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11 thoughts on “Email Me

  1. I have a Singer 320K2… about the needle thing… is it possible to take a 15/1 needle and grind off a bit of the shaft that fits into the machine…shortening the needle that way? Also, I understand the machine is a bit rare… true? Thanks for your help, Tim

    • Hi Tim,

      You can’t modify a 15X1 needle by grinding the shaft shorter. The reason is that the 15X1 is already identical to the 206X13 needle in every dimension except for the length of the point that is below the eye. If you were to grind off part of the shaft, you would reduce the distance between the top of the needle and the needle eye. That distance is critical to the machine’s timing and to proper stitch formation. The only way to modify a 15X1 needle to make it the same dimensions as a 206X13 is by grinding the point shorter and then resharpening it.

      I don’t think that would be a very practical solution and why would you bother? A simple modification of the bobbin case will enable the use of unmodified 15X1 needles. In Australia, I was able to purchase a bobbin case that is already suitable for use with 15X1 meedles and didn’t require any modification at all.

      As to the rarity of the 320K, it is true that the particular model was only produced for three years or so. I have read that the model was discontinued, simply because it was too expensive to produce and therefore not profitable. I have doubts about the truth of that claim.

      In Australia, I see quite a few 319k’s for sale but 320K’s come up much less often. They certainly don’t stay on the market for very long. However, I have both models and I have to say, I prefer the 319K. I just think it’s a more pleasant machine to sew with.

      Hope this is of some help.



  2. There’s a site that gives a demo somewhere how to gring the bobbin case I did mine with my dremel, works a treat, any idea where I can locate a top, a hinge, clasps for holding top from for my base of 306k, it sews wonderfully, doesn’t take discs it’s the 306k 22 or 23 model as have the manual now that I found in a Perth here in WA, mine too was a tip find, new wiring for feet, new robbers fir foot pedal, fully cleaned services, lovely machine, want to have it in order, new base made and a top cover made if I can fin dimensions might try it but not too sure thanks love your site.

    • Hello Rae and thanks so much for your nice comment.

      I have a large collection of sewing machines now … more than I ever intended …. but the 306 is still may favorite electric powered machine. You have plenty of options for housing your machine. The dimensions are the same standard ones that were used for many other models. Some people have put 306’s and 319’s in treadle bases and done away with the motor altogether. There are also a range of tables available into which your 306 will fit with no modifications needed at all. I have a 306K and a 319K both mounted in such tables and they fold away when not in use (forming a useable small table). So you might want to consider those options for your own machine, if space isn’t a consideration.

      I doubt you’ll have any problems obtaining the parts that you want. The hinges are the same ones that were used in lots of previous machines … even the old treadles. If you can’t find some, please give me a shout and I’ll try to source some for you. A cover for your existing base might be harder to find, than a complete new base and cover from another donor machine. Unfortunately, postage costs probably mean that you’ll need to find those locally. Personally, I’d go the table route, if you can.

      Thanks again for your message. Congrats too, on doing your own bobbin case mod. I just know you’ll love your 306. If I can be of any help at all, please get in touch.

      Kind regards,

      Andrew Caddle

  3. Hay Andrew! I have the all 206/306/319 and 320 machines,I trayed and put the different bobbin case from a singer20U but it doesn’t fit 🙁 ,I really can’t understand why the measurement are the same,by it just want go in,any suggestion? I figured that the case of the 20U Woul fit becouse they give it for the Riccars to….

    Thanks! Bill

    • Hello Bill,

      Have you tried the Singer 20U bobbin case in all of your swing needle Singers, or just one in particular? The reason I ask is just that I recall getting quite a surprise when I discovered that one of my 306K’s (I have four of them) takes a different bobbin case to the others. I suspect that sometime in its life prior to it coming to me, the hook mechanism was changed over to one form a different model. The result is that that particular 306K’s bobbin case won’t go into any of the others. The spindle that that bobbin case fits on is thinner than my other 306’s. Interestingly, I can put the bobbin cases from the other machines into this particular 306 and they work just fine, although there must be a fair bit of slop between those cases and the thinner spindle that this particular machine has.

