Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sew and So

Okay, so, I got all inspired by this website the other day... 
I thought it would be neat to have one of these totes. Looked easy enough.
So I was telling the hub that I wanted to get my moms machine out and start sewing...oh my! That was an adventure in itself! This sucker, a NELCO  SZ-217 is heavy and vintage! It was a workout cleaning this thing, moving it around, wiping and dusting it down. Mom gave it to me about a year before she died and it has pretty much sat in its case. When I would borrow it before that, she often would have to come over and thread the darn thing! Usually resulting in her sewing what I started. :D And the bobbin...don't ask...I could never get it! Of course she made it look so easy, everything just seemed to glide together from threading to sewing, she made it look so simple! She was a natural! In great desperation, I searched for this machine online as it had no manual and I didn't think I  would even be able the thread it! I found one website (of very few) that had a little information on this machine. Of course it was characterized as "vintage" but a beast! I found this website to be really cool as well Her post on this machine made me chuckle as I could relate, having this same machine.

So I got this wild hair thinking I was going to sew up a storm! So by a miracle I got it threaded! And you can imagine my excitement and relief that there was thread on the bobbin! I was READY! Hmmm...was missing one thing...MATERIAL! So I practiced on a paper towel. So as I was expressing my frustration to the hub, he offered one of his old BDU uniforms. I was pretty excited as I have seen a few websites where people make these cute bags etc.. and sell them...customized and just so cute! So I had to find something for the lining...thought of a cute patterned tee shirt but nothing was floating my boat. Hohumm, had to wait til I could go to Hobby Lobby the next morning...where I found some cute clearance material...being my first "real" project, didn't want to invest a whole lot.

Ok, all set, threaded, material and my moms two big sewing boxes, chock full of sewing notions. Practice pieces ready! Here we go!

Big let down...needle kept cutting its own thread, stitches were loopy and my bobbin was almost out of thread! Guess all those knobs mean something! What are all these knobs and buttons supposed to be set at?? So in frustration I posted pics of this machine in hopes that my talented and sew "techies" could help...of course my aunt and cousin were very helpful! But nothing was, before the urge left me, I pulled out my Lil Sew-n-Sew the hub got me for Christmas

Well, my sewing adventure was finally coming together. Three days to do a two hour project...LOL But it's done, none the less and not too shabby for my first real project! Thanks to the hub for helping me with a confusing part, but it all came together.

Here is the short story, in pictures.

What do these do??

Dial in some smarts, cause I'm not gettin it

The Beast!

Noah being silly modeling my creation!

My lil' Sew-n-Sew...tiny but does the job!

Tip Junkie handmade projects


  1. SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!! I learned to sew on a very vintage extras at all...I sewed all the time on that...I have a little Brother sewing machine is great...and about 20 years old...almost vintage itself...ha. Your new sewing machine looks great...and the bag (tote) turned out really nice. YOU CAN DO IT!!! I am so proud of you even trying! WOOT!!! Hugs

  2. I'm glad my blog post brought some humor to you. Admittedly I no longer have this machine. I used it enough that I decided to purchase a more modern machine. Two major things factored into that decision; 1. The tension knob was fiddly, and 2. As far as I can tell you can't find feet for this machine. When I bought my new machine I gave the Nelco to goodwill for someone else to learn on.

    I have been using a different machine for over a year now, so I may be confusing things with my current machine. However, I still tried to label the machine images so you could at least get started.

    Dials & Levers:

    How to thread a bobbin:

    Here is a great diagram for threading the bobbin. It looks like the same bobbin assembly as ours:

    This machine is a workhorse & mine powered through things I had no business asking it to do. I hope yours is as useful to you as mine was. Let me know if you have any specific questions! Elkechan

  3. Thanks for your input Kristan :0)
    I did kind of give up on the Nelco :( Just wasn't working out too well. I of course will keep it...for a bit longer anyway...see what comes of it...but for now, will use the lil sew-n-sew...Thanks for the links! Very neat! I hope to see more of your projects as well. I admire that you knit...I have tried that and just haven't grasped...will stick to crochet ;)
    Thanks again!!!

  4. I use an old's made of metal! I does straight and zig-zag and that's IT. I got it new in 1970 and I wouldn't trade it for anything! But....I'm starting to think I just might need ANOTHER one. One that does fancy stitches......

  5. That is so cool! I loved even the old home-ec machines! I like simple...fancy is fun though!!! I just want something I can figure out half the time...LOL

    Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!!!


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