Thursday, 14 February 2019

Centennial 221K First Project - Valentine Mini Quilt


Finally got my new to me, Centennial 221K restoration completed.  Yeah!

To test it out, I decided to make a mini quilt for Valentines Day.  I didn't think that my partner would appreciate a mini quilt so bought him beer instead. The mini quilt was for me.  I bought a lovely little Moda 5" charm pack of reproduction fabrics.

The little machine is a delight to use.  Since I put some oil on the bottom bobbin case its really quiet and smooth, producing wonderful neat stitches.

The hearts are hand appliqued on the 3" squares of fabric.  The blocks were then  sewn on the machine using a 1/4" foot.  I hand quilted around the hearts before putting on the binding.

The little machine is quite speedy so really pleased with it.  I will use it for a while so that all the oil and motor lubricant gets to where its needed.  I don't know how many years have passed since this lovely machine last worked, I presume it was many years ago.  So glad I was able to get it working again, there were times when I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew, but it all worked out Ok in the end.

I am not going to say that I won't do another one, you never know what's out there that needs rescuing!


Sunday, 3 February 2019

Singer 221K Centennial Restoration - More progress


Well this machine restoration is taking some doing.

My parcel came from the Featherweight Shop, the fly in the ointment was I had to collect it from the Post Office because there was £11 in VAT to pay plus  £8 Post office handling charge.

Anyway, back to my parcel, just love the rick rack, will save that for something.

The cleaner and polish for the paintwork
Two cupped washers for the extension bed to stop it flopping back down when raised.
A rubber honing tool for getting rust off - this was an extra while I was ordering, it fell into my basket by accident!
Stick on felt for the drip tray.

Gave the machine the once over first with the cleaner then gave it 2 coats of polish.  The paintwork has got  a lot of damage to it, the shellac has degraded in places and the decals are have started to come off.  I was very careful not to rub too hard on the decals.  The polish will add a bit of protection.  This machine is 67 years old and has had a bit of a hard life.

Started to put parts back on, rebuilt the tension dial, hoped I have got it right.  Put the bobbin winder back on along with the spool at the bottom that keeps the thread even when winding bobbins.  The spool pin and cover back on and a new bulb in.  New feet on the bottom as the old rubber ones had perished.  The stitch length lever was a bit of challenge, I had bought a new one but needed a teeny spanner to get the nut off, its handy having a motorbike mad partner, he had one.

I realised that the needle clamp was facing the wrong way (forwards) so I had to work out how to put it right.  There was a little screw to undo on the needlebar under the scroll cover which allowed me to twist the bar to the correct place so the needle clamp is on the right as you look at it.  Goodness knows why the previous owner had fiddled with this.

When the handwheel is turned over there was a stiff spot, in the bobbin case area.  I tried putting sewing machine oil and left it over night to see if that improved it, it felt a bit better but not much.

Tried threading it up, another problem, the final thread guide on the needle clamp, it was so gummed up the thread wouldn't go through it so had to take this out, clean it up and replace it before being able to finally thread the machine.

Here goes, all plugged in ready to go.

Whoops, it sounds like a tractor, lots of noise from the bobbin case area and it will not pick up the bottom thread very well at all producing rubbish stitching, skipped stitches, no locking of the stitches at all .  Tried it without the bottom bobbin  and no thread, still rattles.  Took the needle plate off, then the feed dogs, still rattles.

Tried to take the bottom bobbin case base to see if there was a thread jam but even following the excellent tutorial on the Featherweight Shop Schoolhouse (watched all the videos) Featherweight Shop  The bobbin case base wouldn't not come out so my partner came to the rescue again, and took the whole hook assembly off.  Finally got the bobbin case base off.  He found the culprit, it had a slight crack in it which was causing a burr on the edge, a little lip on the hook assembly has to ride across this but burr was raised this was causing it to tighten up when the lip goes over it.  The proper fix would be a replacement part but finding one that doesn't cost a fortune might prove difficult.  Ideally, a complete bottom hook assembly would be best but that doubles the price.  He thought that using the rubber honing tool I had bought on a whim might do the trick, there were several other rough spots on the case and hook area.  It took some doing, he finally smoothed the edge of the case base so the lip would slide over it OK.  My little honing stick saved the day.

