Friday, September 16, 2011

Shipping a sewing machine

From day one, I have heard about the nightmares of buying a sewing machine on line    (E-Bay) and then actually receiving it. I have found out that those nightmares can be true.  A great number of people selling sewing machines don't have a clue what they are doing. In some cases, this can be to your advantage. You can get a great deal. In other cases, you are going to get a boat anchor. Either the machine is no where near the condition it is advertised, or it will be shipped in less then acceptable conditions. Case in Point- I won an auction for a Featherweight 221. It was advertised as "Needle not working".  The Pictures looked good. It was old and I knew I could fix it. It was just gummed up and needed a good cleaning. Now, I really didn't know this for a fact, but for $130.01, I took the chance. I was excited. Six days later I finally received a box that had to be my long awaited "221". I raced it to the kitchen table and grabbed my pocket knife. It didn't take much to open it up. I could tell from the start that it wasn't packed well. It was like a "Cardboard Bag" when I got it. There was a few "Peanuts" and some "Bubble Wrap" but it was pretty much just floating in this "Cardboard Bag". Here is the first thing I saw when I opened the box......
A Singer 221 is a beautifully engineered, 1-piece, cast body. The bobbin winder assembly is part of the entire machine. Snapped right off. The machine is ruined. What were they thinking.
The Plug socket was also damaged due to the same poor packing.
The motor pully also disintegrated. How the heck did that happen?
I am just sick.
I Hope I get my money back. 

Here are the broken pieces recovered from the packaging. I have shipped a half dozen sewing machines to date. I spend at least an hour packing each one to get them "Safe" for shipping.

Singer 347 Belt Adjustment

Probably not a lot of people trying to adjust a belt on a Singer 347, but that is where I found myself here recently.

I wanted to make this classic Singer purr but It just wasn't keeping up after I spent several hours cleaning and servicing. The belt was slipping. There didn't appear to be a belt tension adjustment where I thought it should be. Finally, hidden in the bottom of the machine and part of the motor mount was the adjustment!
I think they call this an eccentric screw adjustment. You loosen the screw, turn the washer with the off set hole, and it tightens the belt by moving the motor further away from the hand wheel.
In this case, the belt was streached too far and beyond the adjustment of this machine. I had to put a new belt on anyways. I ended up using a streach belt. They work fine but don't last as long as the original V-belts.
What a great, simple, early zigzag, sewing machine.
Love that color? Classic 50's! and it sews great.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The vintage "Badge" machine

Recently I have had some  "Singer Clones" that are just beautiful. Not only are they as good as the Singers, they are a bit better. They have features that are not found on the Singer machines of this class. Adjustable feed dog dial setting for free motion sewing. New and improved "pressure foot" adjustment control setting and bobbin winding adjustment to name a few. 
These machines can do anything the Singers can do. They can even exchange parts.
Every thing I tried from a 1955, Singer 15-91 fit this machine.
Japanese factories were pouring out thousands of these machines and US marketing companies were buying them up and selling them with their name on them.
The "Badge"  and decals told the story.
The decals made the name (Precision, Deluxe, Universal, Ambassador, Dressmaker, Goodhouse Keeper, Sewmore, Morse, Peerless,Challenge, American Beauty, Fleetwood, Aldens,
Home Electric Deluxe, Standard DeLuxe just to name a few) and the Logo usually included "Japan" or "Made in Japan".
I don't know if the Singer patent ran out or if the US government was just trying to help out Japan.
These are some great machines.

This machine was sold by Sears.

Another great sewing machine made in Japan and sold as a "Sewmore".

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Singer 200 series

I am a sucker for any $6.00 Sewing machine that looks like it has all it's parts. I just can't stay away from those flea markets. It even came with a nice table. So, here we have a Singer model 252. My only other Series-200 experience to date has been with a model 237.  This paticular machine was made in Italy. These early zigzags seem to be very popular due to their their power and all steel gears and bushings. I havent seen one with a belt drive underneath like this one. It still has to be better than having plastic gears.

This is a simple, zigzag/blind stitch adjustable machine with a needle position lever and a stitch width lever.
Stitch length and reverse on the lower dial knob.
Drop in bobbin and standard bobbin winding.

Remember I said it was Made in Italy.....

And the belt drive on the bottom shaft

If you ever run into one of these machines at an acceptable price, grab it.
These are extremely simple machines. They are easy to maintain. They sew beautifully once you get the tension set. Full speed sewing has no machine vibration. (Extremely well balanced)