Singer goes retro for its newest machine


My first sewing machine was a Singer and I loved it. My grandparents got it for me when I was in grade school. It sat mostly unused until I found myself incredibly bored one day after I graduated from college and took up quilting.

From then on I used the machine almost every day for four years until I heard a large crack and it stopped working. The sewing tech I took it to explained that there was a plastic part in the newer models that once cracked, could not be repaired or replaced. It seems they are not made the same as the antique Singers which still hum along beautifully after decades with a little oil and TLC.

I’m usually a pretty loyal person when it comes to brands. Most of my clothes are from three stores that I frequent. My shoes are all Steve Madden, Guess or BCBG (all purchased at outlet stores for ridiculously low prices because I’m cheap). I always buy the same organic cleaning supplies even though my grocery store has finally started to stock more natural products. But I was talked out of replacing my beloved Singer with another of the same brand.

I felt bad. Singer has been the name associated with sewing for 160 years. I have three antique sewing machines, all Singers and all cherished. It just didn’t seem right to go with another brand. But I don’t know one quilter who sews on a modern Singer machine. I know several who love their antique featherweights, but all the modern machines boast names like Babylock, Bernina, Janome and Husqvarna.

But I have hope thanks to the Singer 160. The limited edition sewing machine looks like the antiques that still work like a dream today. If I had enough disposable income, I would buy it just because it so beautiful. But it also boasts several technological improvements that, according to Singer, make it a blend of classic style and modern sewing technology.

I have to stress that I have not tested the machine and this information comes from a press release, but the Singer 160 features include:

  • A heavy duty metal frame, just like the antiques
  • 24 built in stitches
  • An automatic needle threader
  • A stitch length display
  • Three LED lights to help you see your work better
  • A presser foot sensor
  • Feed dogs that drop for free motion quilting
  • A drop in bobbin so you don’t have to pull the bobbin thread up before you start sewing
  • 374 millimeters, or for those of us who aren’t up on metric conversion charts, about 14.7 inches of sewing space

Basically the Singer 160 has everything I wanted when I purchased a new sewing machine a year-and-a-half ago and didn’t think I could get from a Singer.

The Singer 160 is available today only on the Home Shopping Network for a sale price of $379.95. It comes with a boatload of accessories, including every foot you’ll need for quilting except the walking foot, and two books on the history of sewing. The limited edition sewing machine will be available in other locations later this spring.

Update: I found a review of the Singer 160 from an Australian blogger. (Today is the first day the machine is available in the U.S. but it has been released in other countries.) Check it out by clicking here.

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