Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Singer and other Needle Threaders


I have now got to the age when I cannot look at anything close up without wearing reading glasses, its a complete pain the butt.  So into the realms of needle threaders I wander.

First the most basic Singer needle threader which works perfectly fine using a fine wire loop system.

The next two are Singer needle threaders for threading your sewing machine, I don't really need these quite yet.  Having threaded up so many times, think I can do it without looking.  These have tiny weeny hooks that you push through the eye of the needle, hook the thread and pull it back through.

Complete with original instructions, apparently you can buy replacement hooks from your Singer Sewing Shop!  Bet you can't now.

It's hand sewing needles I have a problem with, especially my dinky quilting Size 9 needles I use for English paper piecing. Their eyes are tiny, but I do like using these needles. Have tried out a large eye quilting needle which worked OK. Most of the time I do still thread by without a threader but I do use them when the light isn't so good.

This combination needle threader and scissors sharpener is a real handy thing to have.  The sharpener is great, gets a good sharp edge on all sizes of scissors.  The threader is the fine wire loop type.

 This one is a Blindfold needle threader.  The needle is placed in the top, you press the plunger which pushes a fine hook through the eye, then you loop your thread over the hook and release the plunger which pulls the thread back through the eye.  This one works well, even threading the Size 9 needles with ease.

Another design of threader is to push the thread through the needle with a sharp point. This is probably a 50s/60s version.

Needle in the top, press the lever down to move the fine point to push the thread through the eye.  This one comes with a thread cutter and a spindle for a bobbin of thread.  When using this and the Blindfold, give the needle a quick pull to test if the point has gone through the eye, if the needle comes out, try again.  Make sure you have the eye in facing the right direction.

Finally, this dinky thimble.  I just love this idea.  When I bought it, the little slider was stuck at the side so I couldn't work out what it was there for.  I played around with it and got it to move and up popped a threader.  Never seen one like this before.  Not sure if I will use it though as I would hate to break the wire.

So another sewing related collection! OOOps


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Steam Train Dog


We've had a little steam train holiday and of course, Buzz came with us.

He is getting an old chap now so had to be lifted onto the lovely trains which wasn't his favourite thing, the lifting not the trains.  He has been on so many over the years, he is not bothered at all by the noise or steam.

"If I stare at Dad long enough, he will give me a biscuit?"

"This waiting for trains is a bit boring"

First class carriage, "pity I am too old to jump up on the plush seats".

The signage around the stations were brill.  Not sure what Brain-Fag is but I am sure I have it!

Had a ride on this funicular railway at Bridgenorth.  Very smooth short journey saved walking up a steep hill.

Pretty station

Steaming, Buzz didn't bat an eyelid when we got engulfed.

Had a walk down the side of the track.

As you can see, he gets really stressed!  Just joking, he was so laid back.

A choo choo train.

I would love a signal box in my garden to use as a sewing workshop, do you think they would notice if I nicked it!

Back to work now, loads of grass to cut.  Hey ho.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Antique Leather Sewing Kit


When clearing out our late Aunt's flat, my sister found this handy sewing kit and thought I would like it.

The zip had started to come away, the leather strip its attached to is very brittle and had torn away.

My Aunt used to do a lot of cutwork embroidery and she has obviously used these curved scissors as the fabric behind the keeper is very worn with lots of use.   I've never really thought of using curved scissors when sewing so had a go with these, they cut the thread very close to the fabric which is useful.  I don't think the other pair of narrow curved scissors are original as they don't seem to fit the slot in the case very well and they are of a different design.  The ribbon/elastic pullers are a useful thing to have, they beat a nappy pin!

A matching needle case.

I reattached the zip using the Singer 201K, then gave the case a good polish with navy shoe polish, added a bit of ribbon on the zip pull.

Couldn't do much with the inside, the watermarked moire silk is a bit grubby.   If anyone has any suggestions on how to clean this, I am all ears.

There is a makers marker J.C. Vickery, Regent Street.  W1.  Which made me wonder.   So I Googled, don't you just love being able to do that?

Came up with this info.

JC Vickery took over the shop in 1854 and expanded the stock to include jewellery, dressing cases, gold and silver.  The height of the business was before WW1 obtaining Royal Warrants. They were known for their high class leather goods so that's why this has survived for so long.  The business was taken over by James Walker Ltd in the 1930 when JC Vickery went into administration.

