my vintage sewing machine

I was recently lucky enough to be gifted a vintage sewing machine from a dear friend of mine.

It is a Singer 320k which was produced in about 1958 – 1960 and was the first specialist embroidery sewing machine that the singer manufacturing company had ever produced.

From the first glimpse I was just a bit in love with it and find it’s weight, solidness and quaint detail very reassuring.

I was particularly busy the week I took it home and couldn’t get my grubby little mitts on it for what felt like an age.  I didn’t waste a minute when I had one though and bought an internet pdf copy of the hand book that instructs you in all things singer 320k.  What a beast of a book it is too with over 110 pages illustrating the huge variation of stitches that can be achieved with this amazing piece of kit.

In the interests of encouraging others though, here is the handbook as a pdf for FREE!!

SINGER-320K2

I did eventually sit down to try it out and it was so exciting to discover that it purrs like a pussycat when the foot was pressed and the belt threw the needle into action.  It was equally disappointing as it was exciting, unfortunately, to also discover that the bobbin case was missing and I still couldn’t sew with it!

I had become quite taken with this machine though and had set myself the task of finding a replacement for the missing part.  There was no chance it, or any other bits, were still with my friend so the internet and a few local sewing machine centres got my attention.  I spoke to some very lovely people on my search and although most were not very optimistic about the chances of me finding the part, they did all seem to think it was quite a rare machine and quite possibly worth a sum of money.

singer 320k

Now a gift is one thing, but if it is worth money, you have to be sure that the giver is still happy to gift it and doesn’t want a payment for it. With all that sort of thing cleared up and a conversation with a lovely lady called Rachel at Bogod and Co Ltd in East London (the Bernina sewing centre), I was soon to be the recipient of a bobbin case for my lovely machine!

It arrived a day later and fit like a glove and today I sat down to try it out and explore some of the thousands of stitches it can actually do!

I’m afraid I am off to the local sewing machine service centre because, although it sews brilliantly in a straight line and feels lovely to work on, it is missing a step on some of the intricate stitches and the power foot has jammed at full speed!!

I am heart broken as I have become quite obsessed with it and have already managed to get a zipper foot for it from ebay and am searching for other parts and bobbins.  I’m not giving up on it yet.

My wait continues……

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105 thoughts on “my vintage sewing machine

  1. How wonderful for you to have your beautiful 320K! I have the sister machine, the 319K, which is identical except it’s the flat bed version, where you have the tubular arm. I hope you enjoy many happy hours with her. 🙂 Kindest regards, Dianne B. in England

    • Thank you rosewillow.

      Do you have all the parts and instructions in tact? Also, I’m curious to know if you have trouble getting it serviced. I’m so desperate to get sewing with mine but it is still in the menders.

      tinyinc

  2. I’m so pleased to have found your blog! its the 20.03.11, and i have just purchsed the exact same machine. Its complete with an origional table that the machine drops down inside, drawers, instructions, wiring booklet, tools, fashion disks (all present), an array of feet, a full set of 10 bobbins and a wonderful button hole maker! Like yours it sounds so beautiful when its runs. The only small fault it the wiring is a little worn, but as luck should have it, my Dads and eletrician and is going to replace the wiring to make it safe.

    I was told used to belonged to a 90 year old woman, and whilst rummageing through the drawers i found an old photograph negative, presumably of the owner, and she looks like such a happy lady with all the boys around her!

    This day for me, feels beter than Christmas its self!

    Happy Sewing
    x

    • Hi Sally

      I love how happy you are about your wonderful sewing machine and what a great back story, especially since you have a photo of the lovely lady owner! Amazing. With all those bits still with it, it has obviously been incredibly well looked after

      It sounds like a real find and I hope you enjoy using it.

      I’d love to hear how you get on.

      Do you have

    • I just use standard machine needles and they seem to do the trick but you need to make sure that they are in the right way round ie flat facing pointing away from you otherwise it does weird things with the stitches.

