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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Singerman cometh

forgive the drama..
I got the 411G from Singerman12 on ebay today.

First, the shipping:
I am detecting a common thread with machines packed/shipped by people of French descent.
This package could have been hit by a train, and the machine wouldn't have noticed...
Seriously, it was a pain in the butt to open, which is always a good sign.
Amazing job of ensuring the machine arrived safely.

Second, the machine itself:
I can say without hesitation, they do the same quality of work I do. The machine is great. She runs clean and looks great.

If you see a machine being sold by these guys, I can 100% say I would feel comfortable recommending their work.

Eric & Serge, if I wore a hat, I would be doffing it to you!
(Usually when I buy a machine off eBay, I know there are going to be things I need to do to it in order to feel comfortable using it, this is the first machine ever I've gotten that was completely good to go from the moment I took it out of it's byzantine shipping packaging)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mostly done

Ok, so tapping that brass bit in a little seems to have achieved the desired effect.

We'll see.
I have a bit more to do with those machines, then I need to put together a kit of feet for each of them.

I got the replacement bulb for the Bernina today...
It doesn't work...

So, my vote is two thumbs down for the sellers of LED lights on ebay.

A new experience

I've been working on a few 500As.
Getting them into tip top shape.
I came across something I've never experiences before!
This is a Rocketeer:
Those dials in the front allow you to change the pattern of stitches produced by the machine.
Pretty cool right?
Well, the machine I am working on is doing something I've never seen before.
The selector knob, when pushed all the way in to release the cam that's engaged, is disengaging completely.
The little thingy that actually moves the selector pops completely free.
This thing.

Now the reason for this, I believe, is there's a little brass fitting that is supposed to control the depth of movement, and it's out of whack.

So, this afternoon I shall be tapping this in and testing!
(If it's not that I may have to take the whole cam stack system apart to find the error...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yesterday and today

Yesterday I found a pattern drafting book from 1925, printed by the White Sewing machine company of Oregon.
Hate their machines, but the book is pretty awesome.

Today I found the older version of the Singer buttonholer.
These things worked without cams, you set the length/width/bight etc manually.
Pretty nifty piece of old technology.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Today's repair job!

I had a first time customer come by today with a machine for me to fix, as well as her significant other.
They were both extremely polite, which is always nice.
A lot of the younger kids (and by that I mean 40 and under) seem to think they need to impress me with their arrogance, as if that will keep me from .. who knows?

One of my favorite sets of people to deal with are N and M, for this very reason. They are polite, they are courteous, they are truly a joy to work with.

Anyway, that's a digression....

So where was I?
Right, couple today..

They brought by a decent 70s Kenmore machine that was behaving badly. Before their arrival I was doing my mental gymnastics in anticipation of a new puzzle to solve.

I love solving puzzles.

They came in to the house, and I got a chance to look at the machine.
C explained to me what was going on, and it sounded like a timing issue.

Until I looked at the bobbin area, and turned the handwheel.

I had one question for them:
"Have you replaced the needle?"
The needle tip was bent about 7 degrees, slight enough that it wouldn't be super obvious if you weren't sure what you were looking at, but more than enough to cause her issues.

I explained this to them, C seemed embarrassed until I told her about rebuilding an entire machine front to back only to find out I'd put the needle in backwards...

I sent them off in search of new needles, and wished them 'Bon Fortuna!'

Still working on the 500s..

and I finished working on a 201-2 portable!

a centennial none the less!


Monday, September 26, 2011


I recently, read yesterday, purchased a Singer 411G.

Now my plan for this machine is a little complicated!
Similar to the 401 or 500, this machine sports one MAJOR difference:
It can be treadled!

So, I am going to build a treadle cabinet for it and mount it on a treadle base I have laying around!
This is going to be interesting! the hardest part will be finding the flywheel for the machine that will accept the treadle belt. I may just have to have one custom made....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sasieni Pipe

Machines I'm working on..

Bree over at Breedom Public Sewing House has given me an interesting idea.
She's currently using a few modern machines for her students, and she's asked if I think we could replace those with vintage machines.
I think that is a great plan.
I'm thinking of starting her off with 2 401As and 2 500As.

So, I've got the 401s ready, and I'm working on the Rocketeers.
I'm also working on 3 Bernina 830s, and a few other machines...

If you live in Portland area and you're interested in learning about how to not pay me to maintain your machine...
just kidding.
I'm teaching a course over at Breedom, sign up and join the fun!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Learning to machine embroider!

There's probably some other sewing nerd term for this, but I don't know what it is..
(yes, I'm a noob)

these are the designs I've been mucking about with!
I'm definitely learning!

