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Thread: Sewing machines

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    Sewing machines

    Are there any other seamstresses/tailors on this board? Amateur or otherwise?

    It was not a good weekend for sewing machines at my house. My primary sewing machine is a New Home and I've always loved it. I've been working on window treatments and was trying to finish up the last set of curtains for my living room last weekend. There are pleats and multiple layers of fabric in these curtains, so I was sewing some very thick stuff. My machine was stitching VERY slowly and kept stopping.

    I did the usual cleaning routine, but that didn't help. I took off the end panel and examined the motor and belts and such; cleaned out a bit of lint and such. Turned it up and took off the bottom panel; checked that too. Running the machine with the end panel off, I saw that the motor wasn't running right; it was slow and halting.

    So apparently my sewing machine needs motor repair or a new motor--not something I could likely fix myself. Luckily for me, I have another sewing machine! I inherited my grandmother's 1973 Kenmore that has a nice cabinet. My father told me it was in "desperate need of oiling." A couple months ago I'd bought some sewing machine oil, so I was ready to give it a try.

    Taking out the manual, I carefully followed the oiling instructions. After that time-consuming process, I tried turning the handwheel. . . it turned fine. But nothing else did. Same with running it with the motor. The motor turned fine, the handwheel turned, the bobbin winder spun, but nothing else moved.

    At this point I was at my wits' end--two sewing machines, but neither one worked! However, I am nothing if not stubborn. I looked at the diagrams in the manual again, looked for a troubleshooting section (there wasn't one), and glared at that machine. I tried loosening the clutch and tightening it again. THEN I tried turning the handwheel BACKWARDS (the instructions tell one ALWAYS turn it towards yourself). Things started moving!!!

    So I cranked it by hand some more, with mixed results. As I kept it up, it got easier and worked better--the oil was working its way into the places that needed it! The mechanism was frozen from having been unused for some time. I removed the needle and just held my foot down on the pedal. WOOHOO! Now I can deeply identify with the phrase, "like a well-oiled machine"!

    Got the band sewn on to those curtains, breaking three needles in the process. Need to press it before I do that last seam! Then I will FINALLY be all done with those living-room curtains.

    What with settling in to the house, taking care of pool and spa, practicing my flute, and normal daily living tasks, I just haven't had much time for sewing! Still have lots of window treatments to do; nothing as THICK as those living-room curtains, tho!
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

  2. Back To Top    #2
    I'm tired just listening to all you are accomplishing! Perhaps try a jeans needle next time you are doing really bulky stuff.

    I did not realize the importance of oiling my machine (a Sam's club cheapy Singer, probably made in Timbuktu) until I had to take it in to be serviced - thread kept getting wadded up. He said the main problem was lint buildup. He adjusted the feed dogs and cleaned and oiled it... it had NEVER run so smoothly!

    You remind me that it is probably time to oil it again!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Mermaid Queen
    I'm tired just listening to all you are accomplishing! Perhaps try a jeans needle next time you are doing really bulky stuff.!
    That should help. . . just didn't have any on hand for that machine. I'll compare the needles I have for my other machine, see if they will fit.

    Not all sewing machines require oiling. My New Home, vintage 1990, does not. It does need to have the bobbin compartment cleaned of lint on a regular basis, tho. I use canned air to blow that out.

    For machines that require oiling (as I gather yours does), I believe the recommendation is to oil weekly if you sew every day. For less frequent use, it's after completion of one garment. That doesn't work very well if you don't construct garments! I used to make a lot of my clothes, but for years I have mostly just done mending and alterations. I've gotten into the home dec thing lately but have little time to devote to it. It will just have to be done a little at a time!

    My mom lets my dad oil her sewing machine; I do my own! She doesn't sew very much. She has my old "green machine" which is one of those that does require oiling. That one, I seem to recall, was simpler to oil than Oma's Kenmore.

    We are hosting an exchange student during 2007-08, and she arrives in 2 1/2 weeks! I'm hoping to get the window treatments for her room done before that--we'll see! "Her room" is currently my sewing room. . . guess I'll have to set up my sewing things in the living room or the study. Or maybe I could share the room--I've been getting to know her by email and she is very family oriented, so maybe we could all hang out in her room of an evening. . . she could work/play on the computer, I could sew, DH could relax in the recliner and read. . . it's a nice big room, over the garage. The previous owners called it a "garage apartment." It's not really an apt (no kitchen), but it's spacious and has its own bathroom and lots of good lighting.

