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Pink, Pinker & Pinking

Finish Seams, Trim Dressing Tables & Lamps, Edge Chintz & Waterproof Fabrics ~ the old-fashioned Singer Pinker accessories are desirable tool for any sewing room.

Above Left:  Singer Hand Crank Pinker #121379
Above Right:  Singer Pinking Attachment #121021

(Both styles are sometimes available in our shop.)

Have you ever heard of a SINGER Hand Operated Pinker or Pinking Machine before? Have you seen what this amazing tool can do?

Well… I am about to show you one of my most used Sewing and Crafting accessories.

It is the SINGER Hand Crank Pinker or Pinking Machine. Originally from the 1930’s, it was produced by the Singer Manufacturing Company and sold in Singer Sewing Centers throughout the country. It was called a Fashion Aid because it was used in the sewing room as an aid to sewing for fashion (e.g. seam finishing).

The instruction manual, shows much more creativity and craftiness than just seam finishing, however.  Felt books, oil cloth table coverings, toys, and other decoratives can all benefit from the pretty edge the Singer Pinker can create. And, with the lovely wavy edge (versus the sharp-angled edge of Pinking Shears) – it’s inspiring all its own – kind of like rick rack with its wavy trim.

I also use my Pinker to pink my expensive fabrics prior to laundering.  This helps to minimize fraying.

Fabric on the top was pinked prior to laundering and then what it looks like after laundering (left of the blue). The orange fabric was not pinked at all.  Can you see the difference in how much fraying there is on the orange fabric than the blue?

If you need to finish an edge close to the seam to minimize bulk, the Pinker is perfect for the task.  I pinked the edge of this Round-Neck-Top for my daughter to make the tabs easier to turn right side out.

Because of the way the Singer Pinker was engineered, cutting through fabric, paper or leather is not based on the sharpness of the blade (the blade is actually quite dull to touch), but rather the cutting is accomplished by the pressure of the blade against a steel disk (see below). Increase the pressure of the disk onto the blade and it will go through thicker fabrics and even leather!

Each Singer Pinker, whether it be the Hand Crank machine or the Pinking Attachment has a cutting guide and marker.  This allows you to adjust the width of fabric you wish to cut and is ideal for cutting strips for the original Singer Multi-Slotted Binder attachment.

The