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Topic: Antique machine--Pfaff 130 advice and/or info? (HAS IMAGES)  (Read 4925 times)
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thingwraith
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« on: August 12, 2006 07:01:49 PM »

So I bought this machine, complete with built in fold-out table/desk and chair (with little drawer on it ^_^), for 40$ at the local goodwill.



I didn't know anything about it...I didn't even know if it worked.  My brain just screamed "COOL OLD SEWING MACHINE" when I saw it, and I knew I had to have it.  My husband was even enthusiastic about me buying it, which is unusual. Cheesy

So I get it home and plug it in in my garage before carrying the 100989189182982 ton thing up the 4 flights of steps to my room. 



Whaddya know!?  It works, and it purrs like a kitten.  Quieter and smoother sounding than my 2-year-old Singer.  Sounds very powerful as well.  Hm.  We lug it upstairs, and I start looking in the drawers.
In them I find all these things:



That, in case you can't see it well, is a "Certificate of Lifetime Guarantee" + other documents, dated in the early 50's and bearing the purchaser's name "Mrs. Frank Leitz".  Also, a complete instruction book (with an address in New York for "Lassie" in childish handwriting on the back cover!) and a tin just CHOCK FULL of feet.  You guys, I don't even know what all these feet do, but I can tell you I am intrigued!  I didn't know there were so many feet for sewing machines.  Yep, I'm kind of a noob about sewing machines, hehe.

So here are my questions!
Does anyone here use a Pfaff 130 or any antique electric machine?  How do you like it?  I've desperately wanted to try using this but am afraid to.  Is it ok to plug in and use or will it blow my house up? ^^;
What do all the feet do?  Is anyone good at identifying machine feet or is there a guide online somewhere?  I looked in the manual but it wasn't very helpful. =/
Is there anything in general I should know before I try to use it?  I'm just a nervous nellie, probably, but I'm terrified I'll either break this old beauty or it will blow up my house. ^^;
Any advice would be appreciated! XD
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2006 07:19:45 PM »

The only thing I would do is check the cord for fraying.  If the cord appears in good shape, then plug the ole gal into a surge protector, and get after it!  See if you can google pfaff 130 pressure foot, and see if you can maybe find a list of the different kinds made for this particular machine... I just checked ebay, and you got yourself a steal!  cool beans, and good eye!
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irish_chicky
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2006 07:32:38 PM »

hey that looks like a neat machine, I have an antique 1930's singer and she still works llike a dream, I still use her anyways. Though i am getting a new commercial singer in a few weeks.. oh i cant wait!! I say go for er, if you notice anything wierd happening be careful, and if you really want to call your local sewing machine seller and see if they do toon ups for old machines. getting the gears and things is always a good idea!!
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2006 07:43:28 PM »

This is really funny!  About one month after I joined Craftster and swaps, my modern sewing machine blew up...fried engine...in desperation (I had swap deadlines!!), I found a machine very similar to yours in the garage.  It had belonged to my husband's great grandmother.  There was electrical tape on several parts of the cord, and it had this weird round socket thing to plug in...I was very careful (even had the fire extinguisher near by!), and plugged it in...

The old lightbulb holder (just like yours), lit up so I oiled the thing all over (wherever there was any hole or moving part--I winged it).  It works BETTER than my newer machines!!  Perfect straight stitches, goes through tons of fabric (even denim!), quiet, and just so cool....I have been using it for almost 5 months with no worries...

I have a box of feet and parts and have figured out that some of the stuff is for a buttonhole maker, some are spare parts (apparently, back then, a repair person could be called and would walk you through how to repair your own machine!!)--since my machine does not do zig-zag the "normal" way, I think some of those things make a fake zig-zag--not sure, but I really don't care--I am so happy to use the beautiful straight stitch and it forces me to get back to a simpler style of sewing...much more creative, it seems--not sure why....

Anyway, maybe we can learn more about our gorgeous pieces of sewing history together--I'll be watching this post to see if anyone else has more info...

