Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm still here..with words this time

I hope you've been enjoying my little sketches. I've been a little lost in the world of snow and cold and have been quiet and busy around here.

Today I took some time to clean a couple sewing machines. I've been needing to do it for awhile. They just need to be free of gunk and debris and to be oiled and whirring and purring.

I got to know James (and Pee Wee) because of a mutual friend that saw we had a common interest in sewing machines. I've needed to clean the three treadles I have of a friend's and didn't really know how to go about it, so I put it off. I'm good at that. When I first met James it was when he came over and showed me what to do. It was so easy. It can take some time depending how gunked up they are but that baby shone when done. He did most of the work!

Shone is a funny word. it doesn't look right. but shined isn't it? That's what happens when you don't use a word too often. There's a commercial for Olive Garden on TV and whenever they say "us cousins" it always strikes me as wrong, yet it's correct English, just sounds weird....OK, now back to our regularly scheduled blog post LOL...

I picked up a Light Blue Brother Charger 651 because I have this thing for blue machines and  a certain someone convinced me that I had to have it. I chose it as the first one to clean up and test.

After looking it over I realized how clean it was, except for the tape that was stuck on the bed and plate for years. The insides were a little dusty but I hardly had to do anything to it. So I washed it, get rid of any fiber debris, tested a cleaner on it (I was scared I'd ruin it but I didn't-- yey) and waxed it up. I put some fabric into it, made some tension adjustments and let it rip. It made a very nice stitch and zig-zag.

One thing, though, as I put the needle back into it's place I noticed it was off center. I thought I put the needle in wrong and kicked myself for not paying closer attention when I removed the needle. After a few minutes of figuring things out I went to my trusty old friend -- the internet. Apparently some of the earlier Brothers were set up this way. It's weird to not have it centered, but it makes for a nice 1/4" guide to a seam edge, and it does a lovely zig-zag.

I was going to keep it as a zig-zag machine but I like having a straight stitch and zig-zag all in one as I switch back and forth often.

I will be giving this to a friend.

The second machine is a Brother VX-1120.

I had acquired it being told that it wasn't working. I figured it was the tension as that can "get" non-sewers, it can piss off sewers, too, but when someone is not a regular sewer it's easier just to get rid of it than to try and figure it out. This is not a machine I meant to keep for long as it is plastic and newer and I like vintage metal machines. It was going to be a starter machine for someone I know. This one was pretty clean, too, except for some surface grime, some fiber debris and I think it was white at one time. What I do like about it is the free-arm. So, I cleaned it inside and out and got ready to sew. The needle worked, the rotary hook worked, but the feed dogs didn't move the fabric. They moved, they just didn't move the fabric. I took things apart and cleaned them again and played with no avail. Yup, I contacted Ms. Internet...and nothing. I spent too much time on it and unless I have an epiphany this one will be given as a repair or parts machine. Maybe there's someone that can get it working.

See what happens when you don't hear from me for awhile?? I go on and on and on and...

If you've got the ice blanketing your home, driveway, steps, walkway, yard and car like I do, I hope you have plenty of food and plenty of warmth to stay inside and enjoy the quiet...the roads are dangerously icey out there.


  1. I have a machine like that second one (I think) no sure cuz I'm a non-sewer. I just don't do the pattern thing. What the Hell is a bias? and am I really supposed to sew the fabric at an angle to put cording in there?
    I've made dolls and animals and curtains and things but I just drew some lines on the fabric and away we went. Sort of...until the needle wouldn't go down and there was a tangle of thread in the bobbin area. Grrrr
    I like the "idea" or sewing though :)
    just like I like the "idea" of cooking :(
    Anyway...careful out there! I'm off to get some "subway tile"...I'm going to make a backsplash!
    XOXO - Cindi

  2. Cindi, you are too funny....You sew on the bias but first you have to CUT on the bias! LOL to put the cording in there. otherwise it won't make turns and will just get all bunched up. Hey, I'm happy you know what bias and cording's all that reupholstery research, huh?

    and that needle and tangle? yeah, that's when non-sewers give away the machine, too.

    Can't wait to see the backsplash.

  3. I made a "probably" too long comment about finding your blog while searching for info on a machine like the Charger above. I'm just getting into vintage machines and wondered if you have any cleaning/restoration guidelines or tips for a newbie. There's no way I can stomach paying someone else to fix these machines for me! Thank you for any info you can give me. I'm glad to have found your blog!`

    1. Hi Tiff,
      My process of cleaning is very much like everyone else's and you can find a plethora of information on the web. You'll probably find a more thorough information than I can give. YouTube has some great info., too. I went through a lot of different venues for information and made notes, collected my tools, and got to it. My biggest piece of advice would be to use the proper cleaners, grease and oil. One thing I use that in my search I didn't find others use, was Fume Free Over Cleaner. Be careful if there are decals. I usually spray on a cloth and wipe it on a small area at a time. I try to keep the toxicity down to a minimum, but it's kinda like magic sometimes, and I like magic. ;)


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