Updated at: 29-09-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

In only two stages, you can learn how to restore an antique Singer sewing machine. After learning how to clean the ancient machine, we’ll tackle the repairs that are required to get it back in working order.

To learn more about how to restore a vintage Singer sewing machine, we recommend checking out this article. If your ancient sewing machine has faded and rusted, it’s helpful to know how to restore its appearance and color.

If your sewing machine hasn’t been entirely restored after completing these methods, we recommend consulting with an antiques expert. In some cases, restoring a model may necessitate the services of a professional restorer.

Singer Serial Numbers Revealed: How Old Is Your Sewing Machine?

Sewing machines made by Singer date all the way back to 1851. They’ve evolved over the years, yet they’re still able to withstand the test of time. Among collectors and sewing lovers, some of the earlier models are highly sought-after. It’s always a good idea to check the model and year of an antique machine you find at a flea market. There is a chance that you’ve found a piece of history.

If you’re a fan of the piece’s history, aesthetics, or nostalgia, you’ll be able to find it on the market if you know what you’re searching for. My Singer sewing machine has been around for how long? Finding the Singer sewing machine serial number is the first step in determining a model’s production date. This information can be found on both the front panel and/or a little plate of older machines, usually near the on/off switch.

Our chart can help you determine the age of your machine by comparing your machine’s serial number to a date on the chart.

Why do Singer Sewing Machines have Serial Numbers?

Serial numbers have been applied to singers from the beginning of recording. Each number corresponds to a certain model from a specific time period and even a specific place. There was no letter prefix on any Singer sewing machines prior to 1900, and they came from all over the world. The serial number flow was eventually regulated by the Singer corporation in all of their plants.

How to choose a valuable model

If you’re looking for a vintage Singer sewing machine, the first thing to look for is its age. To be termed a “antique,” something that’s been around for at least a century has to be over 100 years old. You may discover the exact age of a machine by matching the serial number to the appropriate date.

The model’s resale value is heavily influenced by its quality. To be expected, high-quality machines in good working order command a higher price than those that have been tampered with. Even if a machine doesn’t work, it’s not worth collecting. In some cases, a broken gadget that can be repaired may still be a good investment.

Only a small percentage of objects may truly be called “collectors’ items” from the perspective of a collector. Blacksides with a black finish, Featherweight models 221 and 222 and any other machine with a built-in table are included in this category. If they’re in great working order, these uncommon models can sell for as much as £500 or more.

The History of Singer Sewing Machines

The Singer name is a byword for excellence in the music industry. Machines were flying off the shelves in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1867, when a local manufacturing opened. As the product gained traction, manufacturers all over the world began to pop up. It wasn’t just sewing machines that Singers were focusing on during World War II. In their leisure time, they kept on manufacturing those things. The company was founded by Isaac Singer, who invented the first sewing machines driven by treadle, belt powder, and finally electricity. Isaac Singer was a pioneer in the sewing industry, and he has a fascinating narrative to tell. Funny enough, Isaac employed female demonstrators to disprove that women couldn’t operate on a machine because of his “passionate” attitude toward women. He had 24 children as a result of his enthused approach to women in his personal life.

Designs Throughout The Years

They are among the most sought-after Singer antiques. For sale at auctions and in antique shops, they can still be found. Components and parts on these older machines might be swapped very easily. Because of this, they are still in use and have a very long lifespan. In a treadle sewing machine, the user pushes the pedal back and forth mechanically to power the machine. Many sewers still favor this model since it is dependable and environmentally beneficial.

The design has evolved through time as technology has improved. In 1921, machines were equipped with electric motors and bolt-on lights for increased functionality and aesthetics. It wasn’t long until the treadle tables were phased out with bulky box bottoms. Throughout the twentieth century, new materials were utilized, resulting in a sleeker and lighter design as well as the addition of new features.

Today’s Singers

Modern machines can cost anything from £85 to £1300, depending on their functionality and type of equipment. But why is Singer so well-liked? It’s not just because they have a long history, but also because they can meet any and all of your stitching requirements. Singer is known for producing cutting-edge machinery. They were the first to introduce home sewing machines with electric, zigzag, and electronic features. The fact that they were able to offer a wide range of features at a reasonable price made them the most popular brand.

There’s a machine out there for everyone, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned master, into embroidery or patchwork. A big part of what makes this brand so popular among sewers is the wide variety of beneficial features that can be found on each model, like automatic needle threaders and LCD screens.

