Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Treadling a Singer Fashion Mate 252

I have a soft spot for old black sewing machines and especially treadles but I must admit when I do something other that piecing patchwork, I want more stitch options. I miss a multi-position needle, zigzag stitching, and a reverse button or lever.

Well, I evaluated my fleet for a model I could try out as a treadle. Here she is: Olivia!

Olivia is a pristine Singer Fashion Mate 252. She has all the features I was missing except a few decorative stitches. And, more control because there is a timing belt that runs the hook gears, making the machine a bit stiffer to run but easier to keep the needle position right where I want it.

Olivia fits perfectly in the Singer 66 treadle cabinet. But now I need to figure out what to use for a mail table??

And, now I have found the perfect Fashion Mate. It is a 258. It takes the flat black Singer cams. I would have the decorative stitches I want. Anyone have one they want to put up for adoption? I take good care of sewing machines. ;)

23 comments:

MsRadBad said...

I have a Singer Fashion Mate 258. It works well and has 5 cams with it. If you are interested, let me know. I live in Columbus, Indiana. I have several other Singers for sale.

Mary said...

I have a fashion mate 252 and the thread keeps breaking. I have lost the instruction booklet. I am unsure of the threading sequence. Please let me know how to thread it properly. Thanks Mary

Sally said...

There is a threading diagram for a Fashion Mate 360 here that will work: http://www.sewusa.com/Threading_Diagrams/Threading_Pages/Singer_Sewing_Machine_Threading/singer_360_fashion_mate_threading.htm

Sally said...

Another reason your thread may be breaking: defective class 66 bobbins! I purchased some generic metal class 66 bobbins for Olivia and the Singer 99's we used for the Sew Green event. The core of the bobbin cut the thread before the stitch even formed in the 99's. Fortunately, I was able to return them and found some Singer brand bobbins at Walmart for a very reasonable price that were better made.

The core of the 3-piece metal bobbins should not extend beyond the sides. Plastic class 66 bobbins may work well in some machines but none of mine like them.

Mark said...

I have one of these machines and the manual. Here's the threading page

threading diagram

and here're some trouble shooting tips

troubleshooting

Vestidadelmar said...

Hi Sally,
I have a Singer 248 Facilita, Spanish version Guide. I think they were made in Brazil. This was my first sewing machine and I still own it, love all those features that you list. Some thing I notice is that the flat black disc are different depending were they were manufactured.
regards,
Elizabeth

Ixchel said...

i recently acquired a fashion mate 252 from my mother, it was my great-grandmothers and my mother never used it (she can't sew) i'm new to sewing and need a dummy guide, can anyone help me out? i made a duffel bag in ninth grade but i feel like i'm learning from scratch again, i can't get the needle to work!

Sally said...

Check all the previous tips and links for a diagram to thread the machine and the bobbin correctly. Make sure you have a new 15x1 needle in your machine and quality all-purpose thread.

If you want sewing lessons, check for local classes at your community college, county extension office, and at local sewing machine stores.

Also, add this book to your library: http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Visually-Sewing/dp/0471749915

Candace said...

I have a Fashion Mate 252 and I am having trouble with the bobbin. I am pretty sure I am threading it right, but when I start sewing, it "catches" and all the string gets jammed around and around underneath. HELP!! I dont know what is causing this. If I am the one doing something wrong I need to figure out just what that is, otherwise I need to take it to be serviced, but I dont want to spend the money if it's not needed.

Sally said...

Candace, if you are threading the machine properly, it could be the bobbin. The old Singer metal bobbins for the class 66 machines were made from a single piece of metal, very smooth with no central core extending beyond the sides. New metal bobbins are made with three pieces, a core and two sides. If the core and the seam extend too much, the thread can catch. One set of bobbins I bought locally were so bad, they cut the thread in the formation of the first stitch. There are plastic 66 bobbins, but make sure you are using the right size and that they have no little rough spots left from the casting molds. Class 15 plastic bobbins look very similar but they will not work well in the machine.

Sally said...

Another reason a machine will jam the threads under the bobbin, is a lack of tension on the needle thread. Make sure you have pulled the thread between the tension plates while the presser foot is up. If you try to thread a machine with the presser foot down, the plates are closed tight and the thread can't be pulled between them.

Elah Photography said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! :) I have recently acquired a Fashion Mate 252. I am in need a bobbin case. Do you know any where online I could find one?

Lynn said...

I recently bought a Fashion Mate 252 and I cannot figure out where the reverse is. Anyone out there who can help?

