5 June 2014

Singer Model 20 Child's Sewing Machine

So, here's my second most recent aquistition to the Singer sewing machine collection. My husband has been keeping an eye out for a Singer Toy Sewing Machine. They are quite collectable, and quite cute too. I saw one at a local antique store a while ago, asking $495! Here's the low down on the Singer Sewing website, (not affiliated with Singer, but dedicated to all things Singer) and another great resource that I found - Sewalot.

How/When Acquired

I purchased this from eBay in March 2014. My eagle eyed husband spotted it, and I set to work on the bidding when there was about an hour left to run on the auction. I spent a little more than the budget he gave me, but still managed to obtain it for about a quarter of the same one that was available locally, inclusive of postage from the States. Still a bargain, I thought!

Fresh out of the box!

The same machine that I found in a local antique shop
Machine Specifications

These machines don't have any serial numbers (do you know of any toys that do?), so I don't have a definitive date on this machine. It's a standard black model which were quite common, and has a 7 spoke handwheel. These handwheels were introduced in 1922, and in 1926 numbering on the threading path was introduced, which this machine does not have, so that dates it anywhere between 1922 and 1925.

I'll give you a quote from the eBay ad on some specs.

"This is a very nice Vintage Singer Model 20 Sewhandy Crank Sewing Machine...Has original felt on bottom, that's worn...Sewing machine is 7" long, 7" high and 3 1/2" wide. Weighs 2 1/2 lbs."

It takes a 24 x 1 needle, which I have still to purchase (they are available here) and I found a threading diagram for the machine here. It sews a simple chain stitch.

This model was simply known as a Model 20, until 1950, when this style of machine was named the Sewhandy.

Work Done on This Machine

This machine is in excellent condition considering it's age, and has obviously been well taken care of in it's life. It had been cleaned up beautifully before we got it. It didn't come with a manual, the table clamp or the seam guide, and it's missing a screw on the bed, so I've been trying to source these. It did have a needle attached, but the end had snapped off, so I'm looking for some of those too.

When the machine arrived, we couldn't move the hand crank all the way round. To fix this, I set the husband to work on it to find a solution. The needle bar wasn't 100% straight, so he took to that with a hammer and straightened it out so it now moves. He had a bit more of a fiddle with it, and the crank goes all the way round, but is still very hard to move. He has taken it apart to give it a once over (don't ask me what he's going to do to it, as long as there aren't any parts left over at the end!)

I'll be sure to let you know how it goes when we get it working.

Keep an eye out for a detailed look at my other Singer machines:

Overview of my Singer sewing machines

1900 Model 27 Treadle

1950 Model 99K Electric

1937 Model 66K Treadle

1953 Model 201K Treadle

1945 Model 221K Featherweight

1953 Model 221K Featherweight

Do you have a Singer Child's Sewing Machine? I'd love to see more! Feel free to leave the link to your related blog post in the comments below.


  1. I have a Featherweight 221K, which is lovely, plus a few others, but I love the toy Singer. No more for me though...

  2. I recently bought a 201K and now have vintage Singer fever! I've been looking around for a toy one. I think it would be great for my 4yo to sew on. Hi from Melbourne!

  3. Hi there! I found your post on Google and had to say hi. I just got a Model 20 from my hubby and my 3 boys for Mother's Day. It is so adorable. In the next few days I plan on giving it a good clean and go from there. From what I can tell so far, mine has the numbers stamped on top to show how to thread as well as 7 spokes. Mine didn't come with a box or clamp, but it did have the seam guide installed on it. I also have a featherweight, a 15-90 and a 15-125. Thanks for sharing pics of your toy, it really helped. :) Cindy

  4. I have a SINGER NO.20 Child's Sewing Machine, in the original box,with size 16 needlles plus instruction book. The wording on the instruction book says Form 7933 Revised (136). Can you tell me if you have any idea of the value or where I could find out, much appreciated.. christinewindsor@yahoo.com

  5. Did these use a bobbin? Can I buy one?

    1. Good question Sheila. I still don't have a needle for this, so haven't tried to sew with it, but I don't have a bobbin, and as far as I know that's because they don't use one.

  6. I have a 1950 Featherweight 221 and a 1922-25 singer model 20 cast iron toy for sale. Besides that . . . the screw that holds in the hook, the stitch length adjuster and the fabric guide foot tend to get jammed if not properly tightened. This will cause the wheel to jam or hard to spin.

  7. Hi i hope you van reply I have the same sewing machine but I cant get the wheel out so I can clean it, how did you do it?