Friday, July 13, 2018

The Latest News

Wow! I just realized that it has been 8 months since I last posted.  We bought a fixer-upper house last summer 

and my attention has been focused on painting, repairing, buying appliances, flooring, cooktop and countertop.  When the new gas cooktop was installed, we found that the gas line buried in the concrete slab foundation had corroded and was leaking.  We had to have a new gas line run through the attic and down to the kitchen.  

  We finally have everything the way we want it and what did we do?  Decided we would prefer to live in Florida!  On Tuesday, we listed the house for sale with Century 21; on Wednesday, a family toured it and wrote an offer; on Thursday, we accepted the offer.  Now, we are scurrying to figure out what to do with all our “stuff”.  Do we want to ship it to Florida or get rid of it?  We already have a fully-furnished home in Florida, so we don’t NEED anything there but we might want to replace some of the Florida furniture with what’s in Maryland.  Anyway, we have six weeks to figure it out and get it done.

  That brings me back on topic.  I am no longer going to have space to store 80 parts machines and shelves of new reproduction parts so I have shut down Old Sewing Machines store on Etsy and am listing everything on eBay just to get rid of it.  Anything that’s not sold by July 21st gets donated to a friend who will give them a good home. 
  If you want to see what I have listed on eBay, click Featherweight Goodie Package.  When you get to the listing of the Featherweight Goodie Package, click "See Other Items" on the right side of the screen and all my listings will appear.  I might still have more things to list, so check back but all my auctions will be ended the evening of July 20.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Back On Line

   I was trolling the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore this morning and saw something I didn’t know existed – a blackside Singer 15-91!

   I know that several Singer models received the blackside treatment on faceplate, slide plate, and needle plate from 1941 to 1953 but had only seen it on 128s, 66s, and 99s.  According to the Bluebook, the 15-91 was manufactured from 1933 to 1956 so the production was within the period of blackside machines, but in my 40 plus years of collecting vintage sewing machines, I have never seen a model 15 in blackside.  I thought about buying it but after considering  condition, price, and space to put it, I let it stay.

I have not been very faithful in posting on this blog or answering questions because I have had other priorities.  We sold our big house and bought two small houses – one in Maryland for summers and another in Florida for winters.  The Maryland house was a fixer-upper and required much work.  Patching and paint on every paintable surface, all new flooring, all new appliances, leaking toilets and other things.  Then we discovered that the gas line to the cooktop was leaking and, since the line is buried inside the concrete slab foundation, we had to have a new line run through the attic.  We still need to get that line boxed in to get it out of sight.  About the time we got things kinda wrapped up in Maryland, we went to Florida just in time to have Hurricane Irma blow the carport off that house.

Fortunately, there was almost no damage to the house (just a small puncture in the roof) but it has been about ten weeks now and the contractor has not come to replace the carport.

I will probably not be posting as often as I used to because I just don’t have much to talk about.  All my vintage sewing machines are gone and the supply seems to have dried up around here.  I occasionally see a rusty hulk that was probably pulled out of a barn after decades of storage and a few Asian machines but nothing that sparks my interest.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Final Two Weeks in the Old House

We are getting down to brass tacks now, runs to the landfill every couple of days disposing of things I held onto for years in case "I might need that some day".  We have sold everything anyone would buy and given away other items to individuals and thrift shops and now, it's off to the landfill with what's left.  I am going to post a classified ad today for the remainder of my collection

and I am listing lots on eBay because they need to be gone in a week and I can't count on Etsy to accomplish that.

UPDATE:  I got a phone call about an hour after posting the classified ad.  A lady whose Mother collects vintage sewing machines came over and made an offer on the whole lot!  Her Mother's birthday is coming up soon and her daughter wants to surprise her.

I hope the classified ad I placed for my Singer 111W155 is as successful.

  I ran across these black Class 66 bobbins the other day and just listed them along with seven other items.  I will be furiously listing everything I can find in the next week because it all has to be gone by July 13th.

To see everything I have currently listed, click here All of Ed's eBay Listings

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Another "What-Is-It" Item

I bought these presser feet on eBay years ago.  I believe they were listed as Viking quilting feet.  Since Kathie is a quilter and the price was right, I picked them up in case I later ran across a Viking that they would fit.  I never did and now it's time to bid them farewell but I really don't know what they are.  I have Googled images for "embroidery foot" and "quilting foot" with no positive results.  Can anyone help?


