Sing, sing, Singer 319K

Lovely songs with lots of humming.

It is not in the very best of nick in terms of decals and shiny beauty but that isn’t so surprising for a machine built in 1957. It had been pre-loved by a lady in Didcot who had then left it to her daughter who wanted a more modern fancy machine so put it on ebay. I forgot to bid on the auction when I first found it and it closed without being won. Then I noticed that it was re-listed with a buy it now and felt her calling to me. A spanking bargain at only £45 and less than half an hour’s drive away.

This was one of the first swing needle machines as opposed to a needle that only moved up and down. The swing enabled the formation of huge range of zig zag stitches and was considered exciting at the time. Here is a little tour of the outside.

A long face?

From the front showing the stitch width selector which also has a lever to move the needle from left – to centre – to right

These keys on the top of the machine engage inner cams which make the needle move to produce different stitch patterns. The A and B inserts on mine are missing.

This lever which is sticking up here engages any cam disc which is placed on the round dial-y thing just below it. The wiggles around the edge of each disc juggle the needle this way and that from side to side to make some quite amazing patterns.

The bobbin is not easy to remove as the release lever flicks from right to left and there is not much room to get your fingers in there! Down here underneath is also where you find the machine serial number which isn’t the big number you can see here but the other one stamped right underneath the front edge of the base.

Another feature of the 319K is the cleated belt drive. This never slips and the machine will just keep on sewing (almost) regardless of what is put under it.

Here is the stitch length lever from no length to tiny weeny to very long and if you push it right up to the top it does a reverse stitch.

Tomorrow I’ll show the you all the other bits and bobs which share the cabinet with the lovely old girl.


10 Comments to “Sing, sing, Singer 319K”

  1. p.s. how do you do that ‘labelling on photos’ thingy? I wanna do that!
    p.p.s. sewing question: how easy is it to sew t-shirt material (stretchy cotton) by machine? I have an electric machine, does lots of stitches (most I’ve never used), and I want to recycle dd’s long sleeved t-shirts (and other scraps) into – er – bigger long sleeved t-shirts. Is is feasible? Please reply in plain sewing language.

    • Labelling the photos is something I found on Picnik when I was trying to find a simple way to make my photos square to put on Folksy (that was a night not well spent…) You upload your photo then click the Create tab and then select text, or shapes or cartoons or whatever. The text is massive to start with but it is in a text box which you can pull the corner of to shrink it.

      About the t-shirts. Have you got the book that came with your machine? If you do there should be some stretch stitches shown in that which look something like the ones on this page If not then a shallow zig zag that looks more like a smooth wave than a rocky mountain range will ‘give’ a little bit with the stretch of the fabric when it gets yanked over someone’s head and the put their arm in the arm hole elbow first.

      See if you can adjust the pressure on your presser foot or drop the feed dogs (the rough bits under the needle that pull the fabric along) a little bit that will help too as it won’t hang onto the stretchy fabric so much. Lastly get some stretch or ballpoint needles. They push into the fabric in a different way to a normal needle which can often just bounce off a t-shirt type material.

      Ihope that is plain but if not, ask me again or Julia might be able to give you some more hands on advice at sewing once it starts again next week.

  2. thanks, sounds easy enough (ha ha).

    I do remember a stretch stitch on my machine, I may even have tried it once without realising what it was for. Never heard of ballpoint needles, but will google them. Oooh just let me at those t-shirts with my super sharp scissors and my crazy machine!

    I also have a stitch on my machine that is meant to make little swan and tulip shapes. Never found a use for it , but have wasted hours of my life trying to make the swans and tulips look like the ones in the instruction book (without success).

  3. Toolips and Swans? They would look good on the trousers you just re-fashioned! Maybe the stitch prefers to be on a heavy or light fabric and you were trying it on the one it didn’t like? Such is life.

  4. Dear Sewist,
    my story with 319K is very funny! My cousin who lives in Sweden brought this machine instead of tho owerlock one. I already own a sewing machine, and at first I was a bit disappointed, specially since the machine had no bobbin case and I couldn’t try it at all. Today I went to the nearby marcet and bought one bobbin case; disappointment again, I couldn’t place it in!
    So, after some internet surfing, I finally found this post of yours, I’m rolling up my sleeves and trying again, hopefully with more success!

  5. Ended up here after a search for gussets (???) but anyway, just wanted to say I love this machine and all the feet. I have an adorable featherweight with all the attachments and goodies, but am a tiny bit ashamed to admit I just bought a Brother 400SE. SWEET!!! But nothing truly compares with my baby.

    Happy Holidays!

  6. How much does this machine weigh? Do you have any experience with the New Home sewing machines? If so, is the Singer 319 a better machine?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Darcy

      It is a pretty heavy machine as it is all metal but I haven’t got anything to weigh it on, sorry! I haven’t sewn on any New Home machines other than my overlocker so I can’t compare them however if the New Home you have in mind takes standard needles I’d go for that one over the 319K just because it is getting harder to get 206×13 needles nowadays.

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