(all the model numbers slung around in the discussion below are Singers)
I don't usually bother with freecycle sewing machines, because there are no pictures and usually the model is not mentioned. But this time the ad mentioned a Touch N Swear with accessories, and I need slant shank accessories for a 301 I am preparing for sale. Ad said she had two machines, both broken.
So the woman dragged the useless plastic crap (with a nice Singer box of accessories, and a buttonholer) out of her car and I thanked her and put it all in my truck.
Then she pulled out the usual beat up vintage case that obviously weighed 40 pounds out and was astounded when I got all excited about it. I was even more excited when we opened it up and discovered a Singer 177C. First one I ever saw, and I had heard of it for the first time only a couple of weeks before.
The 177 was made in Brazil between 1972 and 1975. It is an all metal* zigzagger, in a dark beige pebble finish. It has a small metal motor controller of what I think of as the "gas pedal" style. I'm sure there's a technical term for it. It's my favorite Singer controller type--easy to use and NOT plastic.
*it's all metal as we usually mean all metal, meaning all metal gears. The bobbin shuttle gate is plastic, just like a 237. I've never had any trouble with this part with the half a dozen 237s that have gone through my hands.
It is obviously meant to be an economy model
- no light
- feed dogs do not drop
- they did not bother to paint the motor to match--it's black
- I'm very motor-ignorant (more later) but the motor strikes me as a bit wimpy in use
A kitten, or maybe a nice domestic cat. Definitely not a tiger.
Came with a manual in great condition, too. Lovely stitches, including a very nice satin stitch.
More details about the 177
- class 15 bobbin
- takes regular needles
- low shank
- tensioner on the nose, like a 15
Here's what might have led to the previous owner's diagnosis of "it's broken". The bobbin loads in the same direction as a 221 or 301, which I think of as "backwards" to the normal way a 15 bobbin loads into the bobbin case. It threads from right to left, also like the 221 or 301. If you did either one of these wrong it would indeed not work.
I love it. In the world of beiges, this is an attractive shade. It's styling is simple and sleek. It does a great job of the two most important stitches--straight and zigzag. This is the perfect type of machine for a beginning sewing person--simple and easy to use and almost bulletproof. Its the type of machine that always sells well.
I liked it so much that I bid on, and got, another one from shopgoodwill.com. This one has a very squeaky motor, and sadly I STILL have not learned to "do" motors. Someday. Really. However since it is treadle-able that should not be a problem. Remove motor. Store it in the big pile of removed motors that some day I will practice motor maintenance on.
I've gotten pickier about the machines that I buy because I really don't want to keep a house full of sewing machines, but I do still enjoy rehabilitating them. This means that they MUST be sale-able or donate-able. And if I don't believe in the machine, then I don't want to sell it and I certainly don't want to donate it. I will have no problem giving the 177 a recommendation for regular household sewing. Looking for something to repair boat sails with? Maybe not this one.
Singer 223Another recent super find was a Japanese Singer 223. I've got one in the permanent collection and in January I found one more. I sold it within two weeks, pretty much right after I finished cleaning it.
|feed dog drop|
This is my ideal of a sewing machine for a beginning garment sewing person. Or an experienced garment sewing person. Or any sewing person. Why, you ask? Because it is
- one of those all metal built-like-a-tank machines
- class 15 bobbin system
- feed dog drop
- blind hem stitch
Of course, the whole trick is in folding the hem that you are stitching, but I'm sure there are sewing bloggers out there or on youtube if you need to know. It's a nifty trick.
The zigzag width dial controls the width of the blind stitch also.
This is why these machines are easy to sell: they are easy to use. Stitch width, stitch length, and in this case an on/off switch for the blind hem.
Unless you are into decorative stitching, the only three stitches you really need or will use (in my undoubtedly arrogant opinion) is the straight stitch, the zigzag, and the blind hem stitch. Tell me if I'm wrong. But then tell me the percentage of time you use the whatever else stitch and why you use it. Cause maybe I am missing something here.
My beloved 316G, Brunhilde, bit the dust in the middle of a project. It's the motor, which moves my need to learn basic motor stuff WAY up the list. I didn't have to think for a second about what would temporarily replace it in the studio. I reached for my 223.
A year and a half ago I took the trusty 223 (for the blind hem stitch) over to the DDs house. We made lined window panels for her entire house. It was a great mother/daughter project. And the 223 had no problem sewing through multiple layers of heavy materials. It feels like a powerful machine.
We took over her entire living room and temporarily transformed it into a sewing studio. I took over the steam press, the 223, my largest cutting mat, a standing light fixture, and all the other little things like scissors, thread, etc. DDA is not usually a sewing person.
But she temporarily became one, as she used great grandma's Singer 66 treadle to hem the panel linings. It's the first machine I restored, and I was thrilled when she wanted it for her house.