Singer 237 Fashion Mate Sewing Machine Reveiw

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The Singer 237 was a basic, zigzag, flat bed sewing machine that Singer sold in the later part of the 1960's.  Despite it's humble beginnings, this machine is definitely worth considering as a decent, vintage machine.  It makes a stunning satin stitch. 


Let's start with the statistics and features:

  • Cast iron head with some plastic panels
  • Weighs about 32 pounds
  • Side loading, class 15 bobbin (bobbin case position finger at the 1 o'clock position)
  • Uses standard, 15x1, household sewing machine needles
  • Low shank attachments (including low shank buttonhole attachments)
  • Adjustable needle position
  • Adjustable stitch length and width
  • Adjustable presser foot pressure
  • Reverse feed
  • Feed dogs drop (control knob on bed- most models)
  • External light fixture
  • External, belt driven motor  - Great candidate for a "motorectomy" and conversion to treadle.
Over all, The Singer 237 reminds me of many of the Japanese built, side loading, class 15 machines of the same era.

The 237 can  be mounted into a standard Singer table or treadle base, but quite often it was sold with a plastic case as shown below.  Whenever shipping this machine,  it should always be removed from the case, and the machine and case should be packed separately.

These are generally pretty sturdy machines, but there are a few things to be on the look out for when buying these.  for one, the hook race cover is plastic and can crack with age. Sew-classic Parts and supplies has replacement bobbins, belts, needles, bobbin winder tires, race cover, the Sew-Classic on line Parts and Supplies Store. Other than a good cleaning and oiling, a new belt and perhaps a replacement race cover, these machines generally don't have too many typical problems.  However, it's always a good idea to test out any machine by sewing and winding a bobbin first, unless the seller has already serviced, tested it and is offering a guarantee.  It's not uncommon for a machine of this age to have suffered abuse or even have missing parts- a quick  test sewing will let you know right away if there are any serious issues. 

Above:  Here is the plastic race cover found on the 237 (and the 239)

THERE IS NOTHING INDUSTRIAL ABOUT THIS MODEL. Yep, plenty of eBay, snake oil salesman will market it as "industrial strength". (for more information: Guide to Buying a Sewing Machine on Ebay)

The Singer 239 is the straight stitch version of the 237. 

You can get a free threading diagram here.

More photos:

Below, here is the Singer model 239- the straight stitch only "sibling" of the 237

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  • Wednesday, July 14. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
    Appraisal services are not really something within the scope of this blog.  But you can get a good feel for the value of a machine by following the steps in this article.

  • Sunday, August 15. 2010 Nicole wrote:
    I have a Singer Fashion Mate 237, that my mother handed down to me. I knew it was a good machine when the servicer tried to buy it from me.

    I'm wondering if there is a ruffler foot I can buy that would work with the machine?
    Thank you.
  • Monday, August 16. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
    Yes, a standard, low shank ruffler will work fine.  Contact me directly, and I can get one for you.
  • Monday, August 30. 2010 Annie wrote:
    Thanks for posting this! I've inherited my grandmother's 237 and am teaching myself how to sew with it. So far, I love it! I'm on the lookout for a wooden sewing cabinet like the one I remember my grandmother having, but most of what I've found online is modern and made of other materials. Do you have any suggestions of where I might look?
  • Tuesday, October 12. 2010 Sewer Guy wrote:
    I am also teaching myself how to sew (after three months, I no longer get my finger pricked anymore!) I've also heard that the hook case cover may crack at times. What I like about the 237 is the size and that you can easily carry them! Not too heavy.
  • Tuesday, October 12. 2010 Crazy Dave wrote:
    I am also teaching myself how to sew (after three months, I no longer get my finger pricked anymore!) I've also heard that the hook case cover may crack at times. What I like about the 237 is the size and that you can easily carry them! Not too heavy.
  • Wednesday, October 20. 2010 dutch wrote:
    I have a 237 that needs a thread guide (the one that is attached to the lower part of the needle bar)and the small screw on the needle bar that stops the needle from moving up to far. I can't find these parts on the internet and do not want to go to the service store. Do you have a source for 237 parts? Thank you, Dutch
  • Thursday, October 21. 2010 Donna Peters wrote:
    Is it possible or advisable to sew canvas with this machine?
  • Monday, November 01. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
    You can contact the Sew-Classic Discount Sewing Machine Parts & Supplies on-line shop with parts queries here.
  • Monday, November 01. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
    it would depend on how heavy of a canvas material, the number of layers and how frequently you'd be doing this type of sewing.  For more infformation- try this article:
  • Monday, November 01. 2010 Karla Walker wrote:
    Make sure you have the rcommended needle for the fabric before you try canvas on this machine. I've sewn thick fabric with success, but not canvas. Let us know if it works!
  • Tuesday, November 02. 2010 roberta mosenfelder wrote:
    just got one for site calls this a "touch and sew" and another "expert" warned me that they have plastic gears that are difficult to replace..I looked inside..saw some gears..kind of hidden ( greased them) wondering if they had plastic gears that were metal-colored...and why the mis-information ..thanks
  • Monday, November 08. 2010 Sew-Classic wrote:
    SOME fashoin mate models have plastic gears.  The 237 doesn't have any plastic gears, and it is not a touch and sew.

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