Another Vintage Sewing Machine!

Can I say that I have some really awesome friends? I really do!! Just check out what one of my friends gave me…

Yup! A vintage Singer sewing machine. She sure knows the way to my heart;) THANKS BUNCHES ESRA!!! You guys might remember my too awesome of a friend Esra from this post where I made her a thank you gift. Now you can see truly how generous and thoughtful of a friend she is! For no special reason or occasion, she got me this wonderful gift!

Based on the serial number, this beauty is from 1928. It came in it’s original Singer Bentwood box. It’s a model 99-13 portable sewing machine (based on some research I did). This is back in the day’s idea of portable! Let me tell you, this thing is nowhere near portable. It weighs about 34 pounds. Imagine lugging this around. Today’s sewing machine (well, my Brother that is) weighs about 18 pounds. If you want to throw in the hard case cover that came with my sewing machine, then it weighs about 21 pounds. That’s still less! I struggle enough with my 18 pound sewing machine which I transport in a sewing machine case on wheels! Okay maybe it’s not much of a struggle since it’s on wheels, but I do struggle getting it in and out of my car! I admit, I’m bit of a weakling folks:D

It does come with a motor. However I’m not sure if the motor works because I can’t test it out. It didn’t come with a knee bar or foot pedal. However, the machine does sew fairly well. Yaay! I tested it out with the hand wheel which I’ll show you below.

Check out that light on top. I was so excited to see it light up… hehe.

The bobbin cover was missing also. I actually did find an online shop that sells parts for vintage Singer machines, so I can get a replacement no problem.

(Side note: I created this simple collage via FotoFlexer. It’s as easy to use as Picnik’s.)

Turns out there was an unexpected little surprise inside the cover as well!

Confusion was my first reaction to these foreign pieces… well they certainly were foreign to me! Don’t worry folks, I may not be an expert sewer and can be slow at getting things at times, but I did know they were foot attachments. Yaay me! I was just clueless about what purpose they served exactly. I think the only attachment I was able to recognize was the ruffler (2), but it wasn’t immediate. I admit it was a “duh!” moment:P Thankfully, I was able to find an owner’s manual for class 99 which listed the attachments. For those of you that are in the same boat as I am, here are the names: 1. The Tucker 2. Ruffler 3. Seam Guide 4. Binder 5. Adjustable Hemmer  6. Foot Hemmer 7. The Quilter. The names are self explanatory, right? How to use them is another problem that I will have to experiment with one day with the help of the handy dandy owner’s manual (and I’m sure some googling!).

Now that we’re all a little bit more acquainted with this beauty, lets get on to the testing! So of course, no knee bar and no foot pedal means I have no choice but to use the hand wheel manually. Secretly, I’m kinda excited to be using the hand wheel and doing some old fashioned style sewing..hehe!

That old and dirty thread spool you see actually came with the sewing machine, so I decided to do my testing with it. It didn’t come with any needles, so I used my own. With the help of the owner’s manual, I figured out how to thread the machine. Talk about confusion, but I did get it on the first try. Yay, so far so good!

That’s the tension knob. See the red marks (I’m thinking that’s red nail polish)? I’m thinking that’s there for a reason, so I didn’t question it and made sure that the two red marks were lined up (they weren’t lined up initially). Here we go!

It’s sewing, and so far so good!

Here’s the backside. I still have to fiddle with the tension, but not so bad!

Now on to making a real project with it… but it’ll have to be a simple one. I’ll be sure to come back and share it with you!

In the meantime, I need to figure out if the motor works. If any of you know how I can figure that out without a knee bar or foot pedal, please do share!

I did clean up (and disinfect) this baby, but I need to polish her up just to add some shine! Oh… also if you guys have suggestions on how to get the “old” smell out, do share that too… it’s mainly from the wood and the green attachments’ box. Everything I tried just didn’t work… just a slight improvement.

I’m not sure I’ll be making that many projects on this machine, but I do plan on having some fun with it! How can I not? :D

Thanks Esra for the best gift ever!!!


  1. April 23, 2012  9:07 am by Amy @ Reply

    WOW! Sewing machines were so beautifully made back in the day. I love that you tested it out and used it. What a great tribute for such a beautiful machine. Lucky!