  3. When was the last time the machine was used before you? It could just be that it needs to loosen itself up after sitting. Try oiling it, and running it through, especially with the patterns, to let it all loosen up, and I bet you it will be fine.
    Also, the 320k, which is in the same family as the 319w, which I have, and the 306k, use a special size needle. its a little shorter than the standard needles and you should not use it without the proper needle as it can damage something in the bobbin area. That could be the reason, also. You can purchase the correct needle on Ebay, which is where I get mine. Good luck

    • Jim

      Thanks again for such helpful advice. I’ve done a bit of shopping and will only use the needles you recommended. The others will fit in my old Frister Rossman Cub 7 as it is still going strong.

    • I would hazard a guess that this is my contact ‘Jim Watson’ who I eventually found when searching for replacement parts for my beloved 320K. Hello Jim, haven’t needed your services recently but you have a special place in my contacts book!

  4. Hi There, I love sewing and don’t own a sewing machine of my own but someone was throwing this fine machine out on the side of the road for rubbish pick up, so I put it in my boot and continued home only to find the reason for it being tossed aside was that it doesn’t have a power lead/food pedal… That will not stop me as I will check everywhere to see where I can get one even if I have to buy the whole package (machine and all parts). I guess then I’ll have a spare machine !!! Wont my husband love that… Hmm more stuff around the house. Well, I just wanted to say hello and say that now I have a 320ks too :>)

    • Hi Donella

      What a great way to acquire a gorgeous old but lovely sewing machine. You won’t be disappointed.

      I have put the manual on my blog to enable people like yourself to get a copy for free rather than paying for it, so please help yourself.

      There are lots of places to get spares and replacements:-

      Ebay of course

      I have also found parts for mine from https://www.college-sewing.co.uk/ (thanks Jim!!)

      and Bogod & Co Ltd (Email: sales@bernina.co.uk Telephone: 020 7549 7849) got me a replacement bobbin.

      The Sewing Centre (battersea 0207 228 3022) and Tony’s Sewing Centre (0207 485 1653) both offered to look out for things for me so they are great to deal with.

      Lots of luck.

      tinyic

  5. I know this is an older thread, but I thought I’d add my own joy. I just received the very same sewing machine by posting a ‘wanted’ on Freecycle. I’ve recently moved to Australia from the US and remarried and brought next to nothing with me having given away nearly everything before I arrived. We’re living with friends in a small room, and I have been hand-sewing to prepare for our eventual home together. The couple who responded didn’t want the machine to go to just anyone and were happy it would be used by someone who loves it. I am thrilled! I can’t wait to study the manual as I’ve never used an embroidery machine before. It works and came with needles, presser feet, plastic stitch discs, buttonholer, and the manual. I just have to roll up my sleeves and figure this one out. Glad to see this. I don’t feel quite so alone in my adventures.

    • that’s fantastic, you won’t be disappointed. They are smooth and robust machines that are lovely to have to look at too. they are a little sensitive to the wrong needle or the needle fitted back to front etc but if you take some of the advice on the comments threads, you won’t go wrong!! I hope you love it as much as I love mine and please get in touch if you want to know anything.

      • Well, it’s been an adventure! I couldn’t get the tension right so I removed the needle thread tension assembly to find no spring (the second one inside the numbered wheels). How did I not notice that? Found a remarkably convenient Singer sales and repair 15 minutes away. The service guys found the tiny part and voila! Perfect. Sewed up a storm for 3 days. What a dream machine. Until the fabric stopped feeding. Hmmm….On the phone with the service department again (no car). Troubleshooting everything and nothing seemed wrong but we didn’t have money to fix it. This morning unscrewed the bottom plate and found a screw that holds a bar to the switch. It had come out. Can’t reach it myself and will take it in. It’s a 3 second fix! It reminds me of my old Subarus: easily fixed and generally solid. I would recommend this machine to anyone who can get their hands on one.

      • It is very much worth the patience as the rewards are numerous.

        I had a few teething difficulties with mine but now find it completely reliable and a joy to use.

