Sunday, 25 November 2012

Dressmakers Guide 1: Care for the Vintage Machine

Sometimes you come across things you are loathe to part with, and this 1940s original book Practical Home Dressmaking Illustrated is one of them.  The images are divine, and the style of writing is indeed practical and easy to read.  Reluctant as I am to part with this book, it is indeed headed to the shop, and will be at our next stall as well, however in the meantime I have decided to scan and photograph a few sections to share here.
The book opens with a comprehensive guide of equipment and how to create a workable sewing room. Including a comprehensive guide on the sewing machine- so if you own a vintage machine this is a great read.

So here are some of the key points Lynn Hilson puts forward for the care of the machine:

Any sewing machine that is not well cared for will not give good service. It should be cleaned and oiled at least once a week, or daily if it is constant use.  If the oil is allowed to become dry and stiff the machine will run hard and not sew properly.  

Remove all dust, fluff and loose threads from the mechanism of the machine before oiling.  Use a small bottle brush or pipe-cleaner for this purpose and pay special attention to the bobbin-case.
Use the oil sparingly. One drop of oil applied to each contact point is sufficient .

When oiling the bobbin winder take care to prevent oil from coming into contact with the rubber ring, as it will cause deterioration of the rubber and also make the wheel slip on the hub of the balance wheel.

After oiling make sure that all the surplus oil is wiped away from the machine with a soft rag.  If this is neglected the fabric of the garment may be ruined.  Finally, get rid of the superfluous oil by running the machine, unthreaded over a small piece of old material.

When the machine has been out of use for some time, and has had little or no attention, you may find you that it will run hard when you come to use it again.  This bad running is usually caused by the oil having become dried up and sticky.  To cure this complaint drop a little paraffin into each of the oiling points and run the machine rapidly for a few minutes.  The machine should then be wiped thoroughly with a soft duster.  Oil all the working parts after using paraffin, and it is advisable to oil a second time after a few hours use.
When setting the needle until the machine turn the balance wheel towards you until the needle bar is at its highest position, and loosen the thumb screw.  Insert the needle into the groove, with the flat side towards the needle bar, as far as it will go and tighten the thumb screw.

Most machines are threaded from left to right, but a few are threaded the reverse way.  The point to remember is that the cotton is passed through the hole on the side of the needle that has the long groove.  The groove is always the reverse side to the flat side, and it is this which determines the side the needle bar is set.

The above has been taken directly from the text of Practical Home Dressmaking Illustrated by Lynn Hillson which was published in 1948 by Oldhams Press Limited.  This item will be listed in the shop priced at £20, as always get in touch if you're interested in the book before it has been listed.  In the meantime enjoy our posts on some of the content.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really not much of a sewer (oh how I wish it came naturally to me!), but I adore the subject of sewing in general, and would have been very, very hard pressed to part with a book like this, too.

    ♥ Jessica


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