The Sewing Machine Breaks Down
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The Sewing Machine Gets Broken

While sewing on a weekday night, I managed to get the sewing machine to freeze up. I was unable to figure out how to get it to turn. I suspected I had gotten some thread jammed under the bobbin casing.  Robert LeDoux was kind enough to send me an e-mail detailing how to open up the bobbin casing. I could open up the side of  that wasn't jammed, but I was unable to open the side that was jammed. So I dropped the sewing machine off to The Des Moines Sewing Company to get repaired.

Originally, the person doing the repair thought he would have to replace the whole bobbin assembly at a cost of over two hundred dollars. If I remember correctly, he had been able to free up the machine, but not get the timing set correctly. In the end, he didn't have to, and managed to get it working for about $110. I got the machine back on a Tuesday, two weekends of work lost.

I did not let that fact get to me. I was coming up to a three day Labor Day weekend with nothing else to do but sew. Then Murphy's law struck. A knot jerked the timing of the sewing machine out of whack Friday night and I was unable to sew. I was less than pleased, and missed sewing during Labor Day weekend.

Robert LeDoux again came to the rescue right before I was about to take the machine in for repair that next week. He sent me an e-mail that detailed resetting the timing on the sewing machine.  While the information he provided was for a Singer, my Adler is quite similar. Here are the steps he sent me:

Robert LeDoux's instructions to set the sewing hooks on Singer 112:

1. Set the stitch length so there is no forward motion. This is done by adjusting the stitch length to beyond the most stitches per inch (32 on my machine). The needle bar then goes straight up and down and fabric is not advanced.

2. Remove the needle plate under the presser foot. Note the tab on each bobbin case which engages a slot on the bottom of the needle plate. These must be mated together on reassembly. Once free of the needle plate, the bobbin cases will rotate freely until they hit the bobbin case openers. This is normal.

3. Makes certain your needles are straight. If there is any question, replace them.

4. Descend the needle bar to its lowest position. Most Singers will will have a mark scribed across the needle bar a short distance, perhaps a quarter of an inch below where the needle bar enters the frame.

5. Rotate the balance wheel so the needles fully descend and then start up. Stop when the scribe mark on the needle bar just enters the frame.

6. Now look at the hooks. The point of each hook should be passing across the center of each needle and about 1/16th of an inch above the needle eye. If your machine has no scribe mark on the needle bar, look for the conditions in the preceding sentence.

7. To reset the time. Lean the machine back. Each hook assembly is driven by a pair of bevel gears. The hook assembly is mounted in the bevel gear that rotates around the vertical axis. Loosen the two screws that tighten the bevel gear to the hook assembly. Break the assembly loose and then adjust the timing. Tighten the screws, good and tight and test for stitching.

I recommend using a 'T' handled screw driver with hardened insert bits. Import versions cost about $5 with a variety of bits. Grind a bit as necessary to get good, tight fit on the screws.

8. Set the needle plate back in position. Rotate the bobbin cases until each tab fits into its slot. Tighten the needle plate down, and try sewing.

9. If your bevel gears have wear, it may take several attempts to get the timing so it works. There will be some play in the hooks. If this is so, try rotating the hook counterclockwise against the play before setting the time.

10. Worn sewing machines may take some fiddling to get in good time.