Sunday, September 18, 2011

Next Project: Singer 128

 Last January I visited a local antique store on my lunch hour because the sewing machine repair shop was closed.  I spotted this machine on a pile of what looked to be discarded stuff.  The original price tag was 99 bucks.  I gave ten.  The case is in terrible shape and I think there was no shuttle and bobbin with it.  At least I can't find that now.  With my organizational skills, they may show up later.

I never can remember the difference between the 27 and 28 and the 127 and 128.  There is a great website to help us identify our older model Singer:  This, as it turns out, is a 128.  The 127 is the full size version of this 3/4 size machine.  The difference between the 27/28 and the 127/128 is the position of the bobbin winder.  The  27/28 has the bobbin winder low, near the bed of the machine.  The 127/128 has the bobbin winder high, as in this example.  I have a Fiddle Bed with these same decals, further emphasizing that decals do not denote anything but decoration.


I used Dr.Bronner's almond oil castile soap for this clean up. Then I rinsed with sewing machine oil and rubbed gently but for a very long time.  I hate to put the bobbin winder back on.  This is the prettiest part of the machine.   I'll bet the bobbin winder protected it.

If I could mount the bobbin winder low, I would. I don't think that I can.

 It was just a year ago that I started this hobby and it quickly grew to an obsession.  One of the first machines that I bought was a Singer 128.  I bought it for ten bucks, the people had wanted thirty, dropped the price to fifteen and I offered them ten.  The machine did not make a full rotation and it was a rusty mess.  
I spent hours, and a whole can of WD 40, trying to free her up.  Now I know not to use WD 40, it is not a lubricant, rather, a water displacement product.  Still, I am lucky to have her because she had the shuttle and bobbin.   So, this is my first true parts machine.  I don't know why she won't move all the way around, but she donated her hook, shuttle and bobbin to the other 10 dollar 128 and now I have a complete machine that makes the nicest stitches.  I like these stitches better than my 28 hand crank.
I still have some motor work to do on this machine and I do not want to put that light back on it.  I think it looks awful.  I could keep it as a hand crank,  the repro hand cranks are functional but ugly. Still,  I think it is a cute machine. 


  1. Dear Elizabeth, thanks for noting the 128 ia a 3/4 size machine! I thought mine from Good Will was small, but .... just thought bc it was old. Your details are a help as I restore this one in an inlaid oak table cabinet. It has 2 feet, ancient thread, runs smoothly now, tho I haven't sewn yet. How did you deal with a crumbly rubber on the bobbin-winder?
    God bless! Nita of Amish country Indiana : )

    1. Hi Nita,
      If you email me a I will send you a new bobbin winder tire for just a little more than postage...They are not very expensive and easy to replace.

      Enjoy your machine.

  2. Hi Elizabeth,
    When you cleaned the decals, did you use the castile soap straight, with no water? I have some decals to clean and I'm nervous about it -- I'm afraid I'll rub them off! I just found your blog and am really enjoying your great pictures and detailed explanations. I'm going to invest in some good screwdrivers, thanks to you. I guess I'm a collector. I learned to sew on my mom's featherweight. She later acquired a 503 after I'd grown up and left home, and when I visited her I would clean, oil and lube it for her (a task she didn't like, apparently). Then I found a 401 of my own (close enough to the 503). My mom gave me a National Rotary that she had inherited from a friend, and I inherited her featherweight. Recently I found a Singer 66 hand crank with lotus decals -- these are the ones I'm worried about ruining by cleaning. --Sheila

    1. I did use the castile soap straight. On a q tip and very gently. I started where it wouldn't show to test. I rinsed with sewing machine oil. Good luck

  3. wooden bases and wooden machineboxes/hoods are most of the time screaming for some oldfashioned furniture wax, do not use modern waxes with non organic ingredients on them (silicones and the likes, the old wood hates it). I had to use at least ive times more fluid wax to just feed the wood, then had to wax and rub to a shine a few times, because the wax was absorbed after a few days. The bottom of an otherwise rightly cleaned machine shone up like that rturns your sewingmachine into almost a glamourgirl instead of an all fur blouse, no trousers underneath thing. I know you will shine up the bottom later. As far as thriftshop finds are questionable if the goo and dirt is just tobaccostain and grease or filthy groundin and not removable neglect, i do what every oldfashioned housewife would do: I wet my finger with some saliva, just damp, not more and rub the object gently. Then I snif my fingertip (I do not smoke!) and if I sniff tobacco and the spot becomes slightly shiny, I know the goo will come off. Of course at home I just use a Qtip and some sewingmach.oil or a little bit of soap, but then the item is already mine. I just think the thriftshop people will allow me to check the salivaway but would show me the door when I used nice clean water from some eyedropsbottle, just saying. Reina

  4. I have this machine. I am having trouble finding help with the motor in what could be wrong. I runs and sounds good as long as it does not have the belt on it. I have oiled and cleaned everything on the machine I can see possible. Could you help me or direct me where I could get help? Thank you Angie

  5. I've just acquired one of these today. After minor cleaning and oiling it's starting to run wonderfully. The shuttle was a rusty mess and is in a pb blast bath tonight but I'm pretty sure its going to stitch pretty tomorrow. This makes my 4th vintage rescue. I think I've caught it smad!


Thanks for reading. Do leave a comment. IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC QUESTION IT IS BEST TO EMAIL ME (see the top of the blog for address under Contact Me) . If you pose a question in the comments, likely I cannot respond unless I have your email address. Happy sewing!