This blog was a labor of love created by Sid and Elsie, who have moved on to other projects.  There is so much valuable information here, in Sid’s posts and also in the comments posted by others, it would have been a loss to let it fade into oblivion.  So while there may no longer be any new posts, I will maintain it as an archive and resource.  Explore and enjoy!

Cheers –




All text and pictures posted on this blog up to and including Tuesday 7th May 2013 are copyright Sid and Elsie unless otherwise credited.

From 7th May 2013 on, this blog is administered by fargosmom (at yahoo dot com)

91 responses

  1. Thank you so much for creating this blog and giving myself and my husband some great tips on how to look his grandmother’s 99k. We will both be sorry to see it go as we have read quite a lot of what you’ve written over the years and enjoyed your posts. I was even inspired to track down a ‘Jetson’-style button holer last night and will think of your blog when I use it. I now have a second 99k bought primarily for the Swiss zig zagger and other attachments that came with it, I have called her Elsie in honour of your wife.

  2. Found you in the usual way and as I am about to try an bring back to life my mothers 1930’s Singer knee control machine very timely. I learnt to sew on it in the days when bought clothes were expensive and not very fashionable. Just looking at it brings back lots of memories and I long to hear it run again! My Frister and Rossman (1967) does not quite do it. Thanks Christine.

  3. Hi Sid and Elsie,

    Firstly can I just say Thank you so much!!!
    I stumbled upon your blog whilst tearing my hair out trying to get my Singer 99 to work. I got it from my mum but I think it may have been my Granny’s. So it’s been in the family for a while.
    I have taken on my first challenge which is to make my bedroom curtains so one day whilst sewing away my lovely Singer went very very heavy and sluggish.

    I knew nothing about sewing other than how to sew and thread my machine, something I learnt a long time ago at school. So I set about finding out what could be wrong. Three days later and I had a bottle of Singer oil in my hand. Oiled every bit I knew I was supposed to oil… Still nothing, I even checked the motor brushes.
    Last ditch Gooling attempt later and I found a post from you in 2011 about oiling maintenance on the 99 and 66 Singer.
    You probably know what I’m going to say.. That oiling screw in the top! Well can you guess where my spool pin was?!!

    I removed it from the oiling hole, dropped a single drop of oil down the hole, turned on the machine crossed my fingers and put my foot on the peddle… It ran like a dream!!! I was so happy I actually danced around my living room so Thank you so much for your very informative blog, I was close to giving up and carting it across town to my nearest decent sewing shop.

    Now I have a very happy sewing machine and my curtain may finally get done!!

    Thank you!

  4. Hi, I’ve just found this web site today! From purchasing 2 handcrank singers a few years ago, this month I’ve been doing some researching and found out what they are etc. I’m fortunate because our local sewing machine engineer is also a collector of Vintage Singers too. He has got my 1954 99k sewing beautifully and managed to sell me a 201K (electric)! So my sewing machine numbers are increasing rapidly. Spotted a sad looking one in a charity shop this am; its got a new home now…. its a 27K in need of TLC.

  5. Hi Sid,
    Asking the folks here in the motel about pole and string beans, their opnion is that they are runner and French/green beans, different names appear to be used in differnt areas of the US. The good old swede is called rutabagus. That pressure canner looks impressive.See you both next month when I come back across the pond.

  6. Hi there

    Sorry but we know nothing about vintage industrials. We can though wish you a happy new year 🙂

  7. Hi there S & E,
    Just found your blog. I’m wondering if you know anything about a Singer 31K18 serial Y (or V, I’m not shure) 693465. I know it’s from Singer’s Kilbowie factory in Clydebank Scotland becouse of the K but that’s all. Hope you reply and i wish you guys a Happy New Year!

  8. Hi Sid, I read your latest blog regarding the brochures I loaned you and you say you have only seen Elsie’s 201 fitted in a Drop-Head table. The 3 drawer Drop-Head table I have came with a 201 (with electric motor) fitted. I bought it from the original owner, she purchased it from the Singer shop in Oxford St London in August 1953.

