craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Back in action. No Bobbin!

I haven’t posted a bit because I’ve been on a restorative vacation to my hometown in America (Madison, WI).

Now I’m back in Japan, my first morning back in my apartment, waiting for my luggage to be delivered.

Nothing was lost but it’s never fun to lug a giant suitcase on the trains. That’s why there are delivery services to take your luggage to the airport before you leave and to send it home after you arrive. As usual I took one suitcase there and have returned with a full suitcase and duffle bag. There be new bras that fit, dresses, fabric, crafting items and…my new sewing machine.

Well, it’s nowhere near new and I grew up with it.


Meet the Singer Sewhandy model 20-10! It’s been my mother’s since childhood.

The original Singer 20’s were made in the 1912 and often traveled with sewing machine salemen working door to door. They’d give any young girl in the house the toy version to play with as they tried to make a sale of the full-sized machine to mom. Then, if the full sized didn’t sell, they’d be understanding but regretfully inform mom that they’d have to be taking the toy-sized machine back with them too. Usually moms would be willing to pay a few bucks to keep their child happy and the salesman would earn a few dollars for his time.

Over the years the body changed slightly, to encase some of the moving parts, but the mechanics stayed the same. Singer 20’s made after 1926 also had number stamped onto the machine parts to make it easier to thread the parts in the right order.


NOT A TOY! My mom still has this box somewhere but we couldn’t find it on this trip.

I, of course, quickly took to fixing it up. I figured that if I could get it to work it’d be interesting to sew some doll clothes with it.

I set to work at the kitchen table and took it all apart to clean and polish.


Much better.

It still had the original instruction booklet (which I have since copied) so I was able to figure out if any parts were missing.


It’s only missing a thumbscrew for the adjustable seam guide. I guess I’ll be the weirdo in the DIY store carrying around a small sewing machine to find a good replacement.

This machine takes smaller needles but you CAN still order size 24×1 for it. Done.

I clamped it to the table and tried it out!

Now, I know that’s not a great quality image. But maybe you noticed…There’s no bobbin? It’s just using one single thread to create a stitch? What magic is this?

Here’s a better video of the magic. The mechanism can be seen working at the 1:00 minute mark.

My first tests had the tension a little tight but I’ll have more time to futz with it here in Japan. It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out tension AND setting stitch length.

I’m back in Japan. I only teach dance for the next few weeks. Craft TIME!



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