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Weekend: My New Singer Zig Zag Sewing Machine

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about excess and controlling it. Just like your fabric stashes, my collection of sewing machines is growing out of control, and I fear that instead of ending up the little old lady with too many cats, I’m going to end up a little old lady with too many sewing machines, but this machine was calling me louder than a whippoorwill. Here’s my testimony. Natasha and I go back and forth weekly, sometimes daily, on old machines that we find on Craigslist and Ebay. She has her heart set on a Necchi, and I had my heart set out on a zig zag machine. When I first got into sewing lingerie, I bought a Singer Brilliance from Target on a whim. Not a a good choice, people. It works, but it’s fickle and skips stitches, especially zigzag, as often as Lauren completes a garment. I’ve had about enough of it – there have been few times where I was an 1/8″ away from hammering it to death. I wanted a workhorse, so when I came across a listing for a 1960s Singer 237 zigzag sewing machine (one of the last all metal interiors Singer made) on Craiglist for $50, I immediately sent an email to Natasha. “Is it worth it?” I ask. “Yep,” she said, “and you can probably work him down to $40.” And that’s what I did. For $40, I scored this barnyard item. I’ll be taking into into the shop next week to get it tuned up, and once I get it back, I’ll be sewing so many bras sans skipped stitches. “Vroom vroom,” as Natasha said.

Now, after hearing my case, I’m justified in my purchase, right (just agree with me!)?


  1. Reply


    I love the singer 237! I scored one off craigslist out of some guy’s garage. I plugged it in and it just purred. It sews beautifully through just about any fabric I put under it.
    Just wondering where do you go to get your sewing machines serviced? I’m in the Philly area but I’m not aware if any sewing machine places

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I go to a couple of places, depending on my machine. For my industrial Juki, I take it to Arch Sewing on Callowhill St (near Spring Garden St) and for my home machine, I take it to either Steve’s Sewing Center (in King of Prussia) or Dave DiCarlo in South Philly (215-468-8313)

  2. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    The way I see it $40 is about what you’d pay for a pretty craptastic meal at the Olive Garden or something equally banal. It lasts in your stomach what 12-24hours and poof there goes your $40 and what do you have to show for it?

    At least you have a machine to look at and use. And unlike cats you can resell the machine if you end up with too many.

    Oh I also made another machine purchase. A Nelco from shopgoodwill.com (no affiliation but its better than ebay for honest bargains)

    Plus the Singers are pretty easy to maintain yourself. I am loving the Singer 99k I converted to handcrank. Really easy to oil and tweak.

  3. Reply


    It’s completely justified. I have the same problem… I really think a sewing machine for $40 is too good to pass. It looks beautiful as well!

  4. Reply


    I have this particular machine and love it! After I bought it at an estate sale, it went into the shop to get refurbished. After that I haven’t had a problem. I make classical ballet tutus that require lots of tulle to be ruffled (50 yards) and this machine hasn’t given me any trouble. So all that to say, you’ve got a gem of a machine!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      That’s so encouraging! I hope she can get tuned up and run just like yours. You never know what they’ll find when they get on the inside.

      • Reply

        Natasha Estrada

        Have you tried looking inside and seeing what you see. Theres not a lot going on under the hood. You can flip it over to see the crank shaft easily enough and you can unscrew the top and oil any friction points.

        • Reply

          Maddie Flanigan

          It’s already in the shop 🙂

          • Natasha Estrada

            Did you at least sew something on it? Otherwise good grief waiting till xmas for your featherweight and service for your stylist I might start wondering if you know what instant gratification is.

          • Maddie Flanigan

            I’d rather be safe than sorry 🙂

  5. Reply

    Helen McFadyen

    After just buying my first over locker (serger) that I have no room to store (and which technically takes my sewing machine count to 4, including 2 vintage machines I keep purely for sentimentality) I have to say YES! Totally justified! It’s beautiful! Hope it works well for you!

  6. Reply


    What a beauty! and for such a great deal, I’d say it would be stupid not to take it, considering you where in need of a reliable machine – but it might just be my inner vintage sewing machine addict talking. Nah, definitely justified!
    You’ll be so glad you took the plunge once the skipped stitches and frustration are a thing of the past. Oooh, I can already imagine so many beautiful bras being sewed with this puppy!!

  7. Reply


    You have SMAD: sewing machine acquisition disorder 🙂 there are worse ailments to have! I hover at having about 10 machines but still buy the others that seem to find me. I fix them up and give them anyway to anyone who wants to learn to sew. Can’t ever have too many sewists!

    Congrats on your machine. This is the most economical collectible ever. My budget is from ‘free’ to $50. The model you bought also comes in a similar model but in a baby blue! Keep a look out.


    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You got me at baby blue. I’m on the hunt for that beauty now 🙂

  8. Reply


    Definitely justified and a great score! I’m with you on checking craigslist for machines, it’s so addicting! I started my collection by buying a couple of older machines to donate to the non-profit sewing class for foreign ladies (we live in a university town) that I help out with. I bought three (cheap, cheap!), cleaned them up and promptly fell in love with one of them, a 1962 Singer 328k. It stayed with me. 😉
    Soon after I acquired a 99-13, two 15-91s, and my grandmothers 221. I love them all!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I just bought a 221 – what a great machine with such history!

  9. Reply

    Heather Lou

    She’s a beaut! And $40 is a piffle. I had some friends over last night and I had to admit that I had SIX machines! SIX!!! (2 sergers and 4 regular but who’s counting). Only 2 are currently in use but I want to get my latest acquisition (a vintage 60’s all metal WHite) tuned up for for my denim experiment. YAY FOR MACHINES!

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Amen, sister! Make it seven! An all white 60s machine would round out your collection 🙂

  10. Reply


    Totally justified! 🙂

  11. Reply

    Cassandra Kranz

    What an awesome bargain! I’ve been looking at zig zag machines too! I hope it tunes up well for you

  12. Reply

    Victoria Beppler

    Totally worth it. That is a beaut!

  13. Reply


    Such a lovely looking machine enjoy!

  14. Reply

    Amy Alan

    She’s gorgeous! You’ll never regret the purchase of a good vintage machine.

  15. Reply


    What a great find! I’m sure you’re going to love working with it. (I paid AU$40 for my vintage Pinnock “ZigZag Deluxe” and I adore it. It’s a dream to sew with.)

  16. Reply


    They sold at Christmas time for $99.00 back in the 1970s and flew off the shelves! A great machine to learn on, sturdy and simple. Enjoy it!

  17. Reply

    Natasha Estrada


    I just noticed yours has the forward loading bobbin which means you can probably use a twin needle. You can’t in a side loading one.

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