Machine Will Not Engage After Winding Bobbin?

On my White 505, to fill the bobbin I turn the clutch nut counterclockwise, put bobbin on spindle and push bobbin winder to right and then fill bobbin. When the bobbin is full, I push the bobbin winder to the left and turn the clutch nut clockwise to engage the sewing mechanism. Now the clutch nut will not turn back and catch, so the sewing mechanism cannot engage. Can I fix this myself? I had the machine overhauled last year. I haven't used it a lot, but it worked fine and now this.


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October 29, 20150 found this helpful

Good to hear you take your vintage White sewing machine for regular servicing:) Among other things, the repair tech would have checked your machine over for potential problems in addition to the servicing he/she performed for you last year. Unfortunately what you're describing (a worn/broken bobbin gear assembly) is next to impossible to see coming.

You're going to need to do one of two things - first, take the machine back to the repair tech to have the gear and/or assembly replaced. Or two - decide if you want to spend the money to have the machine restored to sewing condition or replace the machine with a comparably-featured new machine under warranty.


Vintage machines are wonderful for so many reasons (your gran sewed your christening dress on it, your mum sewed your wedding dress on it, you've been sewing your children/spouse/friends gifties on it...) but most vintage electric machines have a very real drawback - parts wear out or break under use, and like 'classic' cars, once the parts start to go it's usually better to replace the money pit, er, vintage machine for something newer. Understand the new machine will eventually become vintage and go through the same money pit problems as the one you replaced - it's the nature of machinery since silicone, plastic, and rubber parts started going on sewing machines in the mid-late 60s.

Vintage non-electrics are different in that all the parts except the belts are made of steel and/or iron, and service manuals to maintain-repair-refurbish-restore are available online for free downloads. Tools needed are inexpensive and usually right there in your household toolbox. Service manuals for 'modern' electrics can cost high three and four digit figures in every currency (I live in the UK after several decades in the US) and require specialised tool kits.


I teach Sewing 101 here in Scotland and do repair-refurb work on my student's machines but prefer to avoid the 'modern' vintage electrics as those do have a tendency to become money pits for their owners.

Best wishes no matter what you decide - think on this, though, if you see repairs as a money saver - repairs on a money pit are never a money saver. If you have sentimental attachments to your current machine, put it on display in your sewing area or family room, and sew on a new, under warranty machine.

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