My main light sources

I use two floor lamps with 4 sockets(3 on the outside and one central)
they each came from thrift stores and cost under 20$
I can move them easily about my sewing/workroom :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Back to the light..

I am not really sure how much I like it.
It's definitely cooler than the incandescent bulbs, and the light is pure white....
but it doesnt seem nearly as bright.

The Bernina bulb, in the few hours it actually worked, was closer to the fabric ,as those lights are mounted in the front of the machine, and so it seemed much much brighter.
This bulb.... welll...
Now it could just be that I am predisposed to thinking this light is bad, due to the cost and appearance. 
So, I'll do a comparison!
On top is an incandescent bulb, on bottom the bulb from 123sewinglights.
The LED light is cooler both to the touch and visually. But the incandescent is radiant light, not directed. 
So even though the individual LEDs may be brighter than the other bulb, the other bulb gives off light all around, not just in one very specific area.

My conclusion?
For what this bulb cost, you can go to a thrift store, pick up a super cool floor lamp and equip it with multiple compact fluorescent bulbs.
This bulb is an almost cute, bad investment.
I won't be buying any more of them or recommending them to any of my clients.
At 1/2 the price, it would almost be worth it just for the gimmicky-ness. But at what they charge? Not even close to being a good buy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonder Woman Lunchbox!


221 light

So, I ordered an LED light for the 221.
(yes, I know I start almost every post with 'so..' it's kind of my thing!)

There's an old saying:
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression"

The packaging it was sent in was.. unimpressive.
There was no receipt or invoice in the envelope.

Just a lightbulb in a plastic bag.
Now, the bulb itself appears to be MUCH more finished than the ones made for the Bernina machines.
But that's not really saying much of anything.

There are still drips of glue, and capacitors sticking out of the Lucite.
Basically, this is NOT a 40$ lightbulb. Well, that's what they charge, but just based on the physical presentation of the thing...I have to say it's not worth it.
This is a $19.99 garage band special.

And that's before we've even tested the performance...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Complications seem to follow me!

So, my etsy store..
all of a sudden all of the transactions on it started getting marked as 'pending' and not showing up on my Paypal account...
So I called Paypal and ranted, and they said 'it's not us, it's etsy!'
(and I really did rant and rave)
(which I then felt bad about)
The next step was to check my etsy account settings.
Lo and behold, somehow my payment thingy had gotten switched back to the paypal account I used when I first opened the etsy account ages ago. The problem with that is that I deactivated that account and switched to the business one over a year ago....

Which left me in the enviable position of having to cancel the transactions and explain to my customers what had happened.

But wait, it gets better!

So I try to contact etsy to see what could be done....
There's no way to actually contact them.

I sent a support email...
And two days later I still have heard absolutely nothing.


Monday, September 19, 2011

So close

I gave the cloak a test run today, driving all about with all the windows down.

I have to figure out a few things about machine embroidery still...
Like how to keep the fabric from puckering.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Patches for the cloak, I will do a third for the center back

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cloak almost done.
Needs a few things:
1. Fur trim on hem of cloak(bottom hem)
2. More embroidery to break up the o'erwhelming dark of it all.

Cape continued

or cloak,
All the bits are here they just need to be connected!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

You know what makes a great picture?
Black wool on black wool....
So, it looks like we may be postponing the class i was going to teach for a while.
I guess a lot of people have expressed interest but only one person (I'm betting I know who that is, thanks Luissa) has actually signed up already.
So, we'll see.

This is the beginning of my cloak being made on a Record 830 I am bringing back to life.
the embroidery stitches are a bit uneven, but it will look cool when it's all done.

Sunday's class

will be a learning experience for me.
And I'm the instructor!

I got the copies made today:
So each attendee will leave with a copy of the 1939 Student's Manual of Machine Sewing.
Yeah, so even if I'm terrible, it won't be a TOTAL wash!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes, like now,

I get a little overwhelmed by my own plans.
I'm teaching a class this weekend, and it's weighing heavily on me.
So I have been too burned out to work on the purple dress.
It's sort of stupid, I know.
SO... I redid that couch and I am trying to make a cloak.
I just wish wool wasn't so dang expensive!
If I make a mistake.. that's a serious investment!

The couch..she is pink.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cushion one!

Emergency upholstery project!

I've found a really ugly couch in my house.
So everything else gets put on hold while I fix that...
Yes, there are rooms I don't go into but once a year..
Soon it will be covered in pink corduroy :)

The bulb that died..
You can see the metal sticking out of it in the first picture. It looks like they tried to cover it up with something..
model cement maybe?
So, I am sending this one back for replacement.
We'll see what the turn around time is.

