Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Finished a dress, made with 201s and got two more machines

Can't say 201k, because the machine I started it with was a 201p (the tan one). Used the 319k for zigzag finishing seams and putting in the hook.
Here's the dress:
 It should fit her, but she lives on the other side of the planet so it might be a while before I get feedback.

Here's the machine I used to finish it. The knee lever was really hard to get used to. I kept accidentally knocking the lever and sewing the thread into a knot.
The most important thing I discovered with this project was how to pre-finish a seam: Cut the fabric out using pinking shears! If you cut it the right size, the seam edges are pre-finished and no ZZ will be necessary.
Being unable to control my sewing machine addiction meant that since last week I bought two more machines. The first was another 319k but with a free arm. It's called a 320k but identical except for the removable bed. This feature made it horrendously expensive to produce apparently, so they didn't make that many of them.
The second was a Singer 401g (I think). It was on eBay for a while and nobody bid on it. It was re-listed at the same price so I bought it. I haven't picked it up yet but am quite excited. Here are the new ones:
Quite rare Singer 320k2

Singer 401g made in Germany
There are a few problems with these two machines, being that the first one can't go into a cabinet because of the removable bed, so I'll have to sell my beautiful 319k in its cabinet. Good news is that the 401g can be treadled, so I can swap the 319k with a treadle cabinet (and free up some shed space).

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

new machines

OK, I've been accumulating some new ones. Got a 221k then a 222k, a Necchi Supernova, two 201ks and a model 66 in the past month or so. I've sold a few to make some room, but mostly just re-organised the shed so more will fit (I think I'm getting away with it. No, really). The supernova is said to be a potential time sink, so it's going to have to wait until the school holidays when I'll have a little more time to get caught up.
I think I've fallen for the 201s. Absolutely brilliant, smooth machines they are. Alex Askaroff said the earlier ones have the edge purely because of their massive weight (they can sew faster or some such insanity). The stitch is amazing and fuss-free. I'm going to try out sewing through several layers of denim, just to be convinced it can do it.
Here's a small assortment of new ones:

fixing a bakelite foot or knee controller

I bought another 201k on the weekend. It's aluminium and a knee controlled beast. Just couldn't resist it for $29. Pretty sure the guy who sold it to me was lying when he said he didn't know how to use it, but the motor ran at full speed as soon as the switch was flicked. This is caused by the capacitors shorting out. The capacitors were used to prevent any interference from the motor affecting things like TV sets and radios. These days they're not really necessary since most devices have supression built in. Both foot and knee  controllers have the same bits inside so instructions are the same.
So, just remove the four screws holding the base on, take the capacitors out like I did and your machine should be back to working. If yours is a knee controller, remove it from the case first. It's obvious how to do this.

Fixing a Sewing Machine motor

I bought a treadle cabinet last week on ebay. It cost $10.50 and the picture of the machine inside was corrupted during upload so it was a mystery. When I picked it up, the cabinet was missing its treadle iron - arggghh! OK, the machine... hmm.. black and gold, apparently in mint condition, full sized. It was an early 201k! This cast iron beast was more than enough to make it worthwhile. I was expecting a model 66 and instead got the best domestic Singer ever made in mint condition.
On getting it home I cleaned it up. Major dust under the feed dogs as usual. Gave it tri-flow all round. Next problem is that of drive. I had a spare singer motor and light in the shed so out they came. The motor was really weak and sparks were lighting the place up like the proverbial Christmas tree. The problem is caused by carbon, oil and dust building up around the armature, where the brushes contact it. Singer motors are made so you can remove the brushes without separating the motor. There are two screws holding two small pieces of bakelite. Take these off and the rectangular brass tubes can be removed. Remove one of these at a time. My mechanic (dad) told me that even putting them back on opposite sides can reduce the performance of the motor. Clean the brush and the armature. I used methylated spirit, which seems to clean it well. When you're happy with it, put the brush back, screw its bakelite cap back on and clean the other brush.
Put it all together and test. Mine was a lot faster and way stronger than before.
Here's the machine because I know you're curious:
She was born on 10th December 1936. My mum was very happy that this lady shares her year of birth, although she may well weigh more than mum (not really but she's very heavy).