How To Restore Antique Singer Sewing Machine At Home

Step 1. Clean and polish

  • Assess the antique Singer sewing machine’s current condition.
  • When cleaning the machine’s exterior, be sure to have warm water and dish soap on hand. Gently
  • Before using a cleaning solution on the complete sewing machine, make sure to test it on a tiny portion of the machine.
  • If there is no discoloration on the machine, you can clean it, but be careful not to over-saturate it.
  • After cleaning, be sure to thoroughly dry the device.
  • After removing any grease that has built up on the machine’s metal parts, use an oil degreaser to clean the surface.
  • Clean and polish the sewing machine’s cast iron portion with a flannel and a protective cloth
  • Before using anything on the machine as a whole, make sure it works on a test piece first.

Step 2. Examine the components

  • Investigate the inner workings of a vintage Singer sewing machine for clues.
  • Keep an eye out for anything that is damaged, broken, or in need of replacement.
  • You should consult the manual for the specific sewing machine model in order to learn how to remove and replace the various parts.
  • Professional help is needed if you lack the necessary tools or if you fear that the system is too intricate for you to understand.
  • Remove any thread or lint that has collected in the bobbins.
  • Identify and replace any bobbin parts that are damaged, broken, or in need of repair.
  • Rethread the ancient Singer sewing machine with a new needle, bobbin, and thread.
  • The best way to test the machine is to sew a little piece of scrap fabric.
  • A specialist should inspect the motor if it’s generating weird noises.

How Do You Get Rust Out Of A Vintage Singer Sewing Machine?

Step 1. Begin with the machine’s faceplates

  • Remove the faceplates and degrease them till the rust can be removed.
  • You should avoid degreaser in any section of the sewing machine that has an enamel finish since it can remove the finish.
  • To restore the original color of the faceplates, use an iron polish to clean them.

Step 2. Clean the rust off of the frame of the sewing machine and inside

  • Inspect the machine’s inside for problems. Learn how to remove the Singer sewing machine covers to rapidly obtain access to the machine’s inside.
  • A sanding pad can help you remove the rust, but you may need to break down sections before immersing them in rust-dissolving solvent if the rust is more extensive than expected.
  • Do not let solvents come into touch with the enamel paint on your sewing machine and decals
  • If necessary, remove any leftover rust with a Dremel rotary tool.
  • Oil and lube any sections that need it to restore the vehicle’s beauty and gloss.

How Do I Identify My Vintage Singer Sewing Machine?

  • Find out which model of Singer sewing machine you have. This may be found near the machine’s handwheel, switch, base, or stitch dial, among other places.
  • On a Singer sewing machine, look for the serial number, and then utilize Singer’s database of serial numbers to identify the machine’s date of manufacture
  • To figure out which model you have, consult your user’s guide.
  • Discuss your machine on online forums and weblogs.

To get the most out of your equipment and ensure that it can last for a long time, learn how to utilize ancient machines.

Can Old Singer Sewing Machines Be Repaired?

Repairs are possible for some vintage Singer sewing machines, depending on their current state. Look at the old machine and see if any parts are missing or broken.

The degree of your machine’s faults can also be assessed by visiting a repair shop. It is sufficient to clean and polish older machines that have been well-maintained and have not suffered gear or motor damage.

A tiny and uninvolved section of the equipment must be used to test any product. In order to avoid corrosion, you should also make sure that the equipment has been properly dried.

Is It Worth Fixing An Old Singer Sewing Machine?

Repairing your vintage Singer sewing machine, especially if it’s an ancient or vintage model that is difficult to find because only a few were made, is worthwhile. In addition, many old machines have been handed down down the centuries as family heirlooms, therefore they must be maintained in good working order.

How to Clean Antique Singer Sewing Machines

Things You’ll Need

  • A squishy rag
  • Lavender dishwashing liquid
  • Screwdrivers of a more compact size
  • Toothpicks
  • Tweezers
  • Air from a can
  • A lubricated wrench
  • Brush
  • lubricant for a sewing machine.
  • Turtle wax

Wax from turtles

Step 1

Remove dirt and dust from the sewing machine by wiping it down with a soft rag and warm water. Hard scrubbing at stains or deposits can only make the problem worse.

Step 2

The throat plates can be removed with a screwdriver. Toothpicks, tweezers, and canned air can be used to clean out the feed dogs of dust and thread. To avoid driving dirt further into the machine, use canned air sparingly.

Step 3

Remove the motor, light, and hand wheel, as well as all access plates. All moving parts should be examined for corrosion or buildup of dirt and grime. Use a brush and Liquid wrench to remove old grease and oil buildups from every section of the vehicle.

Step 4

To all moving parts, apply a liberal amount of Liquid wrench. If you’re having trouble getting the grease into the machine’s smallest cracks and crevices, try moving the parts slowly. More grease will be applied and it will move more easily if it moves a lot.

Step 5

Once the machine has started to move easily, lightly lubricate the whole machine with sewing machine oil.

Step 6

Make use of the machine after putting it back together. The more you use it, the better it performs.

