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Singer 185

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The Singer 185 mechanical machine is beginning to grow in popularity. I've seen Ebay prices rising pretty steadily over the past year or so.

The Singer 185 was produced between about 1955 up to around 1964. It replaced the popular 99K model. The 99K was a 3/4 size straight-stitch model -- one of the classic "old black Singers". I'm not sure how long the 99 was produced -- some sources suggest it was in production for nearly 40 years (like I said, a popular machine!)

The 185 modernized the 99 -- but mainly in appearance only. The innards are still basically the same (if it's worked for 40 years, why change it?) and it's still a 3/4 size machine.

Although the 185 is basically a 99 in modern clothes, prices for 185's have edged past the model 99 (supply and demand?). I think the neat styling is the key -- along with the fact that it's a proven and reliable straight-stitch machine from back in the days when Singer machines were top of the line!

Curious about what Singer 185's are available on Ebay right now? Just click the line below to find out!

Look for Singer 185's and peripherals here
The 185 is not a slant stitch model like the 301 and 40x and 50x series. I haven't tried, but I suspect Singer accessories for vertical stitch low-shank machines would fit fine.

This is an all-metal (exception: The lamp mechanism) machine with metal gears. Means it'll outlast you, your kids, and probably their kids, too. Keep them oiled and out of the rain and they'll last darn near forever (the sewing machine, not the kids!).

You can see the off-color headpiece -- along with a slanted portion near the bottom. I've seen several different versions of this -- some the same greenish color as the rest of the machine, others without the slanted edge. I don't know the story behind this -- I suspect it's something that evolved during the time the 185 was in production.

Note how the thread path runs down the left-hand side of the machine (the front of the headpiece). The needle threads left-to-right! You'll find a threading diagram here.

A quick view of the tower side -- there's not a lot of variability here ... it's a standard straight-stitch only machine!

Note that I've still got some grime and old grease/oil smeared in corners and edges -- I need to spend a little time cleaning up this machine!

The bobbin winder is what you would expect on a Singer machine of this era -- a flippy mechanism that rides along the edge of the handwheel.

Note that you don't see the thread spindle on the top of the machine -- it's broken off on my machine. I haven't put the replacement in yet, so I'm running the thread off the spindle you see behind the machine. This actually caused a little trouble with the thread popping off the top thread guide -- which meant it didn't pass through the tension device properly.

No bobbin case -- a drop-in bobbin much like those on the 40x series. I found it very easy to use and load. No jams, the thread pickup worked just fine.

The slide plate fit snugly before I took the picture. I removed it entirely for the picture and haven't been able to fit it back quite as snugly yet. Again, need to spend some time working with this machine.

However, since I'm an impatient "Ready-Fire-Aim" kind of person, I decided to jump straight to sewing something! This is a straight-stitch only machine (not a big problem for me -- I mainly use straight stitch anyway), so I want something fairly simple.

Halloween is coming up. We don't get a lot of kids at our house -- the neighborhood is older and most of the kids have grown -- so we tend to give full-size candy bars rather than the small bite-size pieces. A couple dozen candy bars will handle our needs.

I decided to make some "treat bags" for the candy bars. These are really quick to whip up -- takes only a few minutes per bag to complete. Plus, I only need a straight stitch to assemble the bags, so this is a good match for the 185.


To see this project completed with the Singer 185, click on Halloween Treat Bags!

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