Sunday, December 1, 2013

My 'new' Singer Genie 354

My newest sewing machine, purchased this morning, is a real beauty. It is a Singer Genie 354, manufactured in 1974 in France. I was so lucky, it is in perfect condition. Absolutely perfect! And soooo pretty! 

After Riverside Arts Market yesterday, I came home to Matt watching college football. The Auburn/Alabama game was a must see game at the end, but when I got home, it wasn't all that exciting to me. With nothing else to do but also watch, and recover from the long day, I got on Craigslist mobile. Starting with the arts & crafts section, I immediately found a scroll saw for Matt for only $40, and texted the seller. I continued shopping and found this machine. As SOON as I saw it I was blown away by how beautiful it was. I can't believe I've never seen this machine.

I love browsing the vintage sewing machines, and as soon as I came across this baby, I knew I had to have it! I went to text the seller of this machine and immediately noticed it was the same seller as the scroll saw. Bonus! And both were still available. We set up a time bright and early this morning to go check out both items.



We woke up early this morning to drive across town, to a small trailer park tucked away off Highway One. The dude's yard was nuts! Cars everywhere, weird tools I couldn't identify, rotten card tables, toys, plastic dolls, even a hotdog stand, all covered by a canvas carport; it was honestly quite creepy and borderline hoarding territory. The man told us he is a flea market vender, so you name it, he's got it. 

After chatting for a while, plugging the machine in to test the circuitry, he told me the machine belonged to a woman in the neighborhood that had just passed away, and her daughter didn't know how to sew, with the machine ending up in his hands for resale.

As I usually do when I check out a used machine, I brought with me: a bobbin, a spool of thread, a machine needle, scrap fabric, and scissors. That way, I can check the timing and tension and see how well the machine works. Unfortunately, the machine uses a different size bobbin that is smaller than a standard bobbin, so I failed on that test. But upon plugging her in, and pressing on the petal, she purred like a kitten. A nice quiet hum, timing sounding just perfect, and I said "I'll take it!"


We brought her home after stopping for lunch in Riverside and a quick trip to an antique store. First thing I did was get out all my cleaning tools and sat down at the dining room table. After careful inspection and cleaning the machine, I don't think it was used much. Aside from beneath the top loading bobbin case, there was no lint from thread, no scratches, no real signs of wear and tear like my machines see. It had a bit of sun damage, as if it sat on a table for years as decoration. 



It's almost as if it was made to be the Singer Featherweight of the 70s, designed to be easy to take along. It's right around 18 pounds, pretty light for a portable machine. The cover slides on from the left side, and the pedal and cord store in that compartment, different from the usual machine, where you have to wrap the cord around the machine, and place the pedal near the presser foot. It was funny Googling this machine, and finding all the people that got a sweet deal because the sellers thought the pedal was missing. Silly, it's in the case!

When I buy a "new" vintage sewing machine, I always take the front panels off, clean and degrease all the old sewing machine oil, and oil it again. Using compressed air, I blow away all old dust, and then put it back together. This machine didn't need anything! It was so clean, and the grease was clear, appearing to still be the original factory grease when it was made. So I put it back together, and simply blew out the bobbin case.

 
This machine was advertised to be a "portable zig-zag sewing machine" with a "new stitch function" that could sew elastic easier than all previous machines. It has so many different zig zag stitches, I can't wait to try them all! Since it didn't come with a manual, I still have a bit more research to do.


And I love the way it disengages the machine to make a bobbin. Simply press the bobbin icon on the balance wheel and you're ready to make a bobbin, turn the wheel and it automatically resets to normal to get back to sewing.

First thing tomorrow on my agenda: the post office to ship off Etsy orders, and stop at a sewing and vacuum shop for size 66 bobbins. I can't wait to sew on this machine! 

What is your favorite sewing machine? Do you prefer vintage or new sewing machines?

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20 comments:

  1. Love it, what a great find.
    Ang

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  2. Congrats on your new sewing machine. The Singer Genie is a marvelous stitcher. The manual is available for free download here: http://www.singerco.com/accessories/instruction-manuals/search The Genie uses a slightly smaller plastic bobbin. The bobbins are easy to find online. I purchased mine at a local sewing machine store that sells new Singers, Pfaffs and Husqvarnas. Enjoy your new toy. Happy Stitching.

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    1. THanks so much for your recommendation. I was able to find them at Walmart, surprisingly! :) My metal ones, that are the same size, dont fit for some reason. Plastic ones are perfect! :)

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  3. My husband came home with one just like this! I also thought the cord was gone. I Googled it, trying to find out where, or if it was even possible to get one to it, and came across your Blog. Im so glad! Or I wouldnt have seen that the cords and pedal were inside of the cover. Thank you for sharing this post!!! Its in great condition, just needs to be cleaned up. Im happy!

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    1. Isn't that funny how they were hidden? When I got this and googled it, I found stories of people that bought this at thrift shops for super cheap because "cord wasn't included" hehe. Have fun sewing! The zig zag stitches on this machine are wonderful!

