Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Good-Bye to an Old Friend

I bought this machine some time in the mid 1980s.  For a while it was my only sewing machine. It is a Singer 28K manufactured in 1896.  In 1987 I used it to make my wedding dress, and in 1989 the christening robe for a very sweet baby boy.

I particularly wanted this model because I had grown up using my mum's machine, also a 28K.

This machine is interesting because it shows how machines used to be overhauled for resale.  This front slide plate is an obvious mismatch with the back plate.  The front slide plate is a replacement - the original slide plate would have had a stamp on it showing the patent date of 1886.  

When you open the front plate you see that the decals carry on under the plate.  At the side, to the left where you would have the plate on a round bobbin machine, there is a gap.  These decals were designed for use on a round bobbin machine.  This machine was given a new coat of black japanning and a fresh set of decals - a bit like giving an old car a respray and a set of speed stripes.

The face plate has the ornate grapevine design, totally out of keeping with the rather minimalist design of the decals.  The original faceplate on this machine would have been plain.

At the back, the screw that holds in the inspection plate has been given the blacking treatment - it really didn't need it!

When I bought it, the machine came in a dark wood base and bentwood case.  When I inherited my mum's machine I swapped the machines around, putting my mum's machine in the dark wood base and case, and putting this machine in the 1950s light wood base and old suitcase-style case that my mum's machine had come in.  Somehow the light wood base suits this machine better.

This machine went to a charity shop a couple of weeks ago.  I hope the new owner gets years of good use from it - it certainly served me well.  Now it is somebody else's turn to enjoy this machine.

Hello to Armand, the latest follower.  Thank you for joining!


  1. Hello Muv
    Thank you for today's post. It is really interesting to see one of these recondtioned machines up close. I notice that the oval Singer badge has been removed from the pillar as part of the process.

    It must be a bit of a wrench to say goodbye after the significant garments you have sewed on this old machine but I think it is good that you have a photographic record of it.

    I am certain that someone is going to walk out of a charity shop somewhere with a huge grin on their faces having fallen head over heels in love with this little Singer. It looks like it is in great shape and has miles of seam and hem still left in it.


    1. Hello Gavin,

      I delayed a bit in passing on this machine, but in the end it wasn't too much of a wrench. It had been ever so slightly elbowed out of the way by a few young upstarts, especially the gorgeous 1927 99K.




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