Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A New Addition to My Sewing Family...

My new baby!!! A 1935 Singer sewing machine!

Thanks to a very quick thinking friend of mine in Sydney, I am now the proud owner of this gorgeous 1935 Singer 66 Sewing machine.  It was a little bit of a feat to get it from Sydney to Melbourne but it arrived and all in one piece!

I've been getting my sewing geek on researching where this machine came from (it appears to have been manufactured in Scotland) and wanted to share the following information about why this machine is still setting standards for sewing.

The Singer 66 or 66K was a heavy duty domestic sewing machines that set the standard for several decades, and indeed the Class 66 bobbin and the 66 style rotary hook arrangement are still in use on many ‘new’ sewing machines today. Because the 66K’s were full size machines weighing around 30lbs, they were usually sold in treadle tables or cabinets, although some hand cranked models, and later on some electric models, were also sold. Surviving serial number records indicate British production of the 66K ran from 1907 until 1939.

When the 66K appeared it was considered an engineering masterpiece, able to sew any thickness of fabric from fine silk to heavy canvas. The 66K first introduced the horizontally mounted rotary hook arrangement with drop in bobbins. A system which still survives in so many sewing machines from all makers today. This setup made loading the bobbin into the machine considerably easier than the earlier Singer 127 and 128K’s Vibrating Shuttle machines, or the 15K which had a fiddly bobbin holder which had to be clipped into position under the bed.

The stitch produced by the 66K was described as ‘near perfect’ and with the large harp clearance space it was a great favourite with tailors and seamstresses. Two basic weakness of the Singer 66K design were that it did not have a reverse feed feature and it was unable to drop its feed dogs, which meant that a cover plate of some kind had to be used for embroidery or darning. The first Singer 66K’s made at the Kilbowie plant in Scotland wore ‘Lotus’ flower decals. Later these were replaced with the ‘Sphinx’, which had been used on the 15K. Both of these patterns are popular with collectors. Later models of the 66K wear the rather plainer basic decal that was also used on the Singer 99K. ( info care of

I'm looking forward to giving this baby a good clean and get it up and running!


M-H said...

What a geeky post! I had no idea of most of it. My mother got a brand new singer with knee controls in about 1955 - I have no idea what she had before that. It was a table-top and boy, did it get used and used and used. I learned to sew on it, and was making most of my clothes by the time I left school. I also remember that a man used to come round every year to service it. We didn't have a car for quite a long time, so I guess that even though it was 'portable' you couldn't really take it on the bus to a shop. Thanks for the memories!

miss mardi nowak said...

I loved the knee control! My dad was one of those men who would go around and service the machines! It's been great as my parents had a Singer Sewing Machine store and they still have some of the original attachments in the box for this machine!

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