If you are wondering what a rubber honing stick looks like, its the little square long thing.

Moment of truth, put everything back on.

Yeah, it sews, its still not as quiet as my other two featherweights in the bobbin case area but the motor purrs.  The stitches are fine, no adjustment on the tension needed.

The only thing to do now is to get the remains of the old felt off the drip tray and replace it with a new one from the Featherweight Shop which doesn't  have the rancid smell of the original one.

Here she is fully dressed at last

Just to remind you what she looked like before I started.

The carry case is making progress slowly.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Singer 221K Centennial Restoration Progress


I am making progress with the Featherweight.  Its been stripped down even more, cleaned.  Still waiting for parts to arrive in the post.  The list up to now is

Bobbin Winder
Drip tray
Stitch length lever
New washers for the fold up extension bed, the bed was very floppy.
New felt for drip tray

Underneath the machine there was an extra silver tube looking thingy.  After having problems with the Capacitors in the foot control causing problems, making my other Featherweight machines run all by themselves without me touching the foot control.  I knew exactly what this little monster was.  Having already decided that I wouldn't plug the machine in until I had the electrics checked, this could be taken off the machine at the same time.


Good job I was cautious, two of the three wires on this were snapped off, the third snapped off when it was touched.  They could have touched the side of the metal machine and made the whole machine live!  Free hair curling if switched on.

The motor connections were also ropey so they were replaced.

Put a new bulb in and plugged it in using my 201K leads and foot control.  The motor purred, goodness knows how long its been since it worked.  I had cleaned and oiled the machine prior to the plug in.

Here she is, naked!

On the To Do list

Sort the case out
Find another set of leads and foot controller so the 201K can have hers back.  This is not a priority, gardening is not very profitable in the winter, will get some when I am feeling flush.
Finish cleaning the tension control up, its been oiled at some point which had hardened so the disk were sticking.  The tension unit never needs oiling.
Finish cleaning and polishing the paintwork - have ordered some cleaner and polish from The Featherweight Shop in the USA.

Then put it all together again.


Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Singer 221K Featherweight Find


Well after saying that I wouldn't buy, refurbish any more Featherweights, I lied!  There it's out in the open, my self control is none exisistant!

My sister sent me a few links to  the "Marketplace" section of Facebook for various Singer machines.  As an avid Ebay user, this source of all things was a whole new world.  The other day, I was "just having a look" I found this.

Can't believe that someone gloss painted a Featherweight box.  The catches are missing and all the lining fabric has been ripped out.

It came with some accessories and a manual.

The machine itself is in a sorry state mechanically.  The previous owner had been taking parts off, the bobbin winder was there but really tatty, the attachment screw is missing.  The presser foot wouldn't work because the top screw that changes the foot pressure had been removed but luckily it was in the attachment tray.  The spool pin is bent.

The stitch length lever is missing, the belt is flapping about, there is no bottom oil tray.

The foot pedal is also missing.  The odd thing is that the electric connector is the round pins version, my other featherweights have flat pin connections, so I think that perhaps the connection has been changed so therefore the original power leads wouldn't fit.  It will be easier to find replacement leads and plugs with the round pins than finding original Featherweight flat pins.  I am going to have to get the electrics cables on this machine checked out before I plug anything in.  The wires underneath look new.  I will think about this, I might source an original flat pin connection and put it back to original flat pin connections.

Update - I asked the Featherweight Shop if UK machines ever had round pins and apparently the earlier ones did, they changed to flat pins around the time this machine was made.  I won't have to change to flat pin connection to keep it original.  Will try my 201K leads on it to see if it works.

