Attachments – a crash course


In response the the question from Lil this morning, here’s brief guide to attachments.  I intend to do something on each one individually in due course, but for now …

We’re talking here about attachments for Singer domestic machines from around 1900 to the 1960’s or so, and the obvious starting point is the bits and bobs that came with the machine when it was new.  Probably the most common set is this one or something very like it:-

picture of Singer attachments and card box

From top to bottom and left to right, that’s the adjustable hemming foot, the binder, narrow hemmer, ruffler, tuck marker, underbraider, seam guide and quilting guide.  There should also be the screw to fasten the seam guide to the bed, but I forgot to include it in that quick snap.  The card box is common, but they also used a lovely green tin with a hinged lid with “SINGER” on it in gold, and then there’s the sought-after black crackle enamel tin with the purple plush lining …

Picture of Singer attachment set in black crackle enamel tin

Above we see basically the same set but with a different (later) type of underbraider and the addition of the two Singer screwdrivers plus three bobbins.  Any avid attachment-collectors seeing this picture will be mortified to note that two of those bobbins are plastic ones and not the kosher item, but they were handy just now and I don’t care.  Besides, we have the little illustrated layout guide for that tin and we have the original packing slip, so there …

OK, that’s the basic set, but there are plenty of other bits and bobs to play with if you can find ’em in good or at least usable condition without paying really silly prices on Ebay.  Just rummaging through Elsie’s attachments box and in no particular order I find two different types of adjustable zipper foot, an edge-stitcher, several varieties of hemmer, a gathering foot, a zig-zag foot, a hemsticher and picot edger (that’s one foot, by the way), and the elusive Darning Foot #121094.  And that’s before we get to the ones in the bags labelled “?” and “mysterious”.

If that’s not enough to keep you amused, though, bear in that irrespective of make, pretty much anything designed to fit to a low-shank machine with side fastening (as opposed to the earler rear-fastening) feet will fit or can be made to fit. your trusty black Singer.

There’s also quite a wide range of buttonholers and zig-zaggers available, several examples of which Elsie has in her collection and some of which work better than others.  We’ll have a look at those sometime too, but I guess that before finishing this post I’d better answer the question which is now exercising you viz. how on earth do you get a straight-stitch machine to do zig-zag?  The answer is you cheat, by using an attachment which shifts your work left to right and back again as it feeds it under the needle …

2 responses

  1. No idea Honor, but I do know that all the godzilla boxes had one but only some other sets did.

    I also know that I just tried emailing you but it was bounced “554 Transaction failed : Cannot send message due to possible abuse”

  2. I have 4 sets of attachments that came with 4 different machines – a 201K, a 99K, a 185K and a 221K – but none of them included an underbraider. Plus another set that I bought on eBay – still no underbraider. Is this just a coincidence? Underbraiders don’t appear to be rare or expensive. Were they discontinued at some point?