Friday, October 26, 2012

Sadie Mae...

Quote for the Day:
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.
~Scott Adams

That quote is soooooooooo true about appliances, including the sewing machine.  
I've been sewing since 1976 and I'd been dreaming of a fancy computerized machine ever since I first saw one my friend had back in the about 1990.  I finally bought myself a Husqvarna Viking Platinum 775 Royal Edition back in 2005.

I will be the first to tell you how much I love it and how nice it is to sew on. is heavy and ever since I'd first seen Singer Featherweights in person, I wanted one to take to quilting classes.   (Featherweights only weigh about 12 pounds!)

So April of 2011 when we were in Maine visiting Andy's family, we went to an estate auction and I picked up a featherweight with the table for a STEAL!   I named it "Sadie Mae" after Andy's grandmother and found that it was made in 1946.  She'd been used so much that she wasn't very "pretty".  Some of her decals have been rubbed off with use and her finish isn't very shiny. 
I took it to a local repairman to have it gone through, oiled, lubed, and have the belt replaced

He gave it a clean bill of health, but I was never completely happy with the way it sewed.  I know that I had to really play with the tension to get it semi-close to where it was supposed to be and the flywheel seemed "tight" and had to be turned EVERY time you pressed on the foot pedal or else the needle wouldn't start.  I didn't think it worked quite right and I put it away in my sewing room.

Then in September when we were in Tennessee on vacation I found another featherweight at an antique store.  The price was very reasonable and it was in better condition than Sadie Mae, with less scratches and the decals still intact.  I found out it was made in 1957 and I named it "Mary Gwendolyn" after my mother.   I found that this "new" featherweight sewed fast and easily and the tension was perfect.  So I now KNEW that something was wrong with the first one.

Since I now have 3 old Singer machines, (2 featherweights and a 301) I no longer take them into the repairman for simple service.  Instead, I do the oil and lube myself.  Aside from routine maintenance, there isn't really much that goes wrong with these machines.

I pulled Sadie Mae off of the shelf and decided that I'd give 
her a test run and, once again, the tension was off and I couldn't get it straightened out, and the flywheel was tight.  

Thank God for Google!  I researched it and found that the motor had been tightened down too far when the new belt was applied.  Loosening it was just a matter of turning a screw slightly and raising the motor a fraction of an inch!  :)

Now the flywheel turns freely and I no longer have to turn it when I press the foot pedal to get the needle to move.  The needle now moves as soon as I push on the pedal!  YAY!

But what about that dang tension issue???

See how the stitches make the fabric pucker?  You can't have that.
  :(    I knew that it was something in the upper tension.  The spring that is supposed to move up and down with the pull of the thread was SO difficult to move, it just wouldn't "give" like it was supposed to.

Back to Google I went...and I found this page that shows how to disassemble and reassemble the tension unit.
  I figured if I couldn't fix it, I'd take it to a (different) repairman and if I was able to fix it, then I would have saved a lot of money!  :)

Well...I am happy to report that simply the act of removing all the pieces and replacing them back worked wonders and now the tension is PERFECT!!!  

With the loosening of the motor and fixing the tension, Sadie Mae now runs just as well (and as fast) as Mary Gwendolyn!  :)  And the fixes were all FREE!!!  

With the upcoming quilting retreat, I wanted to find a small travel iron to take with me so I can press right at my sewing machine rather than having to go to a pressing station for EVERY seam.  (Yes, I press a lot when I'm quilting.  Finger pressing doesn't do a good enough job for the OCD person in me!  LOL)  

I had some errands to do today, so I thought I'd check at Goodwill before going to Walmart to buy one.  Today was my lucky day!   Look what I found at Goodwill for $5.00!!!

A Black and Decker "Stowaway" travel iron!! 
These retail for $22-29.00!!  The handle holds the water for the steam and when you want to pack it, you simply push a lever to lay the handle over.  

It even came with a nylon bag to store/pack it in!!!  I'm a very happy girl!  :)

I'll leave you now with a picture of Ginger in her bed by my desk.  She has to be right by me, though usually she wants to be touching me...which makes it difficult for me to sew when she's leaning up against my leg.  LOL

She flips her bed upside down before she gets into it.  If you turn it upside down, she flips it right side up before getting in it.  What's with that???  LOL



  1. Obviously Ginger has her own mind and the way you do it is WRONG! "Oh, Mom, that's not how I want my bed!"
    I love that you named your sewing machines after loved ones. Now it's like Grama is with you every time you sew!

  2. I really like your informative blog. Totally enjoyed the featherweight story, glad you were brave, and got it running well. They are quite easy to work on. I have several, I guess I am a collector, love working on them. Keep up the good work. Ruth