Saturday, December 19, 2009

The story of my Singer Fashion Mate 257!

I had been talking to my parents about this sewing machine for months. They promise me that Santa would bring it to me if I was nice. That Singer would be easy to get because I already know I was a very nice little girl. We celebrated Christmas with my sister who was already married with five kids. I was thrilled, I knew it would be the best Christmas ever! Lots of people, lots of food and finally I would get my Singer sewing machine!

I can barely describe the expression on my face when I unwrapped my gift.... it wasn't the right machine.... it was some plastic, kid, toy sewing machine! It had to be a mistake! Santa must've been confused! I would NOT accept this gift, no way! After all I had been a very, very nice girl and I would not accept anything less than the promised Singer.

I also remember the face of my mother who was so embarrassed and upset with me. She knew that my sister had to dig deep into her wallet to be able to buy me this gift. Quickly she pulled me alone and told me to be nice, accept the gift, thank everyone, and at my birthday I would get the sewing machine I wanted.

A month later, my Dad bought me a Singer Fashion Mate 257. It was the best birthday gift a seven year old girl could get! My Singer has been with me through all my 20 plus moves. In the back of a truck across Canada and in a cargo hold of a plane. I always made sure it followed me.

Here it is, my forty year old trusty friend. The tool that I express my creativity with...


In the last four years I also acquired this Pfaff serger. I haven't develop the same love that I feel for my Singer. It'll take time. But it's a great tool to work with and I couldn't think of sewing my Cycling Caps without it!

37 comments:

  1. I can not for the life of me figure out how to thread the bobbin in the singer. Can you help me at all? I have the manual but it's no help, any tips? Thanks, Sarah sarahzizzo@hotmail.com

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    1. I had almost pulled out my hair trying to get my bobbin to load. the top string kept getting stuck under top of bobbin. I found out the 257 does NOT use standard bobbin cases but a thinner non standard type. Think the lady at store said it was'66' size. But it definately requires a thinner then standard bobbin case. Hope that helps.

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  2. I have the same Singer. My father also gave it to me, but I was a teenager when I got mine and it was used. It has been a faithful machine.
    I took it to the shop today for a tune up and the sales people gave me the "I'd be better off trading it in and getting a new one" speech. From the way they talked, you'd think that my Dad had given me a plastic toy. Bewildered, I came home to my computer looking for some validation. People love their Singer Fashionmate 257's! And so do I. Those sales people aren't going to get my Singer. They can convince someone else to buy one of their plastic sewing machines. I'm sticking with my 257.

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  3. Plastic can never replace a solid all metal machine. It sounds like the old sales scam. Especially the newer Singer's can never compare to the old ones. I'm so glad you stuck to your guns!

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  4. so funny my dad just gave me my singer fashion mate 257 too!! It is missing a foot pedal so I have not used it yet, but I am super excited!

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  5. Wonderful! You'll have years of enjoyment.

    The only problem I ever had was the foot pedal. I went to my Singer Dealer for parts & I changed it myself!

    Have FUN!

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  6. I just bought a 257 for my daughter who wants to learn sewing and quilting. No manual. I oiled where I thought is needed some. I need a copy of the manual. I am willing to pay for printing and mail. gardenquiltlady@yahoo.com
    Mary

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  7. I lost my manual a long time ago. This should help at least with the threading..

    http://www.sewusa.com/Threading_Diagrams/Threading_Pages/Singer_Sewing_Machine_Threading/singer_257_threading_diagram.htm

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  8. Hi, I was given a Singer Fashion Mate 257. I need a new bobbin case for it. Do you have any idea where I might be able to get one?

    Karen in IN

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  9. In also have a Singer fashion Mate 257 and a plastic gear broke. Does anyone know were i can order one to replace it. Thanks. Kay Louisiana

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  10. Hey, I just came looking for a oiling diagram for my old Singer 257. I have to agree with you, it is my favorite sewing machine by far. It was originally a gift from my father to mother on their wedding anniversary and it is what was passed down to me when my mother got a new one. I learned to sew on it and it has moved with me at least 6 times. But anyway, just wanted to say, I love this post!
    Have a great day,
    Uniquegirl423

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  11. A friend just gave me a Singer 257 and i am so excited to get started with my sewing. It has been stacked away for some time at the previous owner and has no manual. Is there any way in which i can get hold of this copy free of charge or maybe a suitable site from where to buy it from. I live in Malta and the sites i have looked in post only to the U.S.A. Please could you help me?

