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Topics - Mick

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Vintage Machines / Two-for-one bargain?
« on: January 22, 2021, 23:03:06 PM »
Or just double the trouble?

I have a Singer model 66, that I use regularly. It is a lovely machine, but it’s hand-cranked and so a bit awkward for a clumsy git like me. I really need both hands to steer the fabric through the machine.

A treadle cabinet seemed like an interesting solution. Certainly more appropriate than sticking an electric motor on it.
So for a while, I’ve been looking for one to come up nearby at the right price.

Then this appeared on a Local For Sale group on Facebook.

The cabinet looked OK in the photos, and I was happy with the price it was offered at, even without the green electric machine fastened to it. That would just be a bonus.

My plan was to stick the green thing straight on Ebay, and so hopefully, almost end up with the cabinet for free.

I already have a modern, electric Singer, with all the good and bad things that go with owning a modern, electric Singer. So I didn’t need another machine.
No, really, I didn’t...

The seller turned out to be a charming lady, who had bought the whole set-up on a whim, and had never even tried to use it.
Besides, she had far too many other machines, and now wanted the space in her sewing room back. Hence the low price.

The cabinet itself was a bit tattier than the pictures suggest, but I was buying it for practicality, not to admire it’s beauty.

There were a couple of problems I could see with the treadle mechanism itself. The Pitman link was missing, as was the skirt guard and the little de-railing mechanism that pushes the belt off the flywheel when you want to fold the machine away.

It was still worth the asking price, even with the missing bits.

The guard was no problem, I don’t wear voluminous crinoline skirts when I sew, (or at any other time, honestly...) so getting my clothes tangled in the belt wasn’t really going to be an issue.

And I’m quite capable of de-railing a belt by hand, so I wouldn’t miss that gadget either.

That Pitman link though.
It’s the rod that connects the treadle plate to the flywheel, and without it the thing obviously won’t work.

Still, I’m a mechanical engineer by trade, so making a replacement was something I could do.

Buying a new leather drive belt, during the Christmas / Covid Lockdown period, turned out to be more of a challenge, but soon enough it was my eager little hands, and it was time to fit it all together.

I suppose it says something about the nature of the old Singer company that those little lollypop-shaped hinges that allow the machine to fold down into the cabinet, fitted perfectly into the  mounting holes in the 66, which was built in 1917, as well as the green machine, which dates to the mid 1960’s, and that the mounting center spacing in the cabinet had clearly never varied in all those years either, as everything lined up perfectly.
The cabinet’s actual date is a bit of a mystery, could be anywhere from the 1920’s to the early 40’s. Seems that once they had a successful design they tended to stick with it.

Anyway, historical research aside, how does it sew?

Like this…

“Treadle technique” takes a bit of getting used to, but once you can get the thing to start in the right direction every time, and not just snap the needle thread by going backwards, it’s a delight to use.

Quiet, perfectly controlled sewing speed, and both hands free to turn the corners.

Really enjoying it so far.

And as for the Green Meany ?

I’ll give you a clue.
It's never made it onto Ebay.

Updates to follow.  ;)

Access All Accessories / Towards domestic harmony.
« on: October 01, 2020, 22:19:57 PM »
"You have a remarkable talent" said Mrs. M.

It's not like her to pay me random compliments, so I waited for whatever was coming next.

"A talent for turning your new clothes into old clothes very quickly"

OK, she did have a point. My non-sewing hobbies are mostly about mending old motorbikes and similar mucky, metal working activities.
I often can't be fussed changing clothes, or wearing overalls, so my gear does have a hard life.

"Can't you at least buy an apron?" She asked, not unreasonably.

Buy an apron?
No, it's clearly time to drag out some more of the notorious "spanner roll" canvas, and fire up the sewing machine...


Sewing Spaces and Furniture / At last!
« on: April 05, 2020, 22:01:26 PM »
It was last November that my son and his OH decided to move into a place of their own, leaving our attic bedroom, where they had been living, spare.

