How to Set Up a 1940s Singer Sewing Machine

Updated July 20, 2017

The 1940 Singer sewing machine was also known as a featherweight machine. It was commonly found in homes, but would now be considered vintage. The older machines generally have a thread spool facing sideways rather than sitting straight up, but the function is about the same. Setting up the machine requires leading thread through a tension guide before running thread down to the needle. Vintage Singer models usually have the bobbin hidden under the bottom of the machine.

Place a spool of thread onto spool holder and snap thread into thread guide. Open the bottom plate of machine to find the bobbin.

Lead the thread through the bobbin winder tension disc and then out through the bobbin case. Replace the metal plate.

Place a second spool of thread on the top of the machine and lead thread down through the tension guide and down to attach it at the needle pick up.

Guide thread through the needle, front to back. Hold thread out with your left hand and turn the wheel handle so the threaded needle enters the plate.

Continue turning the hand wheel until the threaded needle rises, bringing up the bobbin thread in the loop. Your Singer machine is now ready to be used.


Use a Singer manual as a resource.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Spool holder
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About the Author

Reha Vai began working as a research assistant in 2001. She was credited for her research and was published in BioMed Central in 2005. Vai has written reading goals for Supplemental Education services for No Child Left Behind. She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.