Bringing an old girl up to par

About 20 years ago, I went with a friend to an auction. We walked through the stuff and I didn't even see this sewing machine, but when it came up for bidding, I couldn't help myself and I think I paid $25 for it.

But, I could never figure out how to thread it or anything about it until I started tinkering with vintage machines. Then, when I could thread it and get it to make a stitch, I was afraid to use it because the wiring was so old and stiff and had been repaired and taped in several places.

It was time for a rewire. I bought my wire from Sewclassic and it came in on Thursday. Since that is the family's night to cook, I got started.

I took out all the old wire, but didn't think to take pictures. I marked where each wire came into the junction box. The only thing I couldn't get to was the motor, and I'm not sure what I could have done there anyway. But, without any information about the machine, I wasn't ready to take apart the drive shaft for fear I'd never get it back together again and that was the only way I was getting the motor out.

First came the light.

And, then everything came into the junction box. Every wire end had to be soldered.

Here's the junction box back together. The wire to the foot pedal runs through the machine and out the bottom, so there's only one plug in the junction. Boy, I'll tell you, taking that old pedal apart and connecting new wires to it was really (no, really!) interesting. Then, after I'd made my connections, I realized that part of the pedal needed to be threaded onto the wire first. Then, when I'd made my connections, I realized another part of the pedal needed to be threaded on the wire first. THEN, I got the pedal wired again, because we all know that third time is the charm.

Here's the back, with the new power cord wired into the old plug.

She looks great except for a bit of gold on her center medallion that I wiped off trying to clean her up 25 years ago.

One day, I'll figure out more about her and try to get a manual. I think she was made by the White Sewing Machine company...at least she looks like a white. She threads funny, different than any other vintage machine I've ever seen. And, there's no needle stop when inserting a new needle, so the needle will go way up in the needle clamp, but if it's all the way in, she won't make a stitch (don't ask me how I know or how frustrated I got on Friday when she wouldn't sew), but if you pull the needle out part way, she sews like a dream and is very, very quiet. She has a click that I'm trying to find and if I do, she could become my primary piecing machine, even though she does have griest feet.

Take care and have a wonderful Easter! Lane


LynCC said...

Whoa - I'm impressed that you could do the electrical work yourself!

Pam said...

Restoring vintage sewing machines can become addictive. Guard yourself! hahaha

There are some really good yahoo groups that may be able to help you find a manual and help with that clicking sound. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you the names. I think there is one just for vintage White machines-if that is who manufactured yours.

Mary Ann & Mother said...

Count me impressed!

Becky said...

She's a beaut! Happy Easter to you and yours, Lane!

lw said...

Happy Easter! The sewing machine looks much better with the new wiring and the TLC. With the care you're giving it, Sydney's grandchildren could one day be sewing on that machine.

Cynthia L. said...

Happy Easter to you and your family!

I enjoyed reading about your repairing your machine. You are a jack of all trades!

Paul said...

She's a beauty Lane! Good luck with finding that manual.

Take Care,

Pauline said...

Wow! Didn't know you were an electrician! We have Ken's grandmothers old "HOME" treadle machine. Was a beauty once. Missing a few belts and I have no idea how to get it restored, or if it's worth restoring.

Elizabeth said...

The neat thing about these old machines is that they were built to last and you can get into them and fiddle around with them and make them run smoothly. I'm not too happy with this new generation of machines, which require you to send them in for a hundred dollar service call every year because they are internally lubricated. Makes the machine disposable, in my opinion. Well, anyway, I love hearing about all your old machines and how you keep them running. I have an old Bernina that needs a tune-up. Can I send her your way?

xo -El

Joe said...

I'm pretty sure it's either a National or a Standard and not a White. I expect if you Google National Rotary Sewing Machine, you'll get some promising results.