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Messages - Roger

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Great to see you! Can't wait to pick your mind for dance wear hints and tips!

The overlocker is incoming :)

Hi, I'm new... / Re: Hello
« on: March 02, 2017, 20:56:22 PM »
Hi  :meow:

Sorry couldn't resist! Hope you enjoy the forum!

See you about!

Tutorials / Re: Choosing a Vintage Machine (for new to hobby folks)
« on: March 02, 2017, 20:39:03 PM »
It's going to need some work when I'm not on my phone :)

Tutorials / Choosing a Vintage Machine (for new to hobby folks)
« on: March 02, 2017, 20:33:52 PM »
Oh my Days! Apparently I have something to offer in the way of advice about vintage machines so here we go:

Here are some (very rough) guidelines around selecting a older sewing machine, which I tend to follow. I'm not going to review or help you ID machines here, there are plenty of sites that will, this is just to try and help you ending up with a nightmare rather than a dream machine :)

Ebay: it's good there's a lot of machines the sellers are usually very transparent about what they're selling but it's a premium market!
Gumtree: the sellers are often clueless and you can get a bargain but caveat emptor!
Auctions: my local auction is amazing for its descriptions... 'singer sewing machine in bentwood' case was a 48k... but there's unidentified gems to be had and I like that I can go to the presale viewing photo anything I like and research it.
Charity shops, carboots, jumble sales etc: they generally either think they have antique worth hundreds or junk.

I prefer gumtree or my local auction and ebay for oddities or specifics.

 :button:  What is a machine worth? They're always worth whatever someone is willing to pay to own it.

 :button: Avoid snap decisions... Don't worry about walking away from a machine there's lots of them out there! Realistically you'll probably save yourself a headache.

 :button: many of these machines are reviewed online or at least identified or have an upload of their manual.

 :button: check the needle type of the machine! Some machines don't take standard ones a if they're not still made they will run out one day(Singer 320, 319 and 306 I'm looking at you!).

Rough guidelines:
These are seriously rough but can help you gauge what you're looking at:
Arcane looking classic handcranks: are probably late 1890 to 1920s.
Classic looking black sewing machine handcranks or powered 1930s-50s
More angular designs still metal but in a wider range of colours green, beige, brown, cream, gold and some blacks, 1950s -60s
Metal with some plastic 70s
Plastic exteriors 60s+

 :button: To gauge more accurately look for serial numbers for the brand online.

 :flower: As a guideline I avoid electrical machines from pre 1950s... pre WW2 wire cores were solid and insulated with natural rubber and often not layered the wire coding was different too and the standards very loose compared with later machines.  :woof: singers from this period often have exposed live terminals and these are more or less impossible to make safe. (except the 201k2)

But the handcranks and treadles of this period are gorgeous works of art! If it's a shuttle machine (long bobbin and a boat thingy) make sure it has one with it because you may never get another.

1950s+ post war Germany had invented early plastics and these made electrics much safer, standards had also improved!

Where was my machine made?
1880s-1960s most were made on the continent (Singer UK, USA, Germany, Italy) Necchi: Italy Elna/Bernina: Switzerland, Husquvarna: Sweden, Lada/Cresta Czechoslovakia, and Pfaff, Anker, Adler, Durrkopf: Germany. These machines are very tough and generally largely metal.
Late 60s and 70s machines were made in Japan, the quality is still very high but expect some plastic parts these machines are often cheaper than the prior group.
Late 70s+ Taiwan then China... quality reduced plastic quantity went up in an effort to make the machines cheap.

What to look for:
Is the machine rusted? I'd avoid it, it could have seized all the way through, got into the electrics. All in all a bad sign.
Is the case in a water damaged state? Be concerned
Is the metal showing through the paint? A little along the front shows a machine that's been used. If there's a lot of metal showing its been used a lot. To some degree it's personal preference, but if you're collecting condition is king!
Does it have a manual and or accessories? These can save you a lot of effort on identification and replacing the accessories, and make maintaining and sewing on it easier.
Does it have the plate that fits into the bed below the needle? If the answer is 'no' walk away replacing them can be tricky
Is it stuck? Not necessarily a bad thing most 1800s-1960s machines can be freed easily with patience, cleaning, oil and warmth...
Is it grotty and dusty? Not a problem this can be cleaned up.
Smells of cigarettes? My pfaff smelt like it had smoked a 40 a day, a good clean, and use and it doesn't any more.
Needle bar is bent(not a slant shank): (yep check this) don't bother it's not worth the hassle!
Plastic case/on the machine these are likely to be more difficult to get going.