  2. April 23, 2012  9:11 am by Muna Reply

    that is sooooo cool...i love antiques!!! Good luck with it, im sure you'll figure it out!

  3. April 23, 2012  9:15 am by erahima Reply

    Yay! Lol I thought of it more as a decorative piece but look at u putting it to work! Can't wait to see the projects;)~

  4. April 23, 2012  9:34 am by Karen @ Folk Haven Reply

    Amazing! It's beautiful. What about leaving the things with the old funk smell outside on a nice day or two, out of the sun and of course assuming dry weather, back in at night, etc. I love that you are using it even without the ability to do so in a motorized fashion. I wonder if you called around to various sewing machine shops if any would have an old machine with compatible parts and would allow you to bring it i and hook it up to their pedal to test out that motor. Then you would know if it was worth your while to try to locate replacement parts.

  5. April 23, 2012  9:52 am by erahima Reply

    Love it!! I was thinking for decorative purposes, I love that ur actually using it!!! ;)

  6. April 23, 2012  12:14 pm by Claudine Reply

    I loved it!!! My grandma used to have an old machine... I could smell it from looking at yours... machine oil, fabric, metal... aaahhhh sweet memories!
    And what a wonderful friend!

  7. April 23, 2012  4:56 pm by ColleenB. Reply

    Oh, you lucky, lucky gal. Very lucky to have such a great friend.

    To remove smells and orders, sometimes just crumbled up newspapers helps. Crumble up some newspapers and lay in with the machine, put the top back on and leave closed for a few days to a weekor longer and see if that makes a difference. If not, try some charcoal Briquettes (new and Unused) and leave stored inside for awhile and if that still doesn't do the trick then just air it out on a nice sunny day, Or, you can also set a small container of baking soda inside.
    If you take it to a reliable sewing machine shop,or even call someone in your area, maybe they could give you suggestions on what you could do about the order.
    Got an antique dealer in your area? Might talk to them as well and see what they suggest
    Best of luck

  8. April 23, 2012  6:30 pm by JaneEllen Jones Reply

    Hi there You'll probably think I'm crazy but I sold an old machine like that over a year ago for $25.00 at a flea market. I couldn't use it due to the weight (and I'm spoiled with my "modern" machine. I do have a 43 yr. old Kenmore I love and use over a more modern machine). I can remember my Mom using that old machine when I was a kid. I didn't learn on it but think it had what it needed for the motor to work. It had the wood case also. Guess I let it go too cheaply. I do know the person that bought it so hope she's enjoying it. Hope you can get yours running. Maybe able to get the other parts you need to run it. Enjoy

  9. April 24, 2012  6:19 pm by shirley@housepitalitydesigns Reply

    Another great machine, Maysem!...I think I told you that I have an old Singer iron base...the machine was in bad I had a top placed on the base...I love it....

  10. April 24, 2012  8:50 pm by Karen S Reply

    Besides baking soda, white vinegar also gets out smells. My 99k smelled musty from the box. I used a 50/50 water & vinegar mixture and sprayed it on a rag, then wiped down the outside of the machine. It helped. Also leaving it uncovered to air out. Also, Sew Classic sells spoked hand wheels and hand cranks, motors and foot pedals. If you don't motorize it, consider making it a hand crank. Beautiful machine.

  11. Pingback : Old Sewing Machine, New Pillow « Ode to Inspiration

  12. April 27, 2012  7:34 pm by cb Reply

    That is really cool. What a nice gift!

  13. January 25, 2014  9:45 pm by Donna M. Pepe Reply

    I too got one just like yopurs for free. I did find out that you do not need the foot pedal. There is a switch under the metal plate. I thank you for showing me the right way to thread it. It has been 35 years since I threaded one. Thank you again.

  14. January 1, 2017  3:20 pm by cinamon Reply

    hi i no this is about three years old but i just found it! i just wanted to let you no why that red paint/varnish would have been put there. on these old machines that dont have reverse, at the end of the seam you have to turn the dial to make the stitches tiny so they dont come undone. somebody would have put that mark there so they dont forget and to make it easy to no where to turn it back to to start regular stitches again as its easy to forget to turn it again.

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