Monday, March 11, 2013

The DragonPoodle Economic Model. And A Treadle.

Myra, at my house, working on a Singer 27

Myra brought her "new" Singer 27 over and we took a look at it.  Got it oiled and turning freely, talked about what else can be done with the exterior.  But we never got it to make a decent stitch.  Swapped out bobbins, shuttles, and even the tensioner (!!!!!!) with a 27 of mine.  No luck.  My 27 is also new-to-me, and I haven't tried sewing with it yet, so who knows, maybe they both have bad tensioners.  We haven't given up, and I'm ordering new springs for both, so we will try again.

Myra's 1906 Singer 27 with Tiffany decals
But in the meantime, Myra wants a pretty machine for her treadle.  It was a birthday present from her dad, her husband got it put back together and they put new veneer on the top.  She restored the rest of the finish and it looks terrific.

Have you ever replaced the veneer on a sewing machine cabinet?  They did a great job.

They have worked on the color match since this photo was taken.

So I sold her one of my personal treasures, a Singer 66 with Lotus decals, brown variant.  I bought it for its good looks because I really don't like sewing on a 66--a fact which I fully disclosed to Myra before closing the deal, which included a certain amount of money and the rest in fresh eggs from her hens.

Singer 66, Lotus decals, before I restored it.  It is even prettier now, as you will see in the photo below.

Now it is Myra's Lotus!

I would have taken just eggs, but it is often hard to explain the DragonPoodle economic model to normal people.  Well, I explain it, but obviously it does not make sense to anyone but me. 
1909 Singer 66 Lotus in a 1906 treadle.  They make a lovely couple, don't you think?

When I figured out that I would never make any money
  • selling crafts, or
  • restoring sewing machines
I had a flash of revelation (no kidding) that went thusly:

 "instead of trying to make money, why not try to avoid making money?"

followed by a vague misty feeling that I had found a Path.  Even I thought I was crazy, though.

But it works.  When I can keep money out of the equation it changes everything. 

I do have to pay money to acquire sewing machines, though, so I don't mind selling them.   Money does have its uses.

However I would MUCH rather have fresh eggs from the hens of someone I know than money.  Much.

Bartering is part of the DragonPoodle economic model, but it goes farther than that.  It also includes not charging money for doing things I really want to do, like spending an afternoon with a friend with our fingers all greasy and dirty cleaning a sewing machine from 1906. 

And because I'm avoiding making money, it's easy to turn down people who want me to fix their sewing machines.  Unless they want to come over here and disassemble it with me.   That's not work, that's entertainment.

Back to the Lotus:
we were initially puzzled by the bobbin winder.  I tried the largest tire I had, and it didn't fit.

Then I realized that the bobbin winder rides on the treadle belt. 

So how do you know if there isn't a belt or bobbin tire in sight?  It's easy once you know how.  Just like everything.

If the groove in the bobbin winder and the groove in the hand wheel line up with one another, then don't bother trying out the bobbin tires!

The angle of this photo makes then look a bit off, but they are straight on.

There are ridges on the edges of the bobbin winder groove, another clue that a treadle belt is meant to be grabbed there.

The bobbin winder is nowhere near the handwheel on the Singer 27.  It is mounted low on the pillar.
Here's Myra's 27 again.

BTW, that's one difference between a 27 and a 127:  on the 127 the bobbin winder is mounted higher, and does come into contact with the handwheel, and takes a bobbin tire.

And here's a closeup from my 1896 Singer 27.  

The groove for the treadle belt on the handwheel and the groove on the bobbin winder align perfectly.

You push the bobbin winder up into contact with the belt (belt not shown here, obviously) to wind the bobbin and push it back down to disengage it.

if two grooves align, no tire needed

Here's a more modern Singer 66.  This machine only missed going to Afghanistan by one day, but that's another story.

There is a motor belt in the handwheel groove, it looks gray in the photo.  To the right of it is the bobbin winder tire,which is riding on a flat place on the handwheel.

So if the groove in your bobbin winder lines up with a flat place on the handwheel, you need a bobbin tire for it to ride on.

if its flat, you need a tire!


  1. As always Cheryl, thank you for your most informative posts! Loved seeing the process that you and Myra went through. Believe me, if I had a friend like her, I'd be bartering for fresh eggs too! You are encountering the same issues I am . . . can't get it to make a stitch no matter what is done or tried. I've a 1895 Singer 127 with the thumb release tensioner tab. I replaced the tension spring, but it will not stay in place. Instead of the 9 o'clock position it springs up to the 11 o'clock position and will not perform its function and return to the 9 o'clock position. I've readjusted the the regulating plate adjusting screw and moved the regulating plate to either the right or the left in increments with no difference!! Frustrating. Page 15 of my reprinted service manual says "To adjust the timing of the take-up spring, loosen the regulating plate adjusting screw, and move regulating plate either toward the right to complete its action later or toward the left to complete its action earlier. Then securely tighten adjusting screw." The last time I did it to the left the screw broke off so now I have a new issue to deal with!! Never ending fun and troubleshooting, right?!

  2. I LOVE your economic model! I think I will adopt it! Laura

  3. Thank you, you just save me so much frustration. I have a White Family Rotary and we're looking everywhere for a bobbin tire. I read your post and guess what... Now I can turn my attention to searching for a key. God bless you for your economic model, too. The world will be that much kinder and happier a place for each person who takes up your idea.


Say hello or leave a comment here. I would love to hear from you! If your own settings are set to receive a comment back, I will write to you. If you don't hear back from me, you will know that your own settings are set to "no reply".

I have to block anonymous posts to prevent spam. I am really sorry if this excludes you.