Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Vintage Italian Necchi

This little machine was sold locally on Craig's List.  It's a Supernova Automatica, made around 1955 in Italy.  The cabinet was an original, but suffered tornado damage 2 years ago and was too much for me to try to repair.  Instead, I found an old cabinet, also on Craig's List that someone started to convert to an ice bucket.  They stopped mid-project after painting it this delightful Carribean Blue and got rid of it.

So it's been a work in progress for me.  It's not quite perfect now, but getting closer.  I cleaned the machine inside and out and oiled it until every moving part works beautifully.  I've even tried the decorative stitching using the cams and it's been amazing to see those stitches.  However, the feed dogs were broken and I've felt that I should replace them before sewing on this machine more regularly.

 You can see below the old feed dogs on the fabric and the new ones with both of the long pieces installed now.  It was tricky to remove because those older Italian flat head screws had really thin slots.  Mr. Seeing Stars stepped in to help me find a bit and a socket wrench to get in the small space under the harp to fix it.
There's a yahoo group for vintage Necchi machines with a service manual in pdf form in the Files section.  It's really helpful to have as a reference for any maintenance or repairs.

Although the light works, it's really dim.  I need an additional light source to sew with this machine.  I'm on the hunt for a new light bulb to see it I can find something a little brighter.  One of the spool pins is broken, but I can live with that for now.

I haven't tried to wind a bobbin yet.  I must admit that this older style method intimidates be a little bit.  There's an inner and outer part of the handwheel and you need to twist the inner while holding the outer still to set up a bobbin wind without engaging the needle up/down.  Since I have a Sidewinder, I've relied on that to get my bobbins wound.  The Necchi bobbins and Bernina bobbins are interchangeable.  That's really handy!  I also haven't adjusted the presser foot pressure, but I think it was set pretty high to make up for the broken feed dogs.

Overall, even though I've cleaned and cleaned, I think this machine needs more work with q-tips to get it looking a little better, inside and out.  After I cleaned it up and was so proud of my progress, I saw photos of other machines and realized there's still much more I should do to get it sparkling again.  But I've made terrific progress, even using a little car wax to shine it up. 

I'm looking forward to using the cams to add fancy stitches on my next quilt.  I share that work in progress soon.  I've played with quarter inch seams and found that I can use the feed dog slot on the right with the needle to the left and get a nice quarter inch seam.  Piecing several fabrics into a 4.5 inch block is working well for me, so I'm thrilled.  The stitch quality is terrific and I can appreciate the engineering on this machine so much more than many of the newer models.

One of my camera shy sewing buddies.  Taken before the field corn was cut.

This one came with all the accessories and the user's manual.  However, the user's manual (copyright 1955) is separating from the binding and the accessory box is broken (we'll blame this on the tornado).  I plan to take the manual to an office store to see what they recommend.  One problem is that a diagram is on one page, but the description of a function might be 2 pages later.  It's really distracting to keep flipping back and forth.  A user's manual makeover would be very helpful and not too difficult if I scan the original and just rework to align text and diagrams.

Mr. Seeing Stars is planning to help me with the cabinet again.  He cut a piece of wood which supports the weight of the machine at its front edge and I added hinges to hold it in place.  But that's not a good design, so we'll remove the hinges, fill in the holes and repaint, then go to Plan B.  I'll share more when we get that part finished.

Officially, this machine belongs to our younger teen.  However, since she'd rather disassemble the gears to build a robot, I'll keep possession of it until the time when it might be used for sewing.  I might even take it to a retreat at the end of the month.  Imagine my delight when I realized the ruler extension table for my Tin Lizzie fits beautifully on this machine when not in the cabinet.

More sewing buddies.  This trio comes by daily.  They don't run away when we're outside now talking and cooking on the grill, but their 4 friends are quite scared of us.

Tomorrow (or soon), I'll share another vintage find. These are my excuse for not having finished projects to share with you for the past month or so.

Enjoy your day!
- SeeingStars

1 comment:

  1. Love the vintage necchi!!! I have a Silvia Maximatic (probably a 70s model, but made in Italy)

    Beautiful quilts projects!!