Singer 15-91 Sewing Machine Review


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The Singer 15-91 is a one of the classic, black, cast iron Singers loved by sew many for sew long and for sew many good reasons! This attractive, vintage machine is noted for it's sturdy build, cast iron iron body and exceptional straight stitch.  The 15-91 was made by Singer from the early 1930’s through the mid 1950’s.  This review will cover the important points of this ever, Sew-Classic TM sewing machine and many of the available attachments and feet. (free manual download at the bottom of the page)


Click HERE for Singer 15-91 (15-90, 15-88, 15-89) Sewing machine Parts!

Here’s the stats:

  • Weight - approx. 29 pounds
  • Hook type: vertical oscillating - side loading
  • Bobbin: Class 15
  • Bobbin case position finger - 11 o’clock position
  • Needles: Standard household sewing machine needles (system 15x1 aka 130/705H)
  • Motor: usually rated at about 0.6 amps with a direct, gear drive (no belt)- notice the little "pot" stuck on the back of the machine near the handwheel. This is the motor, often call a "potted" motor"
  • Has feed dog drop
  • Has true reverse feed
  • Presser feet: screw-on low shank
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Adjustable stitch length
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This machine has a generous harp size (space to the right of the needle and to the left of the pillar) and plenty of room around the needle bar. These features combined with it’s excellent ability to free-motion quilt and to handle odd ball threads makes this machine a favorite with quilters. The machine is extremely sturdy with very good piercing power when in proper working order.

Finding feet and attachments is a snap. The 15-91 uses the common, low shank, screw-on feet.

  To the right is an excerpt from a 1951 Singer Sales brochure


The stitch quality and fine movement of this model makes it ideal for all kinds of sewing. The small needle plate opening provides excellent support for light weight and delicate fabrics, so this machine isn’t just for hemming jeans and quilting. It truly can master a wide range of sewing applications. Yes, it can sew clothing weight leather, upholstery, canvas, denim, as well as silk and even polyester.

The gear drive provides smooth power delivery, and there is never any worry about worn, slipping or mal-adjusted belts - ever!

Now, this is a household, domestic sewing machine. The is NOTHING industrial about it.   However, due to its sturdy build, dependability, and overall quality, this model has been favored by tailors, dressmakers, quilters, and some "cottage" type business applications.  To learn more about de-bunking the myth of "industrial strength", commercial grade, and other erroneous, marketing terms, read my blog entry, Guide to Buying a Sewing Machine on eBay

Usually, the 15-91 is a cabinet model, but you can install them in a case or base as shown in the first photo. In reality, a nearly 30 pound machine isn't exactly 'portable', and the extra work space that the cabinet's offer are absolutely fabulous. Plus- when you're not sewing the cabinets are quite attractive. The Singer cabinets often have a knee lever for activating the controller. This keeps the button foot controller up off the ground, but if you prefer to use the controller as a foot activated devise, just slide the controller out of the bracket under the table and set it on the floor.

©Sew-Classic.com;
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Another upgrade that I like to make to the Singer 15-91 is adding a marked needle plate. Originally, the Singer 15-91 (& others) came with an unmarked, plain needle plate, and this is why thrift store machines often come with gobs of tape on the surface of the bed. After 50 years in one spot, this stuff isn’t coming off easily!

The marked needle plate makes for quick & easy reference, accurate seam allowances.  These can be purchased here.





One of my favorite attachments is the automatic buttonholer. Yes, it makes absolutely GORGEOUS buttonholes! The Singer 15-91 can use any of the Singer LOW SHANK buttonholers.  The low shank units originally came in an emerald green or black treasure chest style case and in the oblong, bullet shaped aqua colored case (not shown). 

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My favorite walking foot for the low shank, straight stitch machines like the 15-91  is a Special, STRAIGHT STITCH ONLY walking foot.  No, it’s not the same as the $500 vintage Singer “black penguin” (as it is called) walking foot, but I have had the best results with this foot over any other modern walking foot on the straight stitch machines. In fact, I rather like it, and it’s price of about $20-$25. 

Notice how the needle opening on the foot is a small round hole and the walking mechanism on the bottom of the foot is narrow- just like the feed dogs on the 15-91 and other low shank, straight stitch machines.As a side note,: No walking foot attachment actually “feeds” the fabric. What it does do is reduce/remove the friction and resistance of the solid presser foot on the top layer of fabric. This helps keep the top layer from stretching or shifting and promotes even feeding. 

