Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hello Little SewMor!

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Last evening after my walk I finally had a chance to play with the little SewMor “Featherweight” I picked up in Carrollton, KY.

Once I had wiped her down with a damp cloth to remove the dust and grime, she shined right up!

A few drops of oil here and there, a new belt, and I was ready to get into some deep cleaning and seeing if we could get her running.

I did some internet research ((You know what an amazing world we live in? RESEARCH used to mean months of hard work and inquiries, now we just type key words into google!)) and found out that this baby was likely made around 1952 in Japan. 

Her body is aluminum, which means she only weights 10.5 lbs outside of her base.  The base and case nearly double her weight though, giving her a total weight of 18 lbs.  Still not bad ---A Singer 99 machine easily weighs DOUBLE that 18 lbs being made of cast iron instead of aluminum. 

I can see why they nicknamed this girl a “Featherweight” also – It says so right on her machine bed and across the top arm of the machine.

The brass badge on her pillar lists her as a SewMore model 303.

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Check out this retro-cool face plate!

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Eww!  Time to deep clean that bobbin area!  Looks like someone last sewed something RED on her!

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Found in the baby aisle at the local grocery!

This little tip is from Ana, I think – but my memory is not what it used to be.  Still..these little brushes come in handy getting lint out of tiny areas!

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Get in there and get it out!

Just be careful with the metal wire tip, you don’t want to scratch anything…..

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Uhoh! SewMor, we have a problem!

Upon threading, I saw we had a tension spring issue.  As in…BENT. TO. OBLIVION!

At this point I pulled out a Singer Spartan I have for parts..it looked the same…but it wasn’t.  The end of the spring that goes into the hole was different…..I nearly gave up.

And then I looked over at my ginormous APQS Millennium long arm quilting machine – checked out the tension system – VOILA!  It’s the same!  And I always keep extra check springs on hand for that emergency ---We are back in business!  Tension mechanism disassembled, new spring put in place, parts all reassembled, let’s sew!

I made this little video..I’m so proud of this little machine, all for $25.00 and a bit of elbow grease!

What a Zippy Girl!

I have a confession to make.  I have no clue why I “MUST” rescue these machines.  I just do.  $25.00 could buy me this machine, or 2 yards of fabric.  Of course this takes up more space than 2 yards of fabric, but I wouldn’t have any trouble justifying buying fabric I don’t “NEED” either.  Maybe I’ll not only be remembered as that “Crazy Quilt Lady” but that “Crazy Sewing Machine Hoarder Lady” as well – but I don’t care.  Fixing these things up and getting them to sew beautifully brings me joy.

And that’s all I need to know!

If I get a chance today, borders are going on this:

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I Like ---and I think the baby will too!

Have a great Tuesday, Everyone!

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  1. I really enjoy reading about your sewing machine adventures. Great to see abandon machines sew again! thanks

  2. I've used pipe cleaners to clean my machines. I bend them in the middle so there's no tip to scratch the insides of the machine and they are flexible enough to reach places brushes won't


  3. Olá querida,

    parece que encontrei alguém que adora máquinas de costura tanto quanto eu. As pessoas que me conhecem não entendem essa minha paixão, maseu a tenho. Amo máquinas de costura!

  4. Good Morning Bonnie from sunny East Texas! Why yes I did mention about using those baby cleaning brushes ..use them all the time! Found a new use for one yesterday, cleaned out the plastic straw I use in my Smoothie cup! Happy Earth Day!

  5. I'll bet it makes you happy to look at her and say, "There! You're back in action!" And you used parts from a Millie--that's crazy! Like, crazy good.

  6. Whoa! Love the border fabric. Makes me remember when my grandgirl was several months old and sitting on my lap at a table covered in my BFF's favorite rainbow tie-dye. The eyes were wide and practically spinning she was so mesmerized by that fabric! LOL! Yes, that baby girl will love that quilt--I love that quilt!

  7. oh yes, that border is wow plus!

