Use It or Lose It: Singer 99-13


I'm looking at machine #6 in my sewing machine inventory today, and this 1934 Singer 99-13 is near and dear to my heart. This is the first vintage machine I ever bought, found in a Southern Illinois thrift store sometime around 1990.


The 99's are a 3/4 sized machine, basically a mini-version of the 66, and this model was one of the first sewing machines advertised to be totally "portable." Although at about 25 lbs in the case, it's not quite as portable as a modern lightweight machine or even a featherweight.


Since this is a "portable" machine, it has an ingenious way of storing all of the extras. Inside the wooden case is a space for the attachment box and a place for a metal bar shaped like a question mark.


The metal bar is a knee control, attaching to the front of the wooden base and taking the place of a foot control! It is a pretty cool way to sew, no chasing after a foot as it walks away from you on the floor. This machine really does sew wonderfully, I have always enjoyed sewing with it. I set it up last week and have been doing a little bit of piecing on it, enjoying every stitch.


It really is a pretty little machine. I was drawn to it esthetically when I bought it, and then after sewing with it I completely fell in love. This machine is the reason I continued to purchase vintage sewing machines, because I knew they just didn't make them like this any more.


The only thing I'm doing to this baby is adding some small metal handles to the base to make it easier for me to lift and carry. After I added handles to the wooden base of the 15-30, I couldn't believe I ever repeatedly lifted machines without adding them sooner!

I'm planning on sewing on her again tonight before moving on to the next machine in my inventory - which will be whatever machine I grab off the shelf next!

To see some of the other machines in my collection, you can click on the links below. Happy stitching!

#3, #4, and #5: 1922 Singer 66, C.1900 Vibrating Shuttle, and Singer 114K103
#2. 1919 Singer 128
#1. 1901 Singer 15-30 Custom

Comments

Michelle said…
I have this machine too, only the electrical stuff on mine was not in good shape,and it was missing the knee control, so I stripped the electrical transformer out of the case, took off the motor, and added a hand crank kit. I love it! I have another 99, which is newer, since it has the reverse lever, and I put a handcrank kit on that as well. They are just SEW CUTE! I have a Singer Spartan too, still with the electrics. I just love those 3/4 size machines!!!

To see my 66-13, go here:
http://www.lifewithlou.blogspot.com/2012/02/singer-99-conversion-from-electric-to.html
Sarah said…
Erika,
I just love seeing your sewing machines! Maybe I can twist your arm to bring one to the retreat so I can play with it a little bit!
JustPam said…
I have one of these, but when I got it, I was getting a "new" one too frequently to keep up with them. I haven't taken it apart to clean and lube it yet. I didn't realize that some had the knee control. How cool is that on a portable machine! I am sure mine doesn't. My favorite is the 301. It just purrs and makes such a perfect stitch.
Emily said…
This is a beautiful machine! I love seeing what you do with them too! :)
Khadija said…
I just receive a machine that looks just like this one i'm so excited!
It will be my first machine! I hope it only need to be cleaned an oiled! How I know which model and year is exactly?
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Khadija, congrats on your new vintage Singer! You can check the serial number on the machine, usually stamped into the metal on the front right side of the bed. There are Singer dating chards posted at the ISMACS website (International Sewing Machine Collectors Society), you can look there to find the model and year your machine was made. http://www.ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/serial-numbers/singer-sewing-machine-serial-number-database.html
Khadija said…
Thanks So Much! Accordin to the ISMCS web, if I understand well it's from 1007!!! Tread it today and tried to sew in it but it seems to be lacking bobbin and bobbin case...
Anonymous said…
I was given this exact machine any idea where I can purchase a knee bracket as too I do not have one it is missing ;(
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Kayla, I've not seen new replacement ones for sale, have you checked on eBay for the knee controller?
Eileen said…
I have just gotten a singer 99-13, but can't seem to get my stitch as small as I would like for piecing. Do I turn the knob to the left or right? I have tried both and it doesn't seem to change anything. It feels sticky and I have to use a wrench to turn it.