 (More information about this foot here)

Want one for your machine? You can Purchase it HERE.

Sew-Classic

 

I'm also a big fan of the fine rolled hem that this machine will produce with the rolled hem foot. I used this foot to make quick work of this top (Simplicity 3842).

©Sew-Classic.com
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Some more photos of the standard feet that came with the 15-91 when it was new:

©Sew-Classic.com ©Sew-Classic.com  ©Sew-Classic.com
©Sew-Classic.com ©Sew-Classic.com ©Sew-Classic.com

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There are many other attachments available for the 15-91, including the zigzag attachment shown below.  It works best with fabrics that have more body and substance.  The results are less than ideal with the attachment when using lighter weight fabrics.

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What to watch out for on this machine when purchasing a non-refurbished (“attic fresh”) machine:

Deteriorated wires to the power cord, foot controller, motor and light fixture are very common. Inspect all of the wires and the connections behind the terminal at the back of the machine. I would say that over 90% of the 15-91's that cross my bench require some, if not all, of the electrical wires to be replaced. Dangerous wiring is extremely common.  In order to properly inspect the wires, one must remove the terminal from the back of the machine and inspect all the wires and connections.  Bend, squeeze and examine the wires coming out of the motor very closely.  Over 90% of the 15-91's that cros my bench need to have these wires replaced.  Leaving the old wires in place is hazardous.  The light fixture is a pain in the neck to open up and rewire.  More info -  How to inspect the electrical wires on a vintage machine  

The EASY way to repair or re-wire the light fixture.


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Above- before complete servicing


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After Servicing  

After 50 to 70 years the grease that lubricates the motor bearings and the gear drive gets very dirty, breaks down and sometimes even cakes up. It’s best to completely remove this old grease, clean the bearings, lubricating wicks and worm gear and them replace the grease. In order to do a through job, I have found it's best to remove the motor armature completely.

I have seen machines where someone used a lithium based grease on the machines, and it was always hard - like brittle hunks of cement which have to be scraped and chipped off of the parts. So, I always caution against using a lithium base grease for this application.

These machines run some much smoother, faster and quieter after this intensive servicing. The difference is like night and day!

 

Other common issues: broken bobbin winder springs, rotted bobbin winder tires, missing or broken bobbin cases, seized parts, missing or broken tension parts (especially the take up spring), gummed up tension discs, broken or missing spool pins, mal-adjusted bobbin winder & pre-tensioner.  

For more details, see this article on Refurbishing the Singer 15-91  

Bottom line, if you are looking for an heirloom quality, strong, sturdy, fine quality sewing machine that is simple to use and maintain, the Singer 15-91 is an EXCELLENT choice. 

Other, similar Singer class 15 models:

  • 15-125- mechanically identical to the 15-91. Introduced in 1957, potted, gear driven motor, "updated, modern" design, green
  • 15-75- Just like the 15-125, except belt driven, external motor, black 
  • 15-90 - solid hand wheel, external motor, belt drive- everything else is identical to the 15-91
  • 15-89 - Natural born hand crank, spoked handwheel, no motor, otherwise- just like the 15-90 and 15-91
  • 15-88 - spoked hand wheel, most often treadle operated, but sometimes equipped with an orignial Singer motor (see photos below)

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Singer 15-88

Free 15-91 MANUAL (download in PDF form)

LINK TO FREE BUTTONHOLER MANUAL
(download inPDF form)

 

 

Sew-Classic.com
More info on an INSTANT marked needle plate for any vintage machine!

 

 
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Comments
Page: 1 of 3
  • Sunday, October 05. 2008 Karendee wrote:
    This was a most interesting article on the S15-91. Having no knowledge or experience with machine, I found this fascinating. Thanks.
  • Friday, October 17. 2008 Melissa wrote:
    Jenny,

    I LOVE your blog! I have missed seeing you on PatternReview - I can see how hard you have been working on this site. Do you have a write-up on the 301, 401, or 403?
    1. Saturday, October 18. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      - Thanks Melissa

      I am definitely going to be doing more in-depth reviews and the 301 and 400 series slant-o-matics are on my list!

