Ever since I bought my first vintage Singer machine (the Singer 201K) I have been checking eBay most days to see what other machines are around. You could say I have Singer fever. And I’m sure if you ask any other Vintage Sewing Machine collector they would tell you it’s a thing.
When this sweet little thing came up on eBay I jumped on it. It’s so cute! So much smaller than I thought it would be until I had it in my hands. I don’t have very big hands either! These were manufactured as kids toys, though I have read they were also marketed as portable machines for grown ups too. The Singer 20 was in production from 1910 until the 70s in various forms. From my research, I believe this particular model was built between 1914 – 1922. I know it was made after 1914 because it has the pretty 8 spoked wheel (before then they had a 4 spoke wheel), but before 1922 because at that time they started using a 7 spoked painted wheel. In 1926 they started numbering the threading points, so it’s definitely earlier than that. You can read more about the Singer 20 here.
It was in need of a little clean up…I guess if you’re 100 years old it’s ok to get a bit rusty. I pulled it all apart, gave it a clean and an oil and it’s now working surprisingly smooth. I expected it to be clunkier than it is. I’ve actually taken it to a sewing day and done some piecing on it.
This little toy makes a chain stitch, which means there is no bobbin, just the spool on top. Isn’t that cool! It uses a short 24×1 needle which has flat shank fitted to the right, so that the needle is threaded from left to right. (I’m putting that info there for me in case I forget.)
There is a little lever underneath which lets you change the stitch length and you can adjust the tension on top. It comes with a clamp to clamp it down onto the bench top. Originally, they also came with a seam guide and screw, though mine is missing. When I first got it, it was also missing the hook from underneath to make the chain stitch, but thanks to the lovely Graham (whose site is a wealth of knowledge and plenty of funny stories) I got a part and she’s as good as new. I told myself when I bought this that it would be fun for Roman to learn to sew on it…I haven’t been able to share yet.
I made a little bag to store and transport it in. I used the Noodlehead Open Wide Pouch as my base and added straps on it. The machine fits in perfectly! It’s hard to see but I did some free motion quilting on the bag using my treadle machine. It was great practice! I copied the swirl pattern of the fabric.
Did you ever sew on one of these as a kid?