Last night, I whipped up a couple more Huggitz dolls for my etsy store... or rather, I whipped up one and got part way through the second one when my beloved Singer Style-o-Matic seized! The needle would no longer move up and down, it was stuck in place.
Since it was after 11 p.m. I took that as a sign to go to bed (more or less) and figured I would sort things out in the morning. Well, after coffee, breakfast, washing dishes, and some net surfing, I went upstairs to look at my sewing machine.
I am not afraid of machinery -- in fact I am usually very curious about how it all works -- and since I had resigned myself to the possibility that the Style-o-Matic was pining for the fjords, I gathered the tools I would need to give it one last cleaning, just in case it wasn't beyond hope.
Now, I haven't been the best owner. Sure, I have cleaned the bobbin compartment a few times, but I haven't followed all the instructions for a full maintenance cycle on the machine since my Dad gave it to me 5 or 6 years back. Happily, when he gave it to me, he included the original instruction/owners manual and a can of Singer Sewing Machine Oil (priced at 75 cents, so likely 30 years old or so).
I plugged in an extra lamp (with an adjustable neck), laid out my soft toothbrush, screwdriver, and oil, and started reading through the maintenance section of the manual. After each section was cleaned, I tried moving the needle with no luck. The only thing I hadn't done was remove the bobbin casing to clean underneath. It took quite a bit of effort but I did finally pop it out. There was a little lint underneath, but not much, and a little tiny piece of thread, wedged into the side of the casing. I removed that and was surprised to find that the casing slipped in much more easily than it had come out. Could it be...? I tried moving the needle and it moved smoothly up and down! Hooray!!
I finished off the maintenance by oiling everything according to the manual. (In fact, I may have oiled too much... I inadvertently put oil instead of lubricant on the gears... hopefully it won't make things worse... and I will go look for the proper lubricant this afternoon). I then replaced everything, threaded the bobbin and needle, and gave it a test run on a scrap of fabric. Everything seemed to work fine, so I finished sewing the other Huggitz doll and patted myself metaphorically on the back.