      Happy day- Jenny
  • Monday, October 27. 2008 Melanie wrote:
    LOVE this review and in-depth information! I just found a Singer 15-91 (in cabinet!) this weekend at a thrift shop in GREAT condition, but it's insides DEFinitely need a cleaning. Turns out, it's a Centennial model from 1951.

    I can't tell you how excited I am to read that I can find add'l presser feet for it easily, as well as pick up a manual to help me open it up this weekend.

    Thank you!
    1. Sunday, October 10. 2010 Barb wrote:
      If you don't mind, I'm trying to value mine, how much did u pay for it? Appreciate your input...
      1. Tuesday, October 12. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
        http://blog.sew-classic.com/2009/06/05/6-steps-of-how-much-is-a-sewing-machine-worth.aspx
  • Wednesday, October 29. 2008 Barbara Allen wrote:
    I just picked up a 15-91 today at a resale shop called "Value Village" in Springfield, OR. It was very clean. No lint at all in the bobbin area. It appears to be in tip top shape. I'd been looking for a non-slant needle and non-zig/zag to sew some heavy canvas. When I took my new purchase to my Singer repairman (42 years experience) he was so excited. He said it was built in the late 40's.

    He also said that when he was working at the Singer plant, Singer would bring in 50 used ones at a time (which had been in home ec classes). Rather than refurbish them, they broke them apart with sledge hammers and sold them for junk.

    When I told my 91 yr old mother (who is a Singer junkie) about my purchase, and the sledge hammers, she told me that she heard something similar, but the purpose was to recycle the iron for WWII. The same thing happened to Frank Lloyd Wright designed/built steel desks for one of his office buildings.

    Thanks so much for your review and your link to the PDF for the manual. And thanks for reading about my excitement re my new 15-91!
    1. Wednesday, October 29. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Congrats on your GREAT FIND! Be aware that a 'standard' tune-up or clean and oil service for one of these machines usually doesn't inclde the rcomplete removasl of all the od grease from the grease pots, bearings and worm gear.  As you can see from the photo in the review, after 540, 50 or 60 years, that grease is YUCKY!! The grease actually breaks down over time and just doesn't function properly anymore.  It's a very good idea to remove the hand wheel andbe CERTAIN that all of that old grease is gone.  It should look like this inside the handwheel after this has been done:


  • Thursday, November 06. 2008 Breanne Fraser wrote:
    So which machine would be best for newbi sewers?
    1. Thursday, November 06. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      IMHO, a machine for a newbie should be KNOWN to be in proper working order, simple and durable.  Most beginners try to keep the price down until they see if their sewing interests continue, and so cost is often a primary concern.  However, if the $89.99 discount store machine breaks with your first sewing"oops", or you can't get that  $10 garage sale find to wind an even bobbin or sew correctly, then they weren't good deals at all.  In fact, these not no wise bargains will insure that the new sewing interest is met with unnecessary frustration and given up quickly. 

      The 15-91 is a great machine for a beginner, as are many other makes and models.   I don't think that there is any *one* best sewing machine for beginners.  Personal preference, availability, budget, etc... all come in to play when choosing a machine.   Perhaps you read the Singer 99 review, and in there I do suggest that model for newbies.  This is mostly because the Singer 99 is a quality, classic machine that is usually priced less than models. 

      Good support from a reputable, knowledgeable dealer will go a long way to help the newbie as well.
       
  • Monday, November 10. 2008 Lisa wrote:
    I'm looking into a sewing machines on craigslist - right now my options are a Singer 15-91 for $75 that has been "serviced" in the last 5 years, but not used in the last 3, or a 99k for $125 with a "knee operated switch." Neither have been used much lately.

    Which would you recommend to a sewing hobbyist, but not that experienced? I can follow a basic and simple pattern but have not attempted anything very fitted, such as garments.

    I'll look out for what you recommended to watch for, but feel as though I still don't know what I'm looking for. Any suggestions? I mainly want to know if both are in the same condition, which you would recommend over the other.

    Thank you!!!! These articles were very helpful.

    Lisa
    1. Monday, November 10. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Lisa,

      If both machines are known to be in proper working order, then either one would be a great choice for a sturdy, simple, quality machine for a beginner sewing hobbyist.