Sunday, April 30, 2017

More on Downsizing

   The clean-out continues.  Today, I dug out all my Singer "Top Hat" decorative stitch cams.  During my 45 years of collecting sewing machines, every time I saw a set of Singer attachments, I picked it up.  Also, many of the Singers I obtained came with attachments.  I was shocked at the number when I dug them out and arranged them in numerical order

   Also, I was amazed that with all those cams, I only have one complete set.  Noticeably missing is the Zero cam that produces the standard zig zag stitch on machines that do not have zig zag built in.  My only Zero cam is currently installed in a 403.

I never use these cams, All my sewing is straight stitch and zig zag with an occasional buttonhole thrown in so they will all be listed in my My Etsy Shop


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Downsizing in Preparation for Retirement

    As I approach my 72nd birthday, Kathie and I find that it is time to rid ourselves of our 5 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath, 3-story house and look for a home offering one level living.  We will list our home for sale tomorrow and have spent the last month "de-cluttering".  Because the next house will be smaller, we also must downsize our space-consuming hobbies.  Kathie will probably lose her longarm quilting machine and I have to find new homes for many of the machines, parts, tools, and manuals that I have been hoarding for the past 45 years.

    To that end, I have started listing in My Etsy Shop some tools, manuals, and parts that I would not let go before now.
   My goal is to list four additional items or lots per day until everything of value is gone.

   Because I don't know how much time I will have before I have to clear out this house, I plan to leave these items on Etsy for about a month, then transition any leftovers to eBay.  Anything that doesn't sell on eBay will go to the landfill.

    I also have a collection of miniature sewing machines that don't fit the criteria for Etsy.

They range from 1 inch high to about 4 inches high.  They are in as-found condition, some new, some used.  One with a bear has the bear broken loose and will need to be re-glued.  If you think you might be interested in this grouping, email me at

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dual Needle Industrial Machine

A few years ago, I was making lanyards to sell at craft shows that required a double stitch and I picked up this 1951 Singer 112W140 to cut my sewing time in half.  As it turned out, the double needles were not spaced correctly for my project, so I picked up an eBay lot of gauge sets (presser foot, throat plate, needle clamp, and feed dog) to fit onto my machine.  About that time, demand for my lanyards dried up and I no longer had a reason to change the spacing of the needles on my machine and never installed another gauge set.

Here’s my problem:  When my auction lot arrived, they were all just thrown in a box.  Most of the gauge sets and individual pieces are unidentifiable.  As far as I can tell, they are all for Singers and I think I have 20+ full or partial sets.  The two in the bottom right corner of the photo are still wrapped in oil paper and apparently have never been used, many of the others also appear unused and none look like they would not be usable.

Some of the pieces bear Simanco part numbers but many do not have any part number.  Some, but not all are tied together as sets, some are in boxes with Singer model numbers (212W140 & 112W115) written on the boxes but I do not trust those markings.  The rest are just individual pieces.  I spent hours today on the internet trying to find a way to identify all the sets and pieces and match them to the model of Singer they go to so I could list them in my Etsy shop or on eBay but had no luck.  If anyone could provide, or point me to a source for identifying these parts, I would appreciate it.  If anyone wants any of them, I will make you a GREAT deal.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Singer 603E Needle Plate


Yesterday, I broke out a really nice 603E that I haven’t used in a long time.  I oiled it up and was running it in and it was humming along perfectly - no rattles, squeaks, or clicks.  At full speed, I moved the stitch width lever over to check out the zig zag without thinking to check whether a zig zag needle plate was installed - it wasn’t!  Not only did the needle break, the straight stitch needle plate also broke.


Thinking that the 603 uses the same needle plate as many other slant needle Singers, I grabbed one from another machine sitting nearby.


When I started up the 603 again, there was a clicking sound that wasn’t there before.  My first thought was that a piece of the broken needle was somewhere down around the hook but close inspection dispelled that idea.  While looking for the needle fragment, I realized that the clicking sound was not present when the needle plate was removed.  Reinstalling the needle plate brought back the clicking sound.  That indicated to me that the feed dog was probably hitting the underside of the needle plate.  I could not feel any vibration on the plate, the feed dog was just kissing the underside of the plate.