When I got it home, I turned it upside down to get the serial number off the base, glanced at the Singer badge.  Imagine my surprise, I didn't need the serial number to date it, there is was on the badge.  Its a Centennial Model of 1951 celebrating 100 years of Singer Sewing machines.  Yeah.

The Singer factory put the commemorative badge on all the sewing machines produced in that year.  It's not the holy grail they will have made a lot of sewing machines that year but its nice to add to my collection.

So this machine is a bit of a lucky find but although it wasn't expensive it will still take some fixing to sort it out.

I have managed to find a new bobbin winder, stitch lever, drip tray on Ebay.  I tried to buy a new case but someone beat me to it which was annoying, we must have been doing buy it now at the same time.  Until I decide what to do about the round pins vs flat pin, sorting out a foot control will have to wait.

The machine itself isn't too bad, its filthy, there is some damage to the paintwork but I think it will clean up really well.  Mechanically the rest of it seems OK and its still got its original bobbin case thank goodness.

Its on my work table with more bits removed, started to clean it up.  Will let you see the finished product soon.


Friday, 28 December 2018

Singer Pinking Hand Crank Attachment No. 121379


I've been looking for one of these for absolutely ages, they are rare in the UK,

This one is a bit worse for wear.  Amazingly it still works.

It's a really nifty machine for pinking edges on material. The blade isn't actually sharp but it cuts really well by pressure between the blade and the bottom roller.

I had to take it apart to clean it.  This is where I came unstuck, I couldn't get the blade out, the tension knob was well and truly stuck, I knew that it unscrewed the opposite way to normal but I still couldn't undo it.  The adjustment screw on the width guide was also stuck.  My partner came to the rescue and dismantled it.  The bearing on the hand crank was seized but he managed to free this up as well.

Unfortunately, it didn't come with the original table clamp but there was one with the toy Singer sewing machine I had as child.  Don't know what became of this machine but I found the clamp in Dad's garage when I was clearing it out.

It cleaned up quite nicely. The Featherweight Shop came to the rescue for a copy of the Manual, you can download one here  Pinking manual.   A big thank you to them.  They sell new blades as well, including a straight one,

Tried a few different fabrics, it cut them all with ease, even the slippy waterproof fabric.  It even cuts paper and card because the blade isn't actually sharp the paper will not blunt it.  You can adjust the bottom roller to put more pressure on the blade if its not cutting properly.

It will sit on my sewing table ready for action!


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Homemade Xmas Pressies


Hope you all had a great Christmas.

I have been beavering away making Christmas pressies this year.

After buying some felt at the Knitting and Stitching Show, had a go at making felt brooches.

These worked reasonably well so then went onto Xmas tree decorations.

Including a little flock of birds

Finally, a personised dog bone for my neighbours with their dog's name on it.  I enjoyed working with the felt.

A new set of pot holders for my sister to hang on her Aga cooker, they have the heat resistant wadding in.

With a matching teapot coaster

These maple leaf coasters were for Steph who's favourite holiday destination is Canada.

 Followed by a patchwork large bauble complete with bells.

I also made a dog coat for the lovely terrier Archie, this was adjusted twice to get it to fit him without it moving sideways when he walked.  I finished the alterations on Xmas Day morning so in the rush forgot to take a picture.  Doh.

My lovely friend Sarah gave me a super present, she kindly made me a pretty pouch to keep my sewing projects in.  I have filled it with pieces of  felt.


Thursday, 8 November 2018

Teeny Quilt


Its ages since I have done a blog, blame Burt the collie at 16mths old he has loads of energy so lots of walks.  I have gone down one size in trousers!  Who needs a gym membership when you have a Burt!

The downside of all this extra exercise is that I don't have as much spare time to sew and as the weather has been really good recently no unexpected days off work when it rains.

I bought this little mouse for my great niece Violet who loves ballet.

Thought that she might like a surprise so I put it in a pretty box.

Seemed a bit mean to just leave it in the box so I made a comfy bed for it complete with mini patchwork quilt, the pink is Liberty Lawn.