a bad seed....



The other day, ok actually a while back, I was at Sister Thrift and spotted something cute on the floor over in the corner.  Lately I've been telling myself I can justify buying a sewing machine IF i'm intending on selling it (smart right).  That being said there are a few rules I made up for myself to limit which types of machines I'm allowed to buy for "resale":





  1. NO (and I mean no) machines in cabinets, can't ship those and they're a pain to get rid of
  2. Plus points if it has a case cover that's not too beat up
  3. Required: good electrical, I'm not interested in rewiring just to resell
  4. Plus points for cute color, size, name, etc..
  5. Plus points for accessory box, even if incomplete
  6. Plus Plus points for original manual
  7. Minus points for straight stitch only
  8. Plus points for brand name, Singer, Necchi, Pfaff, etc..
  9. Minus points for paint chips, scratches, rust, or drab colors



I expect to do things like clean, replace belts and bobbin tires, light tune up.

So, following the rules I found what appeared to be a machine that fit my criteria really well and I snapped it up, only $20!


The Singer 285K

If you've never been introduced to one of these gems you might understand how easily I was deceived.  This machine looks like an upgrade/sister to the Singer 185 which is known to be a nice robust little straight stitcher.  The 185 (pictured right) is a repackaged 99 (pictured bottom) which by the time these machine were being produced looked seriously outdated. (the 99 that is)  Besides the color the 185 and the 285 looked almost identical, who wouldn't be fooled?

Well for some reason, likely to save money, Singer made a bit of a change to the under workings on the 285.  I've never seen this setup before and this could be the only time they ever experimented with it.  I'd love to describe it and show you photos of what I'm talking about but...  I made a video instead! Needless to say it was very bad news and it's shocking they would have engineered something like this.  The Singer 285 is often referred to as the worst sewing machine Singer ever produced!  Yikes

The video has been posted for a week over at YouTube but I've just now had the time to get this little write up together.  It's a slide show, music, picture in picture commentary AND video of the machine in operation.  How's that for mashing everything into one clip!  
(I just watched the video for the first time since I made it, WOW, you'll really enjoy this one!)

When I got the machine home and made the ghastly discovery of this mechanical nightmare I taped the receipt to the lid and took advantage of the Sister Thrift return policy.    The machine sat there for a week and I just happened to be in the store when it's new owner made her purchase.  I even held the door for her which I felt was fitting.  To be honest he won't know the difference, it sewed just fine and I'm sure she'll be quite happy.  Unless she finds this blog of course....






4 comments :: a bad seed....

  1. Ha. I've heard about these (in whispers) but never saw one in action. Rattle your teeth (and possibly your walls).

  2. Alas. I suppose that explains the $20 price tag.

  3. I enjoyed the video, and your review. I have one of these too. I admit, they are built different. I also admit, that the machines I collect really do not get much use, so I enjoy having every one for a bit of history, and a display of old machines. They all have a history, and this one may be a bit unique, but that is what makes it special. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks Brian! Very helpful review. I was given a 185K recently in the same case cover and base. When I cleaned it the supports disintegrated! Fortunately I had a base from a Spartan 192 that it fit great in. The Spartan was moved to a grass cloth case made for a 99.

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