    There is a problematic window over the stairs (in my sewing room/Laura's room). I'm not entirely sure how I will reach it to hang the window treatments, but I have a couple of ideas!
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

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    My mother was a millinary designer so I grew up around sewing machines. Learned how to use one when I was about 4 and could make my own patterns when I was about 12! Still like to sew when I can find the time for it but do a lot of serging now since it's faster! My sewing room is the spare bedroom but now it's also my bird nursary also. I bread canaries and parakeets. Sounds like your Kenmore is out of timing. It is most likely an oscillating shuttle class 15 machine. Those were the most common in the '70s on japanese machines. Most of the European ones were rotary. That is what usually causes the needle to break, it's hitting the shuttle. Without knowing exactly what type of shuttle mechanism you have I really can't explain how to time it but it's really an easy procedure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    My mother was a millinary designer so I grew up around sewing machines. Learned how to use one when I was about 4 and could make my own patterns when I was about 12! Still like to sew when I can find the time for it but do a lot of serging now since it's faster! My sewing room is the spare bedroom but now it's also my bird nursary also. I bread canaries and parakeets. Sounds like your Kenmore is out of timing. It is most likely an oscillating shuttle class 15 machine. Those were the most common in the '70s on japanese machines. Most of the European ones were rotary. That is what usually causes the needle to break, it's hitting the shuttle. Without knowing exactly what type of shuttle mechanism you have I really can't explain how to time it but it's really an easy procedure.


    ...You impress me!

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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    I have a 1994 Brother model that runs like a top, and a 1913 Brunswick Treadle in MINT shape - including the handcarved cabinet, all the original documents (manual) the original velvet lined accessory box with accessories and even some of the original spools of thread and bobbins with thread - all for $60 at a yard sale and some elbow grease to remove the blackened/bubbled varnish. What a find!
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaOCl2



    ...You impress me!
    Sometimes I scare me! :P

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Evan, is there NOTHING you don't know about?????

    NWNWNWNWMom (I never get the right combination of m's, w's, and n's anyway... )

    I have an old treadle machine also, don't remember the brand offhand, but it was sold through the sears catalog in the 1910's or 20's. It is definitely not mint, but it was my grandmothers so it means a lot. She sewed almost everything my Mom and her sibs wore growing up in the late 1910's through the early 40's. The machine is all decorated with a floral pattern. I refinished the cabinet about 20 years ago. It is kind of loosie-goosie, but it looks really nice. The belt is broken, and the 'thing' (ha!) stick that goes between treadle and the wheel thing is split. I have a box with a bunch of attachments that look like small instruments of torture, and some needles stuck in a piece of wool. Oh, and a bunch of old small keys. who knows what those were for...

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    My mother was a millinary designer so I grew up around sewing machines. Learned how to use one when I was about 4 and could make my own patterns when I was about 12! Still like to sew when I can find the time for it but do a lot of serging now since it's faster! My sewing room is the spare bedroom but now it's also my bird nursary also. I bread canaries and parakeets. Sounds like your Kenmore is out of timing. It is most likely an oscillating shuttle class 15 machine. Those were the most common in the '70s on japanese machines. Most of the European ones were rotary. That is what usually causes the needle to break, it's hitting the shuttle. Without knowing exactly what type of shuttle mechanism you have I really can't explain how to time it but it's really an easy procedure.
    I think the needles broke because of the thickness of the many layers of fabric. Also, I was pulling on the fabric at times to keep it moving, which apparently caused bending of the needles. One of them just bent, didn't break. The Kenmore is the one that's working well, although it's possible it could be made to work better! Could also be a timing issue, as you indicated.

    My New Home is the one with the problem. No local sewing machine repair folks in my yellow pages. I will have to take it somewhere else or do some digging. . .

    I have a serger too. Very handy.
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

  10. Back To Top    #10
    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Grace, thats funny "instruments of torture" was the first that that came to MY mind when I opened that box too!!

    My machine actually still works, believe it or not! It has the original belt and that piece of wool wrapped around the machine head for her needles to stick into. It has the date she got it as a gift written on the inside of the cabinet - 1913. I think there were a lot of machines made by the same manufacturer back in those days and they were "name plated" for different merchants like Sears, etc. Thats what I found out when researching mine anyway. That would account for the almost duplicate look to so many of them.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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