Singer 15-90

Restoration #1

 While my sample quilt project is on the run, I made a detour - My scrap bag was full, and I wanted to used the pieces up ASAP. It led to the birth of this haphazard medley... Scraps pieced in no order and no plan-ahead. Civil war reproductions, 30s reproductions, modern, pastoral, urban... all mixed up!


My goal is to make a twin size quilt, using a divide-and-conquer method to assemble the blocks up with my Vintage Singer 15-90.


She is now sitting happily on the cabinet that I acquired last Sunday. I love the knee pedal! It works much better than before.


Ahhh... She is gorgeous!


So gorgeous that I kept taking photos of her! Every penny that I spent on her is totally worth it!


I can't waiting quilting with her. It will be a test-run for my sampler quilt, and to practice my quilting skills. 


And I didn't forget my other two vintage machines. I started with the 15-91. I took it out from the cabinet and spent a night to clean and polish it. I didn't touch the wires and motor. Trained as an Engineer and graduated from the reputable Engineering Science program at University of Toronto, I am nevertheless not mechanically and electronically inclined. I hate them! So, it will be the technician's job to restore them.


The sheen and lustre... can you believe that she was born in 1936! I am sure she is gonna be another gorgeous sewing machine. Her only imperfection is the vanishing decal of the "Eye" in the centre. It is not recoverable.


And here is the 201-3. He (yeah... I feel obligated to use the masculine "He") is more rectilinear and bony. He looks like a man. Singer 15-90/91 have very feminine curves. Ironically, 201 is a dressmaker's machine, and 15 is a tailor's machine!


He is still in his original condition...


I am fortunate that my local Canadian Tire carries all the necessary products for me to recondition my machine. I especially like the Turtle Wax.




It made a big difference on the Japan black finish as your can see from the photos above.


Also, I "transformed" the cantilevered condition of the table extension to a simple-supported one. As a structural engineer I don't want to over load the hinges when a whole quilt is put on this tiny table...


And lastly, today I went back to Canadian Tire again and got this. I heard it is wonderful for cleaning and polishing the metal parts. Gotta try it!

Nostalgia Continues...

My 15-90 was tuned up. Though not to my satisfaction, it works fine now. I had too much expectation for the technician... I drove all the way from Toronto to Hamilton for the service. But he disappointed me. I couldn't stand all the dust and lint remaining on the machine - he argued that you would not expect your car washed when bringing it to service. I found the metal lubricant dripping on the wood base intolerable. He also sold me an unfit, cheap, plastic darning foot with cover plate for $40! I found the same stuff can be bought for less than $12 @ Sew-Classic. Anyways. I would never go back again.


At least I can sew with it now. Here is the proof:


I was able to quilt with it! My test run. Never done quilting before, so just doodling with the quilt sandwich. But looks like the machine is perfect for quilting. It runs fast and smoothly.


Another close-up. Very nice stitches. 


Plus, I got more attachments last weekend. Kijiji rocks! I got more fancy feet, two zipper feet, one new walking foot, a buttonhole foot, a pinking foot, a Singer clamp, a very rare and precious darning/embroidery, a pack of sewing needles, a seam guide, and a Singer 201k-3 for $60!!!!!! 


My quilting test-run was done with this tiny little darning foot. Love it so much! My only perplex is... this foot doesn't hop like the regular ones I see from the Internet, nor does it look like the one I have for my Pfaff. Maybe it is supposed to be used with embroidery hoops. Without the hopping mechanism, I need to stretch the fabric gently (to act as a hoop). 


The print on the hand sewing needle set is so cute and nostalgic. Love it!


The Singer 201k-3 is in good condition, too. But according to the seller the bobbin case needs repair. I still haven't decided whether I should invest on it.


And, I got a cabinet and stool set for my machine. Kijiji rocks! This is the Singer No. 40, in a really good used condition.


Plus, it comes with a Singer 15-91. The sister of my 15-90.


Now I have three vintage sewing machines, and two brimful boxes of attachments.

A Tint of Nostalgia...

This week's progress: I have three more blocks done. And beside piecing, I had so much fun hunting for a vintage Singer sewing machine. And I've gotten some luck! Here it is: my first vintage sewing machine treasure: A Singer 15-90, made in Canada in 1948.


 But look at her! Besides her ostensibly antiquated design, who can tell her age!


 She is hefty, sturdy and solid. She is made with iron! Yet she looks graceful and elegant. I want to name her Alcmene, mother of Heracles.


 She is just magnificent! By the way, she is still running and makes beautiful straight stitches. I tried yesterday and was just so surprised! I got it from a lady in Ajax. She said the machine belonged to her grandma, and nobody else had used it for ages! The lady's father is already 84 years old, so I guess the machine might have been idle for about 30 years...

But since I have never used a vintage sewing machine and not very sure about how to oil the mechanical parts, I will bring her to a sewing centre and have an expert perform a thorough body check for her, and clean her parts before engaging her with my daily sewing activities.


The bentwood case that came together with the machine is stunning, too!


 Also, I was given a box of attachments and accessories. I have only a limited selection of presser feet for my Pfaff 2027, so these fancy feet are so exotic to me!


Look how fancy they are!

When I went to pick it up, I didn't know the difference between 15-90 and 15-91, and mistakenly thought it was a 15-91model because the seller printed a 15-91 user manual for her machine! It was only after I came home and did a more thorough study about vintage Singer that I found 15-90 is different from 15-91. The former is less appealing because they are belt-driven, whereas 15-91, as well as the famous 201 model, is gear-driven. Beside this, I have no complain about the price I paid for her. My husband said: if she doesn't work, she can alternatively be a piece of antique for display.

Well, I guess she is still to "young" to be a piece of antique.