Monday, March 12, 2012

Sewing Woes

My main sewing machine that I use for all my sewing is a Nechhi Supernova Ultra machine from 1959. I love this machine.

It is my main sewing machine. I use it for all my quilting, doll sewing, clothing, etc. It has a few issues, but one in particular is really hampering the sewing. The stitch length regulator is slipping. This is the little knob on the front of the machine to the right which changes the length of my stitches.

It's always been a bit tricky, especially when sewing through bulky fabric or thick seams. The stitch would slowly creep to a longer stitch. And at times, it would jump up to a longer stitch when I hit the reverse button. Well, now, the stitch length won't hold at all. If I don't hold the knob in place when I sew (and that can get very awkward) then it slips all the way to the longest stitch, the basting stitch.

I mentioned my problems to Brian and he immediately had a solution.

Duct Tape!

This is only temporary, of course ~ unless it works. And it does work! I can finally stitch without my length changing even a centimeter. Since I don't change my stitch length very often (I only need to make it a little smaller when sewing the fingers on all the dolls) then that tape stays! When I go into the hospital to give birth in May, my plan is to take the machine to a mechanic so he can look at the knob and just give the machine a thorough one over. I've already told the woman for whom I sew dolls that I need the month of May off, so that seemed like a perfect time.

Hopefully, my machine will be able to be fixed and and made operational, again. It would certainly be cheaper and less time consuming than having to look for another sewing machine.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Old is New

A few weeks ago, someone on the homeschool Yahoo message board posted that she was selling a Singer treadle sewing machine. I had responded that I would be interested in possibly purchasing it, but someone beat me to the punch. I was a little disappointed, but didn't think too much of it. However, a week later she e-mailed me telling me that the first responder went silent and the offer of the machine now went to me.

I drove to her home the next day and came home with my new $35 purchase.

The seller did tell me about a few problems with the machine. There was a screw missing on the metal cover to the left and it looked like it took a special screw. (I found the missing screw in on of the drawers.) The thread take up spring had been broken by one of her children. (I just pushed the spring back around to it's original position and nothing is broken on it.) The needle is broken. (I'm still not sure how it is broken because it is smooth, fits in its slot correctly and seems to sew just fine.) The leather treadle belt is off and a different black belt is on the machine, which may need to be changed out. (Once again, it seems to be just fine the way it is.) And electric light attached to the back had some exposed wires on the inside of the plug itself. (I'm not sure if this light is original with the machine, but I haven't plugged it in and really am not that interested in using it.)

So, all these "problems" with the sewing machine were really not problems at all. I found a free instruction manual for the Singer machine made a couple years after mine, so I was able to get everything oiled and ready for sewing. It took a few days of just practicing and getting the feel of my feet moving the treadle to get the machine sewing in the right direction. I then was able to sew together some blocks from a swap a year or so ago. Then I basted it and quilted.

After the quilting was complete, I sewed the binding onto the quilt, also with the treadle. I now have a finished doll quilt and a little pillow, which I made with two extra blocks. Abigail now owns these for her baby dolls.

I'm thrilled with my "new" machine. The stitches are perfectly even and sew so smoothly. It's also quite fun to sit and treadle. A friend on QATW helped me find out information about my machine. It is a Red Eye Singer treadle model 44 made in April 1901 in New Jersey. So, we are soon coming up on this girl's 111th birthday!