Sewing Equipment

Other provisions not covered above that may make survival easier if your life is tossed out of the norm. This section is for discussing everything from arc welders to underwear.

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Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:37 pm

This probably doesn't spring to the mind of everyone when it comes to survival gear, but sewing-equipment is important when the world goes to hell.

I don't mean six inches of thread and a needle for when your button falls off your shirt. I mean a proper sewing-kit. Shears, measuring-tape, chalk, thimbles, needles, thread, buttons, everything.

In a world where society is shot to pieces and you might have to find yourself in any number of situations, trying to make or repair clothes is an important skill. Especially when you don't have many clothes. And winter is coming. And there's no central-heating. And you're freezing your ass off. Or perhaps your rucksack that holds all your survival gear is ripped and it's gotta be fixed? You need something that's gonna work.

My suggestion: Older is better.

I speak from a little bit of experience here; my grandmother was a dressmaker for 50 years. When she died, I inherited her entire sewing-outfit. Everything from tracing-wheels to her nine-inch soild steel dressmaking shears. If nothing else, those'll harpoon zombie-eyes real good.

Having a sewing-machine would be important for any big fix-ups, like broken tents and ripped clothes. I suggest something like this:

Image

The is a Singer 128-model Vibrating-Shuttle sewing machine from 1936. Not only is it made of steel and cast iron and looks real flashy and oldschool...it is also mechanical and completely handpowered. So long as you have a pair of hands and two eyes, you can use this machine. It doesn't need ANY electricity at all.

And don't let its age fool you. Old Singers like this can literally sew you a tent of canvas if you need it. Yes, even something nearly 80 years old. If the Zombie Apocalypse comes, I'm packing that up along with all its stuff, and taking it with me.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by TacAir » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:09 am

I've got a Singer Mod 66, lloks like this
Image
converted for electric. Made in 1948. Nice heavy duty home machine.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by maldon007 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:50 am

I wonder how hard it would be to do the opposite, and put a hand crank on a newer electric... Mine's electric, but no digital stuff, just the one motor, no servos or whatever is on those high end deals.

fake edit: just went and looked, seems totally doable, the disconnect/clutch thingy seems to let the disk on the side run the mechanism, disconnected from the motor. Maybe a rubber belt around that disk, running to a smaller bearing-mounted pully/windlace type deal... Or something like that :lol:

Have to wait till the PAW to see though, pretty much the wife's machine (though I use it more :lol: )... Dont think she would go for such a mod... while power still flows, anyway.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Dawgboy » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:24 am

Recently sold a 66 for 125 bucks. best part? Found it in a dumpster... Great machines, but I have a Pfaff I like more, and My girlfriend has a couple singers as well. She constructs clothing all the time, so I it's covered.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by lovesmuggler » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:01 am

I have a big Juki industrial machine for making and working on gear, it'll sew through anything. I wear eye protection when sewing with it, when those thicker needles break look out!
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by colinz » Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:27 am

Shangas wrote: Image

The is a Singer 128-model Vibrating-Shuttle sewing machine from 1936. Not only is it made of steel and cast iron and looks real flashy and oldschool...it is also mechanical and completely handpowered. So long as you have a pair of hands and two eyes, you can use this machine. It doesn't need ANY electricity at all.
You had me at Singer... :clap:

Along with all the sewing gear is the knowledge of how to use it.

Maldon - Maybe the modern machine could be converted to work with a treadle table? The original 'hands free'! ;)

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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:18 am

So long as it's not a REALLY REALLY REALLY modern machine, just about any sewing-machine can be converted to foot-treadle, or handcrank.

Sewing-machines made up until about the 19...60s? 70s? Thereabouts? After that, designs and such, changed so much that it's just not possible anymore.

In a disaster situation where you have NO idea what might happen, you would need to know how to sew. And having a good sewing-machine will not only make the job incredibly easy (or 'easier'), but will also speed things up.

Vintage and antique sewing-machines, of the style that lasted up until about 1960s-era, were all built to last. I mean that literally. They will take all kinds of abuse and they'll keep on going. That's why I keep one around the house.

These machines were built out of 99% steel and iron. And given proper maintenance, they'll run forever. There's NO electronics in these. NO wires, NO circuitry or computer-chips. NOTHING to "update" or "rewire" or 'check out'.

Converting a 1930s-1970s sewing-machine from electronic to handcrank, or even treadle-operation, is exceedingly easy. All you need is the correct balance-wheel (buy one online), a crank-handle (buy one on ebay), one bolt of the correct size (ebay, or your local hardware store), two screwdrivers, and a can of sewing-oil. And that is ALL YOU NEED. You can do it easily in half an hour. Or less.

For those of you looking to kit-out your air-raid shelters, zombie-forts, fallout-vaults, etc, forget about electric sewing machines.