  9. Hi Sid, I am about to buy a 201K, the computerised junk I have has failed again and they want a fortune to fix it if they can. As I only do simple sewing but on rip stop nylon or caravan awnings I decided to get the real thing. Funny thing is, when I was a child in the early 50’s we lived within sight of the Kilbowie works and often climbed over the fence into the yard where the timber was stacked to weather. There are quite a few on ebay I see, only found your site today, it’s very informative. Regards, Syd

  10. Julie, it can be done but the cost will be prohibitive, particularly as the handwheel will have to be masked and re-enamelled after plating. To convince yourself of that, try asking round (or searching web forums) until you find a bunch of people who are into restoring really old (1920’s or earlier) cars or motorcycles, ask them where they get their re-plating done, and send the company pictures asking them to quote.

    Good luck!


  11. Love, love, love your blog! I’ve been sewing since i was young, but i just fell in love with machines in the past month or so. Thanks for all your great information!

    I’m wondering if there is a way to get the chrome on my grandma’s 1917 treadle machine’s faceplate and the round backplate replated. They are a beautiful floral-ish design – the faceplate might be a lotus pattern, identical to a 1927 model 66 that i recently purchased. I think the Singer machine is a 66, serial #G5522042, with Red Eye decals on it. I’ve tried simichrome polish on the chrome, which helped some, but some of it is pitted and damaged. I phoned an auto body repair shop and they said no. We live in the USA and just for sentimental reasons, i’d prefer to restore the original chrome and not just purchase replacement parts. Do you have any other ideas? What do people do to restore the metal?

  12. Dear Sid,
    It is many months after my question of April 29 & your reply, but finally I’ve had the chance to follow your advice on setting my tension spring . . . and I’ve done it! Thank you so much for your helpful guidance. I really appreciate it!


  13. Hello Catherine

    OK … we think we’ve worked out what you didn’t understand, but if we haven’t, by all means ask again 🙂

    Ensure that your presser foot is lifted. Hold the reel down on the spool pin with your right hand to keep the thread under some tension, then pass it over the thread guide, down and round between the tension discs and back up again. If you pull the thread up towards 1 o’clock or so, as long as you keep it under some tension by stopping the reel spinning round, you will find that the thread starts to lift the take-up spring. Keep some tension on the thread, keep pulling towards 1 o’clock, and once the thread has lifted the spring up far enough, it will flick itself into the retaining fork. Once it’s done that, release your tension on the reel, and the take-up spring will drop back down to its stop with your thread under it. Then it’s up through the hole in the take-up lever and so on as per the book.

    Does that help?

  14. Hello Sid and Elsie,
    I love your blog, so interesting and fun to read.
    Having never sewed before I’ve recently bought a Singer 201k (s/n EN149246) which i love but can’t get to work properly.
    I think I’ve got a problem with tension – when i had the machine threaded the bottom thread bunched up loads and would only sew 3cm badly. However, I now can’t re-thread it! My problem is at point 3 and 4. I put the thread between the tension discs but have problems with the spring and hook. Is there a knack to this?
    Thanks for any help you can give, Catherine

  15. Hmmm … I’m still pondering on that one Judy. All I can suggest is that you check out the post on here about removing and replacing the balance wheel, then go through that removal procedure, noting anything about your machine which is different. I suspect that the clamp washer’s to blame, but whatever – with the stop motion clamp screw removed, the balance wheel should be free to rotate about the shaft and be easy to pull off it. If yours isn’t, you need to find out why not …

  16. Hi Sid;
    I just bought a Singer 201-2 from a church rummage sale this morning. The stop motion wheel turns and for some reason is controlling the needle. It goes goes up and down as it should with the Balance Wheel. The Balance Wheel however is frozen and won’t budge except for a bit. It will not control the needle. Something got whacked out in there and I’ll be darn if I can figure it out. Do you have any thoughts? I’d hate to take it in if I can fix it myself. I’m fairly mechanically inclined.

