No, not Willow’s 9hp Petter engine but my 1931 Singer sewing machine! I inherited it from my dad, who got it from his dad, who was given it by his sister-in-law, my Great Aunt Cissie. I’ve written about it before, when I used it to make bunting for the River Festival, but after that it had gone back into its box and not been out again, until a few days ago when James needed a “Greek” costume for school. I decided to sew a simple tunic out of an old sheet so got it out and reminded myself how to use it. I managed to make the tunic but the machine creaked ominously whilst doing so and I resolved to spend a bit of time giving the machine some tlc.
Here are a few “before” photos. Every metal surface was properly rusty and covered in grime.
I removed all the little metal bits and the screws holding them on, including the bobbin winding mechanism, putting sets of bits which belong together in little plastic bags with labels on so not to lose them or get confused. As I took it apart I photographed all the parts to help me put them back together! The plastic bags I pricked holes in then dunked all the bits in a tub containing cola overnight, to loosen the rust and grime and bring them up shinier before reattaching them.
Then I set to the body of the machine and the bits which wouldn’t come off and cleaned and polished them all up, using wire wool, a rag, a toothbrush, some WD40 for the innards and Peek metal polish for the outside. It was extremely satisfying to see it all come up looking shiny and clean. Yes, it still has a few scratches and the veneer of the box is coming away in the corners but it is looking much better, and more importantly the mechanism is running beautifully smoothly now. Soon, I hope to find time to make new curtains for the living room and bedroom windows, and it’s great to know that I’ve got a machine ready to use for the task!