Tuesday, 28 January 2014


I saw an ad on Gumtree a few weeks ago and responded immediately. Yes free machines. Six of them and no two the same.
Pinnock 101, Regal De-Luxe Zig-zag, Singer 306k, Pfaff 60, Bernina 530-2 record, Singer 287N
It's not as great a deal as it sounds. I promised to re-home as many as I could fix.  Easiest was the Singer 287N. Japanese machine, 1982. Very clean and well maintained. I just checked it thoroughly, oiled it and put it on Gumtree for $30. Naturally it was sold within 12 hours. The buyer couldn't come get it either so I had to home deliver.
The other Singer (306) is missing a few bits that would make it impossible to use as-is. The bobbin case (specific to 306 and 319s) was missing as was the chrome reflector for the light. Neither part is easily replaceable. It was also cosmetically in poor shape. Best part, though, was that it came with a complete set of pattern cams. The Pinnock 101 was a brilliant machine but somehow the hand wheel was badly bent! It absolutely must have been dropped on it. I straightened it out with the vice and some tools and spent many hours cleaning and oiling. Sold it yesterday for half the cost of a service. It was a beautiful baby blue and came with the darning foot. I tested this by doing a little embroidery. It was the perfect machine for this having a vertical bobbin. Lovely machine.
The Pfaff 60 appears to be worthless (they don't sell on eBay) and mine is missing its slide plate, so I guess it'll be staying with me a while.
The Regal de-luxe is a Japanese 1960s machine. It's beautiful and dripping with chrome. Loved it but it had to go. It went quickly too for less than half a service.
The Bernina I'm keeping. I've wanted one for ages but they seemed so expensive. Well, it seems that only applies to 1970s models. One like mine went last week on eBay for barely anything!
Pinnock 101

Regal Super Deluxe

Singer 287N Starlet


  1. Hi Mike,

    I too am into car maintenance and old sewing machines. When restoring a boat a few years ago, I bought an old 1950s singer to do the vinyl upholstery work. (My Wife's Pfaff was off limits) She lets me use it for clothes but not heavy work.

    I sold the boat and the singer and moved OS to work for a couple of years.

    Since returning, I have restored an MGB and need to make some alterations to a tonneau cover. I have bought a Pinnock Craftomatic model zk 141 but I am having terrible trouble getting the tension and stitch length right.

    The top tension seems too high (loops at the back). I can get it almost right with little or no bobbin tension and max top tension but the stitch length is all over the place.

    I suspect that I may have it threaded incorrectly but do not have a manual.

    I may also have the needle the wrong way round. At the moment I have the long groove in the needle on the left and short groove on the right and have threaded from left to right.

    I am also somewhat concerned that the default straight sewing needle position seems to be all the way to the left.

    Any advice you may be able to provide would be much appreciated.


    1. Hi Tony,

      I wouldn't be doing upholstery on a domestic machine of any sort. I happen to be re-covering my '68 Valiant's rear seats this weekend and have attempted to do some of it on the strongest of all domestics, the 201k. The machine is simply not up to the job, so I can now say with some authority that you won't be able to do it.

      Is your wife's Pfaff an industrial? You'll need an industrial for sewing automotive vinyl (assuming it's as heavy as mine, which I know it is). I bought a Singer 96K49 and 96K41 (the latter was a very cheap head only on eBay) and the 96K is doing a great job so far. Machine is a quantum above your Crafty.

      The default needle position is indeed all the way to the left. There should be a double-screwed positioning thing for the needle position ranging from 0 to 5. 3 is centred but it's usually on 0 (left).

      Ideal machine for upholstery is a 132K6. All the trimmers rave about these, but they're kind of exy (cheapest on eBay right now is $1850). If your needs are personal (you're not starting an upholstery business), a 96K will certainly sew your MG vinyl cheaply and effectively. There's a complete one on eBay now in Melbourne (item #291067260552) starting at $100! There's another in NSW for $150. I got my complete machine for $100 and paid $20 for the spare head. Only thing it can't do well is piping (it marks the vinyl), which I do on a domestic with a walking foot. Even this combination isn't great - I have to pull it through slightly.

      If there are loops at the bottom your top tension isn't sufficient, but as it's at the max. you have nowhere to go (except an industrial). The stitch length varies because the feed dogs are not able to pull the heavy fabric through.

      Hope this helps. You'll ruin your expensive vinyl if you persist with the domestic.