  17. Yep, it’s a 1954 99K, but your question’s way too general for me to answer …

  18. Hello! So I inherited my grandmothers sewing machine a while back and finally found the time to take the lid off. I had never seen it before (and immediately fell in love) and use to the white plastic ones from home ec class. To my surprise I found a Singer 99K (I believe? and its electric? the number is EJ719196). Its in beautiful condition not a scratch on it…. Long story short, I don’t want to mess it up! I downloaded the manual and started to read over it. Need less to say I am searching for other answers. Is there anything that you can tell me that the manual won’t? Any advice would be much appreciated!

  19. Hi there, I collect old sewing machines, the sort you get home, need to bath in petrol to de-gunk, oil from scratch and perhaps have my friend manufacture some parts for! Lovely to find your blog, though quite by accident!

  20. John, I’m sorry but I don’t know of anything which will do the trick. One problem is that in my opinion, the original composition of the lacquer changed from time to time, and I suspect that any given lacquer aged differently depending on the conditions in which the machines were kept.

    If you do happend to find the solution, do please let us know!


  21. Hello!!!

    I’m currently in the process of trying to renovate my singer 201k Mk2 treadle machine, and was sad to find the machine head clear coat bubbling up in some parts and coming off. Its such a shame as the machine is perfect in every other way, it runs beautifully smooth and silent, and there are no major scratches etc.

    Could you tell me if there is anything I can do to help restore the finish? The black psint is all there, but its the bits of what I think could be shellac that have bubbled up and come off.

    Any ideas I would be so grateful!

    Thanks! :o)

  22. Thank you very much for the identification help. I hope my husband doesn’t expect a new shirt made with this machine ( at least any time soon). 😉
    Will the general information in the 201k manual apply to the basic workings of this machine? It looks to be similar to this machine.

  23. I had a feeling you’d say that about the manual 😉 Your machine is actually a 66K from 1932/33.

  24. Hello again. The letter and numbers across the lower right front are: Y8614686.
    I am not familiar with these antique Singer models as of yet and hope to learn more about them from this site. 🙂 I got the “201K” from the manual that arrived with it and the accessories in the cabinet.

  25. Gosh, what a kind husband you have, Ann 🙂 I’m a little bit perplexed by a 201 with “Egyptian motifs”, so can you perhaps let us know the serial number?

  26. Hello,
    I just found your blog. My husband brought home a beautiful treadle Singer in a cabinet yesterday and I am looking forward to using it after I study the manual ( its a 201K ). It is such a pretty machine with its decorative Egyptian motifs and I expect I will learn a lot about it from this site!

  27. Oh what a refreshing taste of home, here in Athens, (Greece, not the pretend American one!) on the all-crucial election day of all time. Your wit and love of proper English is well appreciated this morning … Happy Father’s Day by the way. I have a relatively modern Singer, acquired in 1992. I often see old models about in markets here … the pedal types (or whatever they are called). If I had the space I would have one, they look so fine.
    My sister has just acquired some young chicks, one of which may be a cockerel – do you take in cockerels if offered? She is hoping it will be a hen, but they are still a bit young to be totally sure. I quite like cockerels to look at but living here, I quickly discovered that contrary to popular belief, they do not crow at dawn – they crow every 3 hours or whenever it suits them! Despite living in this rather cramped city, the lady across the road had chickens and a cockerel in the yard of their apartment block. I hated the creature for its crowing, especially in the summer when we had no choice but to sleep with all the windows open. It came to a rather unfortunate demise. At the time, my brain couldn’t quite place the strange sound I was hearing in my sleep-befuddled state. We later found out a stray dog had got into the yard… Of course it was ages before my brain stopped listening for the crowing when I was sleeping!