  6. I was given the same machine its got all the attachment with its instruction book and it works, I have not tested out all the stitches as I’m not really into sewing I’m about to sell it in my Garage sale next month I wonder how much I should ask for it

    • I’ve seen them on ebay so it is worth putting the model details into the search and see what you find. Not sure of value otherwise, I’m afraid.

      Sorry I can’t help any more than that.

      Where is your garage sale?

      tinyinc

  7. hello.Please could you excuse my bad englih.i bought a 320k because it s a lovely mechanic. BUT I AM A MAN. i don t know how to use it. i wuuld like to sew leather. do you know its price’ It s in mint condition with accessories but no manuel and the pedal is out. but it s works. i don t want to keep it but iwould like to sell it to good people. i know it s a great machine. i don t want to make money . could you answer’ thnk you.

  8. Firstly, thank you so much for the manual PDF download. I bought a 320K yesterday for $2.50 at an Op shop, just because it looked like a nice machine. But my partner said she would love to use it, so as a surprise I will try and find the accessories it did not come with, ie, the discs, needles and I guess other things too. (will check out your manual!) The power cord/foot pedal wires are buggered, but I can solder them up I am sure.Some great stories here about finding similar models. I feel a little out of my depth, being male and having never used a sewing machine (does that sound sexist?), but it seems there are some wonderful people around who are enthusiastic about these machines.

    • hey Brett

      Glad the manual is useful.

      You/your partner will love this gorgeous little machine and what a BARGAIN!

      I’ve found spares in eBay so I’m sure you will get what you need.

      The uk sites I used for the bobbin etc, all post OS so worth a try too but they are full price of course.

      Enjoy & please let us know how you get on with it.

  9. Hi,
    Just seen an ad for this machine but before i buy it I wonder if its strong enough to sew light canvas?

    • Hey Patrick

      I would say it was easily strong enough for light canvas as it is a pretty robust little machine. I have sewn through 4 layers of curtain fabric using it and through heavy duty webbing.

  10. Hello from Switzerland
    Since a couple of days, I’m the prod owner of a 320K too. Unfortunately, the machine is not functional. Missing from the machine is the bobbin case and much worse the bobbin case holder / housing. Do you know where I could get this missing parts? If you may have a picture from the (your) bobbin case holder it would bring me any further. Thank you very much for your answer and for your great site! Kind regards Tony

    • hi Tony

      thanks for the visit and I’m glad you like the site.

      I got a replacement bobbin from the following web site. It would be most useful to speak to them

      http://www.berninaukshop.co.uk/

      If you want some help, I am happy to contact them and I will be posting some photos on the blog of the bobbin and casing soon.

      tinyinc

      • Hey Tony. how lucky you are,! i am Pascal, and i live in Switzerland too, and i own a 320k too¨! AND I WOULD LIKE TO SALE MY 320K TO SOMEONE WHO LIKE IT!! It is the green one,it is complete but the pedal is out of order.I don t own the manual. I bought it 100 CHF and just want my monney back- are you interested?

      • Hy tinyinc – Thank you very much. Unfortunately I can not find your 320K blog. Can you give me please the Link? Thank you again.

  11. thank you so much for the instruction manual…. i have finally pulled out all my late mothers sewing machines out from under my spare bed .. they have been there for over 20 years. She was an avid sower and worked in the fashion industry all her adult life and i have come found one of these… it has a full set (i believe) of 26 discs in an original case and a red leather case with more feet than i could ever have imagined.. and spare bobbins and needles.. the only thing missing was an instruction book !!! with she may not have needed but i do !!!…i do use her old brother semi industrial… but have not attempted any of the others … i will enjoy having a go !!!.. thanks again Elaine

    • hi Elaine

      I am so pleased it was of use to you. It is a lovely lovely machine and you will not be disappointed when you start using it. If you have any questions, I’ve learned quite a bit about this lovely machine since starting to use it so, please ask. I’d be delighted to help if I can.

