15-91 Sewing Machine came in the mail!

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Today I was busy in my quilt room when my dad and Builder Bob called me downstairs as a couple packages had just arrived for me. When my 15-91 Singer quit working a week ago (it works fine now) I panicked as I thought it was the motor.

1591-1951 Singer Sewing machine

There was a motor on eBay but I missed it so when I saw a couple 15-91’s I
bid on them……I’m glad I only got 2! This first one is a 1951 (same
age as mine) 15-91 Singer. Take a look at what I found when I opened the

15-91 Sewing Machine came in the mail

I knew I was in trouble when I looked at the cardboard box, it was the thin, flimsy stuff and was smashed on one side. The carrying case was completely destroyed. I was scared to death that the machine was damaged so we propped it up on some wood, plugged it in and I tried it out. Seems to work and the stitch is pretty good. The thread spindle was missing from the top so I went through the packaging and found it. I’ll have to clean it up and put Builder Bob to work building some kind of base.

15-91 Sewing Machine came in the mail

Next one up is a 1954 15-91 Singer, the corner is busted on one side but that may have been that way on eBay. There was no bobbin case but I put mine in. I turned the tension knob and it acted loose, with a gap compared to mine. I put in a new needle and tried out the stitching. Terrible and it kept breaking the thread.

Since the machines are all alike I got out my manual and took all the tension pieces apart and then carefully put them back together. I’m not an expert….it took a couple tries…but I got it back together and then it made perfect stitches. Of course it is noisy so I know I need to oil and clean it. I dropped the feed dogs but now they won’t come back up so it may be gummy and stuck.

Builder Bob kept saying to leave it alone until he can do a temporary fix on the corner so it doesn’t slip down. He was afraid I would break the base more. That’s okay……I have a few things I need to go back to quilting.

This past week I have read many times about buying on eBay and to be very careful as one of the most common things is that the machines aren’t packed well enough for shipping. I didn’t pay a lot of money for these so I am okay but I am so glad I didn’t get either of the 15-91’s with a bentwood case….that would have been sad if those cases were damaged.

Some of you might be wondering why I bought all 15-91 Singers. Well, that is what I am most comfortable with and I would have been scared to death to take apart the tension (8 pieces) if I didn’t have one right next to it as a guide. I don’t want these machines as antiques…..I want to use them.

My vintage herd is growing……these 2 are in Builder Bob’s shop right now……he sure has great lighting in there and lots of space if he moved “out” some of his wood working stuff……hmmmm.

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    1. The 221 is a featherweight (I have one of those too). The 15-91 is a full-size sewing machine and it is awesome as it will sew through almost anything. I have been using mine for 30 years.

  1. Hello !!! I have Two Singer 15 sewing machine’s:15-91, & 15-125, their similar. My favorite my -91’, is circa1935, the green monster is a 1955model(15-125). I use my-91’ in my Quilt designs’, and FMQ on my Singer 4452, because could sew with more stitch selections. Am new in Quilting, yeah, not bad for a Guy. Am Having Great Enjoyment. I sew these for my Family. They Love them, and when they show their Friends, often Compliments the Quilt. I wanna’ quilt a kaleidoscope style quilt . And, explore Quilting Design. Thank You for your Post.

  2. Now HOW did I miss this post? I'm sorry you had trouble. That is one reason why I hesitate to buy machines on ebay. We used to sell them, so I know how to pack them, but most people do not. Glad the machines themselves were ok. Did you want to put them in cabinets, or in portable cases like they were in? If you want cabinets, I can keep my eyes out for you. We leave cabinets sometimes, but we could bring them home just as easily.

  3. They will so be worth it. Send an email to the seller on the first one to explain that even though you're okay with it, they need to more carefully ship. You can let their response to that dictate whether you mention it in permanent feedback or not. These are easy machines to repair. You'll be glad you have them. Lane

  4. Congratulations Connie on your new "twins." So happy at least the machines survived pretty much intact. So many folks selling them don't do a thing to clean or test them before putting them on eBay, but if you get them at a good price, it's easy enough to do yourself. These 15-91s are so superior as far as visibility around and behind the needle while you're FMQ'ing, and so quiet once they're oiled and lubed. I find I need to put a drop of oil on the hook area nearly every day if I'm using mine for FMQ for several hours a day. Have fun trying them out on a project!

  5. Congrats on your finds. I so love my Featherweight. Singer made really great machines back in the day. But all of them today are plastic, what a shame.


  6. Connie, please report the packing issue to Ebay. Ebay will deal with this seller so they don't continue doing this. I love your machines and since you now have 3 ?, you are officially a collector. My favorite machine is the 15-91s and I have one 1904 treadle and a Japanese clone that reads "Fabric" instead of Singer. Have fun tuning up your new toys.

  7. You are just having too much fun! Really looks like fun. So glad Builder Bob can help you with the base. Looks like you can do the rest. Have fun.

  8. If you succumb to another machine that has to be shipped, I believe there are packing suggestions on the treadleon.net site too. Since these are 15-91, you'll want to put lubricant (*not* oil) in the motor too. But since you love your Old Faithful one, you probably already know that.
    You really do want a 15-88 (treadle) as well, don't you?

  9. They are beautiful!! (Builder Bob, replace shop light bulbs with dingy yellow or you will find yourself drowning in fabric. Consider yourself warned!)

  10. Love your oldies. I sometimes am on the look out for a treadle, but I also want it in working condition. I saw one a couple of years ago, probably needed a new belt, but was too pricey for my pocketbook at the time. Last time I was in that store, earlier this year, they still had it, and I might go back and see what they want for it now…..

  11. Oh Connie! What a bummer about the vintage case…thank goodness the machine all looks good and works! BTW, I have a vintage singer I picked up at a thrift store, looks beautiful and works wonderfully..how do I know what model it is? Also, do the feed dogs drop on all those oldies?

    Thanks! Julianne

  12. Your new babies look good – i'm sure you'll have them purring in no time! I know the feeling of opening that poorly packed sewing machine box – it almost makes you want to cry!

    I know Builder Bob should have no problem creating boxes for your machines, but there are some instructions on the Treadle On website:

  13. Really love your oldies but goodies sewing machines. Everytime I see a pic of one of your 'heard' I am tempted to run out and get one!
    Seeing the packaging, it's probably a miracle that the machine survived the shipping ordeal… poor thing!

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