Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pink Slip

Things have been quiet here at SMM.  We have been busy with other obligations.  I am getting ready for the CNY TOGA .  I have been sewing. I have been buying machines. I have been been blogging I have been working on machines.

Betsy, OTOH, has been a slacker.  Now she is not typically a slacker.  In fact, she has good reason (she thinks ) for slacking.  I disagree.  So as CEO of SMM I gave her a pink slip.

 Riley is pretty bummed out too.  If Betsy is no longer employed at SMM, Riley won't get scratches, treats and "What a good dog" from me anymore.

Yes, she took it seriously.  So rather than finalizing the pink slip, she is now on probation.

But she has to wear the pink slip all the time while she works on machines.
Today was Kenmore day.  I worked on a 1320 and an 88 Trispan.  Oh I love that Trispan.  But there is something wacky with the tension assembly.  We switched out one from a 90 and it seems to be working nicely now.  What a lovely machine.
It sort of reminds me of Eddie  from Leave it to Beaver, for some reason.  So well groomed.

The belt was loose on the 1320 which caused the motor to run for about 4 or 5 stitches after releasing the foot controller.  I fixed that, oiled her up and tested all the stitches.  Good to go.  It, too, is a lovely machine

What?  You want to see the machine?  Me too.  I forgot to take a photo of it straight on.  I have this one:
 But it is still better than some photos of machines listed on Craig's List.

I guess I will have to go back to Betsy's to take a straight on shot.  Riley, for one, will be happy to see me.  Betsy might feel a bit awkward, being as I gave her a pink slip.  But it isn't over YET.  Who knows?  She may take over my job one day.  Stranger things have happened.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Good Day

I have neglected this blog.  I tend to just go to and blog there.  But if I am serious about making the business grow, I must make an effort to nurture this site too.

I started off on a good foot.  I walked the dogs and helped Steven haul and stack wood.  Physical exertion is good for the brain.

Then he helped me hoist the Mystery Singer up onto a table so that I could service the treadle.  That done I then hauled a darling little side table to the "curb".  Joining it were two sewing machine cabinets.  One I have been saving because I like its lines.  The other was the #42 I brought home with the 15-91 I bought from Paff's previous owner.

I thought about trying to repair the #42 cabinet.  I tried.  It had come apart at the bottom and I tried to pull it back together with a clamp, then the persuader and then wisdom took over.  I scammed the hardware from it (including the inkwell) and out it went.

When I remove cabinet hardware I replace the top and nail it in place.  I take the hinges off because I figure someone may need them.  The hinges that hold the swing arm out are likely not being made any more so I took the time to remove them and the swing arm and the springs.   I also removed the BIG spring that supports the machine.  That was a chore.  Total parts removal time about an hour.

Every time I put a sewing machine cabinet out for free it finds a new home.  I was not so sure that the Nice Lines one would go but it and the 42 went and Steven was there to witness the event.

"N.  so and so just took both cabinets." he told me as if I knew her.  "She said she emailed you about cleaning her machine."

"Did she email me just now?  I haven't got any recent machine cleaning emails"

"Well She asked if this was where Betsy lived and I said, no that Elizabeth lives here but that you were partners.  She must have emailed Betsy."

Now I wonder if she would like the hardware for the 42.  Well, I can ask her if she really was in touch with Betsy

Around noon I had a visitor.  P. has been talking about coming over for a while.  She made it today. I had so much fun.  She brought her White Rotary 77MG that was her mother's.  It is making a terrible noise and she hasn't sewn on it because it is so noisy.

I took one look at it and saw the problem;  not one, but many, flats on the pulley.  Oh it was noisy.  She was hoping that she could put it in her Singer Treadle Stand.  But it can't be treadled.  So, in the spirit of my sewing machine bulimia I offered her a White Rotary Machine that came from a treadle stand. We tried putting it in one of my Singer treadle stands to see if it would fit.  Bummer.  Doesn't

Soon, though I had another plan.  That nice little White Class 15 clone that I found this spring would be perfect.  It is badged White and it will treadle.  I worked on it and she worked on her 77MG (Oh my that is one very light weight machine).  We are both thrilled.  I think I am more excited than she is, though. I wonder if she has been infected with SMAD

It treadles but the belt on my stand is too long.  The balance wheel on this machine is smaller than the one on the Singer 15-90 that I am treadling.  We managed to make it go, but she needs the right sized belt.  I gave her a connector for the urethane belt and off she went.  She is a quilter.  I bet she will be FMQ on that machine before you know it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Betsy was a little jealous that I had an inventory of my machines.  Today we made a list of some of her machines and took photos of many of them.  We pooped out at number 53.  She was listing them as I labeled and photographed them.   There are about 35 or so left to catalog.  That includes parts machines and machines that are not yet stitching.

Some, I think, are keepers.  For instance this Class 15 with RAF decals.

And this lovely Standard Treadle.
OHHHHH and this White.  It is just gogeous

Or this lovely Kenmore 158.88  AKA Trispan 88
 She has one very old Singer.  From 1884.  I don't know what kind it is. It is a fiddle bed and of course I don't have a photo of anything other than the odd shuttle mechanism

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sewing Machine Magic Board Meeting

Betsy and I are really, really trying to get organized.  The Board of Sewing Machine Magic had an emergency meeting on Saturday.  The COO admonished the CEO for lack of clarity in the books and failure to produce a coherent business plan.  The CEO retaliated with reminders that Creativity is an ART and if any Magic is to happen, well, just get over it.  After all, the sales tax bill was paid and no one is going to go to jail.

