Victorian Sweatshop Forum
Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
Mrs. D

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 833
Reply with quote  #1 
Some early Zig-Zag engineered Japanese Vintage Sewing machines are left needle dedicated. 

My Universal MIN sewing machine (high shank) and Stitchmaster 888 Automatic (low shank) are good looking machines, but their "left needle position" isn't so much fun for straight stitching. 

I found a source for "offset presser feet" for both high and low shank machines that makes it possible for (center-of-the-foot) straight stitching. 

Source: sewingmachinepartsonline.com  
High Shank #5557 for $8.99
Low Shank #55605 for $6.99

Here is a photo of my (high shank) Universal MIN with its original zig zag foot installed, showing its permanent left needle position.  To the right is the "offset presser foot #5557.

Note to Farmer John:  The 5557 high shank offset I gave you, I purchased from Sew Classic LLC, but they have discontinued selling it. 
  
3 Original presser foot for Universal MIN showing left needle position.jpg 

Below is a photo of the "offset presser foot #5557  installed, making it possible to sew center-of-the-foot straight stitch.
2 Installed #5557 left needle position presser foot.jpg 

L-Orig High Shank ZZ, R-5557 offset straight stitch foot.jpg 

Left of photo is the original high shank zig-zag foot that came with my machine.  To the right is the high shank "offset straight stitch presser foot" #5557.

Here is a photo of the beautiful Universal MIN from a distance.  I sold it, and the buyer is picking it up tomorrow.  Goodbye my little pretty.

1 Universal MIN, JA3 HAPPY stamp.jpg 
Below is the low shank Stitchmaster 888 Automatic Zig-Zag left needle dedicated.  A couple days ago I ordered a #55605 low shank offset presser foot for the machine to sew a center-of-the-foot straight stitch. 

1 Stitchmaster .jpg 




__________________
Mrs. D - Wisconsin
http://www.1893victorianfarmhouse.blogspot.com
0
hilltophomesteader

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 788
Reply with quote  #2 
Such pretty machines!  I didn't realize there WERE left needle dedicated machines!  Do you know why they did that (or am I having a brain freeze this morning)?
__________________
Hilltophomesteader, on the wet side of Washington!
http://www.hilltophomesteader.blogspot.com
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 344
Reply with quote  #3 
There are a lot of pretty Japanese mid-century machines out there that look way cooler than anything made in America. I have a few of these and find a lot of them are left needle oriented. It was easier and cheaper to make the early zigzag machines to go only one way under spring pressure to return to the left when at the null part of the camming action than it was to have it centered. Some of these had built in stitches or used cams for fancy stitches, but they only went "one half" of the design to the right. They even show this on the stitch pattern selector wheel on my Stitch-O-Matic which has a left needle mechanism. 

- Bruce 6. Stitch-O-Matic base 6.jpg 

0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,536
Reply with quote  #4 
Linda, left needle machines were made for years, I'm pretty sure into the early 70s.

I don't think I'd be happy with that off set foot. Without the toes of the foot riding on both feed dogs the fabric is going to feed wonky instead of straight like it should. I got lucky when I found a fiddly bits tin on Ebay for a left needle machine and it had the straight stitch foot and other bits in it.

Here is the whole how and why of left needle machines:

"Left Needle Position Machines"

"This is the reason they were made that way.
In most higher priced machines, the cams actually control where
the needle comes down on every stitch. On many lower priced
machines, the ZZ is accomplished by using an oscillating track. If
the connector to the needle bar is centered over the fulcrum of this track, the machine
will not ZZ. As this connecting point is moved farther out on the track, it will make the
ZZ wider. When this type of machine uses cams, the cams do not position the needle, but
position the linkage on the track that controls the width. Obviously, this limits the variety
of stitches that the machine can accomplish.
On this type of machine it is necessary to have two different mechanisms in the machine
if you are to control the needle position and the ZZ width. This would add to the
manufacturing cost, so on many of them there was no control for the needle position.
This left you with a mechanism that could simply vary the ZZ width from the starting
needle point.
The next question, was how could you set these machines up so that you could create a
buttonhole and have some cutting space, and how could you sew on a button and line the
needle up to tie off the thread by sewing in just one hole of the button. On the slightly
higher versions, you simply moved the needle to the left with the needle position control,
which actually moved the fulcrum under the ZZ track. Since these machines lacked this
capability and they wanted to be able to list them as being capable of making buttonholes
and sewing on buttons, the answer was to simply move the fulcrum to the left position, so
the machine would cost no more to manufacture while providing these functions.
A secondary benefit was that by having the needle close to the end of the slot in the foot
and the plate, lightweight fabrics did not move up and down so much, resulting in fewer
skipped stitches.
Bill Holman
Madison, WI"

Cari

__________________
Olympia Washington
0
Phyllis1115

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 133
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks, Cari.
I remember Bill explaining this to me several years ago. Isn't Bill a wonder!
I've mostly avoided the left homing models, but I might forgo that for a lovely blue, turquoise and pink model.