      FWIW,  15-91 was a higher end model than the 99 when they were new.  Since you are buying them locally from craigslist, your best bet would be to inspect them personally and pick the one you like best or seems to be in the best "sewing "and operating condition.  If one of the sellers is a collector or sewing machine enthusiast, they might be able to provide you with some pre-purchase as guidance as well.

      When I sell a machine, I make a great effor to provide pre and post sales support.  This helps a buyer find just the right machine for them and their particular sewing projects.  I also fully service and guarantee my Sew-Classic machines.

      Be sure to test sew with both machines and actually wind a bobbin and find out if the motors have been serviced.  Look over all the wiring carefully.  For many people, 'serviced' simply means that they put a few drops of oil on it.   It might not need much more,  but then again, it very easily could.

      I assume neither of these sellers will be offering any after sales support or a guarantee, so you should also try and find a local service shop that will work on the machines without trying to sell you a new one or mislead you about parts availability, etc.... 
  • Saturday, November 22. 2008 lina wrote:
    This will sound crazy, but is it possible to replace the handwheel on a 15-91 with one from a 15-88 or other submodel so that it may be treadled? I have a 15-91 that I would like to treadle--the motor is beyond repair, and I already have a treadle cabinet. As I understand, the potted motor has gears which mesh with those on the handwheel (visible in your picture above), and the handwheel lacks the belt groove that treadle models have. But if you were to swap out the handwheel from another machine, could it then be treadled? Or is there some other significant difference?
    1. Saturday, November 22. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      No, there would be more involved than just swapping out the handwheel.
  • Monday, December 08. 2008 Fiorinda wrote:
    Fascinating and helpful information; thank you!

    I've also read your review of the 201-2, and now I have a dumb newbie kind of question. Which of these machines would you recommend for a sewer working primarily with delicate materials, who's self-taught and likely to remain that way? The thing is, I recently stumbled into an irresistible deal on a 1938 Singer 95-80 (complete with table and new motor), that had been in recent use and that I could trust had been well cared for.

    And I can't believe how wonderful it is. I'd only ever used fairly new machines before, and this one is blowing me away. So now I'm looking for an old Singer that isn't an industrial machine, that I can run without the floor shaking under me. It sounds as if both the 15-91 and the 201-2 are wonderful sewing machines, but I can't find anything that tells me where the crucial differences are, or gives me any information about whether there's a good reason to pursue one over the other.

    Or whether, for that matter, I should be looking at the 301 slant-needle model instead.

    Again, thank you so much for these reviews, and the links to the manuals!!
    1. Tuesday, December 09. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      The primary differences in the 201-2 and the 15-91 are the hook type & orientation and bobbin type. These details are specified in the reviews.  

      The 301 is 13 pounds lighter than the other two and has an entirely different hook type and bobbin.  All three would handle light weight and delicate fabrics just fine with the correct needle, tension, thread and presser foot pressure.

      If you are planning on purchasing a Sew-Classic machine please contact me me directly for more details and thorough pre-purchase guidance and support.

      Happy Day!
      Jenny
  • Thursday, December 18. 2008 Nancy wrote:
    I just stumbled across your blog looking for information on a 15-91 my husband picked up years ago. (It's even a Centennial!) The electric/pedal cord is rotted, so my brother in law is going to rewire it for me.

    I have a great sewing machine repair guy--he's got decades of experience--but I'd love to give this a go myself, particularly because he's really not cheap. Am I nuts to try it myself? Are there any guides around to cleaning out that old gunk and lubricating the machine etc? I have the manual, and I'm pretty handy, but I've never taken apart a sewing machine before.

    Thanks so much for this entry!
    1. Thursday, December 18. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Nancy,

      I always try to apply the KISS principle -   Keep  It   Simple  Stupid.  Using this help prevent one from getting tool fever and getting into trouble or wasting time

      Replacing the wires on the foot controller and power cord is very simple.  For safety sake, PLEASE have someone inspect the wires going from the motor to the terminal on the back of the machine (part the cord plugs into) and the wires going from the lamp to the terminal.  To inspect them properly, REMOVE the terminal and look to see any crumbling or cracking.  It's important to get a look at the red and yellow wires inside the black outer coating.   I admittedly have high standards with regard to the wiring, but if there is ANY cracking when the wires are bent, this indicates that the insulation has deteriorated.  I will always replace wires under these circumstances. 

