I have certainly learned a lot cleaning up Ilona – my Singer 15-88. As you know from this post my Mom has given me her and her sister’s Vintage Sewing Machines. I even bought myself a small hammer and a screwdriver… you know, one of those ones with a bunch of different attachments? I took off all the parts that I dared, carefully photographing every step so that I would know how to put them all back together again. I wiped down all the japanning (black paint) with Sewing Machine Oil (SMO). Some areas I had to use diluted dish soap – the brown staining just wouldn’t come off. Of course, I was also wearing gloves throughout as my hands get dry quickly.
For the chrome pieces I used Brasso. As you can see, some of the pieces were dirtier than others. I was warned to not let anything harsh, like Brasso, touch the decals (gold painted designs on the machine) – so it was much safer to completely remove the parts I wanted to clean with Brasso!
The Brasso cleaned every chrome part quickly.
The difference was amazing!
Ta Da! Face Plate, Throat Plate, Round Cover Plate and Bobbin Cover Plate.
This is the Bobbin Winder Tension Discs – ick!
Chrome cleaner to the rescue!
Nasty. I wonder if this is all tarnish and/or dried up oil? I found thick brown stains everywhere – on the japanning and the chrome. I do know that my Aunt smoked most of her life. Is this normal staining or does nicotine make a mess of these VSMs too?
I got the Tension Assembly apart, cleaned and back together again, BUT I am going to do it again step by step with the manual in preparation for taking Ilona for a test drive! That way I will be sure I’ve done it correctly. There will probably be some adjusting here and there anyway to get Ilona sewing correctly!
Now the Stop Motion Screw is so shiny, I can see the reflection of my camera and fingers in it!
Some final shiny shots of the Bobbin Cover Plate, Throat Plate, and foot. This VSM actually had the original needle in it (stained, of course), but there was a package of Vintage Sewing Needles in the treadle desk drawer so I will start Ilona working with one of those!
Ilona cleaned and polished!
Ilona’s original badge brought back to life!
I’ve prepared some “BEFORE” and “AFTER” shots, or should I say “ICK” and “WOW”? I’m going to have to take apart and put back together the Bobbin Shuttle Assembly again, following the manual this time, as I can see already that it isn’t lining up properly. Lots of work to do yet, to get Ilona running smoothly again!
The Bobbin Winder beside the Balance Wheel.
Ilona’s Future’s so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades!
Cosmetically I have finished this VSM, now I have to clean and repair the broken treadle desk, clean the Irons, attach the Treadle Belt that I have ordered, check the Thread Tension Assembly and the Bobbin Shuttle Assembly and I should check the Bobbin Winder Assembly too … and that’s it!
In the meantime, I have cut out some projects…
To continue my “Sister’s Sewing Projects“, McCall’s M7169. She has chosen two fabrics, a flowered print and a black to make this two toned dress.
For myself, Simplicity 8740, a 1999 pattern for a pair of pants. I just want to make a simple pair of elastic waisted pants with this light fabric I recently purchased in Vancouver.
Lastly, for myself, the “Polly Top” a FREE PDF sewing pattern from By Hand London. I have wanted to do this one for for a long time. I certainly have enough small pieces saved up to get a few of these done! I was thinking a denim version first, with red top stitching, to match my denim skirt.
What pattern are you working on next… a dress? a skirt? what’s happening out there?
Before I go, it’s time for me to take a couple of weeks off for summer – hopefully we’ll get some nice weather, not too hot, not too cold, but just right! Keep posting so I can keep reading and I’ll see you in about two weeks.