Beehive springs and more

We’ve been getting to the root of the problems with my Singer 404 slant needle sewing machine. First: there was a thorough cleaning. Top thread snaps. Second: disassemble more of the machine.

First few bits of tension. Hah!

Reassemble the tension mechanism for the top of the machine and test it (perfect). Do a test run with a new needle. Thread snaps. Third: investigate the guts of the machine to discover that the timing is off. Several of the screw threads in the undercarriage are suspiciously rough. Reassemble everything. Thread snaps. (There’s a theme!)

I’ve adjusted the timing. I’ve fixed the tension. Still the rotary hook refuses to do its job behind the bobbin.

This was my mother’s machine and the one I learned on. I’ll admit to having a little bit of baggage about it.* It quit while making masks for the family, which I think I’m OK with. I’m probably going to store it in the attic, if I can’t get the rotary hook to line up in the correct place. I went online and discovered it was only manufactured from 1958 through 1960 in Elizabeth, NJ. Maybe it was unpopular, but my machine was really good up until… now.

* I sewed Scout projects on it (a cowl neck, a pillow case), made my first Star Wars costume, and helped friends with their dance costumes. Mom made clothing we wore for class pictures, hemmed jeans, repaired zippers. It even has a buttonholer attachment. 

4 Responses to “Beehive springs and more”


  1. 1 nellkate May 4, 2020 at 9:43 am

    I’m going to share this with Mum. We are also digging out the sewing machine, seeing if it works, etc. It doesn’t have the memories that yours does. I remember Star Wars costumes….

    • 2 wordtapestry May 4, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      I remember the treasure trove of fabric your Mom had. Truly awe-inspiring (or overwhelming). I have some gorgeous fabric and a pattern (and scrap fabric) that I want to test before I use the yummy stuff. I’m not quite up to hand sewing everything though.

  2. 3 Anne Bonney May 4, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    C’est tres frustrant! Good luck.


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