  8. Bonnie you have more bravado than an old army mule! I wish I had the nerve to tackle Dh's old New Home treadle that was his great grandmothers. You really inspire me!

  9. Sweet baby quilt!! Love it Bonnie.

  10. I rarely comment here but am so excited you are loving sewing on that clone... my honey recently recovered the case... it is for sale on eBay as we speak... but it is interesting too but weighs more than yours as it is a cast iron straight stitcher named "laSalle". I love your Sewmores decals... VERY COOL! I think the aluminum machines from Japan must be rare! Now you have a vintage traveler... just recover the case... water and a plastic putty knife will take off the finish... we actually used Windex! lol But came right off and we found some plastic backed fabric at Joann's with their vinyl and outdoor fabrics... cool Paris themed BURLAP! lol It looks very cool with that "LaSalle" teal machine in it for sure.. Thanks for all you do Bonnie to support us quilters and all you do to teach us the best way to achieve an end point. Would love to see you do handstitching sometime on Quilt cam but I am sure your audience prefers seeing you piece and bind :) Have a blessed week! Kathi

  11. Consider yourself a preserver of sewing history rather than a hoarder. You take these machines and make them something special. You have made me look at older machines in new ways. We have a young woman here in Arkansas who also rescues older machines and makes them like new again.

  12. Wow Bonnie -- you worked your magic on that girl!!! I want some of those brushes for cleaning hummingbird feeders.

  13. She is a speedy little machine, isn't she!! I love the border fabric you have choosen for the baby quilt. Just perfect!!!

  14. So glad that your Carrolton find is working for you. It looks great. Next time you will love checking out Madison across the river. That bridge should beopen now.

  15. I just find your confidence in your ability to get these machines going again so awesome! I'd be afraid of taking something apart and never being able to get it back together!!

  16. Love the fabric in your border. Really makes that quilt pop! If I had room I would probably buy machines also.

  17. SCORE!! You are amazing the way you put on new belts and springs and make an old machine sing again!! I love reading about your 'make-overs'!!

  18. I would have more of the old machines if I only had room. Would like to see some of your lights that you have set up for your machines. There is always just enough in the picture to tell it is a light. Am having trouble getting things bright enough at this age.

    Also am not smart enough to figure out how to get ahold of Pauline, would love to see a picture of her New Home treadle! I have one and she has been the first person to mention about one, that I've seen.

    Keep up the good work. Am not an outgoing person but am always here keeping track of you!!

  19. I love seeing you give these old sewing machines new life. What a neat little featherweight and the speed of it. It really will sew more!

  20. Oh my goodness, I love her!!! She is a great find.

  21. You know what they say about Kentucky, it's the home of pretty horses and fast women. Looks like you found one of the fast women Bonnie! She's a beautiful bargain. Got a name for her? The quilt will rock with that border!

  22. Ypu have THE TOUCH - go into antique thrift type stores walk out with MULTIPLE items I would never even see! Then you whip up a sewing machine into being usable...is there nothing our Bonnie can not do!!!!

    Smiles, JulieinTN

  23. I love your new vintage machine! She sews so beautifully! I use pipe cleaners to get into the "far reaches" of the throat plate (it was a tip from Cindy Needham). I also keep those little proxabrush go betweens made by Gum. The baby quilt looks so happy! That little girl will love it!

  24. The Quilt is looking great for the new little Niece. I'm happy to see the Machines that you rescue. You find them in most curious places too. I love that you even traded one for a Treadle. Happy Stitching today. See you on QuiltCAM tomorrow.

  25. Wow your new machine rocks. So would love to find one for taking to quilt group with me

  26. Love your new little machine! I must confess you have gotten me started also..... I can't help myself! Problem is I am running out of space. I did just offer one to my brother, but still I have too many! They just are so fun and sew so well!

  27. We saw that machine in Feb and didn't go back and retrieve it...glad to hear it is in good hands..

  28. Bonnie, you have all the luck. As many machines as I have, I do not have an aluminum clone or 99. They just aren't that common. Lucky you. I do have an aluminum 201, but it is still heavy.

