Sunday, 22 June 2014

Singer Zig Zag and Blind Stitch Attachments for Straight Stitch Machines


Really caught the bug for fancy Singer attachments.  Enjoyed playing with the buttonholers so went on the hunt for a couple more gadgets.  Tested them on the 221K Featherweight and 201K.

Zig Zag Attachment

Think this is copy of a Singer attachment (marked patent not Simanco) and works exactly the same.  It enables you to zigzag on a straight stitch machine, instead of the needle moving from side to side this shifts the fabric and works a treat.  You can adjust the size of the zig zag stitch by turning the screw at the back of the attachment.

Haven't tried it with the extra bit on it, I presume its for edge to edge stitching but zigzag instead of straight stitch and for inserting ribbon and lace again using zigzag stitch.  Will have a go later on.

Blind Hem Stitcher

This is a nifty tool, it stitches 6 straight stitches and then does a dinky zigzag stitch, just one to catch the hem (by shifting the fabric not the needle) perfect for hemming when I can't be bothered to hand stitch.  It came with full instructions, it takes some getting used to folding the hems but once its clicked how to do it, easy peasy.

This attachment comes with a special thumbscrew to attach it to the presser bar on your machine but if yours is missing, you could try the normal foot thumbscrew, it might or might not fit, if it doesn't just use the longer thumbscrew that's on machine bed lock that stops the machine being tilted back.

Both of these attachments are used with the feed dogs engaged.  If you look on UTube, there are demos with them in action.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Automatic Singer and Griest Buttonhole Attachments


Been on a bit of  a spending spree on Ebay and bought a couple fancy gadgets that do brilliant buttonholes on a straight stitch Singers, 221K Featherweight and 201K.

NOTE:  You must either cover the feed dogs with the cover supplied with the attachment or drop the feed dogs.  If you don't you will damage either your machine or attachment.

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

It is a beast of a thing but makes really neat button holes.  It just does one style of buttonhole but you can change the size and density of stitches and the length of the buttonhole.  It comes in a sturdy red box, has a feed dog cover and a special screw to attach it to the machine which you can see in the 2nd photo.

It is trial and error to adjust it so that it will fit your button, you will always have to do a dummy run on a piece of scrap fabric before using it on your garment cos if you get the wrong size it will be a git to unpick.  You also have to bring the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric before you start off then hold both threads and start to sew, it does the buttonhole automatically, its best to go round 2 or 3 times.

 Greist Automatic Buttonhole Attachment

This was the second attachment I bought, again automatic buttonholes but has metal templates for different size buttonholes which includes a neat keyhole buttonhole.  Griest made buttonholer attachments for Singer the same as this one, the only difference is the name but the Singer ones seem to be on sale in the USA and shipping costs are expensive.  So I thought that I would try a Greist one that I found on Ebay, I liked the idea of the templates so that the finished buttonhole will be more uniform and I wouldn't have to do so many practice ones to get the right size.

It comes with 5 templates ranging from 5/16" to 1  1/16" for straight buttonholes and one keyhole buttonhole template for use on suits and coats.  On the back of each template is a measurement line which indicates size of the buttonhole and the distance the fabric may be cut.  They made additional templates but these seem to be harder to find which included an eyelet once which could be useful.  The templates are inserted in the bottom of the attachment.  The stitch width can been adjusted easily with a small lever at the side, narrow for small buttonholes and wider for larger ones.  Again, pull the bobbin thread to the top and away you go.  It does a better stitch than the other Singer one, twice round gives a super buttonhole.

I really like using the Griest.  It comes with a feed dog cover but I intend to use it on the 201K as I can drop the feed dogs on this machine.  It also comes with 2 different screws to attach it to the machine, this attachment will fit other makes of machine but the booklet doesn't give details of which machines, it will be low shank machine but other than that, not sure which makes.  It's in the original cardboard box which has bits of fancy metal on the corners to reinforce it, not sure what age this attachment is, judging by the styling I would guess, 1940's or 50's.  The Singer one looks from the 30's judging by the colour.  Will have to do some research.

Had a problem getting the Singer attachment to work on the 201, it worked on the 327 and Featherweight but the 201 wouldn't pick up the bottom thread.  Tried all sorts of things, changed needles, tension, thread, stitch size, everything I could think of, it was stitching straight stitch fine but wouldn't work with the attachment. So I emailed the lovely April at  she suggested that it could be the needle, apparently Singer needles not made in Germany, USA or GB can be no good.  Looked on the packet of new Singer needles, Brazil, checked the vintage packet that I got the second needle out of, Brazil again.  So took the needle out of the 327 which the attachment worked on, hey presto, fixed zippeeee.

So Brazilian needles in the bin and order some replacement Schmetz ones.  Will keep an eye on Ebay for really vintage Singer needles.

If you want to see one in action, have a look at UTube for demos.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Horsing Around


Thought that I would show you why I am not getting as much quilting or gardening done as I should.

Meet my equine friends.

