Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Meet my Star Machine

It's the beautiful 1927 Singer 99K hand machine.  

It has already featured several times in past posts - click on the right hand side of the page on the heading "Singer 99K" and you will recognise this machine.  Also it appears on several of my Youtube videos.  It is the clean machine of the two shown on the video about removing slide plates, and it is used on the video showing mitred corners on quilt binding.  

The Tilted Quilt

Last night I discovered a blog linky party hosted by Stacey Napier at her blog The Tilted Quilt
If you visit her blog you will find lots of links to other blogs where people are showing their machines - old, new, all sorts - and the stories behind them.   

So here is the story of this machine.  It came to me out of the blue.  A friend came up to me at church one Sunday and told me he had a machine for me in the boot.  He'd just done a house clearance.  The conversation went something like this:-

"I've got a machine for you if you want it."

"What sort is it?"


"What model?"

"Don't know, you'll have to tell me."

"Hand machine or electric?"

"Don't know."

"Is it a black one?"

"Don't know.  Haven't taken the lid off yet."

This is where I started yelling in disbelief.  We went to his car, and I was expecting a run of the mill wreck.  When he opened the boot the first thing I spotted next to the case was the old foot pedal. Disappointment was about to take hold, and then I saw the hand crank, the genuine Singer part, not reproduction rubbish, lying on the floor of the boot.  All was not lost.  Then he took the lid off.

This is what the machine was like when I got it.  It was a bit dusty and lacklustre, with a melted bobbin winder tyre (I've not seen the like before or since) and (to my eyes) the odd, unbalanced look that a machine has when it has been deprived of its handle.

Here is the rear view.  The old motor is so ugly.

And here is the top view.  You can see that the decals are in good condition.  All this machine needed was to have the terrifying old motor and light taken off, the handle back on, and a thorough cleaning and oiling.

So it was time to make a video, which is the sewing machine version of The Ugly Duckling.

This 99K is now one of the machines that I could not do without.

So a big thank you to my friend Phil, for finding it, and thank you to Stacey for hosting the linky party.

And hello to the latest follower, Deb.  Thank you for joining!


  1. Gorgeous machine, what a treasure!! Thank you for sharing :)

  2. what a good story and thank you once again for all the videos and good tips on how to look after these beautiful old machines, I love my 99K!

  3. What a beautiful machine! It's so nice to see such loveliness on the link up, thanks for sharing. =)

  4. Wow that was such an interesting video , I would like to see you actually stitching on this sweet machine. I have the 99K but it is an electric model not hand . Thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Hello Sheila,

      Glad you enjoyed the video!

      Click on the heading Mitred Corners on the right hand side of the page, and it will take you straight to a post where there is a video with this machine being used.

      This machine is very reliable. I use it a lot.


  5. Muv!
    I'm so glad you linked up with Stacey and I. (I'm MummyQuilts from the Quilting Board).
    Your Youtube videos are invaluable - I've watched them all several times, and I haven't even a vintage beauty in my hands yet! lol
    Thank you so much for linking up with us, your machines are SO beautiful, and your story almost made me cry (I must be hormonal or something!)

    1. Hello Erin,

      Great to have you here!

      Thank you for the machines linky party - it was a brilliant idea, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

      There's only one remedy if you cry. MORE TEA.


    2. I have a 1957 model 99K and it has a very small spring lying down in front of the bobbin case and it has a large amount of red "fuzz" packed into it--looks like red felt. Is this just lint that is packed down or is it supposed to be there for oiling like my 1914 hand crank 127? The machine has been stored in an outdoor shed for a LONG time.

    3. Hello Nankc,

      The red felt is supposed to be there, it's for the oil.


  6. Muv,

    Thank you for the videos and sharing precious information! I've enjoyed reading your blog, just a bit more to go :)

    I just bought a 66k, my first antique sw (yay! you made me do it :D) and it's on its way. Would the threading be the same as for the 99 and can I substitute any of the modern needle brands in the size indicated for the machine?

    1. Hello Gina,

      Congratulations on your new machine!

      A 66 is the stretch version of the 99, so yes, the threading is the same. Singer standardised needles in the late 19th century to the flat sided needle, and since then it is the machines that have changed, not the needles. Don't worry about the brand, just make sure you put it in the right way round:-

      Love, Muv

  7. mason_lowgate@btinternet.comSeptember 04, 2016 4:21 pm

    Hi Lizzie, I have used your videos to help me with a Singer 28 that I have inherited. The hand crank handle has been pinned so that it is fixed to use and so the lid does not go on. Can you tell me what sort of a fastener it should have?

    1. Congratulations on the machine!

      The person you need to contact is Helen Howes. It might help to email her some pictures so she can see exactly what you are talking about.

  8. Good morning, Mrs. Lenard.

    I'm new to your site, but I've already read many of your absorbing posts. I just made a bid on a very similar machine on Ebay. Providence willing, I'll win it. Since I've just recently decided to learn to be a tailor, it'll enable me to make precision stitches.

    I looked at your 1940s blouse, which I thought was unusually lovely. It has a certain je ne sais quoi that sets it apart from a garment sewed on a commercial machine. What is it? A delicate elegance? I can't put it into words, but it sure does look nice.

    I look forward to your posts. You are an inspiration..

    1. Good afternoon Unknown!

      Thank you for your very kind comment. Congratulations on deciding to learn tailoring. I hope you find your ideal hand machine very soon. The beauty of a hand machine is that it never rushes you, it always goes exactly the speed you want.

      Happy New Year!

      Love, Muv



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