mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Posts tagged ‘yard sale’

my first sewing machine repair

Oh, there are lots of firsts, recently. I think it’s a good thing.

I’ve been frustrated by the quality of sewing machine service. It’s expensive (about $90+tax), and the dealer is at least two hours away. Then I have that bird’s nest problem, soon after I resumed using it. When I bring to a dealer, I expect the real fix, and I don’t think it’s wrong.

So, I decided to learn to repair myself. I bought a text online, at $99. It’s not the easiest read, but at least contains information I need.

I needed a machine to play with. I don’t want to sacrifice my Brother or Bernina for the practice. I still have things to sew.

Then I got this old old machine at a yard sale. It was $20. The lady told me that it was functional.

Well, if functional means that needles goes up and down, yes. But I couldn’t do the initial sewing test (according to my text book, that’s the first thing to do). Presser foot didn’t go down.

Now I started to explore the cause. I opened the side panel.


It seems like the Presser foot bar is stuck. I used the everyone’s trick: soaked in WD-40.

While soaking, I cleaned the other part. I used WD-40 to clean any metal part. At first I used it for the outside casing (painted cast iron) but I found that glass cleaner with ammonia worked better. It seemed like the previous owner was a smoker. 

After several minutes, it started moving! I moved up and down, cleaning with old toothbrush while moving. The reset the height and put things back after lubricating everywhere I can reach. I inserted the needle – it was a sheer luck that I had a needle for this machine. It is not standard household machine needle (also called 130/705H), but some industrial or serger one called (EL x 705). I think I bought this needle when I bought my brother serger some 11 years ago, without knowing that my serger takes regular household needle. Anyway, it took some cleaning to insert the needle, and threaded. There were several bobbins that came with it, so I used them.

Voila! It sewed! I had to lower the upper thread tension to minimum to get the right balance (of course bobbin tension was balanced correctly) so I think there is some problem in the tension disks. I haven’t got it yet, as this is my “initial sewing test!”.

I tested how thick it can go.


Great, it can go 6 layers of 12 oz.(for men’s jeans) denim! 

But when I switched the upper thread to jean thread, it stopped working. I guess this is tension problem. And the discs can’t take thicker thread.

This machine has other stitches like zig zag, button hole, stretch stitch, etc. none of them worked. Gear problem, maybe?

At least I managed to fix the Presser foot, so I should think it’s a good start! I can spend as long as I want to fix and then sell or disassemble apart and save the parts. That sounds fun.



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