      The use of a bobbin case that fits a Riccar was suggested to me by a fellow user of swing needle Singers and I haven’t tried it myself. I simply haven’t had the need because:

      Almost all of my swing needle Singers came to me with bobbin cases that already work with the standard 15X1 needles, and;

      there is an excellent provider of suitable bobbin cases here in Australia in the person of Cyndy Kitt, who I believe you are familiar with.

      I suspect that the Riccar/Singer 20U bobbin assembly might use that hook that has the thinner spindle. If that’s the case, it might explain why you can’t get the Singer 20U bobbin case into your 306, 319 or 320. Be aware too that these machines didn’t all use the same bobbin case!

      I am assuming that you’ve already tested your machines to establish that they can’t use standard needles with the bobbin cases currently installed. That would surprise me, simply because, as I say, most of my machines bought here in Australia were already standard needle capable.

      If you are in need of replacement bobbin cases for your machines, I reckon your best bet would be to contact Cyndy Kitt through her Ebay store (or via Aussie Treadle Traders group) and seek her assistance in getting a suitable case. They are only about $12 from memory and I found Cyndy to be extremely helpful.

      Hope this helps.

      Kind regards,


  4. Hello Andrew — I love your site and especially the information you have given re. the 306-319 Singers. I have one of each and didn’t see your post about modifying or substituting the bobbin case before I paid for two boxes of 206-class needles. As it happens I hit on this solution accidentally on my own when I started working on the 306. The bobbin case was badly corroded, and I planned to pick up a replacement, but being anxious to try the machine I thought I would try the other class-L cases I have in other machines. Both the 20U case and the case from my PR600 embroidery machine fit into the 306, and it sewed using a 15 needle without any trouble, so when I bought a replacement case I got an “open” class-L case and the machine is sewing great now with either needle (the 206 or the 15).
    My question, however, has to do with the model 319. It appears to have its original case (part number is correct for the original). But it came with a 15 needle installed, and sews cleanly with that needle — no nicks, no deflections, no tension issues. Based on my reading on line, I figured that the timing must have been changed, but when I looked inside at the timing marks, this doesn’t appear to be the case. I’m not an expert but the marks look to line up as they should at the pointer. Just from curiosity I decided to try the substitute case in this machine, but unlike with the 306, it does not fit. Neither does the case from the 20U or the case from the PR600. All of these fit the model 306. I just read your note above about the different spindle size so am going to have a look at that next. I am curious though: is it possible that some of the model 319s actually were set up to use the 15 needle? Failing that, could my machine have been radically re-fitted by a previous owner so that it can accommodate the 15 needle? I saw a post from someone on another site who said his machine used the 15 as mine does, and he had surmised that some were made that way. I know some of the early 206 models were made for the 15 needle, and I know too that there’s a lot of variation in other Singer models (I have a T&S that uses class 66 bobbins, for example) so am just curious. Any light you can shed on this would be helpful.
    Thanks again for your willingness to share your knowledge.

    • Hello Jen,

      Thanks so much for your kind words about my website. It has been a long while now, since I posted anything much. I rarely receive feedback and, apart from an occasional sewing machine related contact, writing a general interest blog is a lonely business!

      With regard to the Swing Needle Singers, I’d be frairly confident to suggest that your own level of knowledge regarding bobbin case options, very probably exceeds my own. A couple of observations though ….. These machines have been around for a very long while now and all that I have written on my website (regarding this matter) is inherited knowledge. Given how old our machines are, it’s fair to assume that ths solution to the ‘standard needle’ incompatibility was solved very early on. I can easily imagine new bobbin cases, of a design that accommodated standard needles but bearing the original part #, might well have been produced in some parts of the world. Also, it is possible to grind out the excess metal from an original case in such a way that the work might not be obvious to a casual glance. In any event, that small modification of the original bobbin case design was all that was ever necessary to enable the swing needle machines to operate with standard 15X1 needles.

      I have four 306’s at present, along with one 319 and a 320 (all Kilbowie machines, I believe). They are all 15X1 compatible but there is the curious situation where one of my 306’s uses that bobbin case that simply won’t fit any of its mates. As stated, the spindle on that machine is narrower than on all of the others. I don’t know whether the hook and bobbin case is original to that machine or not. I suspect that it might have been replaced at some time, with a hook and bobbin case from a different model. In any event, it too uses 15X1 needles and came to me in that condition.

