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Posts Tagged ‘vintage Singer sewing machine’

This is Esmeralda.  She is a beautiful green Singer 327K, serial number  ET670062, with a registration date of July 31, 1962.   She has just come home from the sewing machine hospital, where she was put right again after an extreme case of smokin’ hot foot pedal!
The official Singer serial number list shows this number as belonging to a 328K, but Esme is clearly marked “327K”.  The K just means that she was manufactured at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.
I do simple repairs and maintenance on my hand-crank and treadle machines, but electrical problems are beyond my skills. My sewing machine guy is brilliant — he rewired the original foot pedal and saved the vintage casing and electrical cord to keep Esme’s green and brown colour scheme intact.
The sewing machine man was even able to get a new green bobbin winder tyre!
Esme uses Class 66 bobbins, which are inexpensive and easy to find.

and she has a lovely storage case that clips on…

She has a new needle plate, too…

and now she’s just as pretty as the day she came out of the factory, and she sews just as well, too!  🙂

Happy Quilting!
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My latest restoration project is “Ruby,” a Singer 99K model from 1927, serial number Y4432093.

I was so impatient to start working on her that I forgot to take any “Before” photos.  So here she is, just being beautiful in the “After” stage.  🙂

Ruby came to me in a sadly neglected state.  She was very grimy and sticky, the chrome on the bobbin plate and needle plate was badly pitted, and the lid to the accessories compartment was completely rusted out.  I believe she probably started her life as a hand-crank machine but later was fitted with an electric motor.   The electrical plug end was the old type that fits into a light socket where a bulb normally goes.  The flex cord was very frayed and twisted, and I didn’t want to risk a shock, so I removed all the old electrical bits and disposed of them.

In my treasure chest of sewing machine parts, I just happened to have a hand-crank mechanism of the right style and size to fit this machine, so I installed that.  I found a replacement accessories compartment lid on eBay, and I used sewing machine oil and a cheap emery board from the grocery store to sand out the pits in the chrome.  I took the tension assembly apart and cleaned that, and gave the whole machine a good cleaning and oiling inside and out.

Finally I polished all the enameled surfaces with a non-abrasive auto polish that is recommended for use on Aston Martin and Jaguar cars.  I figured, if it’s safe enough for fine motor cars, it ought to be safe for my little sewing machine — but I did test it first on the underside, just to be sure!

This is Ruby’s bentwood case.  I was also able to locate a square-ended key to fit the lock, so now she can be stored and moved safely in her case.

Inside the accessories compartment was this large assortment of attachments and feet, including the requisite lethal-looking razor blade!  Every vintage machine I’ve ever bought has had a razor blade like that with it.  It’s what people used before seam-ripper tools were invented, although my mother always used fine embroidery scissors, and so do I.

With stitch length adjusted and tension fine-tuned, she is now sewing perfectly.  I think Ruby’s a keeper!

Happy Quilting!

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I’ve been having fun with my new sewing machine that we brought home yesterday.  It’s a Singer Model 15K80 from 1937.

When she’s put away, she looks like this:

I cleaned and oiled the machine itself and lubricated the treadle irons, and she is so quiet now!  She has a lot of wear to her decals, and her wooden table could be refinished, but mechanically she is sound and works great.  That’s most important to me for this machine.  I wanted a good treadle that I can really use a lot.

We bought the machine from a lady in Leeds who inherited it from her great-aunt Whilhemina, who was a seamstress.  It came with a drawer full of attachments, a shoebox full of thread spools, and a big plastic bag full of scrap fabric.  I’ve named her “Mina” in honour of her previous owner.  She also has her original instruction book and a receipt from January 31, 1959, when she was bought used from the Singer dealer for £30.  That was a lot of money in 1959!  The wear to the decals is where the lady’s hands would rest when she was sewing.  It’s just so sweet.  I love it.  🙂

She is sitting on a plastic sheet because I oiled and cleaned the treadle irons and didn’t want to make a mess on the carpet.

Happy New Year!  Happy Quilting!

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Today I’ve been sewing on “Lavinia,” my Singer 15K treadle machine from 1907.  First I cleaned her and oiled her, and then we made some Maple Leaf blocks.  She sews such a lovely stitch!

