Tag Archives: vintage

Running out of Time

Timing series part 5:  Examples

Note: The 401A and 201 timing directions have been updated.  My apologies for the previous mistake.  I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I put those directions in, they were just plain wrong.  They should be correct now.

Note:  Never run the machine with the pedal If you suspect that the timing is off, while checking or after adjusting the timing until you’ve determined that the setting was correct.  Running it at speed if the timing is off can cause massive damage to the hook, bobbin case and also smash the needle which can lead to shards flying around.

Note: The process I show for adjusting timing doesn’t necessarily work for newer machines that are set up a little differently, but the process of checking it still applies.   And if your machine is on warranty, please just take it in and have it fixed.  Some dealers / manufacturers will void your warranty if you try to change anything.

In order to demonstrate setting the timing on a machine, I’m going to show a series of photos.  The first is the location of the timing lines on the machine, if applicable.  The next is the location of the screws / nuts / bolts you need to loosen to time it.  As needed, I will provide further explanation.  For the technical explanation, please refer back to this post: Making Time

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Making Time

Timing series part 4: Why it’s fairly difficult to throw timing off, and how to adjust timing.

Note:  Never run the machine with the pedal if you suspect that the timing is off, while checking or after adjusting the timing until you’ve determined that the setting was correct.  Running it at speed if the timing is off can cause massive damage to the hook, bobbin case and also smash the needle which can lead to shards flying around.

Note: The process I show for adjusting timing doesn’t necessarily work for newer machines that are set up a little differently, but the process of checking it still applies.   And if your machine is on warranty, please just take it in and have it fixed.  Some dealers / manufacturers will void your warranty if you try to change anything.

First, why it’s very hard to throw timing off.

Continue reading Making Time

The difference a day makes

Why am I posting this before I finish the timing series, you ask?  Well, this is what distracted me from it, and put me behind. 🙂  I’m also feeling less technical than I need to in order to finish that article today, but wanted to present you something to read.  It’s a terribly long post.  I apologize for that, but I’m very happy with how it turned out, I think you might be pleased as well.

I traded emails with a lady who had posted in Kijiji that they were having an estate sale that included 4 sewing machines and a bona fide stash of fabric, patterns and other craft items.

As you may have guessed, I was most interested in the sewing machines.  I found out that the machines were: 3 Singers, and a new Brother.  I’d seen photos of 3 of the machines and knew I was only interested in one but not at the price they’d listed it at, and possibly the “unseen” one.

The interesting one that I’d seen was a Singer 401A.  The photos showed it to be in fairly rough shape though, making the $100 asking price a little high.  It had the usual grime on it from oiling, but the slide plate had “something” on it that was tan and white.  Corrosion?  Sewage accident?

Oh I couldn’t have been closer.  Continue reading The difference a day makes

Score at the Antique Mall

We made a trip to Calgary this weekend to see my aunt.

While enroute, I received an email from her saying she was just stepping out to run a couple of errands. We found ourselves with an hour on our hands, and were passing the same Antique mall that I’d found a lovely 1912 model 28 with both hand crank and motor upgrade a few months ago when we came through last.

We stopped and I wandered for a bit, seeing only a Spartan that was somewhat interesting, and completely reasonably priced, but since I already have 2 99s, I was in the process of deciding not to packrat, when I tilted my head toward the ceiling. I spotted it, on top of a China cabinet that was easily 7 ft tall. A featherweight case.

The hinges looked weird though. Ryan and I were standing there discussing whether they’d been replaced or not. I noticed though that the rivets looked identical to the lock side, and something was nagging in the back of my mind about the hinges and the box itself. It looked like it was the “wrong” dimensions. Continue reading Score at the Antique Mall

Project Rewind: back to the 60s – Reuse your wooden spools

NOTE 2014-03-03:  This post left for posterity, but it’s superceded (functionality wise) by this post.

In the early 1970s, thread manufacturers stopped using the wooden spools for their thread.  This was strictly due to cost.  A wood spool cost them between 2.5 and 4.5 cents per, where as a plastic spool cost half that.

Financially, it made sense.  Unfortunately, the sewing experience doesn’t seem to be the same.  Plastic spools hop all over the place, they’re loud, and let’s face it, they’re ugly too.  I really think the older machines like the wood spools better too.  They’re heavier and harder to “spin around” and mess with the tension.

I have my grandma’s old sewing basket, it has a bunch of wood spools in it.  Some full, some empty, or close to it.  She used to keep them to wind the thread ends onto.

On the Quilting Board, we were discussing why you couldn’t rewind some of these old spools.  The easy answer is “there’s no product on the market that will do it”.

Today, I came across a photo of a Two Spools machine that was winding a wooden spool, and I decided it had to be possible for “the rest of us”, and if it was, I’d try to come up with a way to do it.

Note: This process will work better with a top mounted bobbin winder.  It may work with a side mounted winder, but it may limit the size of the spool you can use.  I can’t see a way it would work with a Self-winding bobbin.  It should work with a Side Winder too.  Also, for pretty obvious reasons, it won’t work with the long bobbins.  😉

Continue reading Project Rewind: back to the 60s – Reuse your wooden spools