Hell, if you know it works, use it---may it bring you pleasure for years to come!!!
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2006 08:03:15 PM »

Thanks everyone for the fast replies and advice! ^_^
I am going to google pfaff 130 presser feet, that's a good idea.  Most of them did not come with the machine and are not covered in the manual so who knows what they do (some look like torture devices!).

alwaysinmyroom, I'm so excited that you are using an old machine!  Does your cord look like this:



I am a little scared of that tape (although it doesn't seem to be frayed underneath, just a couple "nicks" in the rubber insulation), and the plug is the old fashioned kind where both of the metal prongs are the same size, not one big one small like most things now.

Also, what about bobbins and stuff?  Mine has one already in the bobbin case with white thread but I don't have any empty ones.  Do you think I could use the plastic ones from my singer?  Also, what about needles?  Have you had to replace the needles or use a specialty one (like jeans needle or ball point)?
Does your machine have a belt on the outside anywhere?  If so, how has that held up to use?
Sorry for all the questions but I'm just glad to find someone who actually using something like this for all their sewing! Smiley
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DIYe_Bitch
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2006 08:06:10 PM »

it happend to me too!!

 Grin

its weird and awesome huh???

god, i was so exited when i saw it

i bought it for 35$

look this is my babei


heheheh
it looks better in person

it came with all that stuff tooo
i didnt take a picture of that

and it came with the instructions and hahahha i laugh when i saw this, a certificate of the machine


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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2006 08:13:22 PM »

i have a couple of older machines, from the 50s and 60s, and they're fabulous. i wouldn't worry about plugging them in, but if you are worried, just don't leave them unattended.

fabulous score though! i bought a $40 ruffler attachment in a baggie of sewing supplies for $3 at the thrift store a few months ago, it's renewed my determination to always check that section!  

if you can take some better pictures of the feet seperately, someone here might be able to figure out what they are.

for the bobbins, you can generally tell very quickly when the one you're using isn't right. i'd pick up a few different kinds and test them. i know that more modern pfaff's (i have one from the late 80s) do take a different size of bobbin than everything else, they're flatter and rounder. as for the needles, again, just test them. i find different machines have different quirks. i had one singer (not all my singers, just one of them!) that would only take one brand of needles, but most machines i've used (upwards of 12-15) will just take standard needles.


you'll need a jeans needle or a ballpoint needle if you're sewing jean or stretch, the machine won't make a difference as to that.  



DIYe_bitch, what kind of machine is that? i love the look of it!
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2006 08:26:27 PM »

I took pics of my machine but I am charging my stupid camera to be able to upload them...is that the part that plugs into the machine or the wall?  Mine is round and only has two metal plug things--yes, all over the cord, there is that black sticky tape...

I use the metal bobbins with two holes in them. But, it also works with the metal bobbins with lots of holes in them--I used both.  There is a belt around the back wheel thing--it looked in great shape.

I used a number 14 generic joann's brand sewing machine needle!!  I had to goof around with how to put the needle in because it seemed it fit every way I put it in...finally, it turned our to be opposite of my newer machines!!

I also cleaned the bobbin holder underneath--at first,the thread was blobbing in the back of everything I sewed!!

crafty_dame--I think one of the things looks like it is a ruffler--thanks--I recognize it now that you mentioned it--the book says it will make ruffles so that must be it!! Looks kinda like something from the Terminator or something!! HA HA

WOW--hope we learn more and I will post pics of mine when I can!!

