You can breathe new life into older machines with just a few upgrades. Here’s a breakdown on the recent remodeling job I did on my Singer 107 W12. She was made in 1932 -84 years ago! She still runs like a top.
It does a very unique stitch (right). It is similar to a blanket stitch only it forms the stitch within the interior of the fabric; it doesn’t have to be along an edge like a true blanket stitch. It also doesn’t require modern embroidery machines ($$$). The stitch could also be described as a traditional applique stitch, what you’d do when sewing by hand. And no, I have no fixed idea as to what I’ll do with it but I couldn’t pass it up.
I do four main fixes:
New table frame -with locking casters
New servo motor
New thread stand
The table frame with casters gives you a lot of flexibility because you can easily move machines around. For example, we keep machines that we don’t use frequently, in the back building and move them to the main sewing line as needed. Even within the sewing line, we can create small sewing cells by adjusting three machines into a “[” or “C” shape. It takes only a minute. I’d never go back to stationary table frames. The only downside is that these are somewhat difficult to find. I had to become a dealer to get them. Yes you can buy them from me, $100 per frame plus shipping. And unfortunately, you have to order in multiples of 2. Contact me via my About page if interested in purchasing these frames.
A new servo motor is a pleasure and for two reasons.
The first is that they’re very quiet and second, they use very little energy. A third reason is that you can control the speed at which the machine runs so if you’re not accustomed to a fast machine, this can be a boon. Now, if you have an older machine like this 84 year old machine of mine, and you wonder if your machine could be converted, I’d be shocked if it couldn’t. The only thing the motor does is drive the pulley. That’s it, so there’s no reason you couldn’t put one on. And it’s not difficult to do. The nice thing is that the motor mounts of these were designed specifically to fit machines that had been using traditional clutch motors so you don’t even have to worry about drilling out new holes.
You might not need a new thread stand (photo at top, framed in orange) but I’ve upgraded all of mine so that the power cord feeds up through the mast to connect with the feed rail. The old style of thread stand don’t have a hollow core so you can’t do that. I was heartbroken at having to replace the pretty blue thread stand of my Merrow Active Seam machine, with a generic white one. Merrow should think about creating a new thread stand that facilitates feed rail. And sure, you can just feed the cord up but then it dangles and can get caught on things. The masted style thread stand is safer. While I’m on the subject, I intensely dislike the foam that comes on thread stands. It degrades and makes a mess. We used to use felt. I can’t find any felt ones so I’ve resigned myself to having to buy felt and cut them myself.
Last but not least, a new light. Again, it is mostly the older machines that need new lights as the switches have gone bad or the button has worn out. We use the new energy saving florescent bulbs in those for additional savings.
All in all, if you’re spoiled with the whistles and bells of new equipment (like me), you can invest a little money into the machine’s underpinnings and upgrade older machines to make them easier to use, and without a lot of hassle. Total cost for these upgrades are:
Table: $100 plus shipping
Servo: $125+ (I bought the basic unit but there are fancier ones)
Thread stand: $12
Light: $8 -I didn’t need one for this machine but I bought 6 of them for the others.
One last thing you’re likely to need is a belt. I am not clever enough to figure out what size I need until the motor is installed. I picked up some nice ones on Ebay for less than $4 each.