      Enjoy!!

      cheryl

    • Hi Tinyinc¨! It s a real pleasure for me to know your world! I hope I could help Tony. This machine is magic¨! Perhaps one more on your blog! Good bye Tinyinc , and thank you!

  12. Pascal

    You are very welcome and I am so pleased you have enjoyed your visit. Hopefully it has helped both you and tony. Call again, I will undoubtedly have more to say about this amazing little machine.

  13. Hello,
    So delighted to have found your blog article/thread about your 320K. Since you appear to love yours so much thought you might be interested to hear about my ‘love story’!

    My 320K was bought for my Mum in 1961 by my Dad when they were stationed in Singapore. Up until then she had made my clothes on a hand operated child’s toy sewing machine! I then inherited the toy machine and from an early age (about 4 years old) set about making and designing clothes and things for my dolls and bears. As I progressed and became older my Mum began to teach me how to use her sewing machine and I won a school sewing competition at the age of 12. By then we lived in Germany and I had made a traditional dirndl skirt, blouse and waistcoat for a large doll.

    As a teenager I used to borrow it to make my own clothes and gifts for other people. Imagine my horror when in my early 20’s and now living independently, my Mum told me she had traded her 320K in at the local Singer shop to buy a new all singing, all dancing computerised machine. Mum couldn’t afford the new machine without the trade-in but I was distraught. I hotfooted it to the Singer shop and asked if I could buy back my Mum’s trade-in. They said…. NO! Explained these machines were no longer sold on just sent somewhere centrally for spares and repairs. I was in tears, this was my old friend that I had grown up with. Seeing my distress they took pity on me and said they would work something out – I don’t know what they did, just that I had to pay £35.00 (a lot of money in 1980) to rescue my dear old friend.

    Since that time I have continued to make gifts of clothing and home accessories for friends and family, my own clothes, my sister’s bridesmaid’s dresses, my own bridesmaid’s dresses, soft furnishings for my homes, drapes and bumpers for my children’s cradles and cots, made and repaired my children’s clothes including lovely party dresses for my daughter… the list goes on… and now I also make soft furnishings for an interior design company.

    My husband has offered to buy me a new computerised machine but I can’t bear to part with my 320K (and don’t have room to house another machine alongside my separate overlocker and my knitting machine!)

    I love my 320K!

    • Hey Gillian

      What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I think anyone who gets their hands on one of these little beauties really does find a big place in their hearts for it.

      Cx

  14. wow … its amazing to read the stories and feedbacks on the 320k as my mother has one! Unfortunately I do not sow hence am too ignorant to realise just how special this machine is. Out of curiosity where could I sell this machine and would anyone know the approx. price? TIA for any feedback.

  15. I also have a Singer 320K. I bought it second hand about 25 years ago. It still works fine, but I have replaced the drive belt and the cable. Unfortunately the “Fashion disks” are missing but perhaps I do not have much use for them? After all it is mostly used for repairs and small projects.

    Thank you very much for the manual. I did not know that much about the machine.

    • Hi

      I don’t have the fashions disks either but since this is now my ‘workhorse’ I don’t have much need for the fancy bits (nor much time either) but perhaps one day!

      Cheryl

  16. Hi,
    I have been reading your posts for about a year I guess. Last month I finally found a 320k at the right price, £64 and an hours drive away. It has all the discs bar one which is broken and 10 various feet. Goodness knows what they all do?
    It took me a day of inspection servicing and adjustment to make “her” run well but all is great now. The problem was a loose pivot bolt that caused random faults to appear and because of this every possible adjustment had been fiddled with. I also had to shorten the power lead a little but fortunately the damage was near the machine plug so I have been able to keep the lovely green cable. I have no previous sewing machine experience but it is mostly common sense if you understand machinary and the hand book explains all the adjustments.
    The wife and I are no experts at sewing but curtain hemming and cushion making are proceeding at full speed.

    • Wow, that’s amazing.

