Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ruth Kay, Star Struck & the Singer 227M!

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This is a picture of my Singer 227 M, a basic little wonder machine made in Italy in the 1960s.

It came off of an ad on Craigslist for $50.00 ---I removed the motor, and popped her into a treadle cabinet.  She sews great!

We don’t see a lot of 227 M’s out there…and when a question comes along, I try to answer as best as I can.

I received an email from Ruth Kay asking a couple of questions I think may be beneficial to others who are out there acquiring vintage machines.

And she also sent along a quilt to share with us!

She writes:
I finished binding my star struck quilt while visiting my Aunt in Maine.  Thank you very much for the free pattern.
Ruth Kay’s Star Struck in Greens and neutrals – KING SIZE!
Free pattern found under the Free Patterns tab above.
I also took home my Great Aunt's machine that has been sitting up in the old family home.  It has not been used since the early 70's.  It is a middle 227M Singer.  I have been trying to look up information on that machine tonight and saw your blog post from Aug 2013 that you were trying to get yours working. 
You were having trouble with the fabric puckering.  Did you get that resolved? 
I have ordered a manual, and will try to get it going when I get home.  Just was wondering if you have gotten the machine working well.  I just got my first featherweight this year, and do not have much experience with old machines. 
My Aunt who lives in the house never did much sewing,and the few times she tried to use it she had problems.  I would like to get this machine going.  My Great Aunt Mary was like a grandmother to me.
Thanks for the free patterns you let us have, and thanks for any insight on the 227M.
Thanks for sharing the quilt photo, Ruth Kay! It’s GORGEOUS!  And I am excited that you have your Great Aunt Mary’s machine.  I really love my 227 M.  It’s a very easy machine to operate – straight stitch only.  It goes forward and back.  That’s it!  There is a knob on the side of the faceplate that looks like this:

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Knob adjust pressure on the presser foot!

This knob will turn either left to lessen the pressure on the presser foot, or right to give you more pressure depending on the kind of fabric you are sewing on.  In many other machines this knob is much smaller and located on top of the machine on the left above the take up lever – but here..it’s on the side.

With my machine I had to first adjust the thread tension.  This machine takes a class 15 bobbin case and bobbin – readily available and uses regular 15X1 needles like you would use for most machines today.

I never found a manual for this machine, but it is so very similar to a singer model 15 I didn't feel I really needed one.

By working with the knob on the side I was able to adjust it to where I didn’t have any puckering anymore, the fabric flowed freely under the needle and my stitches were perfect.  It took a bit of work to get it this way, but it was worth it.

I bet anything during the decades of un-use, some child had had a heyday turning this knob and that knob because the tension knob was all messed up too.

I’ve learned most of what I know from not being afraid to get in there and mess and monkey with things.  You can’t do that with a computerized machine ---but you CAN with a basic machine like this.

I’ve learned to have NO FEAR!  And you will often find me with old machine oil and grime on my hands and under my fingernails, a smudge on my cheek, a new stain on an old loved t shirt.

If YOU can't get it working properly, take it in and have it looked at.  It might just be a simple problem.  Try an old sew & vac guy -- someone who has been around a long time and has experience with these simple vintage machines.  It's worth getting it up and running.

For those of us who LOVE vintage machines, I really enjoyed these musings sent to me by Sandy Smith. 

She writes:
Why this person loves her vintage machines. Me, too!
Go give it a read, it’s hilarious!
Back to my 227!

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  1. Oh how wonderful the Vintage machines! I love the way they sound a they make those perfect stitches. Thanks for giving us another look at one of yours.

  2. The green star quilt is really attractive. I know I have a lot of greens and never thought to use that pattern. Oh, no, here goes another quilt. I'm going to have to start a wish list instead of starting every quilt that I see on your blog. As far as vintage machines, I would like to have one someday, but don't have the room for another one right now. Nice to look at and dream about.

  3. Ah yes, wonderful, reliable vintage machines. I too am hooked on them. There's nothing better than to sit in front of one of them watching that perfect stitch form as the pieces of quilt blocks take shape. Don't know which is my favorite, as they're all super. I do enjoy my 1925 Federation hand crank. No matter where I am, I can sew. Just picked up a magnectic LED flash light, so day or night I am ready to sew. Thanks Bonnie, for the info about the magnectic lights. Works great. Also recently found an unused Spartan machine. Sews beautifully,. Can't believe someone bought this new but never sewed a thing on it. I don't have nearly as many as you, but the 9 I have are all loved.

  4. Hi Bonnie
    I went to an estate sale on Saturday. It was the kind that spans two weekends, the second weekend is 75% off everything. I went looking for one thing that I knew was there and did get it. What I didn't know was there came home with me too.
    The one machine on my wish list was a Singer 301A and there was one in the basement at this sale! Looked good, four boxes of attachments too. It was marked $48, so now the asking price was $12.... Really? really? Snag that one.

    Got it home and it did have a book. Plugged it in and it did run but was noisy. Checked the book for all the oil and grease points and I got dirty. I sewed a few lines, a few more and wow, she is nice and quiet and has a nice stitch. She's that funky beige color, which was the color I wanted, and has a short bed. I've been looking at the long beds on ebay but for $12 I'm a happy camper. It had to come with me.

    I think it was rarely used. There was no lint under the needle plate. Whoo hoo!

  5. Anonymous8:44 AM EDT

    Hello! Just popped over to say hi and to thank you for sending some traffic over to my blog! Just re-read the post in question and it made me giggle to see what an entgusiastic rant I had that day! The infant offspring is six now and takes an interest in the machines too - the little hand crank 28k is his favourite. The vintage herd has been added to quite substantively since I wrote this one...I really must bring it up to date and do some more posts. I have about six feet of bookshelf space groaning under the weight of vintage sewing books (I ran out of space for machines and had to divert my obsession onto something smaller) that I'm positively itching to tell you all about.... Thanks again for the interest, lots of love & best wishes, Edsmum :-) xxx

  6. I probably shouldn't do this, but there is a machine up on eBay right now that I consider to be one of the very best vintage treadle machines you can get. It's a Singer 226. I have one given to me by a friend and it does it all. If you have room for only one treadle, this is the one you want. Perfect piecing, decorative stitches and FMing machine you can get that is immediately ready to put into a Singer treadle cabinet and go. I made a YouTube of my machine, so if you are interested, you can see what this machine is all about. These are very hard to find. I have over 50 antique & vintage sewing machines and although I love them all, this one is the one that can do it all and do it the best. Quiet, smooth, capable and easy to treadle. Just run a search on eBay or YouTube for a Singer 226 and you'll find it.

  7. Hi Bonnie! I am working on some string pieces for an inner border on a fall quilt I am working on. My friend suggested I try it and I must say it is addicting!

    Enjoy yourself in my home state of Illinois tomorrow!

  8. Can someone give me an idea how to unstick the pressure foot knob I have a 227m I just bought it it seems to sew okay so far but the pressure foot knob won't turn at all so with out taking it in for repair any ideas on how to fix it..its the knob in the photo above...thank you...

  9. DH just brought one of these home from a yard sale. It's stiff (including the pressure-adjuster and feed-dog drop knob) and missing its spool pin, but otherwise seems ok (need to loosen it up and check it out properly in order to be sure). Hopefully I can get everything loosened up.


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