24 Sep 2008, 6:24pm
Reviews Sewing Machines


Singer 337 Sewing Machine Review

The Singer 337 appears to have been manufactured in Scotland for the 1964 and 1965 model years. The writer has seen two versions of it. One, like the one reviewed here, without a needle position selector, and one with the needle position selector. He does not know if they were two different models or just ’64 model and ’65 model differences. He has also seen two color variations, light blue like this one, and light green. The both seem to have the same greenish plastic top cover.

The 337 is a basic Zig-Zag machine, with a drop in plastic bobbin. The top arm cover is plastic, the name plate is plastic, the tension dial, but not the mechanism, is plastic. Every thing else is metal. All gears are steel. The machine is technically a horizontal rotary oscillating hook type which tends to be very reliable. The lack of frills also lends itself to reliability. Since it has dual tension slots and an oscillating hook, it should only be a matter of adding a second spool pin to use twin needles with it.

Slide Show of Singer 337 Images

There was a slightly more expensive companion model, the 338, that had interchangeable cams and thus a wider selection of stitch types. As far as the writer can determine the 337/338’s are very similar to the proceeding 327/328 which had an external motor, and the subsequent 347/348 which had a belt driven rotary hook. He was unable to find a Service Manual for the 337/338 but has one for the 347/348 and the only difference he can see is that the 337/338 has a walking bar driven oscillating hook, while the 347/348 has a cogged belt driven rotating hook, and a couple of nylon gears.

There are two main levers on the front. The vertical one controls the stitch length and forward/reverse. The stitch length can be varied from 7 per inch to 30 per inch; plus there is a setting for 6 stitches per inch basting, but it is locked and the lever can not be moved to reverse at that setting. Just below that lever is a switch for the light. And just above it is the Bobbin Winder control. The horizontal lever controls the Zig-Zag with from Zero, straight stitching, to 5, about a ¼ inch wide. On the model with the Needle Position selector that is just to the right of the Zig-Zag selector. There is, of course a knob to adjust Thread Tension. A foot controller for Motor Speed is the only other control on the machine.

It uses a standard 15×1 needle, plastic bobbins, a 15 watt bayonet light bulb, and sewing machine oil all of which were available at the local Wal-Mart. You also need a small tube of sewing machine grease for two gears in the top that the local Wal-Mart did not have.

The 337 uses Low-Shank feet like most Singer Machines, except the Slant-Needle ones, since 1851 and many other makes; so sewing feet are easy to find. Look for “Low-Shank, Featherweight, Singer, etc. The reviewed machine came only with a Zig-Zag Foot. The writer has acquired a couple more from eBay and has found no problems with them.

Bobbins are wound with the thread spool in the sewing position. The thread is run to the front clip above the Thread Tension Control, and back down to the bobbin tension button near the base of the pedestal then up to the bobbin. The bobbin winding selector is pushed to the back of the machine and hit the foot control. It only takes about a minute to fill a bobbin.

As mentioned the bobbin is a drop in one. Just open the bobbin cover by sliding it towards you and drop the bobbin into the bobbin case. Slide the thread under the tension spring and into the slot on top of the bobbin case. Then close the bobbin cover with the loose end hanging out. Hold the needle thread and cycle the machine with the hand wheel with will pull up a loop of bobbin thread. Catch that loop and pull the loose end through. Nothing fiddly about it at all.

Can not say the same about the upper threading. However every old vertical needle Singer the writer has ever used is threaded exactly the same way. From the spool to the thread guide, down around between the tension disks, lift the tension spring with the thread and loop over the hook, then run it through the hole in the lever, down to a guide on the front plate, and then one on the needle bar and through the needle eye front to back, flip it under the foot and towards the back of the machine. Done.

So, how does it sew? About like an old Singer Sewing Machine. In other words, if there are no problems with the machine, there are no problems with the sewing. If there are problems with the machine there is a lot of help out there for the asking.

The only potential problem the writer can see with the machine is that it apparently was only made for two years. That means that any parts that are unique to it may be hard to find replacements for. On the good side of that is that most of the parts are commen with other model singer sewing machines, so he has no problem recommeding the 337 to anyone looking for a basic reliable zig-zag sewing machine.

Your Comments and Corrections are always welcome.

9 Oct 2009, 11:25pm
by Anonymous

just bought one at my local goodwill for 4.99, plugged it in and it works! i also have a really old metal head pfaff. i don’t sew tons but when i need to sew, i don’t want to be confused by the machine.(the patterns are confusing enough) less is more….for me that is.

21 Oct 2009, 6:31pm
by Anonymous

Thank you, sir! The photo gallery was excellent, and thanks to those, I finally have found a machine that’s an analogue to my Singer 427. (The 427 is externally identical, but it has a rotating hook; I haven’t opened it up in awhile so I can’t say what drives the hook.)

I love my 337..
Would never consider buying a new machine..

I have both a 337 and 338 I love these machines they are free of problems. I use my 338 all the time before I got the 338, I had the 337 it’s great to sew on but I don’t use it anymore since I got the 338, so I’m looking to sell it!