There is even a Facebook page dedicated to the company

So I am guessing this was made in the 1920s, I couldn't work out how my Aunt had ended up with a posh sewing kit from Regent Street.  My sister came up with the possible answer.  My Aunt was sent into service as soon as she became old enough.  Her father had come back from WW1, he stayed at home for a while before being admitted into a Sanatorium in York, I expect it was shell shock.  He never returned home and they split up for good.  So money was tight for my Grandmother with 5 children.  Aunty Mary ended up at Middleham in a big house as some sort of domestic servant so this is probably where this came from.  The dates work as she will have been there in the late 20s early 30s.  My Aunt was 99 when she died a few years ago.  I can't remember seeing her sew but she was a great sock knitter when I was a little girl.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Singer 222K Featherweight - Darning and Patching Trousers


I had another play with my new to me 222K.  It's a novelty for me to have a machine with a free arm.

First fixed my partner's work jeans, he had torn the knee when doing some work in the garage on his car.

Pulled the jeans leg over the free arm then using a rectangle patch that I had already made.  Sewed 2 sides on the machine, there was just enough wiggle room to turn the corner.   Then turned the jeans around so the waist end went on the freearm first, sewed the other 2 sides.

Turned the jeans inside out, tucked in the frayed edges and machined round so that he wouldn't catch his toes when putting them the jeans on.

His tatty jeans will last a bit longer.

The 222K was powerful enough to sail through the layers of thick fabric.  Brill.

Onto the darning, my lovely customer Don who is 85 said he was going to re-darn his work trousers.  So I offered my services as darner.  Was really keen to try out my new darning hoop recently bought on Ebay.

Took out all the old darning threads.  Glued a patch on the back of the tear so that I had something to darn to (it held the tear together as well).  I left the frayed threads on the edges of the tear, you are supposed to tidy the edges.

Original 222K hoop and darning foot.

The hoop snaps together.

It has a post on the back that slots into a square hole on the bed, then the hoop swings round.

Material goes over bottom hoop then the top clips over the fabric except as this was thick fabric, it was tricky to get it to clip together but just holding the hoop held the top in place.  When you put the foot on, there is only one place to put it, as you drop the foot the lever hardly drops down, this is normal.  It drops enough to engage the tension.  There is no mention of this in the instructions so a bit confusing when you first use it as you are used to the lever dropping right down.  There is a little sticky out bit lever above the spring, you can use this to lift the foot up to get the fabric and hoop underneath.

YOU MUST DROP THE FEED DOGS BEFORE SEWING. Its easy on the 222K there is a lever next to the stitch length lever.  Set the stitch length to 12.

The hoop moves easily in all directions whether is up and down or side to side, its a joy to use.

Pick up your bottom thread and bring to the top by turning the hand wheel.  Holding both ends start sewing, cutting off the ends when you have done a few stitches.  Sew around the edges of the tear, as you look at the picture below sew up and down fairly close together, once you get the end of the space in the hoop, go back the way you came sewing side to side.  If the tear is big like this one, you will have to move the fabric in the hoop.  It's easy to cut the threads off, reset the hoop and start again, this tear took 3 hoop moves.

My first darn on the 222K.  I trimmed any excess fabric off the patch on the inside close to the stitching.

 My second darn. This was a smaller hole so didn't put any fabric behind it.

The 222K was designed as a darning machine, it was something that everyone did, darn and repair.  They didn't just throw clothes away because they had a hole in.  They repaired them.  It will be brilliant at repairing vintage table cloths etc.  Will have a go and let you see the results.

Happy days.

PS it took much longer to write this post than it did to darn the trews!  Hope it makes sense! Any questions just leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Review of My Singer Featherweight 222


It's been a couple of weeks since I got the Singer 222K have made a few small projects so that I can get to know her.  After a major service, you need to use your machines to get all that lovely oil in the moving bits.  If like mine, had hardly been oiled, its really important.

First project is a dolly quilt for my Sisters grandchildren to play with in the old pram.  I was given some little pre-cut squares in various colours so sorted out the pink ones.  Added a bit of gray sashing and a shop bought bias binding.  This was the warm up, speedy make to get that machine working.

