Vintage sewing machine home page
This website is about repairing and improving old sewing machines in general and the Singer 15 in particular.

My machine is a 15k Singer from 1909. It is not the only machine I own and use but it is the one I use most. I like it because it is human powered. Without a motor to stall, the machine starts exactly when I expect it to. It doesn't buzz, then start faster than I expect like an electric machine does. When the belt is tight, it stops precisely and I can squeeze 1 stitch at a time which is good for free motion embroidery. The warranty ran out 100 years ago so I don't worry about invalidating guarantees. I can take risks with this machine. It will sew through 8 layers of heavy denim if I fit the right needle and go slowly with the hand crank. The treadle drive leaves both hands free to control my work.

Most of the machine you see here came out of a skip in 1984. The skip contained other machines in sadder condition than this one but I stripped everything off them that was not rusted into place. One part was an embossed head plate with a floral design. It was much prettier than the original, so on it went. I may have fitted the hand crank at the stage too. Over time, I have souped up other parts of the machine as I have found better alternatives to the originals. I'm not interested in the antique value of this machine because it doesn't have any - a quick hunt on ebay will dispell any hopes of making a fortune from an old machine - but it is useful, efficient and cheap to run. Most of all, I love using it to make things.

This website records the modifications I've made to this machine. It began so I could refer back to what I'd done in case I need to repeat a task. I hope it encourages you to take screwdrivers and spanners to your machine to improve its performance.

Disclosure: If your machine is as old as mine, it is not under warranty. I don't make any claim that what I've done is right, sensible or foolproof. You act at your own risk. Make sure you read the WARNINGS section before you lay tools upon your machine.
Formal posed machine picture