Saturday 30 June 2012

Tension Discs with Thumb Tabs

If your machine has a thumb tab beneath the tensions discs, make sure you press the thumb tab when you lift the foot to remove your work after sewing.  This releases the tension on the top thread, so you can pull the thread freely without putting strain on the needle.  This photograph is of the Singer 28K that featured in the machine cleaning video.

Later models have no thumb tab because they were manufactured with a mechanism that automatically released the tension in the top thread when the foot was raised.  It took me a long time to get used to the more modern models after years of sewing only on model 28Ks - every time I lifted the foot my right thumb instinctively pressed a non-existent tab.

Friday 29 June 2012

How to Adjust the Tension on a Long Bobbin Machine

If a machine has been well looked after, the tension should only ever need adjusting on the top thread.  However, when buying an old machine you never know what tinkering has gone on in the past, and there might be a problem with the bobbin tension.  Adjusting the tension is very difficult to explain without showing the shuttle dangle trick, which I show on this video.

Once you are used to adjusting the tension discs, then regulating the tension on the top thread is a very simple job.  I have been able to remove tension discs for cleaning, replace them and have them set for the correct tension first time, with no further adjustment required and perfect tension when doing the first test stitching.   

However my most beautiful machine (a Vesta transverse Shuttle) was a complete primadonna and it took me four evenings working to past midnight to get it right.  That's when I found out about the shuttle dangle trick.  I hope I have saved people time and headaches by passing on this nugget of sewing machine knowledge.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Threading a Long Bobbin Machine

This was the second video made using my mum's old machine.  

When I was young and learning needlework at school all my sewing projects were done on this machine - starting with a blue and grey gingham apron for cookery lessons when I was 12, then a couple of dresses with zip up fronts and mandarin collars, a viyella blouse with French seams, a needlecord skirt with box pleats and seams finished with bias binding.  I learnt early on that you can make just about anything with a straight stitch machine.

Our machine at home was much more beautiful than the machines at school, a collection of battered brown Singer 99Ks, some of them hand machines and some electric.  There was also another machine, I can't remember the make or model, for the keen adventurous types who ventured into the high-tech world of zigzag.  Not for me.  Too noisy.  Too fast.  Too dangerous.  Five frightening minutes on a brown Singer with a foot pedal was enough.  From then on I always bagsied a hand machine as soon as I got into the needlework room, and little has changed since.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Welcome to the Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing Blog

...which will be all about vintage sewing machines and putting them to good use.

The Muvandfarve channel started out on Youtube with this video showing how to wind a bobbin and load the shuttle on a long bobbin machine.  The bobbin winders are fascinating.  When I was little my mum let me turn the handle for bobbin winding.  The machine on this video was her machine, and the machine I learnt to sew on.  It was manufactured in 1897, so it is already 115 years years old and still going strong.  There is no reason why it shouldn't last another 115 years, and it is my sincere hope that there will still be plenty of people who know how to use these wonderful machines.

In fact, I'm on a mission...

PS.  The Muvandfarve channel has now been renamed the Lizzie Lenard Channel.  Farve is still indispensable when it comes to lighting, camera and editing, and he was totally unbothered at the suggestion that the channel should be renamed.


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