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  4. Thank you so much for your post! I just found one of these beauties at our normally-overpriced Consignment shop for $45, and she's sitting on my table right now while I looke up more info on her. This has been, by far, the most informative posts I've come across!

    I love the pedal tucked into the body! I thought it was missing until my second look-through at the shop. The weight of that insert piece is what tipped me off! :)

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    1. I love love this machine and I hope you do too! What a great find! I use it whenever I have to sew on the go, in my mobile boutique :)

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  5. Can you help me to set up this machine for plain sewing? What should the settings be for: Stitch Width, Needle Position, Pattern Selected and Stitch Length. I keep fiddling with the settings but can't seem to get an ordinary plain stitch. Most likely the tension is off too. I bought my machine from eBay a few years ago and had it serviced. It looks in A1 condition. Can you get me started? Many thanks.

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    1. Hey Alex, congrats on a great find! If the stitch width is to the far left, on a straight stitch, the pattern selector will not make a difference. And the stitch length, down by the power switch, will control the length of each stitch, the needle position can still be changed. There isn't a tension adjustment for the bobbin, but the tension is usually on zero for me up on the top of the machine. Good luck!

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  6. Sally, I have one of these. If you can only use it with tension set at zero, it needs adjusting. Their neutral setting is between a 3 or a 4. If you have access to a manual (singerco have it on their website as a free download), follow the instructions for removing the bobbin case. The bobbin case should be able to support its own weight when you hold it by the bobbin thread. I think on yours, if you hold it by the bobbin thread, it will drop to the floor. That's a sign the bobbin tension is too low (as is the fact you are using it set on 0). You'll see two small screws on the side of the bobbin case. One of them is in the middle of a peice of bendy metal, which is the tension spring. Tighten that screw. You want it so the bobbin case holds its own weight when you hold it by the bobbin thread. A drop of a couple of inches before it holds still is most likely what you need. You might need to make some small adjustments to get it perfect. You'll be a lot happier with what it does when you do this.

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  7. Sally, I have one of these. If you can only use it with tension set at zero, it needs adjusting. Their neutral setting is between a 3 or a 4. If you have access to a manual (singerco have it on their website as a free download), follow the instructions for removing the bobbin case. The bobbin case should be able to support its own weight when you hold it by the bobbin thread. I think on yours, if you hold it by the bobbin thread, it will drop to the floor. That's a sign the bobbin tension is too low (as is the fact you are using it set on 0). You'll see two small screws on the side of the bobbin case. One of them is in the middle of a peice of bendy metal, which is the tension spring. Tighten that screw. You want it so the bobbin case holds its own weight when you hold it by the bobbin thread. A drop of a couple of inches before it holds still is most likely what you need. You might need to make some small adjustments to get it perfect. You'll be a lot happier with what it does when you do this.

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  8. I was just passed down this exact machine from my aunt. She bought it new in the 70's and sewed all my cousins Halloween costumes etc on it. She has not used the machine in over 10 years so she had it cleaned and tuned up for me. It is my first sewing machine and I love it!

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  9. I've just bought the exact same model for roughly the same price and it's also in perfect condition with little/no use. Needless to say I'm also chuffed to bits!!

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  10. I've just bought the exact same model for about roughly the same price here in the UK and it's also in perfect condition with little/no use. Needless to say I'm also chuffed to bits!!

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  11. Sally Ann, I love the happiness you show while holding that Genie! Mine is not as clean as yours and needs a bit of work, but I enjoy that. It is the newest machine I have. I wanted to pass along a link where you can get a free copy of instructions on removing all the outer plastic panels. I needed this to get access to the timing belt. Look under free stuff - panel removal. Don't stop sewing! http://www.tandtrepair.com/Genie_Series.html

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  12. I also have one of it and I love, my only problem is, I don't have the user guide. do you know where can I get one? I would prefer to get it online.
    Thanks and Happy holidays!!!

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  13. Hi, I had this machine given to me for a wedding gift in 1979. I used it so much, to the point that the repair man told me it was no longer repairable. Sad I was. Last summer, I bought another off ebay, cleaned, oiled and was thrilled. Sadly, after about 20 hours of sewing, it stopped sewing, much as my first one did. This time we decided to repair it ourselves, opened it up and discovered a gear was stripped. It is made of plastic. I just found this part on the internet. Hope to get it repaired and back sewing. Really did love this machine.

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  14. I just came across this blog as I am checked an online machine tonight. Thanks for the tips. I'm curious as to how you got the front panels off to oil and grease. I had previously purchased another one several years ago. It sewed nicely with the bobbin in the machine. I still have it. However, when I took it to be serviced, I was told that the bobbin winder was seized. Now I'm wondering if the service technician took the time to try and fix it as they also sell second hand machines and tried to get me to purchase another. I didn't. If I could get the panels off I would try something like Release. I have nothing to lose at this point.

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  15. I have one of these and I absolutely love it! thanks for posting about it :)

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