Sally said...

The reverse is the center of the stitch length dial. Push in firmly, hold while pressing the foot pedal for power. The reverse can be sticky if the machine has been sitting idle for a long time. You should be able oil the reverse mechanism easily when you remove the top plate to the machine.

ellafitz said...

I just had my Singer Fashion Mate 252 cleaned up and 'refurbished' - I love it - my mom purchased it brand new in 1971 and I used it all through Jr high and High school. I'm experiencing loose bobbin tension - no matter what I do with my tension dial. Do you have any suggestions? Should I take it back to the repair shop? or is there something I can do?

Sally said...

Ella, I assume you have checked to see that the needle thread is not hanging up on the spool slit or some other thread trap that is adding tension to the needle thread. If all is clear and you have the needle tension set for something between 2 and 5 (most vintage Singers are usually set for 4 or 5 but the Touch and Sew machines are generally set lower), then I would check to see if you have the bobbin thread in correctly and the thread caught in the tension slit securely. If the bobbin isn't in properly, the bobbin thread can't stay in the slit. Check those possibilities. After that, there is screw that adjusts the tension on the bobbin slit but that should have been set when it was serviced. Do you have the stitch sample the tech made when he finished servicing your machine?

Rebecca said...

I just inherited a Fashionmate 252 but I can't get it to run. If I manually turn the handwheel knob, everything seems to move properly, but if I turn the handwheel itself, the machine innards don't engage. The wheel spins and the belt tension seems fine but the mechanisms don't go. I opened up the case and it's quite clean and free-moving. I know that you're meant to be able to disengage the mechanism for bobbin-winding, and I suspect it must not be re-engaging. I tried turning the handwheel knob in both directions, but it never engages the wheel and I've read that it's not good to manually turn the machine "backwards". Do you have any tips or can you tell me where to look to see if the wheel is somehow disengaged from the mechanism? Thanks for any help you can give!

Rebecca said...

I just inherited a Fashionmate 252 but I can't get it to run. If I manually turn the handwheel knob, everything seems to move properly, but if I turn the handwheel itself, the machine innards don't engage. The wheel spins and the belt tension seems fine but the mechanisms don't go. I opened up the case and it's quite clean and free-moving. I know that you're meant to be able to disengage the mechanism for bobbin-winding, and I suspect it must not be re-engaging. I tried turning the handwheel knob in both directions, but it never engages the wheel and I've read that it's not good to manually turn the machine "backwards". Do you have any tips or can you tell me where to look to see if the wheel is somehow disengaged from the mechanism? Thanks for any help you can give!

Sally said...

Rebecca, I am suspecting that someone removed the handwheel. When they put it back on, they didn't get the washer between the knob and wheel on properly. I can't take time this week to post a detailed blog post of the proper way to install the washer but the prongs must be towards the knob, not the wheel, and if they don't catch the knob screw right, just make a 180 degree rotation of the washer.

Rebecca said...

Sally, Thanks so much for your reply. I bet you're right about someone having removed the wheel, because I can see that the screw in the knob is missing. Can you tell me how to remove the knob properly? As I mentioned, the screw is already gone, so I tried to pull the knob straight off the wheel using a pair of pliers, but it wasn't moving and the plastic didn't feel strong enough to keep trying. Perhaps this isn't the proper way to remove it? When you get a moment I would appreciate your advice. Thanks so much.

Sally said...

Rebecca, the screw is essential. It catches on the prongs of the washer underneath to release the drive shaft for bobbin winding but it is a common size. You might find a donor machine that is a wreck otherwise. I might even have one. Now, to remove the knob, turn it counter-clockwise. If it sticks, try warming it with a hair dryer being careful not to melt anything plastic. Heat and gentle taps with a mallet or pad the knob with a sock and use a hammer.

Sally said...

Rebecca, you might want to check out this extension publication for tips on the knob and washer:

http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/c-102.html

Or:

http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_c/c-102.pdf

There might be a video on YouTube but I haven't checked recently.

TheDoc said...

This morning I bought a "non-working" 252 for $5. Turns out the problem was just the belt was too lose and not catching. I have fixed that problem and the machine seems to work fine. My only problem is the bobbin case rattles a lot when the machine is turned on. When I look at the machine manual it appears that there is a Position Plate that goes on top of the bobbin case? All I have is a black level like thing that pushes against the right side and locks into place. Any suggestions would be great! I'm excited to learn to sew if I can get this to work.