      Firstly, thank you for following my blog so loyally, congratulations on such an amazing find and very well done for your perseverance in getting the machine going again!!

      You are so lucky to have the original cable and the disks, I am still holding out and hoping to find some one day.

      I hope the manual on my blog has helped get to know her a bit better.

      Good luck with the curtains and cushions and let me know how you get on!!!

    • Hi Jim

      Nice to hear from you again.

      Love the blog and what a great collection of machines.

      I notice your ‘green beast’ has a carry handle on the top which mine is without. Very interesting difference and I wish mine had that too.

      C

  17. Hi. I came across your blog by Googling this particular sewing machine. I inherited my grandma’s 320k2 a number of years ago. It’s absolutely complete (with carrying handle as well :p) and I have used it in the past, although the motor drive thing has perished quite badly. (I haven’t a clue how to use most of the functions – I’m not an experienced sewer, yet.) However, it hasn’t worked for three years and I’ve been too busy moving, etc., to sort it out.

    Today, I booked it in for a service for next week and I’m so ridiculously excited that I thought I’d find out a bit more about them, while I’m waiting for the service. Having looked at the information on this thread, I’m incredibly proud to own the machine that my mother grew up with and that has made thousands of garments, pre-me. I can’t wait to use it once it’s all in lovely working order again.

    • Wow!!!
      Wow!

      I’m not surprised you are excited. It is a super machine and is now the one I use most.

      Good luck with it and please let us know how you get on. I think you will love love love working with it.

  18. Hi my story is much the same to start with as the previous comment as I googled 320k as well. My dad and i purchased my 320k in the early1960’s for my Mum and I to sew on . I was earning £8/10 AUD a week at that time and it took Dad and I ages to pay off. When I got it home Mum was quite frightened to use it as previously we had sewn on a Singer treadle and this was a monster of a machine to us with many buttons and discs. The fact that it was electric was scary as well. Once we got used to it we sewed everything and used it for years until I bought a Lemair in about 1983 which had a semi automatic buttonhole. I thought I was the ants pants. The foot on the singer is stuck on high speed at the moment and I am going to take it to a machine mechanic and get it fixed as it still purrs along nicely. I remember being fascinated with all the discs making many different fancy stitches , all my babies had fancy stitches on everything, because in those days we made everything. I have a new modern machine now but I do love the 320k, it just looks so substantial and reliable and it’s a nice colour.
    I will bookmark your Blog and follow you

    • Hey Robyn

      Thanks for the follow.

      I hope you get the foot fixed. The engineer who fixed the same problem for me took the restrictor out which was sticking.

      I use mine all the time now and it is my absolute favourite!

      Cheryl

  19. Hi just a follow up on my previous post .Just got my 320k back from the mechanic and it is sewing like a dream. Everything works as It should and how I remember it. My only problem is I only have one needle, I know I have some more somewhere but can’t find them. Hopefully I can get some more. I would love a Singer Featherweight but a good one is hard to come by and quite expensive.

    Robyn

    • Hi Robyn

      That’s great news and you will love using the 320k. Needles should be relatively easy to come by. I get mine all from college sewing who do mail order.

      Good luck, well done and enjoy.

      Cheryl

  20. I love you! I found my 320K in an op shop and have had it serviced but don’t really know how to use all the stitches as there was no manual so many many thanks for posting the pdf. Although having read through others’ comments I’ve realised it’s missing all the extra feet and accessories so will get on the hunt once I’ve had a proper read through the manual. I’ve been after a solid vintage machine for ages so I’m very excited to find out what it can do. Despite the service I’m having a few issues with the bobbin tension, it keeps looping while the top thread is perfect. Any suggestions? Could I be using the wrong needle? I’m so glad I found your blog

    • Hi Alex

      What a lovely comment and I am so pleased that you found the manual useful. I was very frustrated when I went looking for it and feel that anyone interested in this lovely, lovely machine should be helped to enjoy it.