Step 7

Use a soft rag dipped in warm water and a little detergent to remove any remaining oil from the machine.

Step 8

The decals on the outside of the machine can be cleaned with mild detergent and a brush. You can use liquid wrench if the decals have accumulated a lot of filth. To ensure that the decal color will not be altered, set the liquid wrench in an inconspicuous area and test it. If the color of the liquid wrench changes, different cleaning solutions such as 409, Simple Green, or Windex may be effective.

Step 9

To restore the machine’s lustre, apply a little layer of turtle wax and gently rub it in.


General cleaning is ineffective on some equipment because of the buildup of filth. Remove the plates and let the machine sit in kerosene for a week to see if that helps. A wrench and brute force (as well as liquid wrench) may be necessary if the machine is recalcitrant and jammed. Regardless of how small the movement is, keep going until you get it back to normal.

5 Best Vintage Sewing Machines, According to Sewers

You may be surprised to learn that some of the best vintage sewing machines outperform modern machines at certain tasks. The antique machines provide a lot of advantages for modern sewers. If you don’t need or want the computerized features of modern sewing machines, there are some stand-out vintage models beloved for their beauty and durability.

Are Vintage Sewing Machines Better?

When it comes to particular tasks, vintage sewing machines can outperform modern machines. As one of the many reasons current sewers appreciate working with these older equipment. Some vintage sewing machines are adored for their beauty and durability, if you don’t need or want the digital capabilities of modern sewing machines.

  • Longevity — Sewing machines from the past were well-built. For decades, these devices have been in use and are exceedingly sturdy.
  • Many vintage machines are well-suited to heavy-duty sewing because of their robust construction. To sew denim, leather, and other heavy materials such as denim, you may want to consider a vintage sewing machine.
  • In some cases, vintage sewing machines are preferred by some sewers because of their simplicity, rather than the complexity of computerized versions with many stitches. Sewing machines from the past have a history of being user-friendly.
  • Some vintage sewing machines are environmentally friendly because they don’t require energy to operate, making them ideal for places where power isn’t readily available. Because they don’t hurt the environment, they are also a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Vintage sewing machines are always more gorgeous than their modern equivalents in terms of design. In addition to serving a utilitarian purpose, they can serve as a talking point in your house.

Singer 201: Overall Best Vintage Sewing Machine Ever Made

The Singer 201 is widely regarded as the best antique sewing machine ever built by many home sewers, however individual sewers’ views may differ. The International Sewing Machine Collectors Society (ISMCS) concurs. If you’re looking for a high-quality, well-maintained machine, this one is a steal for around $350 to $500. There are several advantages to the Singer 201 even if it weighs in at around 30 pounds, with the exception of some aluminum machines from the 1950s.

  • The gears of the Singer 201 are so close together that they only need sewing machine oil, not grease, to function properly. Besides this precision, the machine’s body and components are so well constructed that they rarely need considerable maintenance.
  • From the 1920s to the 1950s, Singer produced a considerable number of the 201. This machine was not only widely used, but it was also quite well built, and several still exist today in immaculate condition.
  • The Singer 201 is a high-performance sewing machine. In comparison to other older models, this one can sew up to 1,100 stitches per minute while being quite silent. The presser foot may be moved up to accommodate heavier materials, which is a feature that everyone appreciates.
  • You can have a machine that plugs in or one that doesn’t, depending on your needs. The 201 comes in both electric and non-electric varieties.
  • For a vintage sewing machine that is regarded as one of the best ever produced, there are many readily available parts. It is possible to obtain anything from a needle to a new engine.

Singer 66: Best Vintage Straight Stitch Sewing Machine

The Singer 66 is a vintage straight stitch sewing machine highly regarded by many sewers, including The Mermaid’s Den. It’s a stunning piece of machinery with a timeless appeal. Treadle, electric motor, and hand crank variants are all available for purchase. Sewing machine collectors and home sewers alike prize Singer 66s with the “red eye” decals. Treadle models that are in good condition can sell for up to $1,500. Around $200 is the price range for other styles The following are some of the Singer 66’s best features:

  • This machine, like the model 201, was built to last. The case and body are robust and elegant, and the gearing is exact and rarely needs to be repaired.
  • Decal machines with “red eye” decals are sought after, but there are a number of economical and easy-to-find alternatives. Many of these devices, thanks to their sturdy design, are still in use today.
  • Treadle, hand crank, and electric versions of this machine were all available, making it a viable option for any situation.
  • Many essential features, like as the ability to put in the top drop-in bobbin, are included in the Singer model 66’s design (for non-treadle models). Heavy-duty textiles can be precisely sewn using this machine as well.
  • Numerous components and add-ons Any low-shank Singer parts can be used, including attachments for ruffling, darning, and more. Since there were so many sewing machines created, it’s easy to find replacement components.