Is my machine industrial, semi industrial, or for home sewing
Unless your machine has an engine like a small beer keg, it's for home sewing regardless of what they say on a well known auction site.
The machines were built tougher, there are tales of singer demos of 15ks where they would sew silk, denim, wool, canvas and finally a tin can without adjusting it. But you wouldn't sew tin cans every day...
In the 1800s-1960s clothing was woven fabrics built for warmth, because central heating, home insulation, and the like didn't exist, so they are designed to handle heavier warmer fabrics than today, so a denim crotch seam shouldn't be an issue, a little light leather or canvas likewise, but I wouldn't make a saddle on them. 1960s forward the fabrics became closer to modern fabrics.

Straight stitcher: 1800s-1950s fabric was woven and didn't stretch so zigzag and stretch stitches weren't necessary but these straight stitchers are easy to use powerful and produce incredibly neat stitching when set up right.
Swing needle machines:1950s forwards more stitches became available initially zigzags and blind stitches, but then more options and also 'cams' plastic disks that could be inserted into the machines to produce more stitches.

But how many stitches do you need? I think a straight stitcher is a fantastic thing to have because the stitching from them is gorgeous and most sewing is straight stitch, but I love the 1950s machines for their beautiful quaint stitch patterns, my 70s F+R has mad patterns, including ducks!

How much is servicing worth?
Straight stitch only: usually between £25 a £45 is not unreasonable
Multiple stitch patterns: usually around £75.

Really hope this helps you find that machine you can really enjoy and make an heirloom.

Courses & Classes / Janet Spink (Norfolk)
« on: March 02, 2017, 18:56:31 PM »
Beginners Sewing course
Rating:  :button: :button: :button: :button: :button: (out of 5)

Last year I was getting into sewing (and vintage machines) and wanted to learn more about sewing, and stumbled on Janet's website and contacted her to see if she would be happy to run a 'getting to know your Sewing Machine' day for me and the Singer 500a, I was kind of expecting a 'you what? What the heck is that?' to the 500a (they're worse than hen's teeth in the UK!) she just asked if I could bring the manual!

The day was brilliant! The 500 breezed through most tasks in a sturdy stylish kind of way, and she put us through our paces providing print outs and samples and getting me started on a sampler.

We covered a wide range of skills and stitches, buttonholes, different stitches, blind stitching, quilting, zips, sewing in a straight line. I came away with a small purse, and a little cushion, and so many tips and tricks.

She's an excellent teacher and so knowledgeable, she's also fantastic with overlockers and has several books and downloadable courses on her website for overlockers. I opted for a beginners course and she tailored it to my needs, but her impressive resume suggests she could challenge and inform all but the most advanced sewists.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her, so if you're out in this neck of the woods because you live here or are on holiday, do look her up! Personally I can't wait to organise my next session!

Hi, I'm new... / Re: Hi!
« on: March 02, 2017, 17:48:22 PM »
Oh Blimey!

I do a bit of tinkering... I can give it a go until you get someone who knows more  ;)

Hi, I'm new... / Re: Hello from sunny Glasgow
« on: March 01, 2017, 23:24:16 PM »
I have little kiddies too! A girl and a boy, who are 3 & 5 respectively... they actually got me back into sewing when I decided a week to turn up school trousers was too long :)

Hope you find a suitable next machine. I'm about to start learning a Juki over locker too!

Hi, I'm new... / Re: Hello
« on: March 01, 2017, 23:19:27 PM »
Good to know there's more of us norfolk dwellers around here :)

Hi, I'm new... / Re: Hi!
« on: March 01, 2017, 13:39:50 PM »
I know what you mean Jessie, I have to stop getting new machines it's to save me from having to add it to sigs and the like :)

I have Imi, I also have the baby wipes :)

Hi, I'm new... / Hi!
« on: March 01, 2017, 11:13:29 AM »
Hi All,

I'm Roger, I'm based in Norfolk UK. I'm learning sewing and overlocking currently. But I do love my vintage machines an have developed a bit of a collection.

I have a beautiful 500a in a table,
a very shiny Pfaff 30 (wouldn't look out of place with Darth Vader!
My grandmothers Elna Lotus SP,
A 401 that skips every 5th stitch (annoying!)
A very early elna grasshopper that the paint was flaking off of. It's sooo cute!
A F+R 504 (reminds me of ice cream)
A bernina 530-2 which is in surprisingly good condition.
And a Cresta 132-T which currently breaks needles! I think there might be something up with the timing (understatement!)
And a 201k2 that's at a middling in a restoration project but does now stitch nicely :)

I look forward to chatting around the board :)

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