  28. As far as I know, they changed from the plain “curly” treadle to the more modern one with “SINGER” on it sometime around 1910-ish. For more authoritative information, you need the ISMACS site 🙂

  29. I have a singer base that belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I haven’t found another one like it on line. The word “Singer” spelled out in iron on the foot pedal. All that I have seen have had the word spelled out half way up the piece vertically. Can you tell me if this makes it newer, older or has no significance? Thanks.

  30. Hmmm … it’s probably been oiled with the dreaded 3-in-1. That turns to brown goo over the years, and if you’re really unlucky, it hardens too …

  31. Wow, what a quick reply. Yes in uk, so will get some of the chrome polish over the weekend. I can only assume that the grease is a build up of machine oil over the years! I will let the other half clean all that I think 🙂

  32. Hello Claire

    If you’re in the UK, the chrome polish you want is Solvol Autosol, but if you’re not in the UK, I have no idea! Ref grease, there shouldn’t be any grease anywhere on a 27K – only proper sewing machine oil. The best way to get rid of it is patience, a paintbrush, lots of either diesel or paraffin/kerosene, rubber gloves and a big tray outside …

  33. Dear Sid & Elsie,

    I have a singer 27k ( I think). What would you suggest I use to clean to silver coloured parts that are very rusty and slightly pitted. Also how much grease should there be around her moving parts? Some of them are caked in it and although I have removed some of the excess it still looks to be quite a lot.

    Many thanks. Claire.

  34. It sounds like you have a 201-2 and it also sounds like you’re in the US. Its value is what somebody will pay you for it, neither more nor less, so all I can suggest is seeing what similar machines actually sell for on as opposed to what people list them on it for.

  35. I have a question, I inherited a beautiful old Singer machine in a beautiful cabinet. The only numbers I have found on the machine are SIMNACO USA 45223 and 45229, the book says P.H. Built-on Motor 201-2 I would like to know more about it and it’s value. It has all the gadgets, bells and whistles. I’m a No Sew kinda Gal…lol Plus I live in a very small house and really have no room at the Inn. Anything would help and I do have some good pics. to share. Thank You

  36. Hello Eileen

    We’ve never actually sold a vintage machine which does zigzag, but that might well change before long … 😉


  37. Hi, as all your sewing machines appear to be sold, I wondered if your could email when you get a suitable machine in that will sew jeans, does zig zag, reverse, and length of stitch alteration. I am in the market to purchase one for home use. I want it to be reliable and parts are readily available. Thanks Eileen Moris

  38. Would it be possible that I have here a hybrid 99k/201? It has the rounded end chrome plate on he top & the ID number says it was made in 1940, but the tension doesn’t seem to conform to diagrams for either one or the other completely (we are only 2 hours from Brighton. Can you not cycle over & fix it? :D)

  39. Do we like 201’s then? Good machine? My partner is currently spitting nails as he tries to reassemble the upper tension………………

  40. The 99k that I thought that I had been given seems, upon further inspection & using your ID criteria, to be a 201 Mk1 made in 1940…………I was LED ASTRAY by the 99k box that came with it! Can I use those feet (unless they are instruments of torture) on my 201K do you think? Thanks

  41. Thank you for the speedy reply, I will get my bradawl out and tighten the belt up more.
    And many thanks for suggestion RE the 201-2 motor, I will certainly be bothering him in the near future. I just knew you two would be able to point me in the right direction x

  42. Hello Sheryl

    The short answer is that if it’s slipping it needs to be tighter, and I don’t think it’s actually possible to over-tighten a belt to the point where you’d risk damaging anything.