  29. Love the little Sew Mor.
    And since my name is Sue Mohr I want one so bad!!!!!!!!
    XOXOXO Subee

  30. And you are educating the masses as well! Maybe there is a book in your future about these machines! You have so much knowledge to share!

  31. Anonymous7:23 PM EDT

    Cool new machine! Love the video! I have never heard of a Sewmor before your post. :) -Brittany

  32. I love reading how you clean your machine. I have 4 vintage machines and feel I am missing some spots to clean...because I read how people spend hours cleaning. I always end up researching how to do a deep cleaning. Would love to see more how to for that.

  33. CUTE little machine!!! Don't ever worry about justifying buying stuff, she has already given you at least $25 worth of pleasure. Remember, money can't buy happiness, but it can buy fabric and sewing machines and that's almost as good. Now I need to go check out the baby dept. to get those cool little brushes!!!

  34. I a with you Bonnie. I love finding rescue machines, spiffing them up, making them work, and sometimes finding a good home for them. There is just something so amazing about an old sewing machine humming along. So sister, you are not alone :)

  35. That was fun!!! I can't believe how fast it goes! love love the baby blanket!!
    Bonnie can you steer me towards information on pricing a scrap quilt for sale...I have someone wanting me to make two of your wonky wishes stars in twin size and have no clue how to begin pricing it...any thoughts would be appreciated. I am so attached to my projects I'm not sure I can do this...:) I love giving them to my family .

  36. You save old sewing machines and Nicole Curtis saves old house. It does not get much sweeter than that! Thank you for all that you do.

  37. Anonymous9:41 PM EDT

    I am astonished!! I have had my Sewmor 303 since 1975. My dad owned a pawn shop and he gave it to me in high school. I took it to college with me and made my first quilt on it in 1997. Taught many kids to sew on my little love. Never seen another one!! Over the years I have replaced the foot pedal and motor and belts. Runs like a dream.

  38. I love the little sew mor! Reading your blog is inspiring me to go antiquing and to look for old machines. I even have the hubby on board. However, I don't have your knowledge of machines. It would be so wonderful if you'd consider & then write a book on antique sewing machines including care & maintenance & threading.

  39. Oh, how I LOVE seeing you refurbish vintage machines. I just makes my heart sing! I do the same whenever I come across one that needs rescuing. I never tire of getting them up and running. Thanks for sharing.

  40. What a cool little machine. So fun to see your rescues in progress. She is so fast! I really love the baby quilt. My experience is that the brighter the better for babies.

  41. Ok, be honest. It's $25 and some cleaning and some pure genius resource, figuring out how to replace that tension thingy. Not too many of us could have done that.

    For years, I've saved the wands from my mascara, washed them up, and used them to clean out the nether regions of my machines. I keep one at work for dusting the computer keyboard, too. I can usually brush the dust out of them quite a few times, and then, when they're really grungy, out they go and another one comes in. Cheap and easy.

    BTW, I will NOT tell my current spouse that you're the reason I'm aching for a treadle machine...

  42. Anonymous7:11 PM EDT

    What a hoot! I would love to find a 3/4 machine for $25.00... Questions -
    1 - on old phone book pages - how old is old?

    2 - Is teaching in Minnesota at all on your radar? I have been in touch with an Iowa group for July 2015, but they can't fit me in.

    3 - What is a class C

    4 - How do you start your research? My google searches rarely succeed?

    Really planning on being with you LIVE tonight for the first time ever.

    Paula in SE MN


  43. Hi
    I just purchased a Sewmore 303 at my Goodwill store - YEAH. It works and has all it's parts too. I am trying to get a manual, or at least learn how to thread it properly. Any help would be amazing. Side note: it cost $4.99 in the case. DEAL

  44. This is the machine that I learned to sew on in the late 50's, not the Featherweight. It's a great little machine, and I wish I had one!


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