Help me not sew my own finger by mistake
June 9, 2007 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Help me not sew my own finger to the machine! I recently bought a Singer 99 model from the 30s (I think) and can't get it to work for the life of me.

I bought a Singer 99 sewing machine on ebay - electric, has a light, probably made in the 30s as far as I can tell.

It came with a manual, but alas I am afraid I'm not getting the instructions at all. Do any of you know where I could get clear instructions as to how to thread the bobbin properly and start sewing? Or maybe do any of you know how to do it and could help me out? I am putting the thread through all the rights holes, but I start sewing in only makes holes in the fabric, and the thread doesn't go in. Should there be two bobbins working at the time?

I am so sorry about the vagueness of my explanations, I am an absolute novice, currently confused and frustrated. As far as I can tell, not a piece is missing and the machine *should* work....

I googled for 30 mns and didn't find anything to help me :(
posted by Sijeka to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Should there be two bobbins working at the time?

No matter how old your sewing machine is, there should be thread coming from a spool at the top of the machine (this is what you use to thread the needle), and there should also be thread coming from a bobbin underneath the fabric. You need both, otherwise it won't work. A sewing machine works like this.

Maybe that's more basic than you need as far as advice goes, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case.
posted by bluishorange at 4:37 PM on June 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

i seem to recall that singer has outstanding customer service. if you don't mind waiting until monday, call them and see if they can identify someone who can help you.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:01 PM on June 9, 2007

This appears to the threading diagram. When starting to sew, hold onto that tail thread coming out in fig 16 until the first stitches are in place. I often find if I don't, the movement of the bobbin sucks the bottom thread back in, and prevents the stitch occuring.
posted by b33j at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2007

The great thing about these old Singers, is that you can call Singer and have them send you a manual (usually for just the cost of postage). I have a White sewing machine from 1915 and a Singer from the 20's that was my great grandmother, and have successfully made clothing with both.

You can download a manual in PDF format for free for the 99 model on this page:
posted by annathea at 5:43 PM on June 9, 2007

The first thing I'm going to recommend is that you get the machine tuned up. I have a similar machine and was amazed at the difference in performance after I got it tuned up.

The other benefit to taking it in for a tune up is that the people at the shop can probably give you a quick lesson in how to thread the machine properly. It'll probably be easier to figure this out if you see it firsthand.

It's possible that you're missing the step at figure 17 in this threading diagram, where you draw up the bobbin thread. Also, check to make sure you've threaded the needle in the correct direction (left to right, for your machine). Those are the mistakes I made when I first got the machine (and had no idea what I was doing).
posted by stefanie at 5:49 PM on June 9, 2007

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