    Ref your motor, the chap to ask would be Graham Forsdyke, the Featherweight man. I believe he has a tame motor wizard 😉

    (BTW, you now know why we’ve never got involved with potted-motor 201’s)

  43. Hi Sid and Elsie
    I’ve just discovered your lovely blog through the sewing forum. I have two questions for you, how tight does the treadle belt in a parlour cabinet have to be, I’ve installed mine with a late model 201k and it works beautifully, but you have to get it going with the balance wheel first otherwise it slips,
    Secondly do you know of anyone who refurbishes 201K potted motors, my 1934 machine has just been pronounced unmendable and dangerous because of a motor fault, but I find I’m loath to just write it off. Failing this can the 201-2 be converted to hand crank?

    Sorry that seems to be more than 2 Questions, I’m just so stoked to find other like minded people.
    PS the machines you have sold are just stunning.

  44. Hello Sue

    No, I never did! Basically it’s down to the simple fact that from an engineering point of view, and with all other things being equal, rotary motion with a steady hook speed throughout the stitch cycle is a better proposition than reciprocating motion with the hook accelerating, decelerating, reversing its direction of travel, accelerating again then decelerating again every cycle.

  45. Hi Sid – Your explanations as to how these lovely old Singers work are fascinating. i was reading an article that you did back in on 3/10/11 and in it you say that one day you will get round to posting about why the rotary hook of a 201 is an improvement on the reciprocating hook of a 66 – did you ever do that and if so could you advise where it is filed. The reason I ask is that I now have a 66 (yes I know I was going to stop after the two 201 models but when a friend heard me enthusing about them she insisted I have this which belonged to her late mother-in-law).

  46. Yep, take both out. You can do that by just snipping the leads from them as close as possible to the two terminals on top of the white block.

  47. hi again,
    i opened the pedal control to take the capacitator out but i seem to have more bits that the one on your picture dated 22/Feb….You have the big square and one cylindrical thinggy (that’s the capacitator, right?). I have two of those which are connected from the end of your orange wires to the conners….i guess i need too take both out…..
    My controller’s model number is 194585; i took a picture when i opened it up.
    Thanks again.

  48. Don’t be too scared of poking round a 201 Vicky. They’re pretty much bomb-proof 😉

  49. Hi Sid,

    Many thanks for your reply….. I will try the capacitator first….I have searched on your blog and found how to do it, many thanks!

    Regarding getting stuck in the first place…i did look to see if there was any thread/lint/fluff but i couldn’t see any easily…..mind you…I am a bit scared to start poking all over the place in case i ruin anything….:-)

    I’ll let you know what happens…

    Thanks again


  50. Hello Vicky

    I think you have two separate issues there. The easier one to solve is the running on its own, which is almost certainly the capacitor in the foot controller having shorted out. The cure is to open up the controller (having made sure you’re unplugged from the wall socket!) and remove the cylindrical component which is connected across where the two wires terminate. On the face of it the stoppage seems to be indicative of something having seized up, but if that was the case, I’d have thought it would have taken more than a few minutes to sort itself out, and I’d also expect it to have done it again soon afterwards. And if it was a thread nest or a huge wodge of lint or whatever jamming your hook, how come it cleared itself?

    I dunno, so I guess a score of 50% is the best I can do 🙂

  51. Hi!

    I came across your blog via The Sewing Forum and i have found it really interesting!

    I have a 201k (electric) from 1954 which I bought for £10 about 8 years ago! I haven’t used it much but when I did, I loved it. I have a little problem with it (I really hope it is little) and I was hoping that you could shed some light, please.

    I sewing away, quite happily some voile curtains….suddenly it stopped and when I tried to move the wheel manually it was stuck, it wouldn’t go backwards or forwards. I left the machine and the room and after 2-3 minutes it un-stuck itself and started ‘sewing’ like mad on its own….I pressed the pedal a couple of times but i wouldn’t stop until I unplugged it. Now everytime i plug it in, it starts sewing and it won’t stop!

    Do you think the motor needs rewiring or is it kaput? Or maybe the pedal? I really hope it’s not too serious….

    Thanking you in advance,


  52. Thank-you, I shall. It seems to be running well & I even have a few cams for different stitches. The thing is that I don’t NEED 2 old Singers, but I don’t want to part with them!

