Sunday, 20 August 2017

What's the Secret of the Black (Magic) Box? Singer Vintage Sewing Machine Feet and How to Use Them

Hello, Lovelies! Well it ain't chocolates but something far more interesting indeed to us sewing ladies.

I tend to go to the local charity shops on a Saturday. As I seem to be the only vintage-loving, sewing lady "in the village" there is usually something interesting to be bagged and added to the pile of sewing stuff I don't have time to use. Last weekend I was back home in Scotland so when I went in yesterday the lady behind the counter mentioned that she had something that hadn't sold last week but she had thought of me and if I was interested I could have it half-price.  Intrigued I was handed a black box and my heart leapt.

The box itself has seen better days but when opened is lined in the most gorgeous purple velvet and contained a whole load of feet for a Singer sewing machine. Being a vintage Singer owner these feet will come in really handy - if I ever work out how to use them that is! So in no particular order here goes*:

* Just to be clear I only knew what half of these feet were for. I had to look up the others on the absolutely wonderful website of Helen Howes which is a wealth of info if ever there was one. I love the Internet. 

Foot 1

This is an adjustable hemming foot. I don't think that anyone else made these but there are a couple of useful YouTube videos on how to use them. This is one. Seams really useful to me.  Oh, I am so punny. :)

Foot 2

Apparently, this is an under braiding foot in which the braid is attached to the right side of the material but is sewn from the wrong side. Who knew? I think that this one will come in really handy. YouTube tutorial here.

Foot 3

 I actually knew what this was! It is very like my modern bias binding foot. The binding needs to be quite small to go though this but it would be great for finishing raw edges before hemming and for Hong Kong finishing. YouTube here.

Foot 4

Knew this one too. No, it's not some sort of S&M plaything, it is a ruffler,  a 5 + 1 apparently, one that pleats on all stitches or every 5th (didn't know that though). This will be very useful.  You tube (for modern feet but they are very similar) here.

Foot 5

Haha! This is not a toy aeroplane, this is a Singer tuck marker foot. I knew this one too! I have absolutely no idea how to use it though so will be avidly watching YouTube to find out how to make tucks on things (should I ever have a burning need to).

So do you own a vintage sewing machine? Do you have a lot of feet with it? Do you ever use them, or even know what they are for? What are your favourite sewing resources?

Plus, I have a whole load more charity shop booty to share with you soon. 

Laters, Lovelies.
K Xx

P.S. None of the videos are mine so a HUGE thanks to the people who share their sewing knowledge with us through websites and YouTube.  This is yet another reason why the Internet is so great. 


  1. You absolute star! This'll help me identify the strange gadgets in all my sewing machines even though I'll probably never use them.
    How thoughtful of that charity shop lady to think of you when that cute little box was donated, you must have made a big impression on her. xxx

    1. Funnily enough Vix I thought of you and your lovely new machine while I was writing this post. The Helen Howe website is such a goldmine of info and I even got a repro manual for my vintage singer buttonholer from her. A total Godsend as my "new" machine has lost the ability to sew buttonholes. Since I have been going in to the charity shop here every weekend that I am not in Scotland I am on chatting terms with the shop staff. A few weeks ago we got talking about how I sew when I bought a whole heap of fabrics. She is super nice and that was such a kind thing for her to do. I suppose that there are not too many people who sew round here and have vintage machines that will fit these feet. I am really looking forward to bringing down my 66K Singer and trying them out. I have a 300 series Singer here but that is for the buttonholer adventures. Hope your new machine is behaving herself. :) Xx

  2. I don't know anyone else who could get so excited about feet!!! You're going to have fun, I can tell!

    1. Hi Edwina, we should really clarify that by saying "sewing machine feet". I am sure that the Internet is full of very enthusiastic feet lovers, though probably not the same kind as me. Seriously though these feet are great. They are in full working order and all the bits are there. I am looking forward to giving them a go as they obviously designed them for a purpose. My bias binding foot changed my life so this could be am-a-zing. (I know, I am a total saddo). :) Xx

  3. How nice of her to put those by for you!

    I don't think the staff in the local chazzas know me, but then thanks to the prosopagnosia I don't know them. I'm never sure how easily 'normal' people recognise others.

    1. Hi Mim, it really was. They are all very kind and the feet have gone to a good home. They really will be used. The place that I have moved to is a *very* small town and there are not many vintage-loving types here. I guess being 6ft and Scottish helps people to remember me. I am good at recognising faces but absolutely hopeless with names. I think that it would take me at least a couple of weeks of seeing someone every day to remember their name. It can be quite embarrassing sometimes. I hope that you don't find the prosopagnosia too much of an imposition. Xx

  4. That's fabulous! What a lucky find! My Aunt's treadle sewing machine and feet were passed on to me and she has a similar box of feet - but I've never seen the "airplane" one before. Very interesting! I love the internet ... so useful for educating me on how to use and repair vintage and antique things like this.

    1. It is such a fabulous resource isn't it? I don't know what I would do without it, although eBay and such sites are such an enabler for buying old machines. That is lovely that you have your Aunt's machine feet and that they are still getting used. Treadle machines might be simplistic but I think that they have the best stitch quality of them all. You are so lucky to have one. Xx

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