Then the meeting was adjourned and the COO and CEO changed out of the "suits" and into cover alls and headed to the shop.

We had two machines to pack  for shipping.    I thought we worked very well together.  I just kept saying "OK Betsy." (I think marriage is good training for business partnership)

Once we had this all boxed up
We set to work on the next machine.

I realized that I had not recently stitched with it and wanted to do so before we packed it.  So we deferred packing that machine until it could be tested.

Instead we set to work on a 401A we had taken in to service and fix.  It had a slapping sound when the motor started up.

It did, too.  Very very noisy and "whop" every time we stepped on the foot controller.

I thought it might be the fiber gear.  We took the hand wheel  apart and found that the snap ring, which serves as a cushion for the fiber gear, was broken

I posted a question about this part and its availability on a Yahoo group and found that, likely it can be matched  since it is a pretty common snap ring.  We have yet to hear from the machine owner whether she wants it fixed or not.  We also found it on eBay,  our favorite parts supplier, ahem....

Betsy kept cleaning the hand wheel, even after we discovered this broken part.  I had to keep reminding her that "time is money" and she would stop.

However, I must confess.  After posting the question on the Yahoo group and getting a bit confused about what is what, I did clean up the hand wheel.  I wanted it clean for a photo, should I need one.

It was pretty icky and rusty before I started.  I figure that likely the ring broke because it was rusted in place and when the machine owner took the machine out to use (after a long hiatus, I imagine) the torque from the motor probably snapped the ring.  Better that than the fiber gear, I guess.

 I hope she isn't mad at me.  I had all the fun....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How many is too many?

If you read my other blog, you know that I have over 100 machines.  Some are parts machines but most of them are just old sewing machines that I have picked up along the way because, well, I can.  I did not come into this madness alone.  My friend Betsy introduced me to this crazy hobby about two and half years ago.  Today I took inventory of my machines with the intent of logging them into a spread sheet.  I know why I have never done this.  It is tedious and boring.  Still it is a very necessary task.  I have so many now,  I must keep track.

My latest project is a Singer 319W that I picked up yesterday.  It is likely going to be a very fine machine but it is staying in the museum.  It isn't up to my standards for selling.  Instead I will sell my other 319W
Since I am going to market this machine, I must sew with it.  That will be fun.  Wonder what I should make?  It seems that everyone loves to advertise their machines as capable of sewing through leather.  I happen to have some nice red leather.  I think I will see how this machine does making a little red leather zipper purse.  Stay tuned.  I have to oil and lube the machine before I can sew with it.  Come to think of it, that would be a terrific blog post.  How to service a Singer 319W.  Coming up to a blog near you !

Friday, February 22, 2013

1936 Singer 201-2

This is one of my five Singer 201-2s.  I am only keeping one.  It is a challenge for me to let these machines go.  I played with this one some more today.  I made a draw string bag for the foot controller and adjusted the bottom tension.  I am happy with its stitch.  The machine definitely likes heavier fabric, for sure.  The more layers, the nicer the stitch.

 I love the motor cover.  Not all of the 201s have that decal on the motor cover.  It adds a classy dimension to the machine.  Yes?
 Nice clean bobbin case.
There is some wear on the decal in front exactly where the fabric passed over the bed.  The front of the bed has some chips in the paint.  Truthfully they all do.  It must come from being put back down in the cabinet.  I can't figure out any other reason why.  There also is damage to the paint where the seam guide was fastened to the machine bed.  But the bed is shiny.  Look how the needle bar is reflected in the paint.
More reflection! (That would be Wrigley all curled up on the couch) I love the chrome hand wheel. 
The feed dog drop does work on this machine.  Even though it is manual and you have to lift the machine up to turn the feed dog drop screw. 

The bobbin winder works nicely.  Smooth, yes?  (That clicking noise is the spool rotating on the spindle. The motor sound variation is my fault.  I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, either.  Fleetwood Mac in the background courtesy of Pandora radio).  For a demo of how the machine sews, go back one post to

Monday, February 11, 2013


 Betsy and I notice that machines on eBay that are proclaimed to "SEW THROUGH LEATHER!!"  sell and sell for a higher price than the exact same machine that is not touted as such. 

It isn't fraudulent to claim a machine can sew through leather.  Most machines can.  It is just that likely the machine will wear out quickly if it is put to that task regularly. 

Because the Singer 201-2 is often advertised as such, I decided to try out one of mine. Actually, come to think of it, the machine I tested tonight came with some leather needles.  HMMMMMM.

I have some leather, somewhere.  I also have some leather like, which is a vinyl product and feels like vinyl.  But it was the closest thing I had available tonight.  I got these at a yard sale for a buck.  She was selling them because she never got around to creating anything with them.  I probably won't either but it was fun to test the machine with them

I started with two layers, no problem.  I added another. Likewise, just fine.  I decided that I would not try any more than five layers. The machine did not protest, not one little bit.

We all know I am not a professional film maker.....

Next I will get actual leather.  I have some red leather  that I bought in NC last December.  I want to make a nice little red leather purse.  Now I think that I can.