I’ve been trying to determine which sub-category this Singer 15 fits into — I know she’s not a 15K80 or 15-96.  At first I thought she was a 15K30, but when I saw a photo of that model, I realised the bobbin winder is in the wrong place.  The letter K just means that she was manufactured in the UK, at Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank, Scotland.

Lavinia’s bobbin winder is in the lower position.  The 15K30 photo I saw had the bobbin winder in the higher position, near the top of the machine.

I like to think that someone spent many happy hours sewing on this machine.  Look how worn her decals are on the machine bed!

I’ll keep looking for her model sub-group, but it doesn’t really matter.  I just love to sew with her, and I’m planning to spend many happy hours with her, too!  🙂

Happy Quilting!

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I have a zillion projects in the works right now, but as soon as I saw Judy Laquidara’s new pattern, Paint Stix, I loved it and knew I had to try it right away!

I’m using some fabric from stash that I have always liked but found difficult to use before.  This pattern seems just right for it.

Here are the first six blocks:

I am sewing on “Ethne” today, which is my Singer 319K from 1960.  She uses special 206×13 needles, which are difficult to find these days.  Just last week I was lucky enough to find some more needles for her, so now we are off and running again.  She has many amazing features for a 50-year-old sewing machine, including some incredible embroidery patterns.

To see what other quilters have on their Design Walls today, please visit Judy’s blog for a list of links.

Happy Quilting!

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I have managed to refrain from fabric purchases this week, but I have bought some parts for the 1908 Singer 27K that I am trying to restore.   We named this machine “Cleo” for her Egyptian motif (Memphis) decals.

I bought Cleo last November, and she was in a sad derelict state.  She had been converted to electricity a long time ago but was no longer safe to use that way.  Her original treadle mechanism had also been removed from her table, leaving it very rickety and unstable.

The good points were that her decals were in excellent condition and all the moving parts ran freely, and she cost less than my lunch in a sandwich shop!   I don’t have room for another treadle machine, so I decided to try and restore her to good running order as a portable machine with a hand crank.

Here she is today, after Part 1 of her transformation.  I have removed the ugly white motor, and she is sitting in a 1950’s sewing machine base that has a hard case to protect her.  I am hoping later to find a nice antique case for her.

My sewing machine man was able to find me a hand crank for a 27K, and my husband put that on for me.  It fixes with a bracket that is screwed in underneath the wheel.

Now she is ready for cleaning and oiling!

As far as sewing, I have been working on my “Big Three” projects this week — turquoise quilt, Puss in the Corner blocks, and my “Too Good to Cut” challenge quilt — but haven’t finished anything to count yet.  My totals for the week ending January 24 are:

  • Bought this week:  0
  • Bought year-to-date:  9.75 yards
  • Used this week:  0
  • Used year-to-date:  3 yards
  • Used (net):  -6.75 yards

I think I’m very near to finishing a quilt top, so maybe next week I can finally show some real progress in my stash busting!

Happy Quilting!

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I didn’t buy any fabric this week, but I did buy another vintage Singer sewing machine.  This one is a Model 27K, one of a group of 100,000 manufactured between January and June 1908, at the Kilbowie Factory in Clydebank, Scotland.

Singer 27K

She used to be either a treadle or a hand-crank, but she’s been converted to electricity with a little white motor on the back.  The electrics look a bit dodgy and the cord is frayed, so that will have to go.

At the moment, the machine is sitting in a treadle table, but the cast iron treadle mechanism has been removed which causes the table to be rickety and unstable.  I don’t think this was her original table, anyway — she doesn’t fit exactly right.  The top opening is much too wide for her base, and on the interior of the cabinet, several notches and slots have been sawed into the wood to fit her shape when she is folded down.

Luckily, her shuttle and several bobbins were included, along with a complete assortment of feet and attachments.  She also has her original instruction book and both slide plates.

So!  This is will be a wonderful project for an amateur sewing machine restorer like me.  First I’ll clean her up and then think about how to proceed from there.  Someday she will be a thing of beauty again, and we will make quilts together.  🙂

My Stash Report totals this week are unchanged.  Next week I need to get busy sewing if I’m going to make that 100 yard goal!

  • Bought this week: 0
  • Used this week:  0
  • Bought Year-to-Date:  24.875
  • Used Year-to-Date:  92.375
  • Net Used:  67.5 yards

Happy Sewing!

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