Showing posts with label Singer 28K. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Singer 28K. Show all posts

Monday, 27 January 2014

A nightshirt for me: McCall 8372

After successfully sewing the onesie for The Much Beloved I thought I deserved some night attire of my own.  I couldn't see myself in a one piece.  Too reminiscent of overalls - there would be real danger of me attempting an oil change in one of those.  I took a fancy to something more old school (or should that be skool?).

McCall 8372 is excellent value as a pattern.  Just look at the many garments one can make with it.  I wonder if it was one of the last non-multi-sized patterns.  I ordered the large based on my 42 inch chest measurement.

Those of you who have read the blog will know that I am keen on free or very cheap fabric especially when practicing on a new pattern.  Regulars will also know that I am quite partial to repurposing duvet covers.

I have (had) this wonderful 100% cotton Conran duvet cover bought at Heel's ages ago.  It did years of service on my bed but it must be at least four since I've used it and it now doesn't go with anything.  It's a gorgeous cotton twill ticking and much washing has improved its beautiful soft handle.  I thought it would make a great nightshirt.

The pattern has clear instructions.  Diagrams backed up with directions which take into account whether you are using a straight stitch or zig-zag machine.  There is sufficient seam allowance for  the shoulder, armscye, and side seams to be flat felled.  The neck facings are turned under and top stitched to the wrong side for a neat finish.

The shirt features a rounded patch pocket on the left front.  I made a bit of an effort to get the stripes to match up.  I missed having reverse feed when I edge stitched the pockets.

The applied cuff bands are cut on the long grain which I think makes these stripes really pop in a good way.  They are finished off with a nice bit of edge and top stitching courtesy of the 28K.

The one point where the pattern is slightly vague is when it calls for a five eighths hem giving no further instructions.  I took this to mean - turn under a quarter inch, press, turn over a further three eighths so that the raw edge is enclosed within the second fold, press again, pin and edge stitch in place.  I hope I got it right?

The curved hem creates a shallow split where it meets the side seam.  I had to do a certain amount of fudging where the flat fell and the narrow hem meet.  It looks a lot better from the RS and is holding up to washing so far…

I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons using the Singer 401G and Singer slant buttonholer.  Results are consistent.  The 28K showed off a bit more with the topstitching on the front placket.

The buttons themselves are vintage brace buttons from Ede and Ravenscroft, robe makers to the Queen. High end or what?  They are rather bigger than the half inch shirt buttons recommended by the pattern but I think they are more in scale with the relaxed characteristics of the night shirt and the colour is perfect.

The finished garment is roomy but then I suppose it should be.  The fabric feels great - soft, comfy and cosy.  I made this nightshirt for a bit a giggle but have ended up wearing it quite a lot.  I used nearly half of a double sized duvet cover, thread left over from another project and three of six buttons from some worn out suit trousers.  So in theory my night shirt cost me only my time and I still have enough of everything left to make another.

"Hey - that's really nice.  I can't tell that it didn't come from a store," said The Much Beloved.  Would that be the ultimate compliment by any chance?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

New check spring for Singer 28K

This handsome little machine is my Singer 28K.  It was my first and it was this machine that got me started on sewing.  On it I sewed my first ever garment, pieced my first quilt top and then went on to quilt and bind that quilt.  It's not very easy for a beginner to quilt a single bed sized quilt on a three-quarter sized machine fitted with a fixed straight-stitch foot but the results are satisfying.

Singer 28 Sewing Machine

The machine had been given to a colleague of mine who is a wiz with fancy dress.  She didn't feel it was really the machine for her so the 28 had been stored under her desk at the office for some months.

When it arrived there really wasn't much wrong with it.  It looked like it hadn't been used for a long time and although slightly dulled and with a few blemishes there were no signs of significant rust.  It came with the essentials; a fixed straight-stitch foot, a shuttle, one bobbin and a blunt needle.  The only real problem was that the check spring, which on Singer 27/127 and 28/128, is comparatively long, unguarded and therefore vulnerable to damage, had been snapped.

The check spring is the fine wire spring which will usually be found somewhere in the region of a sewing machine's tension disks.  It's job is to remove slack in the thread as the take up arm rises to the top of its stroke after the stitch has been formed.  If the tension on the check spring is too little or the spring is missing the machine will be unable to form good stitches.

This machine was actually able to form a pretty good stitch even without a properly functioning check spring.  However I knew it would do better if it was in tip-top condition so I bought a new one.  If you are looking for one it is worth knowing that a spring from a 27 will fit a 28 and vice versa.

Singer 27 check spring

The new check spring has a loop at one end for the thread,  a long straight section, a row of even coils and one small coil at the end.  The whole thing slips neatly over the tension assembly stud.

The stud is threaded at both ends.  The narrow thread screws directly into the machine head and the split end allows the pressure on tension discs to be varied.

This photo shows the check spring in position over the tension stud.  The tail of the spring will be sandwiched between the step in the stud and the machine head casting.  This holds the spring in place and under tension.

The check spring's travel is limited top and bottom by the two notches on the machine head casting but the arm of the spring should sit on the lug mid way between these two.  The position can fine tuned by loosening the screw at the bottom of the tension assembly and sliding the slotted back plate to the left or right.

Here is a detail of the tension unit after reassembly.  The knurled nut adjusts the upper tension and shouldn't need to be much tighter than in the picture if the bottom tension is set up correctly.