  53. Nice one. But the word is “modifying”, dear – not “bodging”. All you did was rectify Singer’s omission … 😉

  54. Procrastination’s a wonderful thing, and 401’s are awesome. If you ever need any bits for it, give us a shout …

  55. Thanks for the reply. Your blog gives me many excuses to procrastinate whilst I should be getting on with some sewing (since people actually pay me to alter their clothes I feel that I should get on with it). My lovely bloke has taken the ‘interesting’ bits of wiring to work with him this morning in order to share…

    Once the electrics are tidied up then I shall have a play with my 99k & hopefully use it to sew some of the heavier things that I currently stress my Janome with…’s great but it doesn’t like layers of curtain fabric. I have also acquired a 401 g which looks like fun. Odd that they both sort of turned up at the same time just as I was looking for something heavyweight.

  56. Jill, the only thing that’s new to me is the blue tape round the resistor block. I wonder what that’s about …

    Whatever, you can ditch the capacitor. It’s not needed nowadays.

  57. Having just acquired a Singer 99k my partner thought it wise to have a look at the electrics prior to use. Here are the photos! :

    One toasted suppression capacitor, and three reversed pins in the plug. Cracking combination Grommit!

  58. Just an update…Mission accomplished and very sucessfully too. I cut two 1″ holes through the base board using what I think is called a router bit (?) for my drill and it was dead easy, nothing fell apart or self destructed and the 201k head slid in perfectly on the first try afterwards. So now it’s all in, belt is on and yes, treadling as smooth as silk.

    Thanks for the moral support, and for not calling me a vandal for bodging an antique cabinet. 😉

  59. Thanks Sid for replying so quickly!!
    I do mean the 191 that’s a close cousin of the 201. It looks alot like the 201 MK2 but has a vertical bobbin and still has a clickety sound when sewing – at least the one that I’m looking at has this sound. I assume from reading reviews of the 201 that the 201 machine hums. Also the 191 has the feeddog dropper knob just next to the second spool holder.
    The 215 was made in Germany and looks alot like a 201 MK1 but with a vertical bobbin as well -I have no idea what it sounds like and the woman selling it knows nothing about it. I saw another photo of a more recent 215 that looks alot like the 191.
    Anyway, thanks again and bonne soirée to you too.
    And whether or not I am to have a good evening depends on the outcome of the elections tonight!!
    Kind regards

  60. Helen, I’d love to help but I’m sure I know less than you do about them – particularly if you mean the 191 that’s an industrial. If you mean the 191 that’s a close cousin of the 201, sorry but I don’t even know what the differences between them are! 😦

    Bonne soirée anyway!

  61. Hi there Sid and Elsie,
    I’m wondering if you know anything about vintage 191’s or 215’s. I’m in Fance and have the chance to pick up either one or both of these machines but can’t find much information on the web. If you have some leads I’d be immensely grateful.
    Thanks so much and have a lovely evening!

  62. Thanks for the reply. I’ve been cleaning up the 66K today and it’s running well in the cabinet. Lovely treadle mech as yyou say. But I’m still pretty determined to put the 201K in. I bought that cabinet because I only have room for one treadle and I wanted the nicest cabinet to go with my best machine. So the drill will be used. I suddenly realised that though I’ll have to take the drip pan out if using the 201K I can always put it back in again if I want to re-fit the 66K head and that will cover up the new holes I’m going to make. It makes me feel better to think that the modification won’t be that obvious.

    I will take lots of pictures of the process, just in case some other crazy person wants to do the same thing. Thanks again for the encouragement!

  63. Actually, Elsie has her side-clamp Lotus in the newer drawing room cabinet and the original 27K in the older style one, so you’re on your own with the 201 🙂 Off the top of my head I can’t think of any reason not to proceed as you’re thinking, so the best I can do is say go careful and good luck.

    One thing’s for sure – when you do get it sorted, you’ll just love the treadle action once you’ve oiled it. It really is superb in that cabinet.

