Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Singer That Should Be Forgotten

Actually, it’s a whole family of Singers: models 206, 306, and 319. These were Singer’s first attempts at zig zag machines for family use and I personally think they missed their target. The machines are noisy, clumsy to use, and rotating and oscillating machinery is exposed to catch long hair or thread. These three models require special 206x13 needles. As far as I can tell, 206x13 needles are only available in sizes 12, 14, and 16, so if you are doing work that requires a size 11 or 18, you’re out of luck. I doubt that you will find 206x13 needles at your local sewing machine dealer, be prepared to special order and pay about four times as much as standard 15x1 needles. The 206 and 306W use standard industrial bobbin and bobbin case. Once you know that, bobbin cases are easy to find and cheap. However, if you need a bobbin case for your 306K or 319W, that will be tough to find and will probably cost more than you paid for the rest of the machine.

I tried my best to bond with the machine in the photo and just can’t do it. I changed out the motor to get rid of the motor noise, but there is still so much rattling in the sewing mechanism that I always feel like I’m sewing on some cheap piece of junk. I’m glad that Singer realized the error of their ways and redesigned their machines for the introduction of the 401.

For those who like this series of Singers, I will try to keep a stock of 206x13 needles in my Etsy shop, just click on the link below.  All I can find are size 12 and 14 at this time.

206x13 Needles

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Forgotten Singer

Many folks covet the Singer 15-91 for its gear drive that presumably makes the machine capable of sewing heavier materials. No belt to slip or need adjusting. It has the revered 15 Class oscillating hook that has been a standard for almost a hundred years and is still manufactured today. I have owned several 15-91s and agree that they are one of the best made 15 Class machines.

However, there is a Singer that followed the 15-91 that is every bit as strong and reliable. It uses the same motor, same gear drive, same drive train, and same 15 Class sewing system but sports more modern styling and paint, the 15-125.

But, for some reason, while many want a 15-91, few wish to own a 15-125! Why would anyone want a 15-91 when they could have a 15-125? Perhaps I am partial because a 15-125 was the first machine I bought when I embarked on my vintage sewing machine collecting spree - not my first machine, that was a Singer 301 but a 15-125 was the first one I bought purely as a collectible.

The one pictured here is my second, one I picked up at a local auction where, again, I was the only bidder. This is another machine that has sat idle for years because it was buried under other, newer acquisitions. I uncovered it a week ago and I decided to oil it up and check it out. Usually, I sew only one project on a machine before I become bored and swap it out for another machine but I have sewed 4 projects on this one and have no intention of replacing it anytime soon.