So the plan was, a quick coat of paint, a bed settee for visitors, and a little sewing corner for Mick to call his own.
Easy job, be done in no time.

Six months later it's almost finished.   :[

It may be small, minimal even, but it's mine...

Sewing_1 by Mick, on Flickr

Sewing_2 by Mick, on Flickr

Access All Accessories / Simple man sewing.
« on: December 19, 2019, 21:41:39 PM »
For a simple man, sewing!

My job takes me all over the fairly big factory where I work, and wherever I go, my tools have to go with me.
Well I finally got fed up of rummaging in the bottom of the toolbox for the right size spanner, and decided a little organization was called for.

This heavy-duty canvas is the remains of an old welding screen. It's old, frayed and a bit manky.
So I know just how it feels...

Something like this? Precision guesswork at it's finest.

Strong thread, a Jeans needle in the machine, and away we go.

No more swearing and chucking stuff about because I can't find the right tool.

Access All Accessories / Transformation Challenge
« on: April 04, 2019, 21:56:05 PM »
Sorry, was channeling a bit of a GBSB moment with that title... 8)

Anyway, back to reality.

When finally forced to admit that this sewing thing was not just a passing fancy, I thought I'd better get a slightly more "user friendly" sewing machine than the hand-cranked antique I had been using.
Ended up with a Singer HD 4423, which seems like a fine thing. Does everything I ask of it with no fuss.

However, for a machine that prides itself on being strong and well built, the cover that comes with it is frankly a bit of a surprise. Apparently made of J-cloth it looks like it should last for about 10 minutes.

So this seemed like the perfect time to steepen my own learning curve a little, by designing and making something from scratch.
This is how it turned out.
Has a cut out in the top for the handle, and pockets on the front for the mains lead and foot pedal.
Hardly the most technical of projects, but as I say, having never done anything like this before, I'm just surprised it actually fits the machine properly.

And the GBSB reference?
Well the outer is made from discarded restaurant napkins, the lining is from old pot-towels, and the pocket linings are industrial roller towel.
Cheapskate, me?
No, I prefer to think of it as "environmentally friendly". :D

Access All Accessories / Momento Mori
« on: March 04, 2019, 22:14:09 PM »

As I said in the Hi I'm New section, I am pretty much an absolute beginner at this sewing thing, so trying to get some simple projects done, just to find my feet.

So here goes...

I bought this jacket in the late 1970's, when I got my first motorbike, and was still using it until recently.
It's seen a lot of hard road miles, and more than a few adventures.
But to be honest it's had it's day. The leather is brittle and perishing in places, the pocket linings are long gone and many of the zips don't work anymore.

Still, it seemed a shame to just bin it, after all this time together.

So I downloaded the simplest wallet pattern I could find, salvaged the best bits of the leather, a bit of the quilted liner, and set about it.

It's far from perfect, the stitching is a bit wobbly in places, and some of the cutting could have been neater.
But it works, and it's the first faltering step along the road to getting better at this stuff.

Hi, I'm new... / Just another newbie.
« on: March 01, 2019, 22:21:31 PM »
Hi everyone,

my name is Mick and, much to my own surprise, find myself fascinated by the world of sewing.

It started with some leather items I got asked to make. I can't resist a challenge, so took the job on.
I got fed up with hand stitching the stuff pretty quickly, and started looking for a better way. What I ended up with was a 1918 hand-cranked Singer 66, very cheap off Ebay.

YouTube taught me how to set it up and use it, and together we rattled through the work in no time. The plan was to get rid of the thing as soon as the work was done.

Leather-work out of the way, I began to wonder what else a machine like that could be used for. And so began the slippery slope into fabric crafts.

I'm still pretty much baffled by it all, but keen to learn. To that end, I got myself a much more modern, and easier to use, machine. I've completed a few simple projects on it, but still suspect I'll be taking a lot more away from this forum than contributing.


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