      Someone will have to take apart the motor and the light and solder the new wires in place.  Taking apart the light is a REAL PAIN IN THE NECK.  There are after market light fixtures available on eBay or through you local shop for under $20, you may just want to do that instead. Most re[pair shops will NOT rewire the lamps because of what a pain it is to service them. If you take the machine in for rewiring of the motor, expect to pay $125 to $175. 

      I have actually been toying with the idea of offering a re-wiring service for the motors where folks remove the motor unit (as shown in photos above -just 2 bolts hold it in place) and mail it to me.  Perhaps after the holidays I can work out the details.  Keep an eye on the blog and website for information to become available.
       
      1. Tuesday, February 17. 2009 Jeff wrote:
        I got this stuff at Lowes called "Plasti Dip" It is a Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating.

        There was some cracking right where the wires attached to the back of the Terminal Block, but other than that they were in good condition. I painted this on with a hobby brush. Works great, just thought this would be of interest to you.
        1. Tuesday, February 17. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
          Yes, many people use heat shrink tube for the same type of band aid repair.  My thought is that the insulation along the entire wire is the same age and if it is deteriorated in one area, I replace the entire wire.  When it comes to electrical safety on these solid metal machines, I prefer to error on the side of safety and exercise some extra caution. 

          Inspecting Electrical Wires on a Classic, Vintage Sewing Machine
  • Friday, December 26. 2008 liz wrote:
    You have such a lovely site--a great resource for folks interested in vintage machines. I was wondering a bit about the buttonholer pictured in this entry, and about buttonholer attachments in general. I've been shopping around on ebay for one and it's difficult to tell (particularly since a lot of the folks selling buttonholers aren't sewers themselves) which models of buttonholers will fit which machines. Does the 160743 buttonholder work for a 15-91? What about the 160506 (which is, I think, originally for a featherweight 221 type model)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    1. Saturday, December 27. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      The 15-91 uses any of the Singer LOW SHANK, straight stitch buttonholers.  The 160743 and the 160506 are identical, except for the type of shank on to which they attach.  The 221 and the 15-91 are both low shank machines, and would use the same buttonholers.  The 160743 is for the slant shank machines, and can be seen toward the bottom of this page.
  • Sunday, December 28. 2008 Dorsey wrote:
    Can you provide any information about zigzag attachments for the 15-91? My wife recalls having one in the 1950s that took many "cams" and she'd like to get everything possible for her "new" 15-91.

    What Singer part number does the zigzag attachment have? What cams are available? Are non-Singer zigzags available? If so, are they OK?

    Thanks,
    - Dorsey
    1. Sunday, December 28. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Dorsey, the review above shows both a Singer and a non Singer zz attachmemt at work on the 15-91.  There are also larger Singer zz attachments  that talke the cams you mention. I couldn't tell you part numbers off the top of my head.  The most vital fitment information to keep in mind is that the 15-912 is low shank and the zz attachment must also be low shank.  I do not ahve any zz attachments for sale at this time.  Good luck in your search.
  • Wednesday, December 31. 2008 Beth wrote:
    Thank you so much for all of the information you have provided. I got my 15-91 from my uncle at Christmas. It is wonderful, especially compared to my 70s Kenmore model (yuck!). I'm ready to start searching for all of the neat feeder feet and get to work sewing on this wonderful "new" machine. Thanks for the info.
  • Wednesday, December 31. 2008 Beth wrote:
    What is the difference between the models 15-88 and 15-91? My uncle found a sewing machine in a trash dump and cleaned it up. It works, my husband and I are wanting to make sure that everything is working properly, however we are not sure exactly what model it is. We visited the Singer website and looked up the serial number (AJ733995), we know that it is a model 15, but anything more than that is unknown to us. Thanks for your help.
    1. Wednesday, December 31. 2008 Sew-Classic wrote:
      I've added this info to the entry
  • Monday, January 05. 2009 Tammy wrote:
    I stumbled upon your site while searching for parts and attachments to the 15-91. I recently inherited a very nice machine from my Grandmother but unfortunately, there wasn't a manual nor any parts to go with it. Do you know where to get the parts? (Hemmer; zipper foot; button holer, etc.)
    1. Monday, January 05. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Try yard sales, thirft stores, ebay for the buttonholer.  The machine takes standard, low shank feet, so just about any sewing machine shop should have a zipper foot and a hemmer foot to fit.
  • Sunday, January 18. 2009 Christina Flyntz wrote:
    This is the best information I have found to date on the 15-91. Thank you so much for the in-depth review and instructions.
  • Friday, February 20. 2009 Kim wrote:
    I have a Singer 15-91 that belonged to my grandmother. By looking up the serial no. (JC796550) I have found out it was built in Canada in 1948. But it has no motor. There seems to be a place for the motor to be added on, but this machine is a treadle. I have an origanal manuel and accessories for the 15-91. Is this really a 15-91 or another model entirely?
    1. Saturday, February 21. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:

