So you're looking to invest in a vintage sewing machine and wondering what to look for in accessories and attachments.
You're not alone. So let's take a look at what you'll need.
First of all, it's a good idea to acquaint yourself with what originally came with the model you're shopping for. Do some comparison shopping on eBay to get familiar with what a basic package for your model looks like. Then purchase the best equipped machine in the best condition you can afford.
Singer 401A instruction manual
Keep in mind that you can always fill in any gaps later, but the basic "Must Haves" for ANY machine include the following:
Instruction manual. Original paper is best, but a CD copy or download is a good choice too. A good manual will explain the basic functions of the machine but also cover routine maintenance and adjustments to keep your machine in good working order. Singer's website offers free downloads of many of their manuals.
Screwdriver, lint brush, & machine oil.
Screwdriver & Lint Brush Set. These are essential for adjusting bobbin thread tension, tightening the needle clamp and presser foot, and for attaching feed dog cover plates. You need large and small standard screwdrivers for most Singer machines. A lint brush is handy for keeping your bobbin compartment clean.
Machine Oil and Motor Lubricant. These are a must to keep your machine running smooth and strong. Apply as directed by your machine's manual.
Vintage Class 66 Singer Bobbins
Extra Bobbins. If you do any amount of sewing you'll need extra bobbins right away. Plan on purchasing a package if your machine doesn't come with extras.
That's the basic starter equipment you'll need for any sewing machine. So what else might you need?
Inside Singer 401A accessory box
Let's take a look at what came standard with a 401A Slant-o-Matic.
The 401A came equipped with a hard plastic accessory case with a lift-out tray. Divided compartments held the following:
Singer 401A accessory box insert tray
Top tray: Instruction Manual 4 Bobbins Zigzag needle plate Straight-stitch needle plate Adjustable edge guide Standard zigzag presser foot Special purpose presser foot Button presser foot Straight-stitch foot
Singer 401A accessory box bottom tray
Bottom Tray: Hemming foot Zipper foot Multi-slotted binder Ruffler Oil bottle Large screwdriver Small screwdriver Lint Brush Special Discs 2, 3, 4, 5 (Disc 1 was inserted in machine)
As you can see, the 401A sewing machine came with quite a package of accessories, but there were additional items that could be purchased separately. These included Buttonholers, Even Feed Walking Foot attachments, and additional Special Discs for added creativity. (See the article "Do I need Special Discs for my 401?" for more information.)
So if you're looking to invest in a vintage sewing machine, you can start with the basics and build from there, or you can look for a machine that already comes with all the bells and whistles!
Happy Sewing! Barbara OldSewinGear...dedicated to helping you get the most out of your old sewing gear.
OldSewinGear is the collaborative effort of retired repairman Gary and daughter Barbara. We love old sewing gear and enjoy sharing what we've learned in our vintage sewing machine adventures. We are located in Roseburg, Oregon.