A fiber and technology blog

As teased in the previous post, a few weeks ago, I acquired a Singer 15-91 in a № 40 Queen Anne cabinet. I rewired it, oiled everything that moves, and put it in my Necchi cabinet (with apologies to the BU Mira), but that's all standard work that's been documented a thousand times. Heck, I was following the adjuster's manual from Singer, why would I need to reproduce what they wrote back when the machine was new? No, I'm here to write about why the machine is currently in pieces after getting it all working perfectly.

A front view of the Singer 15-91, with the handwheel and motor removed.


I recently found a Singer 15-91 in a № 40 Queen Anne cabinet in a nearby city for $50, so my partner and I made the drive over to pick it up. The machine isn't in the best cosmetic shape, but it's rust-free and moves smoothly, and I have big plans for it. But that's not what this post is about. Instead, it's about fitting my Necchi Supernova, with its 16½” base, into that Singer № 40 cabinet.

A view of the Necchi Supernova in the Singer № 40 cabinet.


Since I started sewing, I've been amazed how quickly I can run through a single spool of thread.

The Necchi Supernova I got recently had only one of its thread spindles.

Cones are just cool.

A mostly 3D printed cone holder mounted atop the Necchi Supernova, holding two cones of thread, one black, one white.


The front of the Necchi Supernova, with a loose pile of electronics on top to read the machine's driveshaft position and move the servos as it turns.

It's alive! As of last night, the computerized Necchi Supernova is working at the proof of concept level. I manually programmed some stitch patterns via servo angles, and it follows the instructions dutifully (unless I sew too fast, more on that later).


The Necchi Supernova without its embroidery unit, embroidery unit speed knob, and reverse button

My Necchi Supernova sewing machine was sewing great up until a few days ago. But now I've gone and partially dismantled it in preparation for computerization. I took out the original embroidery unit to make space, then started planning what to do with the space inside.


Having just made a set of five 3D printed bobbins for my antique spinning wheel, the next thing I needed was a lazy Kate to hold them while I ply. Most lazy Kate designs seem to hold three bobbins at max, but I wanted one that holds four so I can make four-ply yarns. It was a fun morning project.

My tensioned lazy Kate and some yarn I plied with it


Back in August, I picked up a mostly intact antique spinning wheel.

My spinning wheel, the day I got it home.  A bearing is missing, so the flyer is not properly mounted

All the wooden parts were in good shape, except for a missing distaff. The belt and footman were old cotton string that needed replacement, all the old leather parts were cracking, and one bearing to hold the flyer was missing. A trip to The Scrap Exchange got me all the materials I needed to repair it, and soon I was learning to spin. With one problem: I had only a single bobbin, and the old wheel doesn't use bobbins of a standard size, so I couldn't buy replacements.


Ever since I found a Necchi BU Mira by the dumpster outside my apartment, I've been a bit of an admirer of these well-built Italian sewing machines. So when I spotted a Necchi Supernova Automatica for $10 at The Scrap Exchange, I excitedly picked it up (then quickly put it down in a cart, as it's very heavy). It needed a new belt and bobbin winder thread tensioner, both of which I happened to have on hand from the Mira. The belts for the two machines are a different length, but I had a slightly loose rubber belt for the Mira that fit the Supernova well. After replacing the missing parts, borrowing a bobbin casing, and inspecting the wiring to make sure it was safe to plug in, I found the machine still stitches like a dream.

The Supernova on its first day home