__________________
-Phyllis in Iowa
"Is this Heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."   (Field of Dreams)
0
Farmhousesewer

Member
Registered:
Posts: 80
Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for the reminder Cari.

I have no trouble with left needle machines. I think they take more of a bad rap than they deserve.

__________________
Maria
Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,536
Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmhousesewer
Thanks for the reminder Cari.

I have no trouble with left needle machines. I think they take more of a bad rap than they deserve.

I love the one I have. Somebody gave it to me because it didn't work. Tightening a loose wire in the controller solved the problem.
5982953304_ebfca51a6d_o.jpg 

Cari



__________________
Olympia Washington
0
samiamaquilter

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #8 
I don't think I'd be happy with that off set foot. Without the toes of the foot riding on both feed dogs the fabric is going to feed wonky instead of straight like it should. I got lucky when I found a fiddly bits tin on Ebay for a left needle machine and it had the straight stitch foot and other bits in it. Cari

With the off set foot, I would think that the foot is still over the feed dogs so it should not feed wonky. Am I wrong in my thinking? All of my super high shank Kenmore are left homing. It takes a while to get used to it being that way but all the older Kenmores are super sewers and have good strong motors so they are well worth it. They make a wider zz than other machines of the same age.

Sammie quilter in NC
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 344
Reply with quote  #9 
Proper left needle oriented straight stitch feet do not ride wonky at all and were designed to be used with these machines. They are often high shank, but some are low shank. Even the straight stitch foot on the Necchi Supernova Automatica that I have is left needle oriented even though the zigzag is centered. I have a couple of Japanese made left needle machines. 

- Bruce
0
swyper501

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #10 
I also love the flashy-looking Japanese machines.  I really prefer the high shank, for visibility, and most of them seem to be left needle.  I've spent my life sewing on left needle Kenmores, so it feels natural.  All machines have expectation that your seam allowance will at times be 1/4", so a little study will reveal the provision it makes for that.  It is a real bonus if the left needle high shank zz machine has its straight stitch foot and needle plate.

Another discovery that I made recently is the high shank open-toe embroidery foot.  The toes of the foot are about 1/4" apart, so the straight stitch on the far left can be guided by the edge of the goods riding inside the right toe, like a seam gauge.  This is a modern foot, afaik, but then I noticed that the old buttonhole foot for one of my machines has the same wide open toes.  The space inside the buttonhole foot is just a tad scantier than the modern foot, but still interesting.

Sharon Wyper
0
JonesHand52

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 344
Reply with quote  #11 
Sharon, does the old buttonhole foot with the slightly scantier foot opening work well for the "scant quarter inch" quilting seam measurement?

- Bruce 
0
samiamaquilter

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #12 
so the straight stitch on the far left can be guided by the edge of the goods riding inside the right toe, like a seam gauge. Sharon


So if you use the inside of that right toe as a gauge, the longer dogs on the outer right side will not be pulling the fabric. It will have to rely on the 2 shorter inside dogs that are beyond the needle to feed the fabric through. In my way of thinking, that might make it harder to get the seam to start straight? I haven't tried this so you might not have any problem starting. Do you hold your threads in the back when you start, to insure they do not tangle. That might eliminate my concern of getting started with a straight seam if I pull slightly on the two threads.

I always prefer to see the edge of the fabric as it goes under the needle so I rely on an adhesive marker that I put on all of my machines. I get them from Sew Classic. They are very thin plastic and last for a long time. I just replace it when they no longer hold their place. I bought an expensive 1/4" foot for my Bernina but I do not like it. I need to see the edges of my fabric on the marked line to be accurate. It is probably just what ever you get used to doing however.

Sammie quilter in NC
0
Cari-in-Oly

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 3,536
Reply with quote  #13 
For quilt piecing with my left needle machine, I discovered that if you turn your work around so the 1/4" seam is to the left of the needle instead of to the right, the fabric feeds straight since it's all under the feed dogs. Takes a little getting used to but it works.

Cari

__________________
Olympia Washington
0
Phyllis1115

Avatar / Picture

Senior Member
Registered:
Posts: 133
Reply with quote  #14 
Thanks for the reminder about changing the direction. It's been a long time since I used a left centered needle sewing machine.

If I remember correctly, you can do the same thing with a centered needle. The left "toe" of a presser foot is 1/4 inch.

__________________
-Phyllis in Iowa
"Is this Heaven?"  "No, it's Iowa."   (Field of Dreams)
0
swyper501

Junior Member
Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #15 
I think you-all worrying about the feed of the left needle not being straight must have never sewn much on a straight stitch machine, "straight" being the operative word.  The left set of feed dogs on a zigzag are pretty much the same as straight stitch feed dogs, as far as I can tell.  Feed dogs in a combination of one long, one short, in fact do not pull straight - work unguided will feed in a long lazy arc, snugging it to the seam guide on the right.  Light fingertip pressure of the left hand is all that is required to guide the fabric.  That design of feed dogs is pretty intentional, I think.

I learned on zigzag machines using both hands to guide the fabric.  Why should I need to guide it at all, since the zigzag feed dogs are symmetrical?  But it's a mental habit.

Sharon Wyper
0
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.