Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vintage Revival: Singer Stylist 457 Gear Replacement

Last year I wrote a couple blog posts about a Singer Stylist 457 that I picked up.  She isn't fancy, doesn't do any special stitches and isn't much to look at.
First I talked about the machine and then I talked about the cabinet.  Then I also talked about my sadness when the gear that drives the bobbin assembly was chewed up.
While making an order for some other parts for some vintage machines through a very helpful seller on Etsy called Old Sewing Machines, I found that he also had the gear I needed for this machine for a great price.  I added the gear to my order and did some research while I waited for my parts to arrive.
The belt on the underside is what drives the bobbin hook.  When the gear went, the machine wouldn't pick up the bobbin thread because the hook wasn't grabbing the needle thread.  I had shared an email or two with a commenter on my original post and was given a link to the procedure to change the gear and reset the timing.
Here is the best photo I could get of the damaged gear while it was still in the machine.  This photo is taken from the front of the machine through an access port.
Here are some of the remnants of the gear that I managed to rattle loose during replacement of the gear.
Somehow I lost the gear inside the machine and it got wedged inside but not near any moving bits.  I had to get a friend to come peer inside to find the darn thing for me.  But here it is after removal.  Since I had already installed the new gear I don't have a side-by-side comparison.  I did some more cleaning and oiling while I had the machine apart and it sews quite nicely now.  
I did some test stitching and while it could use some more minor adjustment, I'm really proud of the result.  For reference, the white thread is the bobbin thread and the pink is the needle thread.
Now that she is all put back together she is ready to go back in the cabinet and back into the travel trailer.  I'll let you know how the new gear works out.  So far I'm really pleased with the outcome and I'm so glad someone told me it was easy to do so I could get over my reluctance to trying to time a machine.

Have you stretched yourself lately and learned a new skill?


  1. My wife hasn't sewn for years and I never learned but we have a reason to use one of our machines which is a Singer 457. After reading your comments about the 457 and downloading a manual, I lubed the machine (it was screeching like a banshee when I first turned it on and it began to move) which has been lying around for decades and it's quiet now and seems to be operating properly. We'll find out in the next few days if it actually sews...and if we can figure out how to sew. But it looks like it might be fun. I'll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the photos and info....... they were very helpful.

  2. Thank you for your posts and pics. I picked up one of these machines today for $15 at the thrift store. I opened it up this afternoon and discovered it was in pretty good shape, very similar to the condition you found yours in. I also discovered the same gear needs to be replaced, but everything else looks good. I found the complete manual online which I've downloaded (it was free) as well as the step by step instructions on how to replace that plastic gear. I'm looking forward to the challenge of replacing it. On a side note, the reason I bought this machine is because my newer machine finally broke after 10+ years of pretty regular use. It was a $200 machine new (singer 7426) and when I took it to the repair man here in town, he quoted me a price of $150 just to open it and determine the problem. Any parts needed would be on top of that.... I mention this only because he informed me that is was a good machine and worth fixing (eventually) since most of the components "are metal". Apparently, new machines these days have lots of plastic parts in their inner workings and therefore fail in some way faster than an older machine. I rarely used the fancy stitches so I don't need something new. Happy to spend $20 instead of $200. Now I'll be taking a 2nd glance when I see and "old" sewing machine at a garage sale/second hand store. Kinda like my vacuum cleaner that I got from my grandfathers estate. It was crazy old but ran for years and years.... Gotta love "vintage". They just don't make 'em like they used to....

  3. The first machine I bought myself was a Singer 457. My mother had bought me an inexpensive sewing machine when I was 12, but I never could get it to work well, so when I was 17, I spotted the Singer 457 in the cabinet, freshly serviced in a sew-n-vac shop. I traded in my old machine for a discount on the 457 and sewed my prom dresses. I upgraded to a new Necchi in 2004, but I saved my old Singer to teach my daughters to sew. It's a great machine!

  4. I still have my first, a Singer 237. Last year my cousin gave me her 457 (also her first) and shorty after the bobbin gear got all chewed up. The tech we use for our quilt guild said it was fried, needed a set of gears, too expensive, not worth it, etc. After reading your blog I ordered the gear, installed it tonight and reset the timing. It's running just fine. I love these old gals! Thanks for the info and for giving me the courage to attempt it myself.

  5. Hey, I know this is an old post, but I've just bought this machine at a thrift store and ordered the replacement top gear. Was it hard to replace and retime it? Did you think the machine was worth the expense and effort?


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