  64. Can I pick your brains on something? I got my parlour cabinet yesterday, with a 1917 66K head in it. (Lotus decals.) I decided I wanted to put my 1935 201K head in said cabinet but there is a problem. There is a sort of metal drip pan fitted into the cut out base under the head which does not fit the under mechanism of the 201k. I got that out easily enough but still the 201k head does not fit in flush to the table top. The problem seems to be the two short support legs on the underside of the 201k hitting into the wooden base.

    Now there are already holes machine cut in this base and it’s rough wood, nothing fancy, so it would be easy enough to cut two small holes or depressions to take the little support legs and allow the head to sit flush. It is not a weight bearing piece and drilling out two holes will not decrease the structural integrity, I don’t think. But before I break out the B&D and start messing around with a vintage cabinet, can I ask if this is a common problem and is there a better fix? I know the parlour cabinet was often supplied with a 201k and I know you have this combo. I presume the base cut outs were factory fitted to the head supplied. There have to be times when the heads were changed though. What then?

    Incidentally under the drip tray was a chalked date and set of initials. ?/6/1917. Lovely bit of history. I know a true beliver would probably just put the original head back in and live with it. But I want to use my beloved 201K in this cabinet not a back clamp 66K, however nice it is. I will make the slight modification if that’s what it takes. But is there another way, svp?

    Thanks for any assistance and sorry to bother you given that I’m not even a customer! (Yet…) But there aren’t that many folk around who might know this sort of thing.

  65. Hello Anne

    Just replace the two-pin plug with a 3-pin one, ignore its earth pin and fit a 3 amp fuse instead of the 13 amp one. Check out

  66. Hi there, have just stumbled upon your very amusing blog whilst looking for advice on how to change plug from 2 pin to modern 3 pin on my 99, can you help??
    I have just received my 99 as a gift so am new to all this old malarky but desperate to get it up and running.

  67. Kaila, I don’t have an early 27K here right now to check this, but IIRC it’s just a case of assembling it so that before you tighten the tension screw stud, the arm of the spring is pointing to something like 7 o’clock. You then bring the loop of the spring back up to its rest position, tighten the stud and see what the spring pressure’s like. If too tight, repeat the process with it pointing to 8 o’clock, and so on. Hope that helps! Sid

  68. Dear Sid and Elsie,
    I’m so glad to have found your blog! I have a 1905 27K Singer sewing machine that’s in beautiful shape and works very well, but a problem has developed. The thread take-up spring (spring with the little hook or loop in it) that’s behind the tension disks is stuck (doesn’t move up & down when sewing). I understand how to remove the thumb nut, the spring that’s in front of the tension disks, the disks themselves & then the take-up spring, but I can’t put it all back together so the take-up spring functions properly.

    I’ve been looking for a service or repair manual, can’t find one, and can’t find any information ANYWHERE about how to position that darn spring. Please oh please, can you help?

    Thank you! I’ve enjoyed reading your pages here.


  69. Oh we love our stoves. The Clearview one in the kitchen spends most of its time with two kettles on it, which when boiling get put on a folded blanket on the floor with a beanbag on top of ’em to keep hot. We do dried apple rings above them too in the autumn.

  70. Thanks, Sid. I wasn’t sure how to find my post and have read back to your first post to find it.
    I found out about Clarice ( we used to have hens bantams and warrens,ducks a a noisy guinea fowl, Paddington) and a smallholding with 2 x40 foot tomato greenhouses and a cucumber house. That was when I was nobut a young ‘un. Now I’m old and creaky, I love reading about self reliance.
    Thanks for the tip about making loaf on the wood burner. We have a multifuel stove with a kettle for hot water on top. Your posts are so interesting. Thank you from a very showry North Wales.