This is Jester, who I ride twice a week.  He is 14 years old and great fun to ride.  Definitely the boss of the other two and me if he can get away with it!  We have come to an understanding, I let him canter if he behaves himself.

Gloria, a 32 year old mare who in her day used to win rosettes when she was a show horse.  She is retired now and enjoys being out with her boyfriend Jester.  She is a tall horse who towers above me, a bit wild when running free but once put on a halter is as gentle as a lamb.

Finally, sweet little Lily who is cheeky thing.  I love her dearly, she's such fun.  She is still quite young but is so quick to learn.  She went for a walk with me down the lane today, she is good in traffic but the scary monsters in the hedge that I can't see but she can, make her spook a bit.  She will calm down the more I take her out.

I started riding again last September after over 10 years, at first it was a bit nerve racking as Jester was full of beans and I was very rusty but now I am back in the swing of things.  Its thrilling to ride a horse, I had forgotten the joy being around horses, nothing beats it.  They are my bolt hole when life is difficult.


Sunday, 8 June 2014

Quick Easy Makes - Zipped Pouch, Silica Gel Bags & Pin Cushions


Had a go at making a lined zipped pouch, the lovely Josie over at  kindly did a tutorial for one.  I used Laura Ashley fabric so it matches the sewing machine cover. Didn't do the applique on it as I was sewing instead of gardening and needed something quick as the grass needed cutting.

The outside fabric was quite a stiff fabric so I missed out the interfacing bit of the tutorial.  Only had one zip to choose from in my notions box so had to use that, it would have been better to use a different colour.

Going to use it to store fabric marker pens and my glue pens.

Made a couple of pretty hanging pouches which I have filled with Silica Gel. These are to go into my Singer Feather weight case and the Singer 201 case.  Silica Gel absorbs any moisture in the air, the Featherweight box gets a bit mouldy, its been like that since I bought it.  It needs to get out into the hot sun for a few days but our British summer is not playing ball.  The UV light kills the mouldy stuff (can't remember the proper technical terms).  NOTE:  When leaving your featherweight case outside to sunbathe, you must support the lid in case it falls over and smashes the locks which are impossible to replace.

I've hung the bag on the oil can clip in the Singer 201 case, this doesn't have any signs of mould but I thought it wouldn't harm having a silica bag in there as well, just in case.  I think the mould problem is mainly a Featherweight case problem.

Finally, a couple of super quick pin cushions, the large one is for a present.  I like the shape of these.  Was watching Create and Craft while having my breakfast and saw Debbie Shore making one.

It's been so nice to actually make something instead of fixing old Singers.


Monday, 2 June 2014

Restored Singer 128 Sewing Machine


Just realised that I haven't shown you the finished Singer 128.

Here she is, now in full working order.  Does a reasonable stitch with smooth hand crank.

Not sure if I will actually sew with this one but she is interesting.  She took a lot of time to clean up, the paintwork (Shellac) is in poor condition, the decals are in reasonable condition for the age (1933).  The case came up well, haven't got a key for it yet but hopefully soon.

Most of her attachments are there but there is a bit missing from the tuckmarker.  The Ruffler works well.

This is my last restoration as I have all the machines I need and have no room to store anymore.  I only bought this machine cos I was curious how the vibrating shuttle machine worked.  My grannie was a tailoress and had one of these machines that she used to lug on the bus to take to peoples houses to make clothes out of curtains and any bit of fabric they had during the war years.  I only remember her as a frail old lady of 91 but she must had muscles like a bodybuilder to carry this around!  It weighs a ton.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Singer Sewing Machine Tuckmarker (Simanco 25517)


My pal Sarah had a bag of Singer attachments which included this strange looking thing.

Had to work out what it was, its an early tuckmarker.  Sussed out how it went together but couldn't work out how to use it.

 Had a look on the net and found this link there it was with instructions that it was for a 27 and 28 machines only, that it screwed to the bed of the machine and the needle went through the little hook on the long bar.

Easy peasy, DOH.  I had a bit of a senior moment and still couldn't work out how it went. Tried all sorts of things but then, when you know how, its obvious.

It fits with a thumbscrew through the flat bit, unfortunately I don't have a screw that fits my machine so to find out out how it works, I stuck it onto the machine with masking tape to give it a try.  Here it is with a thumbscrew just sitting in the hole so that you can see how it goes.

The fabric goes between the 2 flat bars of the tuckmaker then under the foot to sew the tuck.  There are 2 gauges on the tuckmarker that determines the width of the tuck and how far apart they are.

When sewing, the presser bar  of the machine with the needle through the loop on the arm of the tuckmarker pushes the arm down which then pushes the end of the tuckmarker with the  round marker into the fabric and makes a mark in the fabric to show where the next tuck should go.

Easy when you know how.  Thought that I would do a blog about it so that if someone is wanting to know how to use it, it won't take most of the day to find out!  I am so easily distracted, my sewing machine hobby is supposed to be a winter project for when I can't work but isn't working out like that!

The decoration on the tuckmarker screams out Art Nouveau so it will be from the late 1890s early 1900s.