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Here, Kitty, Kitty! (aka: My $5 Vintage Sewing Machine Adventure)

As you know, I am a quilter in addition to a baker. If there are two things we quilters are known for, it's that we all have a large fabric "stash" and most of us love to "collect" vintage sewing machines. The fact most of us already have one or two high-end computerized name brand machines with all the bells and whistles never keeps us from a good "deal" on an oldie but a goodie from years gone by.
Quilters love to find the old Featherweight machines because the stitches look very much like hand stitching when sewn. Plus, it's just a status symbol. Let's just put it out there. It's the truth and secretly all quilters know it. 

With that now said, let me tell you about a great "deal" I came across a couple of weeks ago-not a Featherweight but a Janome Vogue Stitch. Vintage-to me.

You know what they say about  "free" kittens? I think the same applies to $5.00 vintage sewing machines!

Ok, so when I brought my little treasure home she worked like a charm. It was all rainbows and butterflies...until the bobbin ran out. I think that was about three minutes into the fun. So, I pulled out the bobbin and the top thread and wound her a new bobbin. No problem. Put that back into place and then threaded the top thread. Again no problem. It wasn't until I put the petal the metal that things turned ugly. Nothing happened. The needle wouldn't drop, the feed dogs wouldn't move and the hand wheel wouldn't turn. Yep, nothing...except the humming noise that rose from somewhere deep down inside her "parts." Hmm...

I decided I should do something to solve the problem. So, I ran downstairs to the kitchen and rounded up my girl tools. (I have a real set of tools that have pretty flowers on the handles. Yes, they are real. I don't know why, but Dave bought them for me to use many years ago. Really, his worked just fine for me...)

Anyway, so I decided I'd take the machine apart and see what I could do.

I carefully unscrewed the lid, the hand wheel and this other thing that I couldn't really identify.

A couple of screws rolled off the table and were (are) lost in the carpet fibers now. I suppose Dave will find them for me on a dark morning about 2am.

Inside, she looked good. nothing like a dead mouse, sticky suckers or lost plastic toy whistles or anything to prevent her from operating.

I then tried to put her back together, only to realize that I forgot which screws went where. Hmm...
I gave up and used the remaining six screws out of the eight that were originally in the machine to hold her together.

There was also a gasket of some kind that became discombobulated somewhere in my fix-it process. I taped that to the side.

I packed her back in her case and this morning dropped her off at the sewing machine repair shop.
Come to find out, it will cost me $20 to have "my guy" open her up just to look her over.
$79 to have her cleaned and oiled.

$40 per hour (which "my guy" estimates to be approx. 2 hours) to fix her motor-which he suspects is the real problem.

$150 to buy a new motor-if she needs one.

and...$5 for two new "vintage" sized screws to fit the machine. He'll have to order online for those. They are hard to find these days. Oh, really??
The good news is that the cute red case she came in is worth about $50 on Ebay! Ha! But nope, I'm keeping that. Are you kidding? I am not giving up a vintage sewing machine case! You never know when a deal like this will come along again!
***Just yesterday I learned that all my new baby needed was a $2.99 plastic brush for her motor and a good cleaning!! YAY! She's coming home to live with me soon!

I think I'll sew up a hotpad to celebrate!

May you find a great treasure yourself!

Rhonda Mossner, The Quilter Cook
facebook: The Quilter Cook Catering Co.
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web site:  TheDanglingThread.blogspot.com

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Comment by Pam/NY on March 27, 2014 at 1:36pm

You'll have fun using this beauty! Great find...

Comment by Rhonda Mossner on March 26, 2014 at 1:50pm

Irene, If you lived within 100 miles of me I'd have let you take care of my new baby! Of course, I'd have to have stayed all night...and quilted and drank coffee with you! This will be my FIRST machine that I will have to oil and maintain. I've been spoiled with only the "bells and whistles" kind.

This one didn't come with a manual-you know, $5 and all. I can't find it on the Internet anywhere. All of my quilting forums can't locate one either. Any ideas? Being from Roseville, I called Rhonda Bauer and she didn't know what to do either! LOL

Comment by Debra Miller on March 26, 2014 at 1:22pm
Now THAT was amusing! $20 huh? My local JAnome dealer/repair shop charges $75 to diagnose the problem. Only repair shop for 50 miles. Sighs.
Comment by Irene Gallway on March 26, 2014 at 11:57am

Rhonda, that is a nice looking machine. I'm glad it didn't cost much to correct the problem with it.  I service machines along with doing alterations and I have one here now that a lady brought in to have me look at. It was given to her and she said it wouldn't sew .  I took the face plate off and never seen such a mess.  The feed dogs couldn't move they were so gummed up with oily dust. I don't think the machine has been used in awhile. It was filthy.  I oiled it and cleaned out the crud. but also gave the outside a good cleaning.  When I told her it probably just needed cleaning and oiling she looked at me like I had two heads. lol  I belong to a sewing group and it amazes me how many people don't know you have to keep them clean and oiled. 

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