Friday, April 6, 2012
Use It or Lose It: Singer 319W
I'm up to machine #8 in the inventory of sewing machines in my collection. This is a c.1954 Singer 319W. I thrifted this machine long, long ago and far away, but it needed re-wiring and I just never got around to it - until now. The 319W was one of Singer's first "swing needle" or zig-zag machines ever made. It was equipped with 5 built-in specialty and decorative stitches, each engaged by flipping up a lever on top of the machine near the handwheel.
The 319W also has a 6th lever, which along with a knob on the front of the machine allows for the use of cams (Fashion Disks) to create additional stitch patterns. Although were originally 30 Fashion Disks available, I only have 8 of them.
This machine was in an old, broken down cabinet which I trashed after thrifting this machine. The previous owner had re-wired the machine to get it into the cabinet, and there were exposed wires sticking out all over the place. So, first order of business was repairing and correctly wiring the machine which we did a few days ago.
And it sews! I tested out all of the built-in stitches in the 319W. Looks pretty good, but I really had to fiddle with the thread tension. A lot. Ugh, I had a feeling this might happen, because this is what the bobbin case looked like:
This machine takes a very odd needle size, a 206 X 13 instead of the most common 15 X1 needles. The 206 X 13 is a shorter needle, and if you place the 15 X 1 in the machine, not only will it make a really crappy excuse for a stitch, but the needle may hit the bobbin case causing it to crack or bend. Which, obviously, someone has done here. So, second order of business was to order a new bobbin case.
And now it sews MUCH better! Here are stitches from some of the Fashion Disks I've collected. Not too shabby, and an ingenious way to create extra stitches for a machine. If you want more decorative stitches, buy more cams!
I think this is one of those machines that people either love or hate. Looking around, I saw some reviews on the Singer 319W that called it loud and clunky. But seriously, this machine runs quieter than the many other vintage machines, and makes just the smoothest stitches ever! Makes me wonder if those nay-sayers weren't using the wrong sized needle with their 319W's. I'm definitely loving this machine, and it is definitely a keeper. In fact, I have a cabinet from a broken down Pfaff 130 that only needs a few minor adjustments for the 319W to pop right in. Yay!
If you'd like to see some of the other machines in my collection, you can click back to read about these oldies but goodies:
#7. 1957 Singer 221
#6. 1934 Singer 99-13
#3, #4, and #5. 1922 Singer 66, C.1900 Vibrating Shuttle, and Singer 114K103
#2. 1919 Singer 128