Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Newest Member of My (Sewing Machine) Family

Singer Model 185
(Stock Photo)

I am a sucker for vintage sewing machines (much to my wife's dismay). Especially the ones that make their way to the local thrift shop. So when I made my weekly stop yesterday, there it was: a Singer 185J.

He stood proud in his battered cabinet. Dirty from what may have been years of solitude and neglect. But I saw a diamond in the rough. And...when I saw the price was just $10.00, I became even more interested.

If you're a 'dumpster-diver' like me, you know that you get all excited when you see these relics. And many times you just "have to have it" only to find out that, mechanically, it's a money pit! I've been down that path a few times, so now I do all I can to test the machine out before I haul it home.

I (carefully) carried the machine and cabinet to an electric outlet and said a little prayer that it would work. Lo and behold, the light turned on. And a tap on the foot pedal and we were off and running. I took along a spool of thread and a small swatch of fabric this time for a final test. Another pleasant surprise: very nice, even little stiches. Bingo! We've got a winner.

I'm anxious to get it cleaned up and oiled to see what it can really do. I'll take before-and-after pictures and post them soon. The cabinet top is a mess, but I think a good sanding and a refinish job will have it looking like new again.

Bonus: opening the cabinet door revealed a box of shiny attachments: button foot; zipper foot, binder foot; ruffler foot; and a few other goodies including a very old Singer screw driver for the bobbin case!

(My wife is gonna shoot me when I tell her I bought another sewing machine!)


Cindy said...

Hi Mike,
I also have a 185J and cannot find the manual. I cannot get the trhreading right. Do you have a threading diagram?

Thanks Cindy

Mike said...

Cindy. Thanks for your comment. I don't have your email if you happen to stop back, here's the link to the threading diagram:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative site, we have a 185j and couldnt figure out how to thread it, the link you posted solved our problem, and the machine works wonderful, we will be visiting this site more often, you are now in our favorites.