Monday, September 12, 2011

So, the LED bulb I wrote about here:

Just died on me....
It's had LESS than 1 hour of total use and it died.
What a piece of crap.


I bought something different:
an embroidery hoop.
After seeing the video of someone embroidering a fish using a Featherweight, I really want to try some embroidery or thread painting.
It seems like it would combine some of my favorite things!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trying something new!

in the words of Monty Python:
And now for something completely different!
So when I was pondering if I could get that machine working.. I should just learn to have faith in myself sometimes.

Also, I'm still really pissed off that someone stole from me.
Good luck getting me to service the machine you bought!


I have a few readers from Finland!
And Malaysia!

Kenmore 19142 Cams

Someone asked about this :)

More than I can chew?

So here's the inside of that motor....yeah, it's ugly.
There's something melted onto the armature.
There's rust and all sorts of fun corrosion.

The motor housing itself is a bit charred from whatever flamed out in there.

So here's the question:
Can I repair this or is it a donor machine?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

You know....

sometimes I speak to soon.
Ok, so I have this Singer deluxe Monogrammer.
And it has a certain number of cams and guides with it.
Only some of those guides are no longer in the box.
And I know where they went, or rather who took them.

Which really pisses me off, because the person responsible was recommended to me by someone else.
They bought a machine from me. They didn't come alone.

See, it's a roller-coaster, I just got all glad that the eBay people were being cool, just to find out that one of my customers is a dirt bag.

Eh, it'll come around, and hard.

All's well

that bends well!
Or something like that.
So I contacted the eBay seller, and basically asked them for 1/2 of what I paid back.
They agreed.
Now, if I can rebuild this motor, that's going to be a good deal for me.
If not, the 15 original Bernina feet it came with, and the other parts, should more than cover my costs.

They weren't even terrible about it!

Well, it's not the Tour de France!

But there are pedals involved!
I got the pedal I ordered, from this ebay shop that sells the BEST replacement parts.

Lovebug Sew N go

I've ordered a bunch of stuff from them, and they have the best quality. 
Not the cheapest prices, but if you want parts(bobbin cases etc) that match the originals PRECISELY, these are the people to go to.
And no, they aren't paying me anything. I just like sharing when I find a vendor that isn't peddling the usual 'good enough' crap.

On the left, the new pedal, on the right the old!

Took less than 5 minutes to wire it in, and then I tested it barefoot.....
I may just order a bunch of these for all my old Singers...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

eBay and you!

Recently, I bought a Bernina of eBay, knowing it was going to need some work.
The sellers ad gave the impression that it worked but needed fixing.


That's the motor, after I've already chipped away some of the melted goo inside it.

The light bulb was completely carbonized and the wiring is shot.
But their ad said they turned it on....
I'm just not sure what that was supposed to mean!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nothing good to report

Spent the day taking care of new car paperwork and testing...
achieved absolutely nothing sewy wise..
But still...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I am the worst advertising type person EVER...

The class I'm teaching.
I totally forgot to throw a link up here just in case any one who reads this wanted to go...
Mea Culpa

Great Salesperson

Rene Olivo, over at Tonkin Toyota, was the salesperson who helped me find the RIGHT truck for me.
Not too big, not too small, SUPER comfortable.(did I mention heated seats?)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Not my usual purchase

for a Saturday afternoon...
We took my car in for service, and my sweetie bought me a truck instead!
Not new, but still OMFGWTFBBQPWN!!!
I've never had a car with heated seats before.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Better wiring diagram!

Rough wiring diagram

This is basically how the wiring works...
Pardon the crappiness, I'm not a technical writer

Nova renewed!

So I said I wasn't happy with the way the Bernina Nova looked with all that extra crap stuck to it...
So what could I do about it?

here's where the original control was wired into the bottom, and you can see the two cords I added poking up through that hole.
You can also see the scorch marks where the old board flamed out! Yikes!

I pulled the wires back through the hole and took the plugs off their ends.

I threaded a decent length of wire through both the power supply hole (about 12 feet) and the foot pedal cord hole (about 6 feet)

both of the wires going to the lamp attach to the power cord wires

one of the wires going to the motor attaches to the lamp+power wires,and then it gets wrapped.

one of the foot control wires attaches to the other motor wire, and the other foot wire attaches to the other lamp+ power wires, and then they ALL get wrapped.

The bottom plate gets screwed back into place

and there we have it. no extra crap.
I ordered a cuter foot pedal to replace that one....

Much more fitting to my sense of elegance