Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Own an Old Singer Sewing Machine

Top 10 Reasons why owning an old Singer Sewing Machine is worth its weight in gold!

I am a collector of many things, but one of my most precious collections is my old Singer Sewing Machines. They’re wonderful for beginners and seasoned sewists alike. Here are 10 reasons why I believe that they’re so wonderful!

  1. Quality. Not one ounce of plastic exists on these beauties and they’re as solid (and heavy) as a rock. Parts made of metal not only last longer, but they perform better and you get many years of use, with many often being passed from generation to generation. When you sew multiple layers of fabric with a plastic machine, sometimes it doesn’t work out so hot. These machines are truly work horses that don’t get enough credit.

    44-10
    Detail of Singer 44-10
  2. Basic. They’re basic, but not in a bad way. These machines are very user-friendly, provided they’re cleaned and threaded properly. There aren’t any fancy stitches to be had, only a good solid straight stitch. The operator can get very familiar with manually adjusting tensions, stitch length and presser foot pressure, which results in fabulous results when utilized. If you’re anything like me, you had no idea that you were supposed to do all of those things when undertaking a project. Self admittedly, I thought that everything stayed the same right from the box, when I purchased my very first (plastic) machine. I was so scared to move anything for fear I was going to mess things up, but what ended up happening, was that my projects suffered because I was using factory settings for every single project. I have learned from these machines, and their manuals that you are supposed to adjust things accordingly to accommodate fine fabrics, heavier fabrics and so on… Mind blown!

    IMG_0190
    Diagram from the manual on adjusting tension
  3. Attachments. They have so many wonderful attachments! Once you learn what all of the funny looking feet are, they make sewing a lot of fun. One of my favorites is the ruffler! It’s exactly what it sounds like, it makes ruffles in the fabric as you sew it! I know that for me, making ruffles by using the double string method is way too time consuming when you’re sewing yards of ruffles. One of my most prized and rare attachments is called a Fagoter, yes that’s right, a Fagoter. It was sold in the old Singer Stores as add-on in the 1930’s.  “The Singercraft Fagoter produces fagoting, lace-like bandings, edgings, braid and lattice trim in great variety, combining the fascination and art of handwork with the speed and accuracy of machine production.” Who doesn’t want that?
  4. Beauty. Any time an old shiny black Singer with gold decals is sitting somewhere, I’m instantly drawn to it. They’re reminiscent of a bygone era. To me, an old Singer represented a great pride in craftsmanship and beauty.
  5. Versatility. There is an old Singer for most projects. Shoemaking, home sewing, you name it, if it can be sewn, Singer had it covered. Many quilters love a little Featherweight for its portability and ease of use. I have a brute of a machine that was manufactured in the 1940’s for sewing leather in a shoe factory. I love finding models that I have never seen before.

    Leather Machine 44-10
    Beautiful stitches on leather scraps. Notice the special foot that rolls the leather through. A regular presser foot would create too much friction.
  6. Price Point. Many of the machines that are found in yard sales or on Craigslist aren’t going to break the bank. I have found machines for as little as $15! Usually, the case is that a person just wanted it gone. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, just needing a good cleaning and once over. Beware of those machines that people are claiming their rarity and asking an absurd price for. More often than not, there’s nothing special or rare about them, they’re just old and people assume they’re worth a lot more than they are.  You can do your research to find out if the machine you’re eyeballing is actually rare by dating it via serial number on this site: http://www.ismacs.net You can see how many were manufactured and judge  for yourself on whether or not you think its worth it.                                                                        pexels-photo-545065.jpeg
  7. People will think you’re cool. That’s how I figured out why these machines were awesome. I saw a lady using one in her shop one day. She was sewing slip covers and her machine was so quiet and clicked with beautiful timing while she sewed. She looked so cool using an antique machine to sew on. I couldn’t believe that these machines are very much useable today! I had to have one after that!IMG_0183
  8. Some models can be used without electricity. The early treadle models are very handy in a power outage! Singer Model 66 better known as the “Red Eye,” was manufactured originally as a treadle machine. With the advances in electricity, eventually were converted over to keep up with the times.It makes you appreciate things in a different way. However, If you do get an early one with old wiring, for the sake of not burning your house down, please have it rewired by a professional before plugging it in!

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    Singer Treadle being used for production around the world.
  9. Conversation piece. It’s truly wonderful when people see you demonstrating with one of these machines. It breaks down a barrier and invites people to tell you their stories of how these machines had a part in their lives. Most will reminisce of great grandmothers making clothing for their dolls, or Halloween costumes for their families and what a beautiful thing that is!
  10. Because, Why not? Red Eye

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