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  12. I got my Singer Fashion Mate for my 16th Birthday, in 1974. It has moved all over the US, made many halloween costumes, sewn many hems and seams, sewn on many hockey/sports patches, and is still running fine. I have had it tuned up one time.

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  13. If there was a fire, (hopefully not), I'd grab my dog and my 1974 Singer FashionMate.
    I bought it new in '74 but couldn't afford the extra $25.00 case at that time.
    Decades later, I bought a replacement but vintage case for it somewhere on ebay, so now it's complete.
    I made all my lined suits, blouses and Coats, jackets and stuff for work and used it for sewing the bindings on my otherwise handmade quilts.
    It's simple, never jams or throws a fit. It's my old faithful reliable friend. I just oil it per the Manual, and listen to it purr.

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  14. Hi All,

    My mom just gave me a 257. I'm wondering what parts are available for this machine? Like a button holer, zipper foot, floating foot? I really want to be able to sew leather. I've been looking all over the web. You'd think Singer would have some info...but according to their site this machine doesn't exist anymore. I'd love to get the accessories for it if there are any.

    Thanks!
    Laura
    paizley at gmail.com

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    1. Hi Laura,
      I got this machine for Christmas my senior year in high school. You can do almost anything with it. I have made everything with mine including heirloom garments for my kids and never needed a special attachment. All you need to make buttonholes is the zigzag stitch setting on your machine. You should be able to find a zipper foot anywhere these attachments are sold.

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    2. I too own one of these beauties....I inherited it from my Aunt Mary who bought it new at Montgomery Wards. It is built like a tank, with one thick plastic gear piece that broke on me last night.

      My husband, who is a mechanic found the replacement piece online and being I was going through sewing 'withdrawl,' we purchased a new Singer 'Simple' last night at midnight at Walmart. I am not sure if it is going to measure up to my 'old faithful.' We will see as I wait for the part.

      I have made many many thing over the years on my Fashion Mate,,,,,,from sock monkeys, to my daughter's sundresses, to quilts, to felted wool mittens....It has served me well. I hope to pass it down to my granddaughters one day. They don't make them like this anymore.

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  15. Hi Laura,

    I know there is many parts that would fit this machine, you have to talk with a sewing machine dealer. They can tell which foot fits your machine. I only use the standard foot that came with the machine and the zipper foot.

    If you want to sew leather, this machine is not made for it. You can sew thin leather with a good leather needle in place. You have to test your foot pressure so that you won't leave any mark on your precious leather.

    Hope this helps good luck!

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  16. My Fashion Mate was inherited from my mom. I learned to sew on it, and she gave it to me a few years ago. I also have that same Pfaff serger :). Sadly my Fashion Mate has developed a timing issue, so it is waiting to be repaired, and I have since acquired a Singer Touch and Sew and an old Kenmore. I also have money from my birthday to buy a new one, but when I shopped today NOTHING was as sturdy, so I think I am going to use it to get my Fashion Mate fixed up. Nice to know i am not alone in my love.

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  17. Hi Laura,

    I'm looking for another Fashion Mate for parts, it's worthwhile for you to have it repaired.

    I enjoy mine ...everyday!:)

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  18. hello! i lost my manual of this machine. and now im really confused. can u help me with it?:)

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  19. I'm so happy to let you know that you can download the manual for free...

    check out my latest post for the details...

    http://gal-studio.blogspot.ca/2012/04/singer-fashion-mate-257-free-manual.html

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  20. I wanted to thank you for the manual. Came in handy since I've dug my Mom's old machine out of storage at her place and turned it on for the first time in probably 20 yrs. She'd misplaced the manual, but you saved the day. I now have a solid machine that is hard to kill. I learned on this machine when I was a little girl and my mom was making wrap around skirts for us both. Maybe now I'll get around to all these sewing projects I keep planning.

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  21. Thanks for sharing. It always warms my heart to hear peoples stories sharing their Fashion mate love!

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  22. Hi I have the same sorta story but I got mine this year for my thirteenth birthday. I got it from my parents friends who actually got it at a garage sale and won't use it and didn't know how to. My moms mother offered me hers and I tried and it was a brother seeing machine but their was something wrong with it and their was no manual and no one...

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  23. Hello!

    I'm glad I found a page of someone who knows this machine! I was just given one as a gift when I moved back to Canada. I'm used to a new model with all the flash that my mom has back at home, and now I'm a little at a loss.

    I've got the manual too but the thing is I'm trying to do some maintenance and oil her up but there is no info as to what I should do about that. My main question is where do I put the sewing machine oil?

