Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meet the 4-H Forum Fleet

Since we sponsored Ray White's sewing machine repair class, I have been busy collecting old zigzag machines in need of tender loving care for one of the 4-H Forum classes I will be teaching in Pasco, WA, in October. These machines were all in need of a thorough cleaning and lubing at the least, but some truly had repair issues. I picked up parts from e-bay stores and machines that came without other necessary part. Tips and encouragement came from the wonderful folks on the sewing machine repair lists at Yahoo.

The first machine I found came from one of our thrift stores. I was looking at it and the manager saw me. He said it had been in the store too long. He wanted it gone for $10. I figured it was a deal because the machine was an older Singer and looked to be functioning just fine. I only had to lube and clean up this fine simple zigzagger and he was ready to run. Meet King Leo, The Spartan (aka Singer 327K):

The next two machines came from two other thrift stores in town. I wanted to find older machines that had zigzag capabilities. This would make them more versatile for 4-H because they could be used for seam finishing and applique. I tried to stay away from the machines that I knew had non-metal gears but I couldn't resist this Singer because it ran so quietly and came with everything including the instruction manual, a rare find when buying old machines at yard sales and thrift stores. Meet Vinnie, a Singer Stylist 513.

Andy, a Singer 401A, was hiding out in a cabinet at the third thrift store. He had no cords or foot control plus the stitch selector was jammed and a thread guide was broken. The cabinet was optional so I offered 5 dollars for him and left the cabinet. I knew I had some work ahead of me but I figured parts and cords were somewhere on the internet. A fine lady, who also hosts Ray White's classes in Lake City, MN, had just what I needed to get this guy in shape to sew. I have yet to put on the thread guide but he has cords and a foot control and even a brown suitcase for travel.

Andy has a twin sister that I found at a yard sale. I paid more for Carrie but she had some decorative disks and a foot control that works fine despite a crack in the exterior. Cindy provided the cord for her, too.

Another lucky break came at a yard sale. I found a Singer 600, aka Eddy. Eddy needed some work on the bobbin winder, his one design flaw. Someone had not replaced the bracket properly that holds the bobbin in place as it fills in the machine. The bobbin would jump and the machine would jam if I forgot to wind the bobbin a very slow speed. I shamelessly gleaned a tip from the Singer man with a booth at our fair. Also, Terry's TnT site offered some vital information, too. Here is Eddy showing off his working parts:

Stay tuned! There are 5 more great machines ready to go to 4-H Forum.

4 comments:

catspec said...

Love your blog! Thanks for the lovely old sewing machine pictures and commentary. :)

ehkarp said...

I have just purchased a Singer Spartan, same as the one that you use with 4-H. Mine seems in very good shape but i was wondering what type of needles you use and bobbins. Any extra advice about this machine would be helpful.

ehkarp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sally said...

The Spartan featured in the 4-H Forum Fleet is a late model Spartan known as a Singer 327 (the earlier Spartan was black and looked just like a Singer 99). It takes standard Schmetz sewing machine needles that are found in most fabric and sewing machine stores. The standard sewing machine needle has a number size that is referred to by some needle suppliers as 15x1.

Both the early model black Spartan and the 327 take class 66 bobbins available in plastic and metal. I prefer quality metal 66 bobbins but they can be hard to get. I bought a bad batch at our local chain fabric store that I had to return because they cut the needle thread before a stitch could be formed. If you try the plastic, make sure they are free of little burrs that are from the manufacturing process.

The user's manual for the 327 is available for purchase many places on the internet.