sew cute!

singer 306

I don’t sew a lot, but I have my mom’s old Singer 306 sewing machine from the 1950’s. I love this machine. It’s big, black, heavy, and makes a dreamy machine hum when it runs. I actually learned to sew on a newer Singer that Mom had in the 1970’s, but it didn’t have this great sound.

When I was at Mom’s house last week, I nearly tripped over something on the stair. It had been sitting there for a long time; it was pretty dusty. I decided it needed rescuing. She said I could take it home.

singer 20

It’s a little hand-cranked Singer. Mom didn’t know much about it; she said my dad picked it up somewhere. He loved gadgets. Baba passed away in 2001, and I think the Singer may have been sitting on the stair since before that…



It looks like it uses the same bobbin and bobbin holder as my big machine. It’s missing a needle. But other than that, it seems to be in good working order. I wonder what it was meant to do? Mending? Just a curio? It feels too solid to be a toy, but maybe it was. Time for a google search!

I poked around online and found this interesting site. It seems that my little Singer is a Singer 20 toy sewing machine. It was made sometime between 1926 and 1950, because it has the threading numbers on it (post 1926) and doesn’t look like the “modern” 1950’s models. Looking around some more, I found that the machine came with C-clamp to fasten it to a table. That makes sense; it would be hard to hold it and sew at the same time. Apparently Singer used to market these toy machines to young girls so they’d remember the Singer name when it was time to buy their own real machine. More about the marketing here, if you’re interested.


It looks like the little sister of my big machine, and I’m happy to give it a home.

In knitting news, I’ve finally cast on with the Incense for Passiflora. Can you believe I waited more than a month after the yarn arrived? There’s not much to show for it yet. I’ve gone down 3 needle sizes, and I hope I’m getting gauge. I’ll report back soon…

14 responses to “sew cute!

  1. Both of those machines are really neat. You are very lucky to have them.

  2. How sweet is that! I can’t imagine cranking and sewing at the same time. Little girls must have been more coordinated back in the olden days.

  3. Full of envies. Those Singers are die-hard work horse. I love them. Sadly, I don’t have any to treasure. My cousin cleared out everything my aunt had who was a professional seamstress…I only wished I knew better than to fight to keep them. What treasures you brought home 😀

    I can’t believe you didn’t cast on until now…Look forward to see the progress.

  4. My mom has a very similar toy Singer. Not sure of the year, but it’s adorable as well. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Microsoft Takes a Page From the Singer Playbook « Portland’s Finest Advertising Blog

  6. I think my mom had one of those as well. I wonder where it is now…

  7. What a fantastic machine. It’s probably built more solidly than today’s machines! You’re right that there is nothing like the hum of a sewing machine. My current machine is a Singer and it doesn’t sound right despite a recent tune-up. My daughter’s new Singer is so quiet! I’m really thinking about an upgrade.

  8. When I see machines like that it makes me want to learn to sew. Then the feeling passes. Haha!

  9. That tiny machine looks sturdy (and really heavy!).

  10. What wonderful machines!!! You have a couple of treasures there.

  11. You are so lucky to have your Mom’s old Singer. It’s beautiful and they have a great reputation for being durable. I’m just thrilled to hear that you use it. My FIL keeps his as a knick-knack table. Silly man.
    Love the toy version of it!

  12. What beautiful machines!

  13. That is great – what a great little machine! Are you going to try and use it?

  14. Both awesome machines! I think that hand crank was made as a toy; I’ve seen others like that. What a cool little machine.