Kenmore 30: Best Vintage Zigzag Sewing Machine

Sewing machines from other manufacturers should also be taken into account. Also, vintage Kenmore sewing machines can be fantastic. Briansews, a sewing blog, highly recommends the Kenmore 30 as a zigzag stitch sewing machine. These machines, which were made in the 1980s at a reasonable price, are still in excellent working order. You can get them for $100 to $200 if they’re in decent shape. In addition, they have a slew of appealing characteristics, including:

  • For an electric machine, the Kenmore is surprisingly quiet. It’s practically impossible to feel any movement as the sewing progresses.
  • The machines were built so well that they are still in use decades later, requiring little to no maintenance.
  • Sewing a superb zigzag stitch was only one of 30 stitch patterns available on the Kenmore 30. This is sufficient for most jobs, but it’s not very difficult.
  • It’s easy to carry about because of the machine’s small weight and handle.

Singer 281-1: Best Vintage Sewing Machine for Leather

The Mermaid’s Den notes that no vintage or modern sewing machines for domestic use will easily and neatly sew through three or four layers of leather, but the Singer 281-1 is as close as it gets. A minimum of two layers of normal leather can be sewn through, and maybe more if the leather is thin enough. It can also sew through at least six layers of vinyl. This is an industrial Singer machine, made through the 1960s. It’s extremely heavy, so if you buy one, it’s definitely best to look locally. These are some of its great features:

  • An industrial sewing machine, the Singer 281-1 can readily sew through multiple layers of fabric.
  • This machine was built to last a long time. If something needs fixing, you can also purchase replacement components from the store.
  • As long as you’re willing to shop around, there are a number of these machines out there. A good one is not hard to come by.
  • These machines can be purchased for as little as $100 in good working order.

Singer 15: Best Non-Electric Vintage Sewing Machine

Vintage sewing machine collector Cheryl Warren considers the Singer 15 one of the best vintage sewing machines you can find, especially if you want one that isn’t electric. The Singer 15 was available in an electric model, but elegant hand crank and treadle versions are also available. If they’re in decent shape, they fetch for $300 to $500. You should consider this machine because of the following factors:

  • Singer began producing the model 15 in 1879, and it remained in production for decades. In other words, they’re in stock.
  • There are parts available for the Singer 15 sewing machine because it uses standard attachments and parts.
  • This machine has an extraordinary level of excellence. You’ll be surprised with how little upkeep is required.

The Best Vintage Sewing Machine Is One You’ll Love for Years

There are various vintage Singer sewing machines on this list. For both collectors and home sewers, old Singer sewing machines are sought after. Singer sewing machine values can be pretty high, so keep an eye out for estate sales and auctions. But if you take your time and look about, you’ll wind up with a beautiful and long-lasting sewing machine that you’ll cherish for many years.


How much is an antique Singer sewing machine worth?

For as little as fifty dollars, you can get a vintage model of your choice. While certain rare antique sewing machines can sell for more than $1,000, the vast majority of desirable antique sewing machines can be purchased for between $500 and $1,500.

How do you clean an old cast iron sewing machine?

Treadle sewing machines – Clean the cast iron base of treadle sewing machines with gentle soap and water, using a soft brush if necessary to get into the grooves. Rinse it thoroughly with water, and always make sure you dry it completely to avoid rust.

Is it better to fix an old sewing machine or buy a new one?

Use a soft brush to reach the grooves in the cast iron base of treadle sewing machines to clean with mild soap and water. Rinse it thoroughly with water, and always make sure you dry it completely to avoid rust.

How can I tell how old my Singer sewing machine is?

Use a soft brush to reach the grooves in the cast iron base of treadle sewing machines to clean with mild soap and warm water. To eliminate rust, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry the item after each use..

What can you do with an old sewing machine?

Selling, donating, recycling, or repurposing an old sewing machine are the most common ways to get rid of it. Keeping the sewing machine is obviously the simplest solution. Having a backup machine in case your primary one fails is always a good idea.

How do you clean a rusty Singer sewing machine?

To remove rust from internal parts on your vintage sewing machine, begin with a sanding sponge to remove the top layer of rust. Then, you can try removing deeper rust with a Dremel tool and brush wheel attachment. If the rust is really bad, you’ll need to soak your sewing machine in Evapo-Rust.


The first step in removing rust from the interior parts of your vintage sewing machine is to use a sanding sponge. Use a Dremel tool and brush wheel attachment to get rid of any remaining stubborn rust. The Evapo-Rust soak is necessary if the rust is particularly serious.

If you can follow these instructions, we hope you’ll be able to fix your equipment. If you’re unsure about what products or parts you need, it’s best to get advice from an antiques expert.