With a new check spring the Singer 28k is now producing beautiful, even, balanced stitches.  Not bad work for a 115 year old!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Log Cabin Quilt: Sashing and Border update

Here are the log cabin blocks pieced together in the sunshine and shadow setting. All the paper foundation has been removed [with the help of TMB - thanks!] and the narrow red sashed border added.  I think I like it... 

Spot the toe of my carpet slippers! 

Production has switched to the 201K.  The 28K's bobbin ran out on Saturday afternoon and I already had a class 66 bobbin wound with white thread.  The large level work space of the 201K's cabinet made the long seams more manageable. Does anyone else ever switch machines part way through a project?

Here is the quilt top a few minutes later with the first long side of piano keys added.  The border has been pressed and the quilt is making me smile.

Next job is to make another long piano key border for the other side but I may get distracted working out how I am going to handle the corner blocks.  I'm not sure I have the strength for mitred piano keys.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Long Bobbins New vs Old

The shuttle and bobbin that came with my Singer 28K

My experience - When my Singer 28K arrived I was relieved, after the cursory research I had carried out by that time, to discover that it came with one bullet-shaped shuttle (shiny and free of rust) and one bobbin (wound with oil-soaked thread).  I became quite excited when I found that new bobbins to fit Singers 27,127, 28 and 128 were offered for sale cheaply all over the Internet and thought a good starter would be to get hold of five so that I could sew with more than one colour.

Original bobbin (top) and shorter modern replacement (below) 

When they arrived I found that they are a few millimetres shorter than the bobbin that came with the machine and that the tips were a good deal less pointy.  The upshot of this was that the bobbin winder on my 28K really didn't get on well with them.  The blunt ends don't sit well in the winder and tend to slip. As they are on the short side the arm of the thread guide travels past the end of the bobbins taking the thread with it and causing a tangle.

Note that the thread guide travels past the end of reproduction bobbins

More Internet based research threw up a couple of workarounds.  The first is to bypass the thread guide and use your finger and thumb the second is to build up one end of the bobbin with blue tack.  I am not keen on either but by using the former I managed to get one of the new (short) bobbins loaded with thread.  If you can get this far then you will find that the thing fits inside the shuttle and the machine will sew happily without further incident.

A little while later I saw some more new bobbins advertised as being longer than most available and to fit Singer 27/127 and 28/128.  I thought I would try them.  This next batch are longer than the first ones I bought but they are still a shade shorter than the original part.  They sit better and do not seem prone to slippage.  Again if you can get them filled (I simply stop when the thread guide gets to the left hand end of the bobbin, lift the thread out, wind the bobbin past the high spot on the heart shaped cam, put the thread back in guide and continue repeating the step as many times as required) they fit inside the shuttle and the machine will sew well.

During the last couple of weeks I have been lucky enough get hold of some old [original?] long bobbins.  I have two basic patterns.  The first looks a lot like the one that came with my machine some have a hole in one end and others dont.  The second are domed, rather than pointed, at one end.  Being second hand bobbins each one came prewound with several colours of old cotton and silk thread.  The thread had attracted moisture which has caused light surface rust on the spool of the bobbins but this can be smoothed off with metal polish and the brass ends shine up a treat!  Best of all, as they are original parts, they have a great original fit in the bobbin winder.  This really does speed things up.

Original bobbins pointed without holes (left), domed with hole (centre) pointed with hole (right)

My advice - Go to the effort of sourcing some original old style bobbins they will make using a VS sewing machine a much more pleasant experience.  From what I can gather most Singer Vibrating Shuttle machines were supplied with a bobbin and four spares when new.  Millions of VS machines were manufactured so there must be tens of millions of old long bobbins kicking around the world even to this day!  I bet most of them are in the drawers of treadle bases or old tobacco and shortbread tins.

My question - Who is making these other bobbins and why, if one is going to go to the trouble of manufacturing obsolete parts, don't they make them to the right spec?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Piecing By Numbers with the Singer 28K

This is a technique I am trying to teach myself from instructions I found on the internet.  It's sometimes call Paper Foundation Piecing and I've also seen it referred to as Stitch and Flip.

I start each block with a paper foundation.  I designed this simple log cabin foundation using the table function which is part of word processing software.  If you look closely at the photograph you can see that each piece of the block has a number starting with 1 in the darkest square at the middle of the foundation.  The shading on my paper foundation is a nod to what I have read about the tonal values of traditional log-cabin blocks.

The next step (for my block) is to cut some fabric.  The blue is the left overs of some super smooth shirting I picked up online very reasonably and the white is from one of my shirts whose collar and cuffs were past their best.  I have started to cut one and a half inch strips half an inch longer than pieces on the foundation.  This gives me my quarter inch seam allowances.

Here I have flipped the paper foundation   and pinned my first piece of fabric over the back of the correct section.  I hold the paper up to the light to help me centre the fabric.  Notice that I have used red for the centre.  The story goes that the middle square of the log cabin block is supposed to represent the hearth of the cabin and so it is often red to indicate that fire that would have burned there.  I like a good story don't you?

Here I have layered the number two piece of the fabric on top of the first.  The next step is to flip the paper foundation back over and carefully carry it to the sewing machine without anything shifting.  Next time I will layer first and  then pin I think!

Singer 28, Singer 28K, threaded

My lovely 1899 Singer 28K

This is where I start and where I finish.  I aim for about a quarter of an inch before and after the outline on the foundation.

I then continue adding strips, pressing with a dry iron as I go, following the numbers and tonal value already printed on the paper foundation.  When finished the block looks like this:


The paper foundation stays with the completed block until I am ready to set the blocks and piece them into a quilt top. At the moment each block takes about an hour to piece (including cutting time) so I suppose I am some way off that.