They're one more thing to suck juice out of whatever generator you have. You want that to power really important stuff, like a radio, or lights, or whatever.

A mechanical sewing machine will keep you fit, and it won't drain the batteries. And they will run until doomsday.

They're INCREDIBLY robust. And these are just household machines. The industrial ones are even tougher. I've fixed about four or five of these antiques, and I speak from experience when I say that they are literally impossible to destroy. To break one of these machines, you would need a welding torch, or a chainsaw.

And even then, the chainsaw would break before the machine would. So you better get two, if you want to do a proper job. That's because these machines were cast out of a single, solid piece of iron. And they're HEAVY. on their own, the bodies weigh about 5kg. But with the mechanics and the base and the lid and all the other stuff, you're talking 30-40lbs.

Old vintage sewing-machines are easy to buy. And they're easy to fix. They were designed to be idiot-proof, and they were designed to sew the world together. Most people are amazed that they are this strong. But in truth, they had to be.

Don't forget that when someone bought an old treadle Singer, a'la, this:

Image

they used it to sew together EVERYTHING.

I don't mean nanna's lace knickers and doilies for the coffee-table. I mean stuff like denim jeans. Jackets. Shirts. Curtains. Bedsheets. Even leather belts, saddles, harnesses, bags, satchels...EVERYTHING. Because it was the ONLY tailor that you had. Singer and companies like it, could not afford to sell you something that was crap. If it was crap, you wouldn't buy it, and they'd be out of business.

If anyone wants to buy an old sewing-machine like this for their bug-out hut or for prepping or general use, they're cheap, and provided that they haven't been welded together with a blowtorch, you can get it running again (provided it has no missing parts). You just need the right tools and a bottle of sewing-oil.

The other thing about these old sewing machines is that they are INCREDIBLY portable. No I'm not kidding. If you have a handcrank Singer like what I have there, you can literally take it ANYWHERE with you. Just fold up the handle (yes, they fold up), drop the case on, lock it up, pick it up, put it in the car, strap it on your bike, put it on your luggage-cart, and wheel it off.

So you're going to a log cabin in the woods where there's no electricity? No problem! Just put it on the desk, the kitchen table, even on the FLOOR. Unfold the handle, lock it in place, and start cranking. Instant machinery. No fuss, no worry, no "is the cable long enough?", or "the power went out!", or "the motor seized up on me".

This is a posting which I wrote on my blog. It's my personal guide to how to get your vintage or antique sewing-machine working. I guarantee that following these instructions WILL get your machine working. I got four completely jammed antiques running perfectly, using these techniques. If it works on those, it'll work on anything else.

Here it is: http://scheong.wordpress.com/2012/05/20 ... g-machine/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by TacAir » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:43 am

The old Singers (and others) are cool. BUt very limited

How about foot powered AND modern?

Handle all your household sewing jobs, without ever relying on electricity. This exceptional unit offers the accuracy and control of the foot-powered models people used a century ago, with the added convenience of a thoroughly modern machine for today's sewing needs. Designed for frequent use- Unlike many cheap reproductions, this is a good, quality machine that will endure years of hard use. In fact, in our area it is the model used by many Amish women. Several built-in stitches including buttonhole, zigzag, feather and triple stitch. Includes stitch length dial, thread tension dial and reverse stitch lever for advanced sewing capabilities (instruction booklet included). Round rubber 1/4"OD belt provides efficient power transfer.

Image

Lehman's, the ready source of all things non-electric.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:57 pm

I wouldn't agree for a minute about "limited". Those old machines can do absolutely everything that a modern machine can.

Because if they couldn't, then Singer, Pfaff, etc, would all have gone out of business ages ago.

Those machines can do zigzags, buttonholes, hems, tucks, pleats, rolls, forward and reverse stitching (although this last didn't really show up in major brand machines until the 1930s-1950s). Stitch-length and tension were standard features on all machines.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by TacAir » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:59 pm

Shangas wrote:I wouldn't agree for a minute about "limited". Those old machines can do absolutely everything that a modern machine can.

Because if they couldn't, then Singer, Pfaff, etc, would all have gone out of business ages ago.

Those machines can do zigzags, buttonholes, hems, tucks, pleats, rolls, forward and reverse stitching (although this last didn't really show up in major brand machines until the 1930s-1950s). Stitch-length and tension were standard features on all machines.
????
My old Singer will only do straight stitch, forward and reverse. No zigzag (a biggie) and all the other more modern stuff waws a wonder back then - as in I wonder how they did the neat buttonholes...
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by colinz » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:06 pm

Singer used to sell a separate buttonhole attachment for their machines. Im in the process of tracking one down to have a play with.

