Saturday, January 26, 2013

Bel Air Ready for Duty

First things first.  Watch the Bel Air sew.

I found a sewing table to fit my Bel Air sewing machine.  This really makes it more convenient than the portable case it came in.  Actually the table had a Singer 750 in it.  I did not want the machine, just the table.  The 750 has some nylon? feed dogs that are worn out and won't feed the material, an easy fix, but since I have so many machines  I was going to chuck it, but being the pack rat I am, I put it in the shed for the future.

When I first ran the Bel Air I thought it sure did sew fast.  Well, I found out why.  If you look at the picture below, that is the foot pedal with the back off.  The coils in there are the resistors that regulate the amount of electricity to the motor, thus regulating the speed.  After some investigation I found one of the resistors had a bad connection, so the motor was only running on high speed.  Once I fixed the connection, the machine sews fast and slow.  What a difference.

Also I had to disassemble the tension assembly, clean it, and put it back together.  The fun part was getting it adjusted.  There aren't any markings on the knob,  so I just kept sewing and  turning the knob until the stitch looked good.  Good thing I have a mechanical background, and I like to tinker.

This Bel Air Imperial is in such pristine shape, I Don't think it was ever used.

Foot Pedal Inners
Snifflebottoms Approves

Just The Right Size.  Sure is a sexy machine.
Thanks for stopping.


  1. Great find! I could watch sewing machine videos all day... ;)

    1. Thanks. I thought I might bore people with a video.

  2. The bel air is beautiful and the video shows what nice shape it is in. It should be a really great machine for you. I was really glad you posted about putting a vintage machine in the 750 cabinet as I have one of those golden touch n sews in a cabinet in shop storage that was one of those that some called the touch n throw. Mine sewed great for a little while and then would throw its time and back to the shop. I would have been better off to have tossed it early on-spent a small fortune on service trips on that thing. Anyway I will repurpose the touch n sew cabinet with a vintage singer I am adding to the collection after seeing what you have done here so thanks for the idea.

  3. Nice machine and cabinet set-up. Good sleuthing on repairing the foot control and tension assembly.

    I've got a few Bel Air machines in my collection. Class-15 clones are one of my favorites, but the Bel Air "Bantam" is a great Class-66 (as in Singer horizontal oscillating hook). What's great about the Bantam is that it's body looks like the heavier cast iron machines, but it's actually a lighter weight cast aluminum. Makes for easier transport!

    I can't wait to see what machine you bring home next! I think you've been bitten by the "bug"!! ;-)

  4. I love a nice vintage machine. I've seen a Bel-Air in an antique shop near here for several years. They want a small fortune for it. Like yours, it is in perfect condition. Lane

  5. Very nice machine! And the motor is nice & quiet too. I have 2 vintage straight stitch machines - a Singer 185K which I love. And a blue & white badged machine (made in Japan) with the tension dial in the back, like you're Bel Air.