Tag Archives: how it works

Fly little nestling – Ditching the Thread nests part 1

One of the most common issues that people bring machines to me for is tension.

The thing about it is that – in most cases – the tension issues are really not something that I need to address as a technician . Don’t get me wrong, there are some legitimate issues – mis-assembled tensioners or severely clogged up tensioners – to name a couple. Continue reading Fly little nestling – Ditching the Thread nests part 1

Stuck in the Middle – Frozen Slant-O-Matics

Note:  This post is some of what we’ll be going through in the class I’m giving in William’s Lake next month.

The 401A, 403A, 411G, and 431Gs along with the 500A and the 503A (or the J version) are possibly some of my favorite Singer machines.  There are a few more in this series as well, like the 401G and the 421G but I’ve honestly never laid hands on either of those models.   These machines are all fundamentally the same with some small differences.  They are all “Slant-O-Matics”, meaning that the whole stitching mechanism is tilted a little and angled toward the user to make the needle more visible.

Today, I’m going to talk a little about the differences and also about the one thing that makes some people shy away from these machines – the cam stack and stitch selectors are frozen.  It’s typically easy to fix, so I want you all to know how to take care of it.

Continue reading Stuck in the Middle – Frozen Slant-O-Matics

A Million Miles – traveling to speak and teach!

Note: Amended date!  I goofed ladies and gentlemen, April 16th is the date, not March!

Update: 2014-04-09 – It looks like the Evening class is tentatively full (may be able to open 1 more spot) and there is one left open for the morning class.  If you wanted to get in, now’s your chance!  We’ve been chatting about the possibility of me doing the class again in the future in William’s Lake, but there’s no firm timeline for it.

OK, so it’s not quite a million miles but I bet it feels like it by the time I get home.

I’m going to be teaching people just like you how to service and restore their vintage machines in BC next month! 🙂

Beauties like this:

IMG_1558

The Cariboo Piecemakers quilt guild has asked me to speak to the group about vintage sewing machines at their Tuesday meeting.   The following day I will be doing a marathon training session.

The class is in William’s Lake, B.C. Canada (approximately 3 hours out of Kamloops) the Wednesday before Easter (March  APRIL 16th) at the Pioneer Complex, and we have just added a second session and there’s currently a little room left.   The tentative times for the classes are 10am to 3pm with a break for lunch and 5pm to 9pm.  If you’re interested in attending, leave me a comment below or contact me here.

Here’s what I’m planning to cover: Continue reading A Million Miles – traveling to speak and teach!

Standing at a Crossroads – Thread: Cross Wound vs Stack Wound

I received an email from Roger about a month or so ago that asked for clarification about one of the posts I made last year. The post in question is Common Thread – Evaluating the Real cost of thread

Did I mention that I love hearing from readers?  Even if it’s questioning what I’ve written, I enjoy the conversation. 🙂  Feel free to comment below or drop me a line. I always answer, even if it’s not right away because I’m perpetually behind on email.

The question Roger asked made me realize that I might have been guilty of a little thread “geek speak”. He emailed me to ask what I meant by “cross wound” or “stack wound” thread.  The two other questions I also inferred from that question were “what’s the difference and what does it mean to me?” 🙂

Continue reading Standing at a Crossroads – Thread: Cross Wound vs Stack Wound

Dance the Night away – Panto Fun

Note: I’ve noticed lately that the photos in the posts look blurry and low quality.  This is not true if you click on them to look at them.  Until I figure out what it is that’s doing this, please click on the images to see them the way I intended for them to look for you.

I attended a pantograph class at Sparrow earlier this month and learned a few things.  The most important was speed.  The easiest (and most counter intuitive) way to get a better result – less boxy corners, smoother lines –  is mash the gas pedal.

In the past few weeks, I’ve also learned that – within reason, this is also true with a lot of quilting and sewing in general.  For instance, I sew a much straighter line by going faster and watching the guide tape I’ve put on the bed in front of my machine than I do to watch the needle and try to keep it straight against the 1/4″ guide.  My bindings may have a chance, one day in the distant future, of being presentable! Continue reading Dance the Night away – Panto Fun

China Girl – It’s time to stop blaming China for quality issues

This is not likely to be a well loved post. I keep hearing something that’s making me a little crazy, and I have to get it off my chest.

Made in China, Made In Taiwan, Made In India, Made in Thailand. All of these do not have to equal worse quality.

The Far Eastern factories will build to any quality that you want. If you want higher quality, it will cost you more. Continue reading China Girl – It’s time to stop blaming China for quality issues

A little more love – What you don’t see can make your machine sick

Sometimes people will find out that I service sewing machines and tell me that they do their own servicing.

I always ask them how involved they get, and at least 9 times out of 10 they’ll tell me they brush out (or blow out – and I usually tell them that’s not recommended) the lint, and oil where it says to in the owner’s manual.

Believe it or not, when a sewing machine repair shop does a cleaning and tune-up for you, they do more than that.  Inside your machine there are a lot more places to oil and clean and adjust than what the owner will typically see. Continue reading A little more love – What you don’t see can make your machine sick

Love becomes Electric – Electrical Safety and your sewing machine

*Note:  The photo above is of a mis-assembled power connector.  This is an example of what not to do, or Love becoming Electric – which is the topic of this conversation today.

Today, I want to talk about the electrical connections in your vintage machines.  In particular, the topic will be when you’re using the machine and you feel a tingle, or a light shock, or buzzing sensation. Continue reading Love becomes Electric – Electrical Safety and your sewing machine

Bobbin’ Along – bobbin tension

You may have noticed in the previous post about tension that we didn’t even test sew the machine.

Yet.  We will test sew it, but not just yet.  You see what I’m trying to do is get the machine to a point where it’s in the ballpark first, then the rest is just small tweaks.  The goal is to help you rule out the big problems, the ones that require repair, or in drastic situations, possibly a trip to the sewing machine spa.

Consider this statement:

Tension too tight on the top can also be tension too loose on the bottom.
Top Tension too tight does not automatically mean bottom tension is too loose.
Tension too loose on the top can also be tension too tight on the bottom.
Top Tension too loose does not automatically mean bottom tension is too tight. Continue reading Bobbin’ Along – bobbin tension 

Fragile Tension – Tension does not have to equal stress (Updated with a video)

Possibly the most common reason a machine ends up on my bench is for tension.  Usually bird’s nests.  The thing is easily 80% of the time, there’s nothing really wrong with the machine that a repair person needs to look at it.  Sometimes it’s basic maintenance, sometimes it’s because someone told you at some point “DON’T YOU TOUCH THAT! EVER!”

I’m sure that the people who’ve said that meant well, but today I’m going to show you how to manage that dial properly and what to do when it’s not proper. Continue reading Fragile Tension – Tension does not have to equal stress (Updated with a video)