Monday, September 10, 2012

The progress and perils of buying a vintage machine

I learned to sew on my Mother's vintage machine. I'm unsure exactly which machine it was but it was originally a treadle that my Father put a motor on. It was in perfect condition and worked beautifully. I've always thought I was mechanically inclined and still feel that way. I once rewired a lamp and thought that was  evidence enough.

I think I was wrong!

I love vintage machines. I like the heft of them, the stitches they make, the shape - generally everything about them but buying a vintage machine that is missing bobbins, the bobbin case and needs to be rewired isn't for the faint of heart.

I thought it would be a simple thing to purchase a vintage machine and get it running. This machine is in beautiful condition cosmetically. No rust and it looks to have had barely any use. I had it rewired then cleaned and oiled it myself. (I'm listening to Adele do a concert through YouTube and am losing my train of thought at times. Rumor Has It is playing right now.) I've tried two different bobbins on it. The first was suppose to be a class 15 that I bought at Walmart. One end was too small to fit on the bobbin winder. A friend of my son's offered to let me try her vintage bobbins. They also do not work but I have no idea what size they are. They fit on the spindle but they don't wind. The little arm doesn't fit down into the bobbin and I think I remember it fitting differently - as in fitting down into the top of the bobbin. Sometimes I wish my memory was better!

Do yourself a favor if you buy a vintage machine. Buy your parts from somewhere that specializes in vintage machines. Sew Classic has class 15 bobbins that fit the machine. If I would have purchased some, I would have known for sure that they fit, and that something is wrong with the bobbin winder. As it is, I'm wondering if it is the right bobbin or if the bobbin winder is bad. The little "tire" is worn and in addition, I'm wondering if I oiled the bobbin winder and got oil into something that I wasn't suppose to. Does that make sense?

It should be a simple process to get this machine running but at the moment it doesn't seem simple. Do yourself another favor and buy one that is already restored with all parts and ready to go out of the box. Again, one from Sew Classic would probably fit the bill because I'm a bit frustrated right now.

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