      I can assure you that there is NEVER any cause to alter the timing of the machine, when using standard needles. Doing so will achieve nothing toward enabling the use of 15X1 needles but it will certainly mess up every other aspect of stitch making. The notion that compatibility with standard needles can be achieved or enhanced by messing with the machine’s timing is, so far as I can fathom, completely illogical. One of the popular contentions amongst the coutless ‘experts’ who like to waffle on on the various forums, is that the timing is altered in order to prevent problems with the fabric being in motion (being moved by the feed dogs) whilst the tip of the (longer) 15X1 needle was buried in the fabric. I can only state that I have used all of my swing needle Singers quite extensively on a broad range of materials (including eight layers of heavy stretch denim) and have never observed any such problem. Other users have likewise failed to observe any such problem.

      I’m afraid we live in a world that is awash with would-be experts and I fear they do a great deal of harm, in that they deter people from simply working matters out for themselves. I simply can’t tell you how much I admire your willingness to try your own solutions and to just ‘have a go’. So long as one proceeeds with care and common sense, I think there is minimal liklihood of any great catastrophe. If a machine will operate happily when turned over carefully by hand, there’s a pretty fair bet that it will behave the same way when under power and actually sewing.

      So far as the possibility of some swing needle machines being manufactured to use 15X1 needles, I think that is unlikely. It has always been my belief that the move to the new (at that time) 206X13 needle specification was an abortive attempt by Singer to claw back a larger share of the sewing machine needle market. The standard 15X1 design was being produced by a good many manufacturers at that time, all in competition with Singer. The fact that Singer didn’t go on with the 206X13 needles, after the 320K and in fact reverted to the 15X1 leves me in no doubt that, had they wanted to use the 15X1 in the swing needle Singers, they certainly could have. It amazes me that, even now in the face of voluminous evidence, there are still many people who willl declare as gospel, the ‘fact’ that you can’t use standard needles in these machines.

      Well Jen, I fear I’ve waffled on a good deal and have probably added to your knowledge, not at all! I hope that other readers might be helped by your sharing your own experience with your machines and that, even better, they might feel encouraged to follow your example and just explore a few workarounds for themselves. Thanks again for your post.

      Kind regards,

      Andrew Caddle

  5. Hi Andrew, V useful post – I have just inherited a Bond Elite from a great aunt (with no instructions) and am stuck at the point of putting the weighted hem on as it looks to me as if it’s not the wrong size – ie from 0 to the end of the weighted hem there are 49 holes but size wise that lines up with 57 on the bed. Do you think this is the wrong weighted hem?
    Many thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Lynda,

      The weighted hem that you have is almost certainly the wrong one.

      The Elite machine is unique in that it has 7mm needle spacing. All of the other Bond machines use 8mm needle spacing and I believe the hem that you have is an 8mm one.

      You can confirm this yourself mathematically, using the information that you provided. i.e. 49 stitches X 8 mm = 392mm …….. 392mm / 7mm (the Elite spacing) = 56 stitches. To put it another way, if you count off 100 stitches on the hem and measure the length, you’ll either get 700mm if it is an Elite hem …. or 800mm if it’s made for any of the other Bond machines.

      The original Bond hems are pretty terrible. They are very fragile, requiring ‘kid gloves’ care in use and failing after minimal use. Also, because of the type of plastic from which they are made, they tend to deteriorate in storage, shrinking, stretching, distorting or becoming brittle, depending on storage conditions.

      My partner Jan has several Bond knitting machines but uses her Bond Elite exclusively and she loves it. She is still turning out a couple of garments each week and her machine is lasting very well. She is still using the original hems that I made for her and they seem pretty bullet proof. Jan uses a couple of different length hems. One is the full width of her machine bed but she also has a shorter 70 stitch hem that she seems to use very often. One of the advantages of custom made, is that you can make or purchase exactly what you need.

      I’m afraid I don’t know of any supplier of 7mm hems. If you can’t source an original Bond one (and I don’t know why anyone would bother, given their poor quality) then your options are to either make your own or purchase one of mine. Either way, we are convinced that using upholstery-weight vinyl provides the most durable and reliable solution.

      If I can be of any help at all, please let me know.

      with kind regards,

      Andrew Caddle

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