Thanks,
Eileen
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Eileen, thanks for stopping by! It sounds like you might have a pretty stuck stitch length knob. Maybe try a few small squirts of WD40 in there to see if it will loosen up. For the life of me I can't remember which way to turn the stitch length knob to make the stitches smaller, but if it is in good working order it should be pretty easy to tell. Hopefully the WD40 will help loosen it all up. - Erika
Anonymous said…
I have a machine that I have been trying to find online but haven't have any luck. The serial number is AH850201. I think I've searched every sewing site there is and no luck. Maybe I have missed one. Any ideas?
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hello Anonymous, did you happen to see my post about identifying your sewing machine? Visit here to find links to help you identify your machine: http://sewsitall.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-much-is-my-old-sewing-machine-worth.html Good luck to you! - Erika
Anonymous said…
I just realized I have one of these machines, somewhere in the house ... as the knee lever is upstairs, waiting to be reunited. I also have Featherweights, and a 15-88 treadle from 1941, plus too many to list. I share your passion!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey "Anonymous" that's great! These are fantastic little machines, they sew so sweetly. Glad to meet a fellow vintage sewing machine collector. Happy stitching! - Erika
Karen said…
Hi I have a 19-28 Singer with knee control. I was able to wind bobbins and thread the machine bu I can't get it to sew. Is there something that turns on to make it start sewing? Thanks very much.

Karen
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by! The first thing to check is that the handwheel clutch has been engaged for sewing. Grab the little wheel inside the big wheel and make sure it is tightened up and not loose. Other than that, I'm not sure what the issue might be, and you may want to have a technician take a look at it. Best of luck to you! - Erika
Annette said…
Hi I have this machine (according to ISMACS it is circa 1936) with the knee control. It is missing the manual and the electric cord :( but I am in the process of chasing both these items up... Mine has written across the top of the machine Manufactured in Great Britain...but I bought it from a Tender Centre in NSW Australia. I am so looking forward to getting this machine up and running...It reminds me of my grandmothers machine
Cheers Annette
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hello Annette, that's wonderful! This is still one of my favorite machines, it makes perfect stitches and sews very smoothly. Happy stitching! - Erika
MrsPeters said…
I have this machine too! I did not know which model it was but after going to this site:
http://www.sandman-collectibles.com/id-singer-machines.htm#16

I was able to identify it. I bought it at an antique store for $125 in 2008 and it even has the box with the accessories & feet. Wow.

If you need the manual, singer has them for free download at
http://www.singerco.com/support/instruction-manuals/search?man_model_no=1
but the link keeps hanging up on me. Maybe you will have better luck.
Cheers!
amateursarto said…
Hi, I know I'm late to the discussion, but is it possible to convert a foot pedal actuated 99k to knee lever driven? Thanks, Pete
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Pete, and thanks for visiting my blog! You know, I don't know for sure how you would convert a machine to knee control. This 99K has the workings built into the case and wiring. The alternative I have seen is hooking up a foot control to the side of a cabinet with a lever to use with your knee. Best of luck to you and happy stitching! - Erika
robbi said…
I just found a Singer 99-13 (it is exact to the photo on your blog) and looking to sell it. Do you know what a US dollar value it has? The light works and it appears to have all attachments as well.
John J. said…
Hi there a couple of days ago i picked up my 99-13 from 1937 at red cross in Denmark they told mee they rarely sold hand models because they didnt have a motor, thats my good luck, i got it cheap,the wooden box also needed some attension, so.... do the math smiling...

This little darling of a machine has been polished and fixed for like over 6 hours now,Had trouble with the bobbin winder, my good that is one pretty thing! also the singer tin box for xtras is full, nothing more goes in. Here is some numbers# 28915# 35931 # 36583 # 12464 # 25527 # 120842 # 32622 # The ruffler ? number yet # 121094 ¤ 38835 everything is in mint condition.

You can find photos of this tiny machine, nearly all looks fine, mine here is ready for a museum, it looks that good now- paint and decals look awesome.

I like good strong machines i like to sew leather denim and other strong stuff i am a biker, and like to do it myself.

Cant see if i can upload pictures here, but i am pretty sure, when it is done i`ll sell it again, it is not what i am looking for, maybe i`ll trade it, who knows.

It will not go in sewing machines rather antiqes and collectables, i think.

I am mad about old vintage sewing machines, i love fixing and using them,even thoug i am 50 years old. my first licence was for this. laughing...