My next thought was that the needle plate I had cannibalized from another machine might be slightly bent so I robbed one from another slant needle machine.  The clicking sound was still present.  My next thought was that perhaps the 600 series machines used a different needle plate than the 400 and 500 series machines, I rummaged through my partial sets of 600 series attachments to find a needle plate that was actually supplied with a 600 series machine. I found one in the box of attachments that came with this machine, probably the only attachment set that has not gotten separated from its machine.  Installing this newly-found needle plate, the clicking sound disappeared and the machine runs as smoothly as before my accident.

Now, here’s the reason I felt this was worth blogging about:  I have three different styles of needle plates for slant needle Singers, all with the same part number - 172200.  While the plates are identical on the top, there are marked differences on the undersides.


The only plate that does not interfere with the feed dog is the one on the right.  I am not going to pull off the needle plates on all my slant needle Singers to see which ones have which plate but I will be on the lookout for this in the future.  On second thought, maybe I will pull all the needle plates so I can match up the needle plates with the correct machines but first, I need to figure out whether the plate on the left and the one in the center have any positive or negative effect and which machines perform best with either one.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bernette MO-234 Serger

The other day, a friend gifted me with a Bernette MO-234 Serger.  She said it had just quit working and was making a "funny noise".  I don’t have enough experience with overlockers to agree to work on one for someone but she had already bought a replacement and just gave it to me to play with.

I put a few drops of oil here and there and threaded it up - it worked perfectly.  

Then, I made four Christmas stockings for this Fall’s craft show and there was never a hiccup sewing through four layers of fabric and two layers of batting.  The machine will probably take its place in my Rogue's Gallery of Unused Sergers, never to be used again.

At this point, there is really no reason to write a post about this machine but, here’s my first issue:

On the upper right corner of the machine is a tension assembly.  

That tension is not shown in any of the drawings of the machine in the manual and there is never any mention of it in the instructions. 

 I would say it is for winding bobbins, except overlockers do not use bobbins, so I see absolutely no purpose for that tension assembly.  Can anyone tell me why it’s there?

Second issue:  When I was opening up doors to check for lint deposits, a piece of translucent plastic fell out.  It is about two inches wide, three inches long, and 1/2 inch thick.

Again,  I find no mention of this part in the manual and cannot find a place it should fit.  How about some help there?  If this item was floating around inside the machine, that could be the source of the "funny noise"


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Unusual Singer Featherweight

A friend picked up a Singer Featherweight at an antique shop (first mistake).  The seller told her it had been recently serviced and was good to go.

The first thing I noticed when I flipped on the power switch was that the light did not come on.  There was no light bulb in the socket.

The presser foot installed was a gathering foot.  That is not what you want for straight stitching.  There was no straight stitch foot in the box of attachments.

The installed needle had a burr on the point.

The motor belt was too tight.

There was thread caught in the bobbin case base.


There was a considerable amount of lint around the feed dog.


The bed cushions are all completely squashed.


The gears are in dire need of grease and the rest of the mechanicals need oil.

The good news is that it does sew.  It might need a slight hook-to-needle adjustment, but that is minor.

I have seen hundreds of Featherweights but this one was unusual in one respect - it had a generic motor installed.

I understand why someone would want to do that because replacement motors retail for well over $150 while generic motors can be bought for around $20.  The problem is that Featherweight motors have much different mounting provisions than all other sewing machines, making it impossible to attach a generic motor in place of the original motor.

The previous owner overcame this by designing an adapter plate.

  The motor attaches to the adapter plate and the adapter plate attaches to the Featherweight motor mount.  It is a very simple arrangement, just a flat piece of 1/8" steel plate with two holes to attach the new motor and an anchor nut at the FW motor mounting point

Unfortunately, the motor is mounted so high that the belt would hit the belt guard. 

 Instead of drilling a couple of holes to lower the motor and using a longer belt, the designer added an idler pulley to push the belt down to clear the guard.

I have searched the internet to see if this is a commercial product and have found nothing even similar.  I have a FW with a weak motor, maybe I'll design a similar adapter and install one of my spare motors.