16 Apr 2010, 3:06am
by sharon thompson

have you sold you machines yet if not want are you asking for it . that on the 337 I am very insten in it

20 Apr 2010, 3:03am
by Jennifer

I just bought a 337 at my local DI it came with a stand all for $20, It work’s good just need’s a little tune up, look’s like it hasn’t been used in year’s but I’m not sure, I am looking for a manual for it but I’m sure for now i can figure it out my mom has a singer that i have used plenty of time’s to know how to use it but I’m not sure what the model number is of her’s but they are very similar, if you know where i can find a cheap manual i would appreciate it very much, please let me know.

4 May 2010, 10:46pm
by bobbi gray

I have a 337 but mine was made in France. That is on the machine. I can’t sew on it because all I can get is a stitch that pulls out with one thead. I think my tension is off too. My mother was a seamstress for seventy years and always helped
me. There was not a SINGER machine she could not
fix or her friend if she couldn’t. She passed away two and a half years ago at 89 and was still
sewing in the nursing home. I live in Bella Vista, AR and it seems small and very far away to get any help. Can you help me.
Can I be threading the bobbin wrong?

Bobbi, I have an article on this blog on setting the tension. Some folks have found it useful as it goes into a bit more detail than most such articles.

I do not know how you can thread the bobbin wrong. You just let the top thread pull up a loop and then pull out the end of the loop. A damaged shuttle could cause your problem, as could a bunch of lint jamming things, but I would think the most likely cause is the upper tension being to far off. The linked article will tell you how to set the tension quickly and accurately.

10 May 2010, 5:42am
by LaAna Littlefield

I was wondering if the model with the adjustable needle position selector is preferred over the machine without it? I bought one at Goodwill that included the case/cover, manuel and everything seems to work well but doesn’t have the needle selector for $24.99. They also had the machine with the needle position selector minus the cover, manuel, and a little problem with the light switch for $19.99. Which would you have recommended I get. They both seemed to have a little tension problem but the one I bought works now after tinkering with it. Just curious if I made a good purchase?

Hi LaAna, the needle position switch can be handy, but I would not consider it essential. Considering the relative condition of the machines, I think you made the right choice.

What you are going to have to do is watch out for is becoming a sewing machine collector, there are so many nice machines out there for little money. I put a stop to buying sewing machines at four, many can not seem to stop at all.

06-16-2010 Just bought my 338 @ a thrift shop for $15. No manual , but the price was right. I wanted to see what I got, thanks !

Is it possible to find a replacement light bulb for the 337 model? I have had this machine since
I was first married in 1965 and don’t plan to ever replace it. New Singer bulbs are screw-in type; old one was a pop-in variety. Any sugges-tions appreciated.

I bought one at Walmart. However, the local Walmart has done away with the sewing center so I do not know if you can get one there anymore. The proper technical term for that type of bulb is “bayonet base”, knowing that may make it easier to find the bulb or a substitute.

3 Dec 2010, 2:02pm
by Melissa Lewis

Thank you for your articles & photos. They are very helpful. I am in the process of trying to identify an old singer sewing machine that belongs to my mother in law & was recently destroyed in a house fire. II think I’ve narrowed it down to a 337 or 347, although in pictures I’ve found on the internet, both of them do not have a “wheel” (I don’t know what else to call it) on the front above the stitch width selector. Can you please tell me which model this one is, as I’m trying to replace it for her. Other than the “wheel” it looks like a 337 or 347. Please help. Thank you!! <

I have seen some 347’s with a thumb wheel in that position. There seems to be some variations in the models back then. Someone suggested that it might depend upon whether he machine was intended to be sold in a Singer Store, a Sewing Store, or a Department Store. There were two basic models on that chassis the 3*7 and 3*8, the 3*8 had interchangeable zigzag cams.

The 347/348 series had a somewhat different mechanism than the 337/338 series, but looked pretty similar.

3 Dec 2010, 10:15pm
by Melissa Lewis

I looked the machine over more carefully today & found the model # on the front (that part was not melted). It is a 347. I got a pdf of a 347 manual & the “wheel” is not pictured or mentioned in the manual. Can you please offer insight into the purpose of the “wheel”? Thanks for your help. <

HI –
I have a chance to buy a 327 locally from Craigs for 50 with cabinet. My little girl wants a “blue” machine to sew on and I’m trying to talk her out of a new plastic Singer for $100.00 at the local JoAnne’s. It has a good cabinet that it folds into, and “many extra feet”, although the owner says it will probably need services. all the wiring looks good. I’m handy, would it be hard for me to clean and oil and tune? Also, for an interested 10 yr old, is it a good starter machine? Finally, for me always hemming jeans(5’2″) and making costumes, does it sound like a good item? Curently the only machine in the house is a Singer merritt 4530, which the Missus has had since it was new. The daughter wants her own machine -any thoughts?