      I didn’t get many of the extra feet either but I haven’t found it detracts from the machine. The embroidery pedals (or the typewriter keys) give you lots of options to keep it busy.

      I had a few issues and found that one of the problems with the stitches comes about if the needle is in back to front (sounds bonkers but getting it in the right way around sorted my tension problems). Worth a try.

      Try the college sewing machine needles in the size and type that you need (link on one of my other blogs takes you to the web site) and they are good quality and suitable for this machine.

      I would also recommend that you only use singer needles if you can’t get the Schmetz ones that College sewing sell.

      https://www.college-sewing.co.uk

      It’s a good steady machine and is now my all time favourite!!

      Enjoy and let me know if you have any success with your tension.

      Cx

  21. Hey, wondering if it can also sew light fabrics? I am looking to sew clothes mostly so fabrics from silk to leather/denim

    Thanks, Julie (:

    • Hi Julie I have had mine since 1960 ish and I have sewn all sorts if fabric, I remember one of my favourite dresses was in a very fine fabric in lots of shades of blue, it had a swirly skirt and a tight fitted bodice (I seem to remember I copied a dress Gidget wore in ‘Gidget goes Hawaiian’ )very stylish at the time.

  22. Hi I have just bought a 320k2 at an auction a few weeks ago and have just got it out of its box, it looks well used but I appear to have most of the parts, a manual and a very old singer machine embroidery book that was bought originally for 5 shillings! Can’t wait to get started with it

    • ah, you lucky sewer!! It is a lovely machine. I doe all my sewing on mine now and prefer it to any of the others.

      5 Shillings would have been a handsome price for it new but sooooo worth it.

      Enjoy. It would be nice to see some of your works using it

      C

  23. I have my Mum’s 320K with all the cams and different plates/ feet/ darning attachment- even the original screwdriver! all has been cleaned by engineer hubby but, although the machine picks up bobbin thread, the machine isn’t stitching at all. Any suggestions would be very welcome please.

    • When I got mine I had trouble with the stitches missing so they were long then short etc (the top thread wasn’t picking up the bottom thread and vice versa) it was simply that the needle was in back to front (weird I know but I think this machine is sensitive to such things albeit that it is pretty robust generally).

      The same happened again when I bought the wrong type of needles for it.

      As long as I remember those two things, I don’t have problems.

      I hope that helps.

      The only other thing I can think of to suggest is to check the controls settings – for just straight stitching all keys that are on top should be flat & the dial needs to be set at 0 and he middle stitch picture.

      Check you have the correct bobbin type.

      I have another singer that isn’t as old and it is a bit tricky on the controls.

      Otherwise you might need an expert (sorry lovely hubby).

    • Hi Stacee

      very difficult to say exactly the problem without seeing the machine..
      . but in general.. provided it is not damaged and everything is as it should be, most sewing issues are down to wrong threading, tension .. or wrong needle..

      So, double check both top and bottom threading. and ensure you have the correct needle .. and it is threaded from front to back .. * the wrong needle can wreck the bobbin case.by hitting it* .

      If in any doubt buy new needles here.. specifically for the 320 machine

      206X13 SIZE 90 PACK OF 10 NEEDLES SCHMETZ
      £3.90
      https://www.college-sewing.co.uk/catalog/search.aspx?keywords=206×13

      good luck.. let us know how you get on ..

      Jim

  24. Ahh the 320k agony….it is a beautiful machine…I am just beginning my search to complete mine, reassuring to see your experience…I need to replace the foot pedal and find the wooden removable bed and still need to acquire needles…I cant wait to finally sit down and experiment with the stitches..mine also feels so fast on the foot pedal..do you use the flat bed often ?

    • I seldom/never use the flatbed. But I mostly make small things like hats or pillow and various repairs. It is not absolutely nescessary. Mine is also rather fast on the pedal. One can get used to it. An english company had a modern pedal for it if I remember right. Maybe that is an idea – i dont recall it as expensive. I dont know about your voltage.

