic.

I was browsing the aisles at the immense Seattle Goodwill by I-90 and came across a small chair that had a couple drawers that slid out to the side. I thought to myself that it looked a lot like a sewing cabinet chair. I slid out one of the drawers and, lo and behold, there were some old Kenmore attachments and an owners manual. I thought it strange that someone would donate just a sewing cabinet chair to Goodwill and not the whole machine.

Just about then my wife asked, "Did you see the sewing machine over here?" She was just on the other side of the shelf unit I was at, so the sewing machine and chair had gotten separated by about 8 feet. I went over to the machine, looked at the cabinet, looked at the chair, looked at the cabinet again. Yep, they go together.

I just couldn't pass up this little treasure trove of history, all in one neat little package, and one neat little price of $12.99 plus tax.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Universal Admiral Class 15 Clone

I have two old black Universal class 15 clones, one a DeLuxe and the other an Admiral. There are some subtle differences, like a feed dog drop feature and the Singer-style stitch length lever on the DeLuxe. I wonder which one is older. I'd guess the DeLuxe is, but I'm not sure. The two machines have very similar decals.

Here's the DeLuxe.

And the Admiral.

Spring Cleaning - in November

I don't know if it was because of the nice young lady that runs "My Sewing Machine Obsession" blog (Elizabeth), or if I'd just had enough of my basement, and more specifically, my "work bench" that got me to do some straightening up. Elizabeth had just blogged how she cleaned up her work area. That may have been just the nudge that made me do something about my sewing machine dungeon.

My "work bench" has been a 3-foot square folding card table (from the 50s I'm sure, with the little tubular steel legs that fold up). When I'd put the pedal to the metal on a machine and it got going full-tilt, the table would also be doing its own little jig. Things would rattle off the table and onto the floor. It was getting annoying.

Back before my sewing machines started reproducing on their own (it seems), most of them fit onto a super-heavy-duty-industrial-strength steel table (phone company surplus from 30 years ago, back when sturdy really meant something). Well, now that table could be put to better use as my work bench, and I'd put the sewing machines on a newly-freed-up storage rack. Brilliant. On a rare occasion I actually have a good idea.

Here's a before shot of the steel table and general area. I guess you can't even see the table buried under the clutter...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Even the best machines have their drawbacks - Pfaff 130

We sewing machine nut-types hear a lot about sewing machines having all metal construction, steel gears, et cetera. I for one like those types of features, so when I was poking around in my latest project, a Pfaff 130, I was more than a little startled to see not one, but two gears that were not steel.

I didn't get photographs of the two offending parts but I can tell you where they are. A white colored nylon gear runs off the upper main shaft and provides the movement for the needle zig zag swing. The gear can be seen if you pull off the back cover of the machine. The second non-steel gear is on the rotary hook shaft. I don't know the technical term for the gear material but I'd call it a fiber gear. It is a brownish color. I did an online search and came up with "Linen Phenolic", which might be what it is.

The two non-steel gears are to me a drawback (albeit a small one) of the Pfaff 130. Then of course there is also the fiber timing belt that drives the lower shaft of the sewing machine. I can fully understand and appreciate that Pfaff chose those materials for the gears and timing belt because of the unique qualities of the materials but it wouldn't be my first choice in a machine that will last several lifetimes only if those parts can withstand the aging process.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Singer 920, you growl too...

I shouldn't have expected any different from the 920 once I started working on it. Especially right after getting the 900 going. I really think it is just the electronic controls for the motors that causes the growl. It isn't unbearable by any means but it certainly is louder than a silky smooth vintage cast iron Singer 15-91.