Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Afraid to Open This Featherweight

The covering is coming off the box, both latches are broken, it is held closed by an old belt and the owner warned not to pick it up using the handle.

Well, lifting the lid was a pleasant surprise - a nice assortment of accessories

 including a hemstitcher with all the associated parts.  You often find these missing the special needle plate.

  Now to look inside OH NO!!! IT'S MUMMIFIED!!!

  Turned out that was just a homemade cover to protect the machine below.  Not that there was much to protect, it has seen lots of use over the years.

The cords had been replaced and the power cord was a full twelve feet long. I wonder if they were plugging it in to the neighbor's wall socket. On further inspection, I see a bit of dirt but no rust, thank goodness.

Cleaning and some Oil and grease got the old gal to spin freely and some minor tension tickles and it sews like it's supposed to.

By the way, you always clean before you lubricate.  If you do it in reverse order, you clean out some of the new oil/grease with the lint.

Not a lot of mechanical work to be done, a new motor belt, new bed cushions and new cushions on the foot control were all the parts needed.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Singer Genie 354

  I picked up this machine a few weeks ago while I was in New Hampshire to attend my 50th high school reunion. It is a Singer model 354, known as the Genie.

  Not quite the vintage or quality I normally like, but since it was the supposed successor to the Featherweight, I feel it is a "Milestone Machine" and I really should have one in my collection.

  You can see from the views of the exterior, it has led a rough life but I believe it has only been used for mending.  Why do I say that?

 The single bobbin that came with the machine had ELEVEN different colors wound on it - cream, orange, red, purple, light red, dark red, tan, orange, tan, green, and white. Some pieces were so short they could not be seen until I unwound the layers above them.  No decent sewing project could be sewn with those little bits of thread.

  It is missing a few parts, the tough one is going to be the trim piece beside the take-up lever.

If anyone has a Singer 353 or 354 parts machine, I would like to talk to you about this item. It is also missing the plastic cover to the clutch release but the 6620C I just acquired has one I can cannibalize - probably the only part on that machine I can use!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Janome Jem 639 and My New Favorite Cleaning Aid

  On my weekly stroll through the local thrift shop, I spotted a sweet little Janome Jem just waiting for me to take it home.  It appeared to be in good condition, the foot control, presser foot, and bobbin case were present so I picked it up in hopes that one of the local quilters would be willing to give me a little more than I paid for a lightweight machine to carry to sew-ins and classes.

  When I got it home, I found it was not just in good condition, it looks like it has never been used!  The sticker on top showing how to wind a bobbin was not even smudged.

  It needed no repairs or adjustments, it sews like right out of the box! The package of three needles that came with the machine is unopened.  The only attachment that came with it was a buttonhole foot, there probably should have been a zipper foot, at least.

  The one detracting feature was the price - written in magic marker on the plastic case.  In the past, I have used headlight lens restorer to remove magic marker from plastic but the headlight lens restorer was downstairs and I was upstairs, so I grabbed something else to try, a magic eraser.

  I had never used one of these but picked one up at the Dollar Store to clean our fiberglass shower stall.  It worked fine there, so I have been trying it out on other surfaces - tile grout, vinyl flooring, metal sewing machines - all with excellent results.  I was hesitant to use it on this shiny plastic machine, fearing it might leave scratches or leave a shadow of the Sharpie price mark.  It cleaned off the mark completely and left nary a scratch in the plastic.

 Now a word about Janome Customer Service. I emailed them asking for a copy of the 639 instruction manual.  Within 6 hours, I had a return email with a pdf attachment titled "639.pdf" but when I opened the file, it was for a 693, not a 639.  I emailed them again and within 6 hours had another return email with the proper instruction manual.  Thank you, Janome Customer Service.