    • there is a small part in the original foot that can be taken out which will give you more sensitivity on the foot. I had that done when I first got it because the foot stuck at full speed.

      I never use the flat bed to be honest so I would concentrate on other parts that you want.

      I also never use the hard case because it never goes anywhere.

      If the foot is a problem for you and the cable needs replacing, concentrate on that. Everything else is surplus.

      I am desperate for you to get sewing with it as I really think you will love it.

      Good luck and please let me know about your makes 🙂

  25. Thank you so much for the pdf of the book. I have a 320k that my grandmother bought new and used heavily for many years. She left it to me when she passed. It had all the accessories, disks, embroidery hoop and attachments, the whole kit and kaboodle but I put the manual away somewhere safe and now I can’t find it. I love this machine but I was having an issue with thread breaking and needed the book to find some more ideas of possible causes (besides all the things I had already tried). Thanks to this manual I have now solved the problem. It was the bobbin tension needing adjustment!

    • Hi Debra

      You are very welcome and I am glad it has helped.

      Sounds like you love the 320k as much as the rest of us do.

      It’s a beauty isn’t it (she, I should say as mine is called Eliza)

      C

  26. Hello, I have just read through this thread from go to whoa. What a great read. Thank you. I was much impressed with your kindness in sharing your PDF file of the 320K manual. I was very fortunate to receive the original, paper manual with my 320K, along with all of the disks, several feet and even the darning/embroidery plate, foot and cloth holder. I have a 320K and a couple of 306K’s (rescued the second 306 from the dump shop for $20, just a couple of days ago).

    Reason for writing is regarding needles. This is important for me because currently, the only ‘correct’ (206X13) needles available for these machines are only in one style and two sizes. I sew a range of materials inbcluding light leather and a standard fabric needle isn’t suitable for leather and vinyl, The only significant difference between the two needle types, is the length of the needle point BENEATH the eye. In every other relevant way, the needles are the same.

    I have read on other blogs, the suggestion that altering the timing on these machines will allow the use of standard (15X1) needles. This is NOT true and messing with the machine’s timing will do all sorts of nasty things to the stitch quality. Since the overall length of the two needle styles is identicle down to and including the eye, common sense says that changing the machine’s timing won’t stop the 15X1 needles from striking the bobbin case.

    A simple modification to the bobbin case will allow you to use ‘normal’ (15X1 type) needles. In fact, a local ebay seller here in Australia actually offers a bobbin case that I believe already incorporates the necessary design alteration. (Check out http://www.cyndykitt.com.au). She lists the part as Singer part number 173058.

    I have created some instructions for modifying a bobbin case to allow use of the standard 15X1 needles including explanations of the rhyme and reason that it’s necessary. This can be viewed at http://andrewcaddle.com/wordpress/singer-320k2-singer-306k-bobbin-case-conversion-standard-needles/

    This is a very simple modification and I hope that the information might be of help to others. I am using 15X1 needles in my 306 as well as my 320K and have access to the full range of needle styles that I need.

    Finally, I occasionally see questions from people, asking whether this or that machine will sew leather. The reality is that the question needs more information before a sensible answer can be given. Sewing thick saddle and harness leather or heavy veg-tanned leather requires a purpose-built, industrial machine. However, most older, all-metal domestic machines using appropriate needles will manage thin and supple leathers (of the kind used for garments, gloves and bookbinding). Any early Singer up to and including the 401 (the most modern machine that I have) will certainly do the job. Common sense will provide the best answer to the question.

    Sorry for such a long post. If I can be of any help or any further info is needed, please don’t hesitate to contact me …….. ac@andrewcaddle.com

    Thanks Tinyinc, for such a pleasant read.

    Cheers,

    Andrew.

    • Hey Andrew

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment about the post and such for adding such fabulous advice.

      Anyone following the thread (Sorry!) on this blog post will find the information invaluable, I’m sure.

      You have been very lucky with your purchase and you clearly love the machine.

      I popped by your own blog and was delighted to see that you are a bit of a collector. They’re addictive these old machines aren’t they?