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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by colinz » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:09 pm

Tac Air, i really like that modern machine attached to a treadle table. I can see it working for all the modern mechanical machines, not so much the electronic ones though.

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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:31 pm

TacAir wrote:
Shangas wrote:I wouldn't agree for a minute about "limited". Those old machines can do absolutely everything that a modern machine can.

Because if they couldn't, then Singer, Pfaff, etc, would all have gone out of business ages ago.

Those machines can do zigzags, buttonholes, hems, tucks, pleats, rolls, forward and reverse stitching (although this last didn't really show up in major brand machines until the 1930s-1950s). Stitch-length and tension were standard features on all machines.
????
My old Singer will only do straight stitch, forward and reverse. No zigzag (a biggie) and all the other more modern stuff waws a wonder back then - as in I wonder how they did the neat buttonholes...
My handcrank 1936 128k, hell, my gran's 1950 99k, will do all those things. They simply do it MECHANICALLY, not electronically.

You could buy attachments and such, that would allow you to do it. I have two buttonholers, a zigzagger, a tucker, ruffler, edger, hemmer, seam-guide, and god knows what else. All made of solid steel. And they all work. Even the buttonholer, and that one can be a bitch to operate if you don't know how.

ALL Singers could be bought with these things, or you could go to your local sewing-shop, and buy them separately back in the old days.

Of course, now in the 21st century, you have to track down these pieces the hard way, through flea-markets and eBay, but they are out there. I have almost a complete set.

Before you start calling foul, here's a few photos.

My zigzagger:

Image
Image
Box, cam, dog-plate, attachment screw, cams, and instruction-manual. All from the 1950s.

Image

The red box is my buttonholer (one of two), the zigzagger, and one of my old manuals. The green box (below red) is a traditional Singer attachments box. When you bought your machine brand-new, EVERY one came with a box like that, full of bits and pieces. Everything from screwdrivers to widgets and bobbins, and tubes of motor-grease...

Image

Some of the attachments...

Image

...and how they attach:

Image

...this here is the seam-guide :)

So sorry, I can't agree with you when you say that vintage machines can't do what modern ones can. They can do what modern machines can. They just do it differently.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by gallowglas » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:19 pm

I have a foot powered singer sewing machine. Not sure I can work it. Inhereted it from my grandmother who sewed her wedding dress on it. This is a good project just to get it working.

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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by TacAir » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:06 am

gallowglas wrote:I have a foot powered singer sewing machine. Not sure I can work it. Inhereted it from my grandmother who sewed her wedding dress on it. This is a good project just to get it working.
On the front, right side of the head is a brass plate, find the number - go here
http://www.ismacs.net/singer_sewing_mac ... abase.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

With the model number in hand, look for the manual on line, most manuals are on line, no need to buy an badly done scan job.


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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Ten Eight » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:32 am

My parents have an old sewing machine that has the foot pedal, and it's an antique....that's all I know about it. I've never thought to check it out.

Hmm. More research is needed:cool:. Maybe I'll try to get it running and refinished. I might take some pics.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by DJH » Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:34 am

For my sewing needs, I keep a GF with an Etsy store around.

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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Readphnx » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:47 am

I keep an awl in my sewing gear. After sewing canvas tents by hand I've learned the hard way how nice having an awl is. No more blood stains on the canvas or sore thumbs.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Ten Eight » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:46 pm

Took some crappy pics. I'll post them here in a bit. It's a "New Home" brand. I haven't googled anything about it yet.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Ten Eight » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:42 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Any ideas?
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:31 am

Your sewing-machine is a vibrating-shuttle machine. Second-generation.

1st. Gen = Transverse Shuttle.

2nd. Gen = Vibrating Shuttle.

3rd. Gen = Round Bobbin (most modern machines of this variety).

So long as you have the shuttle (bullet-shaped thing) and the bobbins (barbell-shaped things), you can get it going. These things are easy to get running again. I can give full instructions if you're interested. Needles for this style of machine can be purchased at any supermarket or sewing-shop worth its salt.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Ten Eight » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:58 pm

Nice! Thanks for the info. I'm going to go through the parts and do some Googling this weekend.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by Shangas » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:54 pm

It's easy to get these machines running.

Pull them apart. Clean them. Put them back together again. Oil them with sewing-macine oil. Run the machine to spread the oil around.

As I posted further up, don't be afraid about using a bit of extra force on these machines. They're well-capable of handling such things.

You could by a leather strap to use as a belt or something if you need a new drive-belt for the treadle.
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Re: Sewing Equipment

Post by gallowglas » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:19 pm

Oldest daughter who was down on her luck was staying with us and using the sewing machine table as a computer/work desk. I took it out now that she has moved. Husband is in favor of me making it work.

comment from me "this is the first time I've actually looked at the machine itself."

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