Sewing Room

Using a hand crank sewing machine

February 26, 2021
Using a hand crank sewing machine

I thought it would be fun to try out my new-to-me 1939 Singer 99K hand crank with the Sadie expandable bag pattern from Swoon Patterns. I imagined a hand crank being a good arm workout, but that was not the case. Check out my video on YouTube:

Final creations:

Here is the Sadie Expandable bag pattern from Swoon Patterns that I used for both bags. I printed the pattern on my inkjet printer. The instructions were easy to follow but it helps if you have experience working with different types of interfacing. You can purchase it here.
This bag was made for my grandmother who loves hummingbirds! The fabric is upholstery fabric and the vinyl is marine vinyl both from JoAnns . I love that this bag expands with the zipper on the bottom to hold more things!
The vinyl fabric is from Etsy and the color is golden mustard in pebble texture. The cotton fabric and lining is from Spoonflower. I used my silhouette machine and heat transfer vinyl to add a tiny “Sweet as a soda pop” to a piece of scrap fabric that was reversed appliqued to the flap.

Final Thoughts:

  • Using a seam guide is key since you only have one hand on the fabric. I used this one from The Featherweight Shop on Amazon since it matches the bed perfectly. It’s easy to adjust the seam allowance, add and remove. Highly recommended for hand cranking.
  • I also recommend a thread stand to hold your modern thread. I use cones of thread so a thread stand is crucial. Vintage machines were made when thread was manufactured differently and problems can arise when thread is not entering the thread guides correctly.
  • Vinyl can be difficult to work with on modern machines, but this hand crank loved vinyl. There were times when the vinyl wanted to stick to the bed of the machine, so I used a layer of tissue paper between the vinyl and the bed. You can sew through it and it removes easily.
  • I really enjoyed hand cranking! It felt like I had great control of where the needle was hitting at all times so I could be more precise on my applique. I imagined that it would feel like a workout, but the wheel turns smoothly and easily (almost with just a fingertip push). This machine won’t be replacing my “arm day” workouts anytime soon.

Do you have a hand crank machine? Do you like it? Have questions about a hand crank? Post them on the Home and Geek Facebook page!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Karen LEE
    May 28, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Crissie
    I have just bought a vintage singer 99 sewing machine, but mines electric.
    I had been wondering if I could make bags with it and wow found your tube you and then blog.
    I knew about the thread holder , and have seen a how to make your own. So glad to find the seam guard as there is none on my machine.
    Can I ask what needles you have used and what weight thread?
    How do you solve “backstitching” with no reverse?
    Any advice would be great. Do you have more videos of making bags

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