Friday, July 17, 2015

The Mystery of the Singer Sewing Machine...Solved!

Last summer I shared a story about my mother's inherited Singer sewing machine, and how she's had it for years but had never been able to get all the drawers open.

This summer I visited my parents. And those questions a year ago had made my mother curious. Seeing as how she is pretty handy, she examined the locked drawers and had an epiphany. The keyholes looked to be about the same size and shape as a square-head screwdriver.

Lo and behold.....

To our chagrin (and perhaps a faint relief?) there were no dark family secrets hidden inside, but no excess of ephemera either. There was, however, the original manual, and the original oilcan.

We seem to have estimated correctly -- the model was indeed from the 1910's but as the latest copyright of the manual was in the 30's we are probably correct that Granny Emma bought it around then. 

The 1913 model -- booklet's latest copyright date was 1934 though, so it was still going strong!

My mother also had the set of attachments that her stepmother Emma had clearly bought later on, as they are marked as made for a later model. But there were many more feet than I have for my modern machine -- all stored in their own special vintage box!

I covet her ruffler, and bias binding foot. And so many more...I could barely identify them all! 
You can see the little bag she sewed to store them's pretty holey now

Just look at how complicated that ruffler foot is!
We had fun looking through the guide to all the feet.

The manual found with the feet...for a later model, with knee control (which we didn't have)

We were also greatly entertained by the illustrated instructions for the non-present knee lever (is that what inspired my new haircut?)

Finally...a mystery solved, and a lot of fascinating sewing history uncovered. Granny Emma's deep dark secrets, however, are still her own...

The machine tucked back up into its original factory paper wrapping


  1. Oh my how clever! I really enjoyed reading about this sewing machine and seeing the pictures. My favorite is all of the feet!

    1. I was pretty thrilled to find those! I spent a lot of time going through them trying to identify them all, thank goodness Granny Emma had stored them with the instruction booklet. My mom wondered if anyone would really care about these photos when we were taking them...I assured her other sewists would find them as interesting as I did :)

  2. What a fun bit of adventure! I too have my grandmother's treadle machine along with all of the many feet. I need to get the belt replaced so that I can use it. It would be fun to actually give them all a try.

    1. Yes, it would be great to get it up and working again. I was envious of some of those feet, especially the bias binding one -- it would make some of those vintage patterns a lot faster to sew, no wonder they used bias tape so often!


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