How to Set Up an Old Singer Sewing Machine




Introduction: How to Set Up an Old Singer Sewing Machine

I recently acquired an awesome old Singer Sewing machine from my grandma. It has been fun to learn how to use it and make awesome new crafts out if it, but before I did that I had to learn how to set up the sewing machine.

Setting up the machine involves both threading the thread and threading the bobbin, and is all trickier than it seems.

Step 1: Familiarize With the Machine

Start by taking a look at the machine. There are a number of little hooks that are usually involved in the thread somehow. Take time to look for all of them before you start trying to thread the machine or you might have to redo it multiple times

Step 2: Thread Through the Front of the Machine

I always start with the top thread and thread it through the machine

1. First I had to weave the thread through a hook in the top to change the direction so the thread started to head down.

2. The next step was to thread through the tension assembly. This controls how much tension is put on the needle while sewing. Adjusting the tension will depend on what fabric you are using.

3. Next thread through the uptake lever. Every machine, even the newest ones have this lever.

4. Then I found a series of three hooks that guide the thread down toward the needle. Hook the thread through each of these three hooks

5. Finally thread the needle and you are set.

Step 3: Place Bobbin in Casing

The next step to set up a sewing machine is to set up the bobbin. The first step to bobbin set up is to put the bobbin in the case.

This is actually the part most people have issues with because there are no clear directions on which way the bobbin goes. For mine I have to make sure my bobbin is threading out counter clockwise.

I start by plasing the bobbin in its casing. Then I thread through the small area on the top to get the thread into the special gap. Finally I test my bobbin to make sure the bobbin turns counter clockwise in the casing.

Step 4: Place Bobbin in Machine

After the bobbin is in the casing, I place it in the machine. You should hear a snap when the bobbin is securely in. If you don't hear a snap it may mean your bobbin is not in all the way and if you start sewing it will fall out.

To pull the bobbin thread through the machine there is a simple trick.

First hold the top thread already in the machine

Next turn the hand wheel (big circle on the side of the machine) until the needle does one full stitch.

Finally carefully pull on the top thread, it should slowly guide the bobbin thread up and out.

Now your Singer is ready to use!


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    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    Hi, What is that screw on the top left of the machine for (in your picture above)? I had severe tension problems and discovered this screw was almost completely unscrewed and sticking up high from the top of the machine. What does it adjust? Really appreciate your reply.


    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    I have an older machine that has another knob on top with numbers what is it for?


    5 years ago

    Looks like the singer 301. I got one from a thrift store last year. It's a great machine!! This site has lots of good info:

    I have a machine almost this old, and the tension is all messed up. How do I even start to fix something like this?


    6 years ago

    that's a very nice looking old singer. do you know what model it is? Also a word of warning...Do NOT try to use new style plastic bobbin's in the old machines. look online and buy some built for your model.