Oct 21, 2011
Friends, I recognize that this week, MPB has been a little -- how shall I put this? -- sewing-machine-heavy. Please believe that I have new projects in the pipeline and I will return to sewing soon.
A brief recap: If you've been following the daily drama, you know that I bought a vintage Viking 6020 on eBay on October 6th, when my other vintage Viking, a 3240 -- seized up on me all of a sudden and I didn't think I could do anything to fix it. Well, the 6020 arrived damaged, having been dreadfully packed, and I requested a full refund from the eBay seller.
In the meantime, however, I succeeded in lubricating my 3240 and returning it to full functionality, which meant that I didn't need the 6020 in the first place. (Whether I ever really needed either machine is not a topic we will be discussing today, thank you very much.)
In the meantime, I successfully bid on a Kenmore 158.1040, a vintage 3/4-size machine, not to be confused with a Frister & Rossmann Cub 4. That one joined the family on Tuesday, and though it needed considerable oiling, it's a keeper, and, considering it's a zigzagger, actually has an excellent straight stitch, due to its separate straight-stitch plate and excellent straight stitch presser foot. (I have since learned that any Kenmore low shank zigzagger can use a vintage Singer straight stitch presser foot, but I digress...)
Meanwhile, despondent over my damaged Viking 6020 and not completely lucid, I bid on and won another Singer Featherweight on eBay last Saturday night. I took a chance with this machine, friends. The bidding started high-ish (at $125 -- a bad selling strategy for a highly coveted item, imo) but it received a mere three bids and I got it for about $140. The photos of the machine were poor and the description briefer than brief -- basically, that what you (can hardly) see is what you get. Nevertheless, the seller had 100% positive feedback (as did the seller of my Viking...) and was located nearby, so the shipping was low.
Well, the Featherweight arrived yesterday, and guess what -- it's fabulous! This is the first and only time that an eBay machine has sewn perfectly right out of the box, requiring no oiling, no adjusting, no belt or wire replacement, nothing. Amazing.
It's positively lustrous and dates from 1948.
My first Featherweight -- which I love today, of course -- arrived last March with a host of problems. Yards of what looked like fishing wire were wrapped around the shaft behind the shuttle. Even after removing it, thread kept getting snagged under the feed dogs. Ancient thread, moreover, was tangled up in the handwheel.
A screw was missing in the bobbin case and I had to replace it. But it still wasn't sewing right. With Rain's help, we figured out the machine needed a new hook assembly -- the old hook had burrs on it which Rain didn't have the tools to smooth down -- and I was able to find a vintage one for sale on eBay.
All told, and not counting labor (which didn't cost me anything, but still), that Featherweight ended up costing me $100+ more than my new one. You may also recall that its carrying case was so moldy it made me sneeze every time I opened it. Achoo!
Many weeks later, I finally got this Singer working right, and it has performed flawlessly ever since. That's why I wanted another one, plus it seemed like a good place to park some cash till interest rates go up.
My first Featherweight came with no accessories except a buttonholer, which I didn't need, but was still nice to get.
This second Featherweight came with a whole host of accessories and a vintage Singer oil can.
And did I mention that the case -- which has a lovely leather handle and just a few minor scuffs -- smells...well, OK, we're not talking Chanel No. 5, but it doesn't smell moldy in the least. Just a little like gun cleaner. Refreshing!
As I mentioned, it stitches beautifully. I feel very lucky.
Now, many of you are no doubt wondering what is to become of the damaged Viking 6020, for which I have indeed received a full refund after persistent pestering. You're probably thinking, Wouldn't Peter -- given his familiarity with vintage Vikings, success with loosening up stuck machines, willingness to wrap exposed wires with electrical tape, and overall cheapness -- try to get that machine running?
Friends, upon my attorneys' advice, I shall refrain from answering that question. Let's just say I did only what you would have done, and leave it at that.
In closing, I will stop talking about sewing machines now. Oh, one more thing: a while back, I was kvetching about the straight stitch on my Kenmore 158.141 zigzagger, and MPB reader Wingamajig reminded me that my machine has "a flipping straight-stitch/zigzag plate." Oh, joy! I flipped the plate, and after attaching an old Singer straight stitch presser foot, it too is now an excellent straight stitcher. My $20 flea market workhorse and I are back together again! Now if only I could loosen the clutch from the handwheel -- a problem I have with both Kenmores, actually.
And that, as they say, is that!
Have a great day, everybody, and remember: Friends don't let friends bid on eBay in the middle of the night.