As far as I know, a 327 is the same as a 337 except it has an external motor, which may make it easier to service, and a more powerful motor could be installed easily. Most of the sewing machines I have dealt with, especially the older ones, have only needed minor repairs if any. The yseem to stand up very well.

I have not actually had a 327 come through my hands, so you should take what I said with a grain of salt. However, the Cabinets are worth $50 if they are in half decent shape. So you probably will not lose by buying it.

I bought a new machine from Walmart because I needed a sewing machine. It could not be made to sew properly, so I returned it and bought the 337 in this article from the local thrift store. Somehow that turned in to four sewing machines before I decided enough was enough.

As for it being good for a 10yo? It would work fine, but she may, or may not, be disappointed with what she sees as an old used machine. In fact an equivalent build quality modern machine would probable cost at least a thousand bucks.

My suggestion would be to let her be involved in the decision to buy the machine or not.

13 Feb 2011, 9:17pm
by Anonymous

My 338 was made in Great Britain and is all metal. Came with lots of feet and two face plates.

14 Feb 2011, 3:26am
by David S

i have a 347 style mate that has the wheel at the top center of the face.
from what i have found there are 2 versions of the 347. the style mate with the wheel and the stylist, which does not have the wheel. the wheel controls the fancy cam stitch function on the style mate.

I just bought a 338 from a Habitat ReStore. It seemed to work fine when I was practicing with it but now I can’t get it to stich properly at all. I’m getting various bunched up thread from the bottom when I sew jeans and with light material I get nothing at all, just a run of thread on the top and bottom of the material.

The machine looks to be in good shape and was well maintained.

Can anyone help me?

23 May 2011, 12:56am
by 338Owner

I bought my 338 from out of state pown shope it works perfectly but I am not sure if this machine can sew leather, I have missing portion of my sectional which I already built the wood part and got the leather but not sure if this machine can sew a leather at all, can someone who have used it tell me if it does or not?


Most sewing machines will sew light leather. You need to use a needle that is designed for that. It has a chisel point that slits the leather, instead of the round point a regular needle has.

In fact if you turn the machine by hand, you can sew fairly heavy leather. However, you should realize that a real leather sewing machine is a lot heavier built than a home machine. You do not want the motor driving the needle into the leather, and jamming up, that can damage the machine, hence the advice to turn it by hand. That way you can feel if the needle is not going to got through the leather and stop before something breaks.

I have a singer 650 that my mother got back in the sixties. Love the machine! It too has metal parts and works like a charm. However recently the metal plate that slides out to reveal the bobbin fell off. Can you suggest any place that might have replacement parts for a machine of this age?
Any suggestions appreciated!

6 Dec 2011, 2:51am
by Lindon

Hi gael.
if the plate is not thrown out it can be replace it just came loose from the spring that hold it in place in the slide track

6 Dec 2011, 3:02am
by Lindon

Hi Don,
nothing to be alarm about you are having thread tension problem there’s one of two things happening either the needle thread tension is too loose(maybe not in the tension disc) or the bobbin case thread tension too tight most time the thread is not wound properly on bobbin

22 Apr 2012, 9:56am
by Anonymous

Hi guys, i have a 337. i had it plugged in for a considerable amount of time when all of a sudden it started running by itself. i cant find a way to stop it.
Any ideas?

I’ve just stripped down and rebuilt a 348k.
There are no nylon gears. The motor uses a nylon guide rod (or similar material), but that’s it. The motor guide rod is flexible and provides some cushioning.

i bought singer 337 in 1992 at Estate sell $25.00.
i have sewn on machine for 21yrs and never had a problem until yesterday. The band(arm end )
is making noise, i took apart and still donot
know enough about machinery to repair. But it still makes a nice stitch despite noise.(georgia)

hy, ihave just tried working the 3
37 but it seems to be turning backwards any ideas regards jr

3 Oct 2013, 2:41pm
by Amie Tarpley

Hello, this is an old topic but I bought a robins egg blue Singer 338. The bobbin assemble is LOUD, VERY LOUD. Is yours quiet?? I’m ready to sell this thing after only 24 hours of living here. Can you give me any pointers on quieting this thing down? I work on old sewing machines but never one with this type of bobbin. Thank you, Amie

You can unlock the stitch lever by twisting the switch. Hope that helps! 🙂

Would the 337 be appropriate for my daughter to use for reupholstering chairs, sofas, etc. She is using a Kenmore from the 80’s now and thinks she needs a heavier duty machine.

I have this machine, my mother had one too. She bought it the year I was born 1964! Her machine was destroyed in a fire in 1991. I found mine last year at a garage sale, same machine and same cabinet that my mom had. I have oiled it up and it runs very smoothly and quietly too. It has one bobbin… so what bobbins do I buy? Any singer bobbin that’s plastic or is there a special number? I have many machines and use them for teaching children to sew but I want to use the right bobbin for it. The book says it’s plastic but gives no number. Please help me out!

They are usually labeled as being for Singer Sewing Machines. I got mine from Walmart.


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