Wednesday, 9 March 2011

"Sing-er When You're Winning"

 Seller's Photo from eBay (this is my actual machine!)

Just today I picked up my *4th sewing machine, an eBay purchase (hence the " * *winning" theme LOL!) for the princely sum of £16.50.And, I saved on any postage/ courier costs by going to collect it in my lunch hour from work. A tube journey, a 1-stop mainline train trip, some walking down a long station approach and she was all mine :)

It's one of the vintage Singer Hand Crank Machines (i.e. as the name suggests, it's not electric, powered by your hand turning a crank on the right-hand side). It's quite (well very really!) old, and it doesn't have a model number on it anywhere. So, I Googled and found this handy website. You answer the multiple choice questions, and click on your answers to jump to the next question (v. clever!).

And, hey presto! This is my model it's a Model 28 (the "28" is the ¾ size version with only a 12"/30.5cm long bed), and using this page from the Singer website along with the serial number on the front, I found out that it's 110 years old (made if 1901), and was originally manufactured in Clydebank, Scotland! So a proper, proper antique, blimey :)!

It didn't come with a manual - but luckily for me it's a free download from Singer.

Instead of the typical bobbin shape we are used to in modern, and even most vintage machines. My Singer 28 has a long narrow bobbin (approx. 1¼" / 33m long), this goes inside a shuttle and the action of the machine is to swing (or shuttle) the bobbin back and forth - passing it through the loop of thread formed by the needle as stitches up and down. It has one bobbin in the shuttle, and 3 in the little storage compartment on the side.

Image Source:

Luckily it stills has it's shuttle - as a quick search shows they cost £30! And, it seems to take standard, ordinary needles (yay!).

She's going to stay at the office for a few weeks until I finally clear out all the junk in out spare room and have a home to bring her back too LOL! In the meantime I shall bring in some sewing machine oil and other cleaning bits to work with me & make it all shiny and show it some love (it smells a bit old 'n' musty at the moment - and so do my hands every time I touch it!!).

The case it came in is very probably a replacement for the original (it's a bit ugly and doesn't have the elegance of the many varnished wooden ones you can see around the web) - but at least it'll keep Suzy (that's what I'm naming her) safe 'n' sound from knocks 'n' scrapes.

I think it should come in hand for top-stitching things like jeans, etc. :)

Oh, and I this Suzy deserves a proper photoshoot when she's all clean and tidy - a girl's gotta look her best dontcha think ?!

*Yes I now own 4 sewing machines, all but 1 of them is Vintage (this number is not including my not-been-used-yet Overlocker !)
* *Sing When Your Winning is a Football song/chant


  1. Aww, she's so cute! You probably already know about the Vintage Singers Yahoo group, but if you don't you should check it out.
    Vintage Singers

  2. Hi KC!
    Yup, she is cute isn't she :)!
    I have heard of that group - I'll head on over there on the weekend and read up on the best way to clean and oil Suzy (ready for her photoshoot LOL).
    Best wishes,

  3. Hooray!! She's brilliant! On first glance, she looks just like mine, but when I look closer, the 30 years' age difference is apparent - mine uses a bobbin and so yours is missing the very cool bobbin winding stuff up in the upper right.

    I don't know if you saw, but MarmaladeKiss did an AWESOME post on cleaning and restoring vintage machines -

  4. Thanks for the link Melissa, I'll print of that post tonight + I think I have all of the cleaning gear in her list too (saves me some £!) :)

  5. I am catching up blog reading & am so excited with this! The very first machine I was bought as a child was a manual Singer. The bobbins, the bobbin winder - all brings it back! Thank you for the memories - enjoy using the beauty!

  6. Hi Scruffybadger!
    Yup, I have lots of happy memories of my Grandma showing me & my cousins how to sew using an old singer hand crank machine. Lots of little dolls clothes got made on that 'ol thing LOL :)

  7. Lovely! My 28k has said goodbye to her sewing days I think, but I would love a working shuttle bobbin machine, they make such a beautiful noise! Quite mesmerising.. I could just sit there turning the wheel without sewing a stitch! Does that make me a geek?

  8. Thanks Julie!
    I've located the Yahoo group KC suggested above - maybe they could help you figure out the problems with your 28K :)?

    vintagesingers - Yahoo group

    If that makes you a geek then I'm one too :)!

  9. What a lovely machine, am sure it will be a joy to sew with. Incidentally, the train station in Clydebank is called 'Singer'.

  10. @Kestrel
    Thanks Kestrel! I really need to get a wriggle-on and clean her up so I can take her home from the office LOL :)!

  11. oh my! what a beauty! i love old hand crank singers but yet have to found one in good condition in my price range! i think the bobbin is so cool -- they are usually so similar if you get the more recent machines.

  12. @petiterepublic

    Keep looking (please do!) your own little gem will find it's way too your sewing-room one day [*nodding*] :)!

  13. Suzy is beautiful. I learnt to sew on a hand machine at school and my mother bought a hand machine for my sister and I to use, so all my early cloths were made on one. It's only since following sewing blogs that I've discovered there were all sorts of different feet for them including a button hole attachment - I used to hand sew all the buttonholes on the blouses I made.

    My grandmother's old sewing machine had the bobbin spool like yours.

  14. woo! i wonder if you have figured out how to thread it yet (the shuttle bobbin). it looks mighty tricky!

    it looks really pretty though, i hope you work with it soon!


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