Singer 15 Sewing Machine Restoration

Antique sewing machines have always had a magical effect on me, they are truly beautiful hard-workers in the long history of sewing industry. This lovely Singer 15 J was one of my restoration projects last summer. I can’t express how amazing it feels when you rescue a vintage sewing machine!

When I received this machine, it sure needed a lot of care. First of all, I ordered a new belt, lubricant, brashes and a few other things from The Singer Featherweight Shop, which is a great source for VSM parts and education.

One of the lubrication ports in the motor had a missing felt wick. So I decided to replace it with a handmade wick that I felted from 100% fine Shetland wool. I was not able to disassemble the motor, but I measured the port and inserted my handmade wick through the opening using a felting needle. Not sure if that was the best idea but it worked and the motor is running good as new. The lubricant from The Singer Featherweight Shop is fabulous, it comes with a lot of useful information about its unique formula and instructions on how to use it.

The machine was disassembled, deep cleaned with kerosene, oiled, lubricated, reassembled, and waxed with machine oil. I cleaned the thread tension mechanism, bobbin case, and all metal parts with Enviro Rust Wash and then polished them with a metal polish.

The original machine case was in a horrific condition. I was hopeless, but decided not to give up. Taking one step at a time, I finally finished cleaning this case with T.S.P All Purpose Heavy-duty Cleaner, which was relatively easy. The next steps were sanding, chalk painting, and decoupaging. I used decoupage paper from Michaels for internal finishing & I decorated the exterior with crochet flowers. You can find more photos of the decorating process using Irish Crochet motifs on my CROCHET BLOG.

I included a few small notes inside of the case, based on my restoration notes and the information from Singer Sewing Info & ISMACS International.

NAME: Irene


BIRTHDAY: Approx 1954 – 1961

MADE IN: St. John’s, Quebec, Canada

ADOPTED: June 30, 2017 from Tilbury, Ontario, Canada

HISTORY: Machines produced at the St. John’s factory were identified by a suffix J added to their model numbers. After 1924 serial numbers took the form of JA, JB, JC etc. followed by 6 digits starting at 000001 up to 999999.

I am very excited to continue working on my next restoration project this summer!

About Author


I am a fiber artist and a pattern designer from Southern Ontario, Canada. I love working with fabrics and yarns to express my ideas. Crocheting, sewing, knitting, quilting - is my happy place.


  1. Thanks for the interesting read about restoring an old sewing machine. It’s interesting that you deep cleaned with kerosene. I’m kind of interested to learn how much of a difference this made, especially on different components.

    1. Thanks Taylor. I see you are a professional in the Featherweight world 😉 This was my first restoration projects and kerosene did its job great. I was trying to be careful with a clear coat though.

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