Hello there dear readers. I've been on a favorite path, boldly going where no other sewing machine restorers have gone before. Or at least if they have, they haven't been writing about it online.
The Singer Spartan, Model 192, is my favorite model to convert to hand crank for children. It's the budget version of the Singer 99, a 3/4 size machine. The smaller size means that a child does not have to reach as far to turn the hand crank.
And Anna, one of my favorite child friends, loves sewing and sewing machines. She just turned 7 and I had promised her a sewing machine of her own for her birthday. She liked the antique machines with beautiful decals on display in the DragonPoodle Museum, aka the living room.
So: Spartan, good. Beautiful decals, good. Problem: Spartans are the plainest machines ever. There are NO decorations on them aside from the name "Spartan". Kind of Spartan, lol.
There are colorful decals available for a 3/4 size machine, but they are all for the antique shuttle machines, which have a different bed configuration. I've been wanting to try them out on a 99 or a 192, so this was the perfect opportunity.
I've had a couple of 99s with worn decals and chipped and worn paint sitting around, but on a fairly recent thrift store visit I spotted a Spartan sitting on the floor in a cardboard box. I snapped it up. It had a pound and a half of lint in it (perhaps a slight exaggeration) but the exterior was clean and glossy. After cleaning and oiling all it needed were some nice decals.
I ordered LaVencedora decals from Keeler Sales on eBay. I have bought decals from them before and have had good results. The others were just gold though, not colors. If you examine their photos online you can tell that they are not as detailed as the originals. The colors lack shading, which is also true of their all gold decals. They are pretty, but they do not exactly duplicate the originals. Google images for the model you are interested in and compare them with the images of the Keeler sales decals. Know what you are buying so you won't be disappointed.
I scanned the decals and printed out two copies. I cut the motifs out of one of the copies, figured out where they were going to go on the machine and then made notes on the other copy. I deliberately did NOT look at pictures of these decals on the Singer 28 for which they were designed because that was irrelevant and trying to get them in the "right" place would just have muddled me.
The picture above is an actual Singer 28 with LaVencedora decals, the picture I deliberately ignored during the placement process. Sadly I don't have a picture that shows the sliding shuttle cover plates.
I began the practice decal placement with the big obvious motifs and taped them to the machine, working my way down to the smaller ones. This worked out much more easily than I expected, given the fact that the bed configuration is completely different in the bobbin area.
Once I figured out where everything was going to go, I applied the decals. I have written in detail about the process of applying decals before (see the links to "Paint and Decal Sewing Machines" at the top of this page).
Longtime readers will know that my usual policy is to describe every tiny problem that arises in excruciating detail, and to do the same with any tiny flaws that result. Because one of the major missions of this blog is to try things out and let you know how well they work and what the pitfalls are.
When the machine is a gift however I don't do this. No point in spoiling the pleasure of the recipient who might be reading this. Or her mother who might be reading it. So I'm not telling you, nyah, nyah, nyah.
I also added a label on the back, gold lettering showing through a black decals (again, see links at top of page for directions.)
I finished it NOT with a clear coat spray as I have done before, but with three coats of brush on acrylic lacquer. I really, really liked this. I like the fact that you don't have to tape anything off, as long as you use a small-ish brush and take care around the needle plate and oil holes. I like that fact that it is WAY thicker than the spray coat. It's lovely and glossy. My technique could be improved but it turned out really well and I will definitely make this my go-to technique in the future.
The results; SPECTACULAR. If I do say so myself. Anna has only seen photos so far, and she texted me a whole paragraph of hearts and kisses emojis. It looks ever better in person than it does in the photos and I'm really looking forward to her next visit when she gets to see it for real.
Even the hand crank got a little decal (after painting out the one it came with.)
I prefer the Spartan to the 99 because it requires NO modification for the bobbin winder to work. Having said that, winding a bobbin on a hand crank is a tedious and boring task. Most people seem to wind their bobbins on an electric machine or use a Side Winder (small bobbin winding machine).
I did find prewound class 66 bobbins at Joann's recently, both black and white and colors. Last time I searched for these I could only find class 15. I don't know if these are new or if I just never saw them before.
My notes tell me* that a 99 has to be in a base to work (otherwise the working bits slam into the table and it doesn't function that way). The 192 that I just worked on didn't need the base, and worked just fine sitting naked on the table top. The 192 plastic bases are fragile by now and often missing or seriously broken, although this machine did still have an intact one.
*Let me know if you can confirm this about the 99. It's been a while since I worked on one.
Would you try adapting decals from one model on to a different model? Or perhaps you have already tried it. Let me know in the comments below.
There are other pretty decals for the 28 and the full size 128. I'm glad to have done this, happy with the results for Anna, who had specifically requested decals with gold and pretty colors. I doubt if I will do it again however. I would rather try something else next time. I do like the gold though. The technique I INVENTED (ahem, modest bow. OK, totally self-congratulatory bow) for the black label with gold lettering showing through works well for lettering but I doubt if I could get satisfactory results for anything more complicated. But there are a couple more ideas germinating about that. Watch this space!
There's a reason for the long delay since my last post. I've been well. Not what you expected, right? I have chronic fatigue syndrome, which waxes and wanes. I've been very well for a couple of months, which means less time sitting in my recliner blogging and more time out running around living the wild life. Which for my demographic means lots of trips to lots of thrift stores. So when you don't hear from me for a while, it's probably a good thing!