Regards John J. Fredericia
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi robbi, while I can't offer a value for your machine, you can check out my post here http://sewsitall.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-much-is-my-old-sewing-machine-worth.html to find links and information to try and set a dollar amount to your vintage sewing machine. Happy stitching! - Erika
paulacurran48 said…
Somewhere along the way I lost the key to open the domed wooden case. Is there a way to unlock it without a key? Are replacement keys available? Thanks for your help!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hey Paula, I have seen replacement keys available at some of the online sellers, but I can't remember exactly which ones. My husband helped me jimmy open a case with a missing key by using a small flathead screwdriver once! Good luck to you - Erika
Unknown said…
Not 100% that I have a 99-13, but looks exactly like picture. Where would I find the model number? Serial #EG864441.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Unknown, and thanks for stopping by my blog! I see you are searching for more information about your machine. Did you happen to find my article that lets you know where you can find serial number dating information for Singer machines? It's here: http://sewsitall.blogspot.com/2013/08/how-much-is-my-old-sewing-machine-worth.html Happy sewing! - Erika
Natty Paint said…
Hi! I recently purchased a 99-13 from a local thrift store, and it's missing the knee lever. Do you know where I can purchase a replacement knee lever? Would you also be able to send me a photo of the detail of the lever where it goes into the machine so I can see exactly what that part needs to look like? My email is hello@madebymle.com

aI've bought 2 different models already from Ebay and neither fits correctly. Thank you in advance for your help!
VickoRano said…
Hey there, I have this exact machine but I've always had trouble getting the stitch tension correct. I feel like I always have to have it tightened all the way in order to get any tension at all, but my thread breaks constantly. I feel like a dummy, I bought it after it was serviced & restored so I don't know if anything could be broken... I even learned how to carefully adjust the tension for the bobbin. I often get very loose stitching & worst case, it tangles up. Very frustrating, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Do you have any suggestions for achieving proper thread tension on this machine? The two most common things I sew are cotton & denim (repairing jeans).
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Natty Paint! I'm sorry, I have no idea where you could find a replacement knee bar for your 99-13. The only source I know is to find one from another vintage 99 machine. Best of luck to you!
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi there VickoRano, thanks for stopping by! Wow, looks like you're having a lot of trouble getting good tension with your 99. I haven't experienced the same issue with the one I sew with. I learned from a sewing machine tech long ago the "TNT" method for checking tension. That is, thread, needle, tension. First, check that the thread is wound the correct way on the bobbin, and if the thread spool doesn't seem to unwind smoothly when you're sewing - try using a thread stand. Check your needle to make sure it isn't damaged. And lastly, check the tension settings on your machine. Best of luck to you!
KathyB said…
Hi! I recently got a little 99 (so cute!) and cleaned it up. (I will also replace the motor as the 1924 cords are a bit scary). In the process I noticed a lot of deep chips in the finish down to bare metal. I decided to paint it bright red -- I have just done the silver undercoat for the metalic red. I have been researching decals, but I think I will go ahead and just directly paint it when I get to that point. Your 66 posts were a great inspiration.
Erika Mulvenna said…
Thanks KathyB! Congrats on your *new* old 99, they are great machines. Best of luck with the painting! - Erika
Maureen said…
Hi Erika
I was gifted a Singer 99-13 but it is missing the knee bar. I did find one online with a serial number 191412. Is that the proper knee bar for the 99-13 machine. I wondered if yours has a serial number on the knee bar.
Thanks so much.
Maureen
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Maureen, this is the knee bar that came with the machine, so I assume it is original. I'm sorry that I don't know if you can easily find a replacement. At the moment my machine is in storage and not easy to grab to find the numbers on the knee control bar. Good luck with your search!
Elizabeth said…
Hi, I was reading some of the questions and one was about thread tension, there is a little screw on the bobbin case of my machine and if you loosen or tighten the screw your can adjust the tension. I have the type of bobbin that fits in the little jacket before it goes in the machine, mine may be different but I was told unless you have the machine without the case this is how you adjust the tension in all those type. Hope this helps. Elizabeth
Erika Mulvenna said…
Hi Elizabeth, yes, some Singer bobbin cases have a small screw that will control the bobbin thread tension. Recommendations from sewing machine technicians are always to try adjusting the top thread tension first before changing the bobbin thread tension. Still, if you're sewing with thick thread (upholstery weight) or super thing thread (silk for instance) you may need to adjust that bobbin thread tension. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Cheers, and happy stitching - Erika

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