Battled a headcold AND a sewing machine today. I have a contemporary Singer machine with about 15 stitches and buttonhole function that Santa brought me 8 or so years ago, and which I used at the time to make the world’s shittiest duvet cover. Because I was less than ecstatic about my lackluster abilities it got shoved away somewhere under a stack of books. When I broke it out six months ago, new-again to sewing and more enthusiastic than knowledgeable, I used it until it tightened up, made a horrible squealing noise, and then bound up completely.
Santa had brought me another machine in the interim, because sometimes Santa forgets what he got me years past, but it is a basic Brother with straight stitch and zig zag only, and I live in dread of buttonholes. So I decided to live dangerously and take apart the fancier Singer. Kind of like looking under a car hood. Fear, wonder and puzzlement. Didn’t mess with it much until today, when my weeks of reading about vintage machines and their care made me bust out the WD40, flannel rag and Singer machine oil.
Long story short, I got it to move freely for awhile and thrilled with the sensation of victory, but it’s still not quite right. Put it back together and had three screws left over and a threaded screw-like post that looks as if it’s something important. I was interested to realize its stitch functions are really just built in discs much like the Singer cams of years past.
Was bummed to find that books on sewing machine repair are not very common and more expensive than I can justify when I’m already blowing money on old machines at an alarming rate. I’m fascinated by the mechanics of it all, though. Plastic Singer, you’ve won this round. But I’m gonna be busy, Rocky style, and we’ll rematch soon.
I’m hell bent to learn how to fix up old machines, not least of all because my grandma offered her Touch and Sew, her first major purchase as a married woman, and I have every intention of making that little wonder fully functional again.
Some resources to that end:
TNT Repair website – they have free schematics of a lot of older Singer models as well as helpful information, other resources, etc.
Wefixit Yahoo Group, which is a community of people interested in fixing up older machines.