Sunday, 12 February 2012

So What Do These Singer Things Do Then...?

I've been shopping again (yeah I know Quelle surprise!). 2 weeks ago I bought this mixed lot of mysterious Singer 99 sewing machine accessories. The final winning bid price of £6.19 including the P&P ($9.77 USD approx.) was too good to resist, besides it was after work I was tired and sometimes you just need a teenie-tiny retail fix - youknowhatImean?

03 Singer Feet - Bought Feb 2012

I knew what a couple of the items were from the listing photo (the seam guide, binder foot, thumbscrew and the roller hem foot). And I could tell that they are all low-shank attachments (apart from the seam guide and thumbscrew - which are generic in terms of high/low shank machine fitting). Luckily, I have a Low-Shank to High Adaptor to use with them :)

But, there were 3 weird-to-me contraptions that had me flummoxed!  So, here's where the internet and my trusty collection of books came in handy!

I had a quick whizz around the web to check on UK prices for brand-new versions of my 3 "weird" attachments (or even ones in great vintage condition) it seems they're EACH going for around £8 to £16 ($12.50-$25 USD) in the UK, and some in the US are selling for $25-$30 each (eekk! that's £15.80-£19 GBP approx.). So, for £6.19 I've got 5 different feet for a fraction under £1.24/$1.95USD each (that's not counting the 2 extra bits: the seam guide and thumbscrew)... can anybody say B-A-R-G-A-I-N!!

01 Singer Feet - Bought Feb 2012

2 of the 3 mystery attachments had part numbers stamped onto them (apparently Singer parts often have the word Simanco on them along with the part number too). I was able to search for them on the web, and to learn a little about how to use them too. Their real names were: 35931 - Adjustable Hemmer, 36583 - Tucker / Tuck Maker, and Ruffler (though oddly enough it seems rufflers didn't get a part number allocated to them - and there's in fact several different styles of them out there, which confused me a wee bit!).

I then looked up the names of my new attachments in my 2 sewing machine attachment books: The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible by Wendy Gardiner and Lorna Knight and Sewing Machine Attachment Handbook by Charlene Phillips.

Books - Sewing Machine Attachments and Presser Feet

I find the later book by Charlene has better diagrams and explains the different working parts of the attachments better, and it's got a better coverage of those more vintage style presser feet you'll come across. The former book by Wendy and Lorna seems to cover more about modern-day feet - although there is definitely cross over between the two books, I am glad I have both as they both bring something different to the sewing-table so to speak :) I've not read either of them cover-to-cover, I think I'll always just dip into them when I'm trying to figure out how to get a new presser foot to co-operate with me!

Unfortunately, the 'Tuck Maker' is missing it's 'Tuck Guide Adjusting Screw'. I only knew what part it was called because Charlene's book has handy diagrams which label and describe the different parts 'n' do-dads of the various attachments.

I did get very industrious and cut out a bunch of calico scraps ready to try out the 'Ruffler' on different settings (and I was trying to follow the instructions in Charlene's book) sadly it doesn't seem to work (poo!). I guess it could need oiling, as they are pretty rusty. And, that's something else I need to check out - how to clean rust off of vintage attachments without ruing them!

I did come across this nifty YouTube video demonstrating a Ruffler in action though:


  1. What a find! Although I have to say that ruffled foot looks a bit like a fabric shredder of doom to me. All those sticky-out bits.

    1. Yup, they look like they spike your fingers if you're not careful eekk!

  2. Rufflers are by far the most terrifying feet out there, in my opinion---although when they work, they're fantabulous (and they do pleats as well). If it's stiff it will need oiling, for sure. Also make sure it's on the ruffle setting (ruffling every stitch) to start with as they seem to work a little more reliably. Email me if you want to chat more about them---although I've not yet met one that was broken. :D

    ... I got the Handbook in my stocking for Christmas this year, it makes me very happy, but it didn't include all the feet I was curious about!

    1. Ah cheers for the offer of help T.I.! Mine only has 2 settings-slots "1" for gathering) or "5" for ruffles/pleats - my measley attempt had it on no. 5. I think I'll oil it everyhwere I can think & leave it in a little plastic bag (so i don't stain stuff) for a day or 2 before I attempt round-2 of swatch stitching :)

      Yup the handbook (Charlene's) has great directions, but not a s long a list of feet as the book by Wendy & Lorna - I'd like Charlene to write a 2nd book really, her explanations I personally felt were easier to digest & follow.

  3. What a lucky purchase! I had no idea there were books about sewing machine feet and they are both now on my Amazon wish list.

    1. Yup - it's ice to be able to dip into them + have the page open next to my machine when I play around! My laptop is next to my standard machine too so I could look for a bog post or a YouTube video - but these have great clear photos, and good explanations so they're a great addition to my ever burgeoning sewing library.


Hi there! If you would like to be notified by email when I (or anyone else) replies to your comment please click the 'Subscribe by email' link under this comment box.