Vintage Friday — Singer Sewhandy

22 07 2011

Today’s exhibit is the first toy sewing machine we acquired.  Guy picked this one up at an antique store in California  sometime in the ’90s.  It’s in very nice condition, it fact I could believe that it hasn’t been used by a child.

These toy sewing machines do not have serial numbers like Singers regular sewing machines, so getting an exact year of manufacture would be difficult.  However, based on the illustrations and the 1953 copyright date in the manual it is safe to say it was made circa 1950s.  It came with the original box,

as well as all the original parts/accessories.

Many times I’ve seen these machines labeled as salesmen’s samples or  just a small (rare) sewing machine.  They aren’t rare and the were manufactured for children.  I know it is unusual now for a toy to function like the real thing (wouldn’t it be great if toddler vacuums actually cleaned), but these toys were operational.  It was possible to make items on them  (I sure wouldn’t want to have to do all me sewing on one).  They are different from a full size singer in that they are a chain stitch machine.  There isn’t a bobbin. 

Singer did tout these as more than a toy, and based on the descriptions in the manual expected them to grow with the child, in fact they mention the machine going off to college one day.  For fun here are the last three paragraphs in the manual:

A special message to mother

The SINGER Sewhandy is a strong, well-built and safe little sewing machine — not just a toy.  With it your little girl will have lots of fun making new clothes for her doll.

Big sister, too, can also use it for making simple garments, towels, aprons and do other plain sewing and at the same time learn some of the fundamentals of sewing that will be so useful in later life.

You too will find it practical and handy for travelling.  Small and compact, it can be packed in a corner of a suitcase or trunk.  It is also ideal for emergency use on vacation or at the summer home.”



2 responses

22 07 2011

This is fun!

22 07 2011

Hi Sonja

We had one as a child (1960’s) Yes it only do chain stitch, but ours as I remember was rusted and not working properly. The clamp of unknown origin in my custody now have an explanation. (Singer was operating in South Africa as well- my mother had a motor fitted to her Singer)

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