Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recycling. Show all posts

Monday, 25 August 2014

An old Singer sewing machine reborn

A few weeks ago a friend gave me the huge gift of a Singer 201 treadle sewing machine. I am not a sew-er (yet) but I have fallen in love with these old sewing machines. They are such well made machines (how many cars are still going after almost eighty years?) and they have a certain grace and beauty about them. I restored one for myself several years ago, then one for my youngest daughter last year (she likes to sew). Now I have a new project to play with.

First some background.......
Singer sewing machines in general.
The 201-1 specifically
The cabinet (model 46)

Finding her age and place of birth.....
Her serial number is; EC664342. The SingerCo site says she was made on 6th March, 1940 in Clydebank, Scotland, making her 74 years old this year.

How to refurbish the old girl.......
A very useful blog
Another useful blog with detailed pictures
A great source of parts for all sorts of sewing machines

My first move was to oil all the inner workings with 5 in 1 oil (Singer oil is better, but I didn't have any), this let me feel where the sticky bits are as I turn the wheel and treadle the peddle (so to speak). I also wiped the old girl down with a rag and 5 in 1 oil to start the cleaning process.
She was in fairly good shape; just needing a spray of kerosene in the inner workings to ungum all the moving parts. Basically I squirt kerosene into all the oil holes, remove the face plate and inspection plate then squirt some kerosene in there too and drip some around any moving parts. After sitting like this overnight I wipe her all down with clean rags, take off any bits that still look grotty and scrub them with an old toothbrush (and kerosene of course).

The next step is replacing any worn parts; she only needed a new bobbin winder ring, drive belt and some new needles and bobbins.

Last of all is the fiddly bits; cleaning and calibrating the tension assemblies. The upper tension needed new thread take up and beehive springs (don't you love the names of these parts). I took it apart very carefully and laid each part out in order so I wouldn't get confused. I cleaned all the bits and replaced the worn parts with new ones in the line up. Then I put it all back together again, as indicated by the handy tutorial.
Of course it didn't work... after a few dozen more tries and an hour poring over the tutorial, I finally realised that I had the tension indicator on back to front (the thing with the plus and minus signs on it). After that it was plain sailing.

The lower tension/bobbin case area was easy to take apart and clean. I just followed the tutorial (a different one this time) and cleaned her up, there was a lot of dirt and lint in there.
The upper tension unit removed, look at all that dirt.

The bits that make up the upper tension assembly, hope I can put it back together.

The lower tension assembly with the bobbin case removed

The bobbin case and feed dogs, all in need of a clean
The next step is to try her out, I thought I would make a new peg bag. Then I will set her all up with;
A users manual
a pincushion and pins
spare bobbins
spare needles
a cleaning brush
a bottle of 5 in 1 oil
spare reels of black and white cotton
a tailors measuring tape

And most importantly...a name. I am thinking Daisy (what do you think?)
I plan to sell the old girl on to someone who will love her and use her to make beautiful things.
How much is she worth?

Friday, 22 August 2014

Making rag rugs, a use for worn out fabric

For a while now I have been saving (hoarding really) old sheets that are just too far gone to use as sheets anymore. Some are used to make pajama pants; the material in the middle wears out first, so I cut pants leg pieces from the edges of a double sheet and sew them up (usually flannelette sheets). Lately though, I have been reading about making twined rag rugs and decided I need a few new bathroom mats, and maybe one for the front of the sink, then one for the floor beside my bed... the list is endless.

So of course I found a great tutorial online.

The first step was to make a frame loom. I just happened to have some electrical conduit lying around (and some corners too) so I made a frame in no time.
I just happened to have the materials lying around.

The basic frame loom.

Then I cut up two old t shirts and parts of two old flannelette sheets (left over from making pants).I made the strips about an inch wide, but I wasn't very precise about it. The t shirts were cut sideways to make big loops (like huge rubber bands).

Cutting up t shirts

In weaving there are two types of threads; the warp and the weft. The warp is the 'bones' of a piece, they are the strands that go up and down and the weft threads are woven backwards and forwards through them.
For my mat, I used the t shirt loops slipped over the frame as the warp and the sheet strips became the weft.

A pile of warp strips

Making the weft strips from an old sheet

Then it was time to put the warp on the loom. I just slipped the strips over the outside like big rubber bands. It made a nice tight warp.

The warp on the frame, ready to go.

Then it was time to start twining; I just followed the tutorial until I got the hang of it. It was surprisingly simple, the turns at the end of the row were the hardest to learn.

The first few rows

Getting there
The finished rug still on the loom.
When the rug was long enough, I cut the bottom of the longest warp loops and tied them in a granny knot. The top of the loops were slipped off the bar (I had to take the loom apart to do that) and they pulled back into the mat as I tightened the bottom loops.
The whole mat is thick and soft. I think they will make excellent bath mats. It took about a week of evenings sitting and twining to finish though, so this is not an instant project.

The finished mat,not a good photo I know.

I can still see the pattern of the old sheet in the weave, you can see the ends of my knots on the edge of the mat..

What else can I do with old sheets? I seem to have inherited the old sheets from several houses as friends and family realise I have a use for them. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

What to do with old sheets - making pajama pants

We seem to have lots of old ripped sheets. We buy all our sheets at second hand stores and although we buy the least worn ones they still seem to wear out on a regular basis; getting thin in the middle and developing little tears on the edges. So what to do with all these sheets?

One thing I do with mine is to make pajama pants from the still good outer edge of the sheet.

To make a pattern, I picked apart an old pair of cotton pants that had also worn out. Once they were picked apart at the seams the pants revealed themselves to be just four pieces the same shape and size, sewn together. So I used one quarter as a guide to cut out my pattern pieces (four of them) and allowed about two centimetres extra around the outside as a seam allowance.

I followed this really handy tutorial (without the cuffs added) to sew them up on my old Singer 201; Prudence. I love my old treadle machine, she is straight stitch only but she doesn't use electricity and sews quietly with a strong stitch.
My old treadle sewing machine; Prudence. Made in 1936 and still sewing strong.

My new pajama pants, made from an old flannelette sheet

The rest of the sheet has become cleaning rags, animal bandaging and strips for making rag rugs (depending on the quality of the material).

What do you do with your old sheets?