1887 Singer

I went antique shopping today and even though I really didn’t plan on another sewing machine project I came home with one.

This was made in 1887 and it really is not in the best shape, but for 18 dollars I had to save it.

At some point in its life someone decided to re paint it ……you can see all the black paint on things that should not be painted.

The paint didn’t stick so well to the decals so a lot of it rubbed off, but the decals really are pretty much destroyed and trying to get the paint off without further damage is not easy.    I have done some work on it.

I think I have it in working order (I need to put in a needle and give it a test) but it still needs a lot of cleaning.    I am thinking about doing a total refinish since it is in such bad shape.   That would include striping and repainting and new decals.    I have not done that before because I usually thing it is better to embrace the age.   What do you think?


I did some of the quilting on the tree but needed to take a break to rest my hands.

I’ll get back to that soon

Happy Quilting




60 thoughts on “1887 Singer

  1. terryknott says:

    Wow! I can’t believe the change in 1887!!!! I’d give her new decals and restore as much of her former luster as you can. Amazing that she can still stitch. What a testament to the quality of materials used to build it in the first place! LOVE your tree. Yes, your hands need a rest. Pebbles can do that to you!

  2. Mary says:

    Great find! I’d just clean it up and leave all the original decals! Painting and refurbishing can change the value. Lucky you!!

  3. Isabella says:

    I agree with the above comment , just let her be her natural self so you can get the feel of who might her used her over the years .

  4. Julie says:

    The texture on your tree is awesome ! Watch out
    That sewing machine rescue is an addiction that is hard to cure! Love that you enjoy it and have such great talent. 😋 Say hi to Teddy!

  5. John says:

    Even restored the machine won’t have great value so how about painting it a bright metallic red!!! A classic with flash!!

    • timquilts says:

      LOL……I can’t make myself go there …..I could do black, but I can’t do a color that it would never have been….I guess I am just too conservative?

  6. Debbie says:

    Hoo boy what a project. I say give her a complete make-over. I can’t believe you got it sewing. She deserves to be pretty again. Go for it.

  7. Patricia McCollum says:

    I think the machine is beautiful just like it is! I can’t believe some of the things people do! It looks wonderful since you applied some elbow grease! It looks like one that my Grandmother sewed on.

  8. Ranchwife in Nebraska says:

    Wow, Tim, inviting opinions. Brave lad! I understand cleaning her up and leaving her in “as is” condition, but personally, I vote a full refinish. It might be a fun project, and selfishly, I would love to see her brought back to life as she must have looked back in the day. I’ll bet she was a beauty. Whatever you decide, it was a great rescue.

    • timquilts says:

      I really am tempted to go for it…..but I am having a hard time finding the same decal set…..I find a few others that are for the same model machine,,,,but not the same as theses

  9. Katherine says:

    could yoiiu use some more needles for her? Let me know

  10. velialauermanhandquilter says:

    You are truly a UniqueHuman BEAN Tim !
    My kinna’ Out of the BX

  11. Glenda johnstone says:

    Hi Tim, the machine is amazing. I am always amazed at your quilting work! When it is just you and the machine it will tell you what you should do. You will feel it.
    I smile when I see your name in my index, because it will either be beautiful quilting, flowers or a lovely machine. What joy!

  12. ellennorman says:

    So beautiful!!!!

  13. Annette Young says:

    Think you should embrace the age and not completely redo.
    I think it’s wonderful that you save these old machines.
    Fondest regards from Canada 🇨🇦

  14. joansigna says:

    Redo it. Question…have an old Singer and would love to do FMQ but how? Also have newer Janome and FMQ has been a challenge.

    • timquilts says:

      Hmmmm…that is a big question…….what kind of old singer is it? have you looked at any of my youtube videos? here is a linkhttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNTBDLoJNpFUYxr6BgFJKcA

  15. Kim Gossett says:

    That is beautiful –I love that you like to bring life back into something so old –I am sure that it was cherished at one time in it’s life –probably sewed some amazing things –it warms my heart that you cherish it enough to bring it back to glory 😃😃
    And of course your quilting is exquisite 😃

  16. mollyjim1@aol.com says:

    I wish I had seen this Singer before you ! I would have snapped it up immediately….it is a jewel no matter what condition you found it in !

  17. Sandy McCarty says:

    I completely redid a 1916 model 66 because the decals were totally shot when I acquired it. I stripped it down to bare metal and painted it fire engine red with black decals. I love how it turned out. My feeling was there’s so many of that model that they’re little more than boat anchors as far as value so I might as well go all the way. I vote for a redo, even if it remains black. It’ll be a fun project.

  18. Clara says:

    Tim you never cease to amaze me! What a relic you have found! Let the machine tell you what to do, it will over time. I would also stick to black, it just seems appropriate, as for the decals, any from that year will be pleasing. I can’t wait to see it in action, so happy for you, I know your love of sewing machines are carried in your heart, it shows in every piece of art you create! Thanks for sharing! Congratulations!🎈🍾🎊🎉 😊

  19. banksia says:

    I would go with embrace the age after a good clean,looks a lot better already! What a bargain!😀

  20. Lynn Anderson says:

    Hi Tim!
    What did u use to clean it up?

    • timquilts says:

      so far I have used my fingernails and sewing machine oil and paper towels

      • Lynn Anderson says:

        And what would u use on the cast iron stand thats under the cabinet?

      • timquilts says:

        In the iron I use elbow grease with a scrub brush and soapy water and then dry it well and then oil all over the surface to prevent rust……rub it in well then wipe off the excess with a dry cloth…..Some people will repaint and make them pretty….I dont….I just want the dust and dirt off

  21. Debra Ballard says:

    You do such a wonderful job with the old machines. Glad you can save this one too.

  22. Shirley says:

    I would completely refurbish back to her original glory. I vote to make her fancy again

  23. Colleen Beattie says:

    It was pretty tough looking but you gave a bit of life. I would take the time to do an overhaul “IF” it will sew for you. 🙂

    • timquilts says:

      Still working on the cleaning……..but I do think it will sew ( I need to get a new check spring and that is not a standard item so I might need to bend one to fit …and the shuttle is very rusty so that will take a bit of work

  24. flutterbyhats says:

    Hey Tim. What a great find! Can you admit to yourself that when you go antiquing that you are actually looking for these wonderful machine to save! And Saving it makes it ok to buy another one!! Sounds good to me! Take care and happy sewing and gardeningg!

  25. Kathryn says:

    I think repainting to look like original decals would be great idea. It is a lovely machine. I cannot understand why anyone would of covered it in black paint to begin with!???

  26. Rose in VT says:

    Wow, I wouldn’t have believed that elbow grease could make that much difference. Can’t wait to see what you do with it, would even enjoy seeing you go crazy with some color sometime. But the decals look better after cleaning than I would have thought possible. You know we’ll love whatever it is that you do with both the machine and the tree!

  27. Elizabeth Marsden says:

    No no no please leave it as it is. In old age we still have something beautiful about us and I am including your lovely machine. Just sit in front of it and imagine the person (s) who have sat there before you. xx

  28. jrp53 says:

    I am currently getting my tech to clean up my grandmother’s Wheeler and Wilson from the late 1890’s. I am embracing the age on mine and leaving it old as that is how it looked when my grandmother sewed on it. Your tree looks AMAZING as does all or your quilting!

  29. Becky in VA says:

    You are pretty darn amazing – with what you can do with old machines and your quilting and your gardening, decorating, etc., etc., etc. You might need to buy another house just for your sewing machine collection! Keeping saving old Singers.


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