"In het verleden behaalde resultaten bieden geen garanties voor de toekomst"
About this blog

These are the ramblings of Matthijs Kooijman, concerning the software he hacks on, hobbies he has and occasionally his personal life.

Most content on this site is licensed under the WTFPL, version 2 (details).

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My old blog (pre-2006) is also still available.

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If everything else fails, I can always become a sewing machine mechanic

Some time ago, I got a somewhat strange gift. An old sewing machine, that had belonged to Moniek's late grandmother. It hadn't been used in quite some time, but José and Moniek thought we could find a use for it. Brenda already has her own sewing machine (a new one, bought a year ago), but when we are both working on some costume, one machine is just not enough (especially when we need different colours of thread).

The sewing machine was quite an old one though, and not used in years. It is an electrical sewing machine (so not ancient), but there is no plastic involved (it's fully built out of metal and weighs a ton). It has no fancy features, but simple and seperate flexible controls (as opposed to newer sewing machines, which tend to have a single lever that selects between various presets). The motor and the general mechanic still worked fine, so there was still hope of getting it into a usable state. However, a couple of parts did not work all that well, so it has been standing unused until today.

Tonight I've taken a bit more time to look closer into the parts that did not work properly and even disassembling parts of the machine. I already knew that sewing machines were complex things, but I was still struck by the extreme density of ingenious constructions crammed into it. Every detail is perfectly matched, fit and aligned, and when you think enough about all the strange rings, holes, levers and other weird things, you can guess what they are supposed to do (at least in most cases).

I still need to do a more thorough cleaning and oiling of the machine, but for now it is functioning quite nicely again. In the end, I mostly ended up just tightening some screws, but I did have to figure out how the the parts work to know which screws to tighten. I haven't actually done more testing than small 10cm seams, but let's just hope that those are representative :-)

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