Tag Archives: Singer 99

Our new baby


If you pick up a heavy portable sewing machine by the handle on top of the case, sooner or later the inevitable will happen – as it did to a poor bloke in Croydon recently when he lifted his lady wife’s Singer 99 off the kitchen worktop and turned towards the kitchen door with it.  Alas, no sooner was the machine clear of the worktop than the case parted company from the base, and the 99 hit the deck.  And cast-iron Singers don’t bounce too well, especially when dropped onto expensive Italian floor tiles, which in turn don’t take kindly to having sewing machines dropped on them …

And so it was that when I returned home the other day, Elsie was expecting me to come in with a bit of a wreck of a 99 to add to the spares pile.  What she wasn’t expecting was a rather nice 221 Featherweight as well, which frankly I hadn’t been expecting to buy on account of them usually going for silly prices.  A lot of people seem to think that because a pretty 222 with all its bits and bobs usually goes for £300 or more on Ebay, the 221 should be expensive too because after all a 222 is only a 221 with a free-arm base.

What the dreamers don’t seem to realise is that the Ebay price of the 222 is driven by the demand for good ones in the US of A, where it’s a huge cult thing with Cindy and Jolene and Mary-Lou and all the other quilter ladies because the 222 was never sold there when new.  The 221 was, though, which explains why there isn’t a similar demand for them.  Quite the reverse, in fact – you often see optimists in the States offering 221’s on Ebay UK at prices which are decidedly high even before you add the £50 or more it’d cost to Fedex one from Asscrack, Alabama to Scunthorpe, Lincs.

Anyhow, I managed to find a nice enough one at a realistic price, so I bought it because (a) we didn’t have one and (b) I thought Elsie might like it.  Which she does.  I took it out the case, put it on the kitchen table and there was an “Ooooooh, look at that” followed by a “That’s nice” .  Then a pause.  Then “That one’s mine” …

Here’s a couple of pictures of our new baby with one of her bigger sisters …

Picture of Singer 221 Featherweight with Singer 99

Picture of drive end of Singer 99 alongside Singer 221



Except that’s the wrong word, because apparently “convertibility” refers to the ease with which a currency or a security can be traded for another.

So it looks like there isn’t a handy word to describe the ease with which Singer sewing machines of the 1900’s to 1950’s can be converted from hand-crank to pedal power to electric and back again, which is a bit of a shame really but there you go.  Despite the lack of a word, though, it’s still surprising what you can do with these things.

Take the model 66 that’s on the kitchen table right now waiting for a final polish before we sew it off ready for sale.  In its present form it’s a hand-crank portable, which is to say that you turn the handle to sew, and when you’re not sewing, it lives in a case.  Twenty minutes work will turn it into an electric portable, powered by a refurbished Singer motor of the correct type, controlled by either a period Singer foot pedal or a modern one.  Or we can fit a good quality modern Japanese motor instead.

If you fancy pedal power though, an hour will see that same 66  fitted into one of the two types of treadle base we currently have, and if you want to cover both bases, the machine can go into a treadle base but still retain its electric motor.  The same goes for any of our 66’s or 201’s (and indeed for the 27/28’s and 15’s which we don’t get involved with).  Versatility or what?

In fact the only variant we can’t actually offer at present is a 99 treadle.  But we can put a 99 in one of the tables made specifically for it, into which it folds away when not in use …

Fluff #1


fluff under needle plate of Singer 99k sewing machineAbove we see the very ordinary amount of fluff under the needle plate and around the bobbin carrier of this otherwise well looked after Singer 99, and  below is what came out with just a quick poke round with the tweezers without any further dismantling.  Note that bit of broken needle in the fluff nearest the camera, also the bone-dry red felt which is supposed to be kept oiled but very rarely is.

fluff from under needle plate of Singer 99k sewing machineBy the way, this post is Fluff #1 simpy because there’s bound to be more to come …