by Robbie Brewington, who reviewed her lovely Featherweight here, and whose awesome blog, From My Hands to Yours, includes sewing machine tips such as where to put sewing machine oil! What's more, Robbie's been serving as an expert on sewing machine maintenance and repair at Fixya.com under the name "lookingpast"
Love it, hate it, or something in between? Love it! “Sophia” was so dirty and neglected when I found her, and usually I would have passed, but something about her was so appealing. Plus I’d been doing a bit of reading about the older Italian-made Necchis and was very impressed by their solid design and reliability. Necchi aficionados are a serious bunch, too, and this was a chance to see what they knew that I didn’t.
When did you buy this sewing machine? Three Fridays ago on, my lunch break (to be exact).
When was it manufactured? I’m not certain, but I think she’s from the late 1950s or the 1960s. Kind of like me.
[Robbie added this note: The folks at the Yahoo Italian-made Necchi users group tell me that Sophia was made in Japan, not Italy. I don’t care—she’s still my classy Italian lady!]
Where did you buy it? A local pawn shop. I went in just for grins (to avoid going back to work right away) and asked if they had any sewing machines. They had just the one, which happened to be coming available that very day. So they hauled her out, broken plastic case and all. Sophia (what else would you call a sophisticated Italian lady?) ran when we plugged her in, but it was obvious she’d need at least a really good cleaning and oiling.
When I got her home and opened her up, she had old thread wound around her bobbin case and lots of impacted lint in her feed dogs. After a good brushing, and some digging around to get all that nasty lint out, I opened up the top of her case and found there was amazingly little old oil gunk on her gears. A quick squirt of WD-40 and it loosened up and came right off. Even Sophia’s underside was amazingly clean for a lady of her years.
(NOTE: WD-40 is JUST for cleaning the old oil gunk out of sewing machine innards. It is NOT for oiling the machine. Unless you’re partial to gunky gummy gears. And machines that don’t run.)
How much did you pay for it? $70.00. If I’d waited, the price would have come down, but someone else might have walked away with her. She came with the broken plastic case, one bobbin, the bobbin carrier, and the foot controller/power cord. Originally, her accessories would have included several more feet (including a buttonhole foot), but I’m not complaining (see below for why not). I’m a big believer in having the manual on hand, so I ordered one from Relics ($19.00) but I really didn’t need it to get her up and performing like the star Sophia is!
How many projects have you done on this machine? Four in the first week! I made her a cover, mended one of my nightshirts, made a flannel tunic, and made a mug hug (see photo). She performed flawlessly.
Describe the kind of work you've done with it. One of the amazing things about this machine was that the tension was perfect from the start. I didn’t have to fiddle with that, so I spent a lot of time just playing with dials, seeing what kind of stitches she’d do and which knob controls what. She has six utility stitches plus the straight stitch, and that’s plenty for most kinds of sewing I do (clothes, household sewing, kitty toys—that sort of thing). I plan to use Sophia for clothing construction mostly. And kitty toys. (My girls reminded me that I promised to make them more kitty toys.)
What do you like and what do you hate about it? Hate about it? What’s to hate? If you twisted my arm—really twisted it—I might mention that access to her front-loading bobbin case is a bit awkward. But on the other hand, the bobbin case assembly is straightforward, easy to disassemble and clean, and a snap to put back together. Sophia is solid, mostly metal, and has a long useful life ahead of her! She powers over multiple thicknesses of fabric without hesitating. Her class 15 metal bobbins hold a lot of thread, and I really like that. (Plus I already have a bunch of class 15 bobbins on hand.) She has a snap-on adapter so I can use all of my snap-on feet from my Kenmore and Brother machines, and I can take the adapter off, to use all my low-shank feet from my Featherweights!
I’m extremely happy with Sophia and look forward to many years together.