      Had you read the review, you would have found this bit of info at the end:


      "Other, similar Singer class 15 models:

      • 15-125- mechanically identical to the 15-91. Introduced in 1957, potted, gear driven motor, "updated, modern" design, green
      • 15-75- Just like the 15-125, except belt driven, external motor, black 
      • 15-90 - solid hand wheel, external motor, belt drive- everything else is identical to the 15-91
      • 15-89 - Natural born hand crank, spoked handwheel, no motor, otherwise- just like the 15-90 and 15-91
      • 15-88 - spoked hand wheel, most often treadle operated, but sometimes equipped with an orignial Singer motor (see photos below)"

  • Saturday, February 21. 2009 M. Daniel wrote:
    I purchased a Singer 15-91 how much should I expect it to cost me to have the services performed mentioned above?

    Thanks
    1. Saturday, February 21. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      You are going to have a tough time finding a tech that will clean and polish the finish or polish the metal brightwork.  

      Most shops charge $50 to $80 per hour for labor to work on a machine (varies a bit by location).   I suggest you call around for estimates.


  • Saturday, February 28. 2009 Jennylou wrote:
    have you or do you rewire/refurbish motors by mail now? and how much would it be for both the motor of a 201-2 and a 15-91?
  • Friday, March 13. 2009 Krista wrote:
    Hi - I just want to thank you so much for this post. I brought back my grandmother's 15-91 with me after Christmas. My mother and I remembered it being broken, but I just learned that it works just fine!

    I really want to thank you for the description of all the feet and for linking to the manual. This has saved me a lot of time!

    I am planning on getting the sewing machine serviced (cleaned and oiled) at a local shop - do you have any advice on anything specific I should ask for?

    Thank you so much again, this is a really great resource!
  • Wednesday, March 25. 2009 Sewing Specialist wrote:
    Wow this has provided me with some awesome information. I also own a singer 15-91 and it CANNOT be beat!
  • Sunday, March 29. 2009 Kali wrote:
    I recently got one of these from my mother. I'm new to sewing and started out on it the other day. The handwheel won't turn toward me but will turn away from me. I've oiled the machine, and checked for loose threads where the bobbin case is. Can you give me any information?
  • Thursday, April 16. 2009 tangosailor wrote:
    I am having a problem with penetration through canvas and leather cloth. Just purchased this 15-91, is there anything I can do with it?
    1. Thursday, April 16. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      I haven't sold any 15-91 just recently, and I don't recognize your name, so this is obviously not a Sew-Classic machine.
       Nonetheless, here are the common reasons that a 15-91 would have problems piercing heavier materials:

      • Wrong, old, dull needle
      • incorrect presser foot pressure
      • build up of dirt, oil lint or rush on the components
      • not properly lubricated
      • clutch not installed correctly
      • problems with bearings or motor
      • Material density beyond the scope of the machine- the 15-91 isn't designed to sew everything in the universe.  For example, it is not intended to sew heavy leathers (clothing weight leather is fine).

      Your options to resolve the problems are:

      • Contact the person or dealer  from whom you purchased the machine for support
      • Or get in contact with your local service tech
      • or put on your mechanics hat and trouble shoot and repair the problem yourself.

    2. Thursday, August 12. 2010 Elaine wrote:
      Are you using the correct size needle? I've had success with size 16 needles which were rcommended by a site that sells fabric for sail covers. I was working with sunbrella fabric
  • Thursday, April 30. 2009 Richard wrote:
    GREAT writing and descriptions!

    Question 1: I found a FOR SALE , world war 2 era, Singer, cast iron machine. At this time I know nothing else.