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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2006 08:51:57 PM »

yeah, i thought it looked like a ruffler too, that's why i mentioned it!
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2006 09:07:05 PM »

DIYe_Bitch, your machine looks awesome!  Does it say "New home" on the side?  I have a vague memory of a commercial for some place like "necchi new home sewing" when I was a kid. ^^

crafty_dame:  I think I have a ruffler in that pile of feet!  Does it look like this:



I have no idea how to use it, but it sounds amazing (I imagine it makes gathered fabric instead of you doing it manually...?).
I *love* the craft section at my local thrift store.  I have gotten such great stuff there for like 10 cents.  Lots of vintage yarn scores, too. Smiley
That's a great idea about the feet...I think I will make a separate with pics.
Oh, I know I have to change the needles based on the fabric...I just wondered if it was hard to find specialty needles to fit in these older machines. ^_^;

alwaysinmyroom:
That is the end that plugs onto my machine.  On the machine is a port with 3 metal prongs that match up into that thing.  I think I will try some of the needles I have laying around here.  I found a top part of a broken needle in the tin with all the feet and it looks pretty much exactly the same so maybe I'm in luck.
About the bobbins I'm not sure sure.  Have to look around and see what I have here.

Thanks so much for all the great info everyone, and I'm glad that so many people are rockin' the older machines. XD
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2006 10:11:14 PM »

http://www.sewingmachine-sales.co.uk/sewing_machine_info/video/62/ruffler-attachment.html

that video shows a newer machine using the ruffle foot, but it might help you figure out how to use yours. also, the video is showing it being used to sew the ruffle directly onto flat fabric, but you don't have to do it that way. i worked for a costumer who made cancan dresses for goldrush shows in the yukon, and we gathered the ruffles, then sewed them onto the dresses.

you can also gather using a shirring foot like this - http://crafty-dame.livejournal.com/10877.html#cutid1 but it won't gather nearly as much, especially if the fabric is thick. i thought the shirring foot was fabulous when i got it, and it's still great for gathering lace when i'm too lazy to put the ruffle foot on, but it's not nearly as fabulous as the ruffle foot!

i've bought feet from www.agreatnotion.com before and they'd be a great way to figure out what the feet you have are for. click on sewing machine and serger accessories, then on sewing machine presser feet, and you get pages of feet to look at!
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2006 10:48:28 PM »

crafty_dame:
That's awesome!  Watching the ruffler in action is pretty freaking cool I have to say.
Thanks for all the links, I am definitely going to check them out. Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2006 09:43:38 AM »

Ha ha--so much fun to learn about my "new" old machine!!I am going to try the ruffler attachment--that would be so cool if it works since I want to make some aprons with ruffles!!

Here is the pic of my new best friend!!  Maybe you can see the rigged up electrical on the right--two types of wiring held together with electrical black tape!!  I do unplug it each night for safety!!



Cool links--thanks crafty_dame!!
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2006 11:59:55 AM »

alwaysinmyroom, your machine is so beautiful!  She really looks even more vintage than mine!  I wonder how old she is...do you know?  I know mine is from 1953 according to the certificate, but yours looks even older. Smiley
Wow, yeah..I think unplugging the cord is a good idea, I hope I can remember to do that when I use this. ^^;
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2006 12:58:37 PM »

Hey, if anyone wants a machine like this there is one on ebay right now for only 30$ (no bids yet).
I found it while searching for more info.
Here's the link if anyone's interested:

http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-PFAFF-130-SEWING-MACHINE_W0QQitemZ260020153894QQihZ016QQcategoryZ41251QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2006 04:36:26 PM »

that looks like a great machine!  i would take it in for a tune up, call around and find someone with experience with antique machines.  i sew with an early-60s singer, its the most wonderful machine ever.  pre-1970s machines will work forever because they have all metal parts, no computers to fry or break down.  lots of sewing machine makers had a program where you could trade your old machine for the latest model, then the dealers would take the traded-in machines out back and smash them to bits!  this kept the price of the machines up, since they weren't going to break down by themselves anytime soon.

have fun with your new/old machine!
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2006 05:44:18 PM »

I'd love to get it checked over and tuned up, but there is nothing in my rural-ish area for that kind of thing.  Also the dang thing weighs about 121829182918 pounds and I dread the thought of moving it again any time soon. ^^;
Just swiveling it up to get at the bobbin case is a chore...ugh haha ok I'm exaggerating but it is really heavy. Smiley
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McJulie-O
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2006 08:01:03 PM »


