Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Accidental Herd Addition

No one can really blame me for this acquisition!
Yes, I admit that I have a vintage sewing machine addiction, but I hadn't adopted one in a really long time. And this one just fell into my lap/house!
Singer 15-91 Machine #16 

I was minding my own business when my friend texted me saying that her parents found a great deal on "an old sewing machine" for $30 and asked if I wanted her parents to pick it up for me ... sight unseen.
Of course I did!
Meet machine #16 called Singer Sue.
From my online research, I believe she's a Singer 15-91 (manual here and how to identify 15-91 here) and is in the original cabinet. This machine (serial number JB598555) was made in 1936 in St. John's Newfoundland, which makes her 81 years old! See how the tension dial is located on the side of that beautiful faceplate!
The hand wheel turns easily, but you can see that the needle is bent and bangs into the presser foot (easy to fix). It has a potted motor, but the wiring is in very bad shape (not easy to fix).
However, I intend to convert this machine to a hand crank which I could take camping for quiltmaking in the wild. I have all the parts I need for a conversion and just hope I can remember everything I learned at the last TOGA I attended. 
Older machine, newly acquired on the left!

Now some of you might remember that my herd already contains a similar machine (#7) in a similar cabinet. 

Singer 99K Machine #7

But I think that machine is a Singer 99K and is a younger 69 year old machine from 1948 (serial number EE621885 made in Clydebank, Scotland). It is in better condition and it has safer wiring so I'm leaving that one "with a tail" as the Treadle On folks say.

You can see that the newer machines have the tension dial at the front. And just look at that beautiful faceplate!

Fellow blogger and vintage machine lover Cheryl will fill me in if any of my information is wrong on these machines, right Cheryl?!?!

Stay tuned to see how successful I am at my first attempt at converting an electric sewing machine to a hand crank machine!
Wish me luck!


  1. Ohhhhh, I would love to pick one of those up for a price like that!!! It is lovely...congrats!

  2. I have one in my basement. I want to restore when my neighbor passed away her husband gave to me..When she was alive she told me her husband purchased new for her. It was the only thing she ever sewed on in her 90 years. She passed away probably 25 years ago and i have had it covered up in basement ever since. I want to restore it but dont know quite how to start..its actually in good condition and runs well it just needs tlc and maybe new appliques. Thanks for sharing. I may need to ask Cheryl some questions as well

  3. beautiful machine! I wouldn't have a clue how to fix one, good luck

  4. What a great find! I am on the lookout for a featherweight.

  5. Have you see the blog, Quilting Room with Mel? Her husband, Paul, writes posts about vintage machines and even tells you how to rewrite them! He loves the treadles too, so you should check them out!

  6. Fabulous, of course you had to have it at that low price!!

  7. I just adopted one similar to yours (your faceplate is prettier). I don't think you can convert that one to a hand crank, because of how the motor is attached (like my Singer 201's). I can't convert the 201's for that reason. Cute machine either way. Come to the MI TOGA and I'll give you a machine you can convert to a hand crank. I have WAY more than 16 machines, and am trying to find new homes for some of them.

  8. It is a beautiful machine! I'd take Cheryl up on her offer, if I were you. I would love to have a hand crank machine.

  9. Astounding fun new plaything! Enjoy.

  10. I don't remember a Singer with the tension on the side. Interesting. Other than that, it looks much like the one I learned to sew on.

  11. That is a beautiful face plate and imagine this machine being made in my home province, Newfoundland. So your herd continues to grow! Your knowledge of these machines also grows!

  12. Absolutely wonderful! Though my collection isn't nearly as large, I have a bit of a addiction to old machines! How do you find where they are made? I can find the year and model, but haven't found out where to locate their manufacturing origin!

    Have fun with your new toy!!

    Blessings and hugs!

    1. Doniene, I used this chart: http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/singer_dating_by_serial_number.html

      I hope this helps. After I check my Featherweight serial number, I plan to email Singer using this information. I hope the link is still valid. http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/singers_dating_service.html

  13. Singer Sue is a real beauty!

  14. I fished a Singer 15-91 in Cabinet Model 56 out of my neighbor's trash one Friday, about 14 years ago. Our neighbor claimed it never worked, so threw her out. He was threading her incorrectly... his loss, my gain. (Her name is Betty, after the aunt who gave it to him.) Her date is November 1945, and I thinks she was made in Elizabethport. Your cabinet is a Model number 40 according to http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/40_cab.html And Betty works like a charm. So glad you rescued Sue!

  15. lovely find best type of addiction....x

  16. What a great bargain and a fun addition :)

  17. Happy accidents are lovely! I really like the scrollwork on the machine...it is just so pretty. Enjoy!

  18. Could Singer Sue become a Treadle? That might be easier to do. Great price, too good to resist.

  19. I think your machine was made in St. Jean, Quebec (then known as St. Johns) as that is where the Canadian Singer factory was. Beautiful find!