The second project was quilting a couple of star blocks I had pieced together with the 221K.  I used a walking foot to "quilt in the ditch", the 222K went like a dream.  It's got a more powerful motor than the 221K.  I haven't really done stars before so these are just samples.  Used a 2.5inch mini Moda charm pack and got 2 blocks from it just adding a longer strip to each side of the blocks.

Had one more Moda mini charm left.

Thought that a quilted zipped bag would put the 222 through its paces.  With the wadding, zip and lining, the seams were quick thick, the 221 would have started to struggle a bit but the 222 had the power to sew through the layers with ease.  I think it would give the 201K a run for its money.

As much as I loved the 221K, it has it's limitations on the thicker fabrics and it is fairly slow but I like slow sometimes, especially doing the mini quilts as you have to be very accurate to get the corners to match up correctly.  

I hate to admit that I much prefer the 222.  There I said it! Feel really mean now.

Can you spy the Singer Automatic ZigZagger next to the machine.  My lovely Sister Sandi bought it for me as a surprise.  How super is that?  It needed a really good oil and some "gentle" persuasion from my brother in law, Graham to get it moving again, it had not been oiled or used in years.  I will review it in my next post, it was playing silly beggars at first snapping threads not just on the 222K, tried it on the 201K as well.  Luckily the instructions were with it so sorted it out.  Thank you Sandi. 

Happy sewing



I have been using my 222 for a while now, starting a new quilt using half square triangles made out of 2.5inch squares so quite short 1/4" seams.  The machine is fast, when it sets off, it grabs the material and goes ever so slightly sideways however carefully I start it off.  So the conclusion is the 221 is the steady eddy and does perfect short seams so perhaps there is a place for it after all in my quilty stable of machines.  I am sorry I said mean things about it.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Singer 222K Featherweight Sewing Machines


I have been eyeing up 222Ks for ages, watching them slowly rise in price sooo accidentally bid for one on Ebay!  And got it!

 It arrived, very well wrapped.  How exciting was Thurs?

Looks nice and shiney but really mucky when you look properly.

Lots of very old fluff, no sign of any oil on the other moving parts.  The drip felt underneath was like new with just a couple of dried oil marks which tells me it hasn't been oiled much at all.

 The mother of all thread jams which has been there for donkey'years.  Didn't want to take this bit apart so got out a long pair of tweezers and a sharp blade carefully cutting and pulling the loose ends out.  It took a little patience.

 Quite a mucky job.

When I plugged the lead into the machine, it ran on its own.  Damm.  Googled and found the solution, phew.

With the power and machine unplugged  I took the foot pedal apart by undoing the screws in the rubber feet, then turn the pedal over pressed the button which pushes the cover off the controls inside.

There were 2 noise suppression capacitors in the foot which can fail and cause power to operate the foot without pressing the switch.  They originally stopped the sewing machine interfering with the TV but modern tellies aren't affected anymore so these are no longer needed anyway.

All clean, polished, oiled and ready to go. Came with its original feet and a Singer rubber mat.

Made a new Liberty fabric bag for the foot control and leads.

I tried it out, the bottom tension was way out so adjusted that.  The motor seems quite powerful, its faster than my 221K, its definitely quieter. The 222K is lovely to use.

The bed slides off so you have a really neat free arm.  There also a lever next to the stitch length lever which lowers the feed dogs.  How cool is that?

There was an original label from the shop which sold it in 1954.

I refurbished the case, the inside is in really good condition.  One of the lock catches has been bent and is starting to crack, I was going to try and straighten it but had second thoughts, it might snap off so left it alone.

Told my sister Sandi that I had bought one which got her going and she accidently bought on as well!

She brought it over for me to see so had a quick check over it.  Its in super condition and has been oiled and looked after.  But when I checked the gears, they were covered in what looked like axle grease!  Errr, big clumps of it, good job we looked, if that lot had got warm and melted it would have made a huge gooey mess inside.  As usual I forgot to take a photo.   Got it all cleaned off.   Gears do need lubrication but use Singer Motor lubrication, if you can't get it April's Sewing Shop in the USA sells it. They do really good tutorials on how to look after your machine. Here is a link  

Happy Days