Thursday, May 09, 2013

Singer FashionMate 252

    Last Saturday, a lady came by the shop with a machine she had tried to sell at her yard sale, then tried to give it away with no takers. She said it was "locked up", which usually means rusted.  Being a sucker for old sewing machines, I gave her $5 for it and took it home. It is a Singer 252, one of the FashionMate series. This one was made in Italy. I have had several FashionMates before but don't remember one with the top lid attaching screw hidden under the spool felt.

    The FashionMates were Singer's entry-level offering. It has only three stitches - straight stitch, zig zag, and blind stitch but that's one more stitch than I ever use and I like the left/center/right needle position, which not all machines have.

    I usually just part out FashionMates but I was in the mood to tinker with a machine and decided to see if I could make it sew well again. With nothing but oiling, it sews like a champ. The nicest stitch quality I have ever seen and not exceptionally noisy when sewing.  So far, I have only used it on quilters cotton, the real test will come when I try something heavier.

    The treasure was in the attachment tray, a straight stitch throat plate, a pack of Schmetz needles, a quantity of original metal Singer bobbins and a Singer seam ripper/needle threader like I have never seen before. The hook is broken off the needle threader but those old needle threaders came with a couple of spare hooks and I think I have a different model with some of those hooks somewhere. I don't know why this seam ripper got paired up with this sewing machine because the machine threads front-to-back. You would need to insert the needle threader hook from the rear and the presser foot is in the way.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Singer 221 Featherweight

Today, a lady dropped off a Singer Featherweight to be cleaned and oiled. At first glance, it looks pretty good - decals are fairly complete, only a few paint chips on the balance wheel, I think it would clean up nicely.

Then, I tipped it over and saw that the bobbin case is missing and the hook is quite rusty.  I tried to turn the motor shaft with my fingers and learned it is frozen.

I took it home and removed the bottom plate and saw that very part made of steel is coated with rust.

When I called the owner to inquire about the bobbin case and to give her the $481 estimate for repair, she told me that the machine had been in her barn for about six months.  I think she needs to recalibrate her calendar. -Ed

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Recycled Denim Project on the Morse 4300

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a fresh pair of jeans to cut up and a new sewing machine to sew on. I have been making these wrist purses to sell at the shop and they are going like hotcakes.

We only have one left in stock that I finished yesterday and orders for fourteen more! I can't make them fast enough.  Rather than wasting time making something for myself, I decided to see how a wrist purse would look in denim.

I was able to cut out all the pieces from one leg. I used the factory hem wherever possible to save time and preserve the authentic jeans look.

I am very pleased with the result, the completed purse holds its shape much better than those made from quilter's cotton.

How did the Morse 4300 perform? I'm not impressed. The presser foot lift was not sufficient to get the required 10 layers of denim beneath; the presser foot pressure constantly need adjusting to feed properly; it is smooth and quiet sewing thin fabrics but protests loudly when asked to sew thicker goods. I will not be keeping this one.