    Question 2: I sew a few Bear hide Rugs. I need a walking foot for sure. Would the 15-91 ALPHASEW walker do a bear hide rug?? (this is 2 layers felt and 1 layer bear hide with Long Hair).
    So, I hope to learn more about the cast Iron machine.

    Do you think a 15-91 would do bear hide rugs? What machine would you
    recommend??
    1. Thursday, April 30. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      There are specialized commercial machines for sewing fur and hides  Neither the 15-91 nor the Alphasew are the correct type.
  • Thursday, April 30. 2009 Richard wrote:
    Can anyone tell me how to trace a Serial Number ......AF849176.....will this tell me what model machine it is??? Partial description is krinckle finish, cast iron, light in front, drop in bobbin, cabinet model... Thanks
    1. Friday, May 01. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Singer.com
  • Monday, June 08. 2009 Larry at Home wrote:
    Thank you for all the tips you offer on your blog for those of us who know NOTHING about sewing machines.Now I can repair this 15-91 so I can sell it-machines made this well are not for the scrap yard.

    Compared to the plastic junk made today-this Singer will still be around in 2051.A hundred years after it was made.I will fix the wires and regrease and lube the gears and motor.

    Someone out there will love to get it.
  • Friday, July 10. 2009 rl wolfe wrote:
    QUESTION, I looked at a machine but have no model number. Under the machine is stamped 173038. No letter prefix. What did I miss. The machine was "boxed-in" and very hard to look at but looks fine. It is inside a "modern" fold away cabinet.

    If you can help identify this sewing machine, it is black, has a motor belt, has a light, has marked needle plate, and.......
    most of all...... has several "type-writer keys " type levers on top beside the large flywheel. ANY ideas??
    1. Saturday, July 11. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      Typewriter keys would suggest a Signer 319, but this model would have a two letter prefix to the serial number.

      The rest of the information you provided doesn't provide any clues as to the model of machine.
    2. Saturday, July 11. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:

      However, if you would like me to attempt to ID your machine when my schedule permits, I would need to see the machine in order to do so. This means you would need to send several good quality photos that are 150 dpi and 300 to 400 pixels in size. That way there is quite a bit of detail and they fit nicely on my monitor for viewing.


      • I will need to see the overall head from the front
      • A close up of the stitch length lever area
      • A close up of the upper tensioning area
      • The lower bobbin and shuttle area
      • The motor area, if there is one
      • And an over all view of it in the cabinet or base.


  • Saturday, July 11. 2009 RL Wolfe wrote:
    I read a blog stating the 319W required a special needle set-up that may not be available locally.

    WHAT is this "set-up"?
    1. Sunday, July 12. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      The Singer 319 machine was engineered and designed to use needles from the 206x13 needle system, but that really doesn't relate much to this entry about the 15-91.
  • Tuesday, July 14. 2009 Wendy wrote:
    Hi: Please tell me what P.G. stands for (P.G. Built on motor). Thank you.
    1. Tuesday, July 14. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      It's just Singer's labeling for the non-belt driven, enclosed, gear driven motors such as the one on the Singer 15-91.
  • Tuesday, July 21. 2009 Kesh wrote:
    I want to learn how to sew by machine. I would prefer treedle because our electricity isn't the best (ie run a fan and our hd box reciever freezes ) and anything machine creates heat and I live in the desert. I was thinking I should stay away from knee treadles because my stability is totally gone in both legs, so will look for foot treadle.

    Now I amd most interested in making corsets and undergarmets, as well as leatherwork up to and including saddlery.

    I was told that the 66, featherlights, and 15-91 are good for heavy and light work from sewing chiffon to multiple layers of leather.

    If you could point me in the right direction would be so cool
    1. Wednesday, July 22. 2009 Sew-Classic wrote:
      I never even heard of a "knee treadle" so I can't advise you on that.

      None of the machine you mentioned would be suitable for saddlery.   That is beyond the scope of any household machine and most industrials as well.  you need a highly specialized type of machine for such work.

      This article will help explains things for you.

      http://blog.sew-classic.com/2008/11/13/industrial-commercial-grade-professional-industrial-strength--more--sewing-machine-buying-guide.aspx
  • Wednesday, July 22. 2009 Kesh wrote:
    so I would need 2 machines, how about this,

    whats the better machine to handle all fabrics from lace and silk to canvas, heavy brocades and leather for corsets?
    thank you..

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