  71. Hi Sid and Elsie,
    Just come across your blog. You are really knowledgeable people! Thank you for all the information. I have janome 10000and a 4623? but have wanted an old hand crank for ages. Got a Singer 28 at the local car boot last week,( £16)Victorian decal,oscillating shuttle and I love her! I have cleaned and oiled her using your and other information. Lady Victoria is her namer. No temper tantrums,she sewed through leather to make a flower She is great. My daughter saw her and loved her so we found a 66 on ebay for her only £12.50 but a 120 mile pick up. We sent off on ebay for spare bobbins but they do not fit as they are modern copies. Caveat emptor!
    Can I use Smettz needles on these machines?
    Sewing Lucy

  72. I just ran across your site and have really enjoyed all the information and funnies you have. I’m definitely putting your site in my favorites list. I have several old Singers, a couple from the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

  73. Hello Margaret

    I use good old-fashioned Plus-Gas. It’s in a stupid tin nowadays, but I just take the top off and dip a screwdriver in. By the way, be careful – most penetrating oils are inflammable.

    We’ll see about a post on sorting out attachments, but meanwhile, tell your husband that WD40 is like 3-in-1 oil – using it on a sewing machine is just cruel.


  74. Sid, what do you use as penetrating oil?

    I see Kroil recommended, but cannot find it here. If my husband mutters WD40 once more I may do something nasty 🙂

    Any chance of a blog post on cleaning attachments and buttonholers? Please.


  75. If you have the correct type of bobbin inserted properly the right way round, your needle is the right type and it is in the right way round for a 201, I can only think that either it’s a build-up of lint or a piece of thread stuck somewhere.

    Hope that helps!

  76. I have a 1948 201k singer, that looks very similar to yours. I can not the bobbin to stop clogging up. Everything looks perfect, it starts to sew great, but then the thread will catch around the bobbin and bobbin casing and get completely knotted up. I’ve tried different bobbins and they seem to fit perfectly and triple checked that I am threading it properly (I have the original manual). What am I doing wrong. Any suggestions???



  77. Oh dear, Lil, that does sound bad. We don’t want fuzzy minds.

    You have email. Sid

  78. Hi sid & Elsie,
    My singer has been a little humbug today…The thread wil ‘not’ stay in the needle. I have re-threaded atleast 30 times. My eyes are going fuzzy. My mind too. Please help..

  79. So sorry to hear about Dyllis! I do hope that the other girls are doing ok. You may want to have a serious talk with them about the downfalls of being speciesist, though. Or get them a boyfriend – maybe then they’ll be more open to an adoption of the un-feathered kind?

    Regarding the Featherweights, I didn’t expect to own one, but it sort of fell into my lap. I’m more of a treadle girl at heart (a 127 and 29-4 hold prime real estate in the house), and since the attachments fit across most low-shank machines… well. That’s what I keep telling the husband, at least. 😀 If I come across 2 hemstitcher/edgers at a good price, I’ll gladly pass one to you.

  80. Keri, I’m sorry but all applications for adoption here have to go before Clarice, Alice and Phyllis (Dyllis having turned her toes up last week), who hope you’ll understand that preference is given to chickens. Especially cockerels.

    I’m equally sorry that we can’t help you with the tray or the attachment either! We don’t get involved with Featherweights nowadays, and we’re still looking for a nice hemstitcher/picot edger at a sensible price for Elsie …


  81. Any chance of you guys adopting me? I come with a very handy husband, a cat and a small dog (all of us are potty trained, some of us are potty mouthed) – but I am computer literate, a serious crafter, I can spell the words “bobbins” and “needles” properly, and I share your love/addiction of old sewing machines. 😀

    If not, I’ll have to settle for the possibility that you may have a “spare” accessories tray for the featherweight 221 case – researching leads me to believe I have a “type 6” case (serial number starts with AL), or maybe even a hemstitcher/picot edger?

  82. Hi,
    I bought an old Singer 201 for just $19 at a Salvation Army store a few years back. I would like to know more about it. Can I email you with a photo or two?