Kelli’s Singer Sewing Machine

About three months ago, our daughters, Kelli and Kayla, and I were at Goodwill.  Kelli found a old Singer sewing Machine.  We didn’t know anything about it, but after checking it over to see if it would turn on and if the wheel was froze, she ended up purchasing it.  It was priced at $25 and we thought it would be a fine spare sewing machine.


Kelli brought it home to her house and there it sat.  She didn’t need it as her machine was working fine.  Then last week, her Pfaff started acting up….then it just quit.

Kelli dragged out the old spare Singer and checked to see if it would sew…Nope.  It wouldn’t sew.  She googled and looked and tinkered but the thread would continually break and the tension was atrocious.  I told her to bring the machine home and I would look at it.

Well Sunday she brought it home…UGH!  I sat for over an hour trying to fix it but, no luck.  Hubby just ignored us and went and took a nap.  I got Betty, my featherweight, out and let Kelli sew with her.  Hubby woke up and I asked him to check the part of the machine that holds the bobbin case.  He did and we found that it was beat up.  Apparently their must have been an issue with a needle at one point because it was full of nicks in the metal.  Hubby took it out to the shop and smoothed it with the grinder.

We put the machine back together.  The thread was no longer breaking….but the tension was still an issue.  We played with the bobbin tension and I played with the top tension.  Every little tweak, we got the machine just a step towards running better.  Then I hooked the top thread through a place that I thought was only meant for bobbin winding and amazingly, it worked.


In the process of fixing, we learned that Kelli’s machine is a Singer 237 Fashion Mate.  It zig zags and has reverse.  It was made in the late 60’s.  The machine is super quiet and sews very smoothly.  In the picture I am checking out the seam allowance.  Luckily the foot on the machine is a quarter inch foot so Kelli is off and sewing again.  Time and time again she would say, “Oh, I love this machine”…”Mom, this machine is so nice”….”I don’t ever think I’ll buy another machine in town”…”Oh Mom, thanks for fixing this”…”I really love this machine.”  Then she said, “You know, I love my Pfaff, but I spent 33 times more money on it!”

I’m glad her $25 investment has a happy ending….in the process, Hubby and I figured out that we kind of like tinkering with old sewing machines.  That’s a good thing because he bought another one over the weekend…but that’s another story.

Today I am hooking up with Vintage Thursday over at Colorado Lady’s, The Brambleberry Cottage, and Ivy and Elephants.

13 thoughts on “Kelli’s Singer Sewing Machine”

  1. I’m so glad you were able to get the machine running well. I probably would have gotten to the point where I thought a bargain was not much of a bargain. But you persevered. Good for you! I really enjoy reading your blog. I started a blog very recently after reading yours. Thank you!

  2. My hubby is a flea marketer/antiquer, and has found numerous Featherweights in his travels. We should probably become more comfortable tinkering with them since they are relatively simple machines. He found my FW, Baby, and I just love her.

  3. I love vintage sewing machines. This is a very nice one and I think has a great reputation for its satin stitch. Just be careful because “tinkering” with old machines becomes very addicting and you may soon find your house is too small to hold you collection! :)

  4. I have a similar looking machine that I bought when I graduated from High School. It is a Singer Stylist. I sewed on it for years but then it started giving me lots of problems, so right now it is just hiding in the cabinet. When I had it repaired the Singer man said that this machine had one plastic part that kept breaking :-( I’m glad Kelli is enjoying hers. I hope she has years of good sewing.

  5. Yeah – glad it worked out so well! It’s a very familiar story to me as my mom is crazy about old machines. She will sit for hours oiling, lubing and, most often, adjusting bobbin tension to get those old machines sewing well again.

  6. Pat C in Washingon

    I took a class a few weeks ago on how to maintain my 1956 Singer Featherweight. I got it as a high school graduation present in 1968 and I treasure it! My son is always on the look-out for “interesting” sewing machines at thrift stores and will send me pics on my phone – “Mom, should I buy this for you?”

  7. Love a good ending! Thanks for the shoutout on a previous blog post…I was quickly reading blogs but not taking time to comment at the time. Oh…and soup and a crockpot…love it!!! Can’t go wrong with that can ya? Enjoy your day friend!!

  8. It is amazing what you can do with something that might have a problem. Especially, when you have the patience and know how. Glad your investment paid off.

  9. When my husband and I got married, his Mom gave me her old FashionMate (the kind that comes in a desk unit). Her mother-in-law had given it to her and she’d NEVER used it, so she wanted to give it to me. I used it until it needed to be repaired and I needed some more options, so my husband bought me an embroidery/sewing machine combo. I still have that FashionMate, but now it acts as an end table in my hallway. ;-)

  10. I have two black vintage sewing machines both of which are tucked away in their wooden cabinet tables being used as bedside tables and no one ever sees the beautiful old machines inside. One belonged to my maternal grandmother and the other is just generic!

    THEY ARE HEAVY THINGS TO MOVE let me tell you!

  11. Oh, I love this machine!! I wish I could work on mine, and if I could, you can believe I’d have more than one vintage one!! Lovely machine and so glad you were able to repair it!! Happy VTT

  12. I have had that exact same machine since I was 11, in 1969. It was $89 brand new, that my dad bought me. I still use it all the time. I always said that when it breaks down I’ll buy a new one. I’m still waiting. lol. I have the original instruction book. If you would like for me to scan the pages for oiling and lubricating, just send me an email and I’ll forward it to you. I, too have had problems w/ the tension and just fiddle with it until I get it working. Cleaning and oiling helps the tension, too. You’ll never need another machine. lol.

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