    Any other info you have would be supremely appreciated!

    Thank you

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  24. Hi

    check out this link where I explain how you can oil and clean the 257.

    http://gal-studio.blogspot.ca/2012/06/how-to-keep-alive-your-fashion-mate-257.html

    I'm sure you will enjoy your machine and have lots of fun!

    Enjoy!

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  25. I just found 2 of these singers at goodwill and got them for my mom and I. We cant figure out how to insert the bobbin for the life of us. But we've never used a machine either.

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  26. Wow you're are so lucky! Have a look at the manual, it should answer all your questions and have a look at my post on how to keep your machine alive. I'm sure in no time, you will have fun with your Singer! Have fun!

    http://www.singerco.com/uploads/download/1315_257.pdf

    http://gal-studio.blogspot.ca/2012/06/how-to-keep-alive-your-fashion-mate-257.html

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  27. I must be threading mine wrong. I've tried every which way I can understand by reading and at this point YouTube videos and I desperately want to use it.

    Growing up my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother spent hours sewing needle point and crochet. It was not uncommon for my Grandmother to sew drapes and curtains using an older manual foot pedal Singer. It was the only one I ever learned to operate while sitting in her lap while I watched and memorized her every detail.
    She past away in 2008 and I recieved her 257, that long since replaced the manual she had had years before.
    I've since been humbled once again by the loss of my job this past October and am truly grateful to remember where I come from yet again. Even if I have to stitch these stockings and other Christmas items by hand I will get them done, but any help to operate my 257 would be greatly appreciated.

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  28. Usually I can find my answers concerning the 257...

    http://gal-studio.blogspot.ca/2012/04/singer-fashion-mate-257-free-manual.html

    It's often a combination of how you thread and adjust the tension that makes all the difference. Or perhaps it's time to have it professionally cleaned and adjusted?

    Best of luck!

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  29. Hey I am working on a fashion mate 257 and the upper tension is too lose to adjust up. It hits the stop before it gets enough tension. I need to get into it has anyone got the schematic or the trick to getting the knob off? Let me know..

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  30. So, I have been looking for an old Singer machine for a while now. I was pretty much set on finding a 15-91 model.
    I happened to go into a Thrift store at lunch and happened onto a Fashion Mate 257 for $24.24. I snapped it up, or should I say, I tried to "snap" it up. That thing weighs a ton! Know what that means to me? A very good heavy duty machine that will do the things my newer Pfaff machine won't.
    Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my Pfaff for a million dollars, but it cost a lot more than $25.00 and when I think of sewing on leather or heavy canvas, no way would I want to do that on my Pfaff.
    I am soooooo happy I found this Singer. I can't wait to get home to clean it up, oil it and try it out. I'm working on a travel bag that I quilted the fabric on my long arm machine and have already started to assemble it. I got this machine just in time! So excited to get it home!

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  31. I too love my old Singer Fashion Mate 257 and do not want an expensive, newer model. I have recently begun to quilt and find that this machine does not do an acceptable job for me. Does anyone have any tips about quilting through three layers of fabric with this machine? I use an even-feed or quilting foot and lessen the pressure on the presser foot but nothing I have tried gives a nice finished stitch. Thanks in advance.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not too sure what could be the problem. I was really happy how my quilt turned out. I had no problem to go through the layers of fabric. Check my post...
      http://gal-studio.blogspot.ca/2011/07/emilys-quilt.html

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  32. I bought my old Singer in 1975 for my new bride at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange. It has been with us in Honolulu, San Diego, Charleston, SC, and Amarillo, TX. I long ago bought my wife a much fancier machine ... last time it was really used was when I covered the seats of my old Plymouth with heavy vinyl 30 to 35 years ago ... worked fine. I tried to give it to my daughter and son-in-law but they bought a new one instead. Kind of glad, because I am resurrecting it to hem and patch work clothes, because my wife really doesn't care to do that anymore, and I am tired of doing it by hand.

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  33. I bought my old Singer in 1975 for my new bride at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange. It has been with us in Honolulu, San Diego, Charleston, SC, and Amarillo, TX. I long ago bought my wife a much fancier machine ... last time it was really used was when I covered the seats of my old Plymouth with heavy vinyl 30 to 35 years ago ... worked fine. I tried to give it to my daughter and son-in-law but they bought a new one instead. Kind of glad, because I am resurrecting it to hem and patch work clothes, because my wife really doesn't care to do that anymore, and I am tired of doing it by hand.

    ReplyDelete