      I will be following your posts now as it seems that you will be a great source of user advice for this and other similar machines.

      Thanks again and looking forward to your next post.

      C

  27. Thanks so much for making the manual available for free. I just received one of these beauties as a gift from my husband (he knows how much I love vintage machines….) and it came with no accessories or instructions.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing the pdf for free with the rest of us :). Your kindness and generosity is greatly appreciated ^^.

  29. wow, love your blog. have been gifted a 201P and a 320K, I already have a 1939 singer that was given to me. I love them all. the first two seem to have tension issues but I have ordered needles for them and hope they make a difference. the 320K has no discs with it. Have given them a good oiling also. Thanks so much for the manual. love these old machines

      • You really haven’t found a set yet? I have three spare sets, they are very common in Australia (which was very well off in the 1950s and early ’60s). PM me and I’ll bring a set over to you when I visit the UK in December/January. It will be up to you what they’re worth.

  30. Thank you for sharing the manual PDF for free. My machine belonged to my Mum, who used to work/demonstrate for Singers. I have the fashion discs, however the storage box was broken many years ago and a lot of feet/bobbins. I also have a little oval sewing box that matches the case for the machine. I don’t know if this was an extra or whether Mum got it because it matches the machine case. It is such a lovely machine.
    Just wanted to say thanks as I couldn’t find the instruction book, so really nice to get it. x

  31. I became the owner of two of these machines last weekend and am still getting to know them. I just wanted to say that I’m using the modified bobbin cases Andrew Caddle mentioned above and they work fine with standard needles.

    https://tinyinc.wordpress.com/2010/05/02/my-vintage-sewing-machine/#comment-1685

    I’m another who wants to thank you for the manual download. Your site was one of the first that came up when I Googled 320K.

    It’s interesting that some 320Ks had handles. I wish mine did as they weigh a ton. I don’t trust the lids/locking mechanisms on old machines and cases and always lift and carry them by holding the base so the weight of the 320K is very noticeable.

    The designers really put a lot of thought into these vintage machines. I found yesterday that most of the metal locking parts on both sides of the wooden base can adjusted with a screwdriver. If you get it right, the parts slide in and lock more easily particularly the right hand one. A drop of oil on those metal parts works wonders too.

    Funny thing is, when I first saw 319s and 320s on eBay I thought the so-called ‘typewriter sewing machines’ were among the ugliest I had seen. I was so wrong. I understand that only a relatively small number were made due to the complexity and expense of the manufacturing process. I just hope my heirs don’t leave mine on the side of the road for the rubbish collectors when I’m gone. 🙂

  32. Hi Cheryl,
    Great Blog! I too have read from top to bottom. Andrew’s info was grouse! I will be looking into this mod soon-ish. I have a 319 model I found on the roadside, got it home & broke a needle. I did a bit of googling & found out it needs the 206×13 needles, so I ebayed & got some to fit. I love using this machine!
    I grew up at the foot of my grandmother sewing on her old Singer Treadle machine. She taught me to sew as a young lad & I have always repaired my clothes until they were too far gone to repair further. The old treadle machine was passed on years ago with much regret – due to separation & divorce. But I now have a house & space for the old 319.
    I was considering selling the 319 till I found this blog & the Bobbin mod. I am so happy to be able to keep the old girl & possibly teach my own kids to sew on it (When they can be bothered!). At the moment it is used as an end table in the Lounge!
    My 319 is fitted into a fold up table arrangement & I have since found a brochure on the old cabinetry available from Simanco & identified mine as a genuine accessory. I have also been able to obtain the 31 discs from a trash market cheaply & have considered making copies for others, but that’s another project to get around to.
    I’ll be keeping an eye on both your & Andrews blogs for more info & tips etc. let me know if you would like a copy of any of my literature to post for others. I’d be glad to pass it on for all to use, if I can find it again. LOL.
    Anyway, Cheers From Aus & Merry Christmas.

    Hammer.

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