Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Heirloom Singer 222K

My mother was a seamstress more than a hobbyist  when it came to sewing. In the photo, you can see the pattern envelope along with the directions to the left of her Kenmore machine in 1953.

Six years later, when my family lived in Philippines, my parents spent a weekend in Hong Kong celebrating their tenth anniversary. My father purchased a brand new Singer 222K for my mother. I totally forgot about this jewel until I found a black mysterious box in a back room closet in her home. 

I began to do research on this beauty. My first clue was the serial number engraved on the bottom - EN136969. This twelve pound British model was manufactured in the Clydesbank factory in Kilbowie, Glasgow, Scotland, between January 1958-February 1959. It was purchased on 22 April 1959  in Hong Kong. I found out that this free-arm model is a rarer find in the US than in England. 

The 222K was built exactly as model 221 but had two extra features. The feed dog lowering lever was added to keep the feed dogs out of the way enabling free motion embroidery and darning. Secondly, it has a removable bed to allow a smaller size for hemming cuffs and very convenient mending. Considering this model was made in the British Isles, this 222K is electrically compatible with the US. Yes, that means I do not need to purchase a separate voltage converter. The only upgrade I had done was to change the exposed fabric covered cording to updated plastic wired cording. 

The black case was the newer one as it has a built-in side shelf for accessories and bobbins and a place for the foot pedal on the inside of the case cover. I also found a cute red case containing 6 bobbins, 7 presser feet of different purposes, 2 screw drivers, and the original oil can. Also in the box were the purchase certificate, Singer Guarantee (in Chinese), buttonhole attachment in its own box, and instruction booklet. My how much is this gold gem 60 years later?

I remember, back in the 1970s, my mother purchased an updated Sears Kenmore as she could not find a repairman to adjust the tension on this Singer. I learned how to sew on this “newer” model of the Kenmore. In the 1980s, I learned how to quilt taking local workshops in San Marcos, California, with Quilt In A Day. My first two quilts were the Log Cabin (for my niece, Lola) and the May Basket (for my niece, Sara).

In 2000, I pulled out Mom’s Kenmore again and had problems with its tension. I gave her away.
I purchased a Janome Gold, MY first machine. She was lightweight for me to take to workshops and to sew with other friends.  I also treated myself to a Bernina 630; and later, in 2012, traded it in for my current Bernina 580 embroidery machine. 

I can now sew on the Singer 222K. She just needed cleaning and some oil. She is a keeper, a lovely family heirloom.

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