Repairing My Mother’s Singer

I was a short fat kid growing up. Even though we had Husky Jeans from Sears, we could never find pants that fit me in the waist as well as the length. So my mother wound up hemming pretty much every pair of pants I ever had. She had a Kenmore sewing machine (again from Sears) and she wore it out hemming pants, making curtains, sewing dresses, and all the other things relatively poor women sewed during the 60s and 70s. That Kenmore machine is long gone now, but in my mind’s eye, it looked pretty much like this.

So, in the early 80s Mom decided she wanted a new sewing machine. She researched, read magazine articles, and spent countless hours at the local sewing machine shop and at Sears stores trying machines to find the one that would last and that was strong enough to sew multiple layers of Husky denim. Remember, this was way before the days of google and the internet, so researching took more than typing “best sewing machine for hemming denim” into a search bar.

After untold numbers of months, she decided that the Singer Touchtronic 2010 was going to be the one. It is a beast of a machine, heavy as a truck, and built about as durably as one. And, it’s got pushbuttons and lights! As a budding computer nerd, I wanted to play with it! Her Singer was built on Jan. 5, 1985 in Anderson, SC and was the 57th machine produced on assembly line D. It was a thing of beauty. Sleek lines, very futuristic looking, and would plow through multiple layers of denim like butter. Everything about this machine screamed “The Jetsons.”

But, there is one problem with the machine, that only the ravages of time and use would reveal. The Horizontal Hook Gear and the gear it interfaces with to drive the bobbin casing, well, those are made from plastic. Eventually, that gear broke, rendering the machine completely unable to sew.

Mother was commenting one day that she wished she had a sewing machine that worked. I started digging on amazon, Walmart, and any other websites I could think of to try to buy her a sewing machine. I found one at Walmart, but before I could order it, it was sold out. The global pandemic strikes again. But, I stumbled across one on Amazon. It was refurbished, but it carries the same warranty as a new one, and the reality is, a 79 year old woman probably isn’t going to sew that much. So, I bought it for her. The next time I was visiting her, I took her new Brother XR3340 sewing machine. And, I told her I’d see if I could fix her Singer. If I failed, oh well, it wasn’t working anyway, so nothing lost.

Since things are easier now than they were in 1985, a little digging on the internet led me to the service manual for the Singer. Not free, but cheap enough at $14 for a scanned PDF delivered conveniently to my inbox. Now I could figure out what that broken part was called so I could order a new one. Could I? Did they even make parts for this dinosaur any longer?

Enter Low and behold, they sell a Horizontal Hook Gear for the Touchtronic 2010! $22. The last time Mother had the sewing machine in the shop, they charged her $300 and didn’t even fix the thing (they’ve since gone out of business). About $40 including shipping, and I had a part and a manual and the daring to take apart a sewing machine and try to fix it.

So, I did! After some initial problems with the timing being off (you have to loosen a bunch of gears and slide a shaft that runs the width of the machine to get the horizontal hook gear on the shaft), it sews like it did when it was brand new!

Now, we have two sewing machines in the house (and a spare in case the new one I bought my mother ever craps out).

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