You guys need to learn how to do simple wiring like replacing power cords and replacing plugs. The youngest Boy Scouts (12 years old) can do those things, and they are not so terribly difficult to learn.
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Miz Spike
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2006 11:11:41 AM »

It looks like an absolutely wonderful machine. Those old metal-bodied straight stitchers will work practically forever if you keep them clean and oiled and the movers don't drop them and wreck the timing. ( It olnly took a couple of years of going to fixit shops before I decided to fiddle with it myself and it works fine now, many years later, but dropping a machine is not recommended).

Congratulations on finding asuperb sewing machine. May you stitch happily fora long time.

Miz Spike
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« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2006 10:36:38 AM »


You guys need to learn how to do simple wiring like replacing power cords and replacing plugs. The youngest Boy Scouts (12 years old) can do those things, and they are not so terribly difficult to learn.


ha ha--I know HOW to wire (I wired my entire basement for lighting), but somehow, I can't bring myself to do it on this machine yet--it just seems like part of the history...I rarely use it now that I have two others to use, thanks to a good friend and my sister!!  It is just for inspiration from my creative relatives of the past....

Weird thing--the body of the machine says MERCURY but the case says SINGER.  I found out from our local sewing machine repair place that almost all of the machines were Singer from this era (1930's?) but other companies like Sears (Kenmore) just put their name brand on it--

The footpedal says 115 volts but most modern houses are 120 volts so I am not sure if just changing out my plugs are going to make it any safer--I will check with my electrician--in the meantime, I just have it set up as a weird home decoration, ha ha

Did you guys see the old sewing machine that was snagged for about $10? It is awesome!! The front part has a gorgeous embossed metal piece--drool!!!



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McJulie-O
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2006 03:25:34 PM »

Quote
The footpedal says 115 volts but most modern houses are 120 volts so I am not sure if just changing out my plugs are going to make it any safer--I will check with my electrician--

Interesting question, definitely the time to consult an expert..

Quote
in the meantime, I just have it set up as a weird home decoration, ha ha

Haha, too. Grin
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TheDishclothQueen
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2006 01:36:14 PM »

Not sure if you're still looking for help, but I'll offer what I can.

First, get thee to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oldpfaffpforum/ and join.  I joined when I first got my old Pfaff, and they're of great help. 

Mine is a 260, I think, so it's not quite as old as yours, but it's up there in years.  I paid $75 for mine, and it has some definate tension issues, so yours is a steal!  Despite the tension problems (which I'm sure are fixable, I just haven't take it in, yet), I am in love w/ this machine.  You're right:  it sews SO much more quietly than any new machine.

Mine came with a ton of feet, too, and they're all described in the manual.  I can't imagine that the function or over all appearance of feet change that much over 10-20 years; if you'd like, I can copy that part of the manual for you.  (I also have an extra case for orgnaizing them better, if you'd like.  When we bought a tackle box, to use as a tool box, it came with two organizer cases.    It looks exactly like this:

I used one for my feet, but have an extra, so if you can use it, I'd be happy to send it along, for shipping.)

I'm SO jealous of your find!
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paroper
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2006 03:32:53 AM »

You might look here for machine feet.  It is a good clear site that can give you some names for your feet although it is not Pfaff.  The older machines came with so many little "pieces" so sometimes it is hard to identify all the parts.

http://www.berninausa.com/search_presser_feet.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302025023&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=1408474395181831&bmUID=1159352942832

That ruffler is worth its weight in gold.  They are wonderful.  They do not gather as we think of ruffles, they makes tiny little perfect pleats.  The width of the pleat is adjusted by an adjustment on your attachment and the stitch length.
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« Reply #23 on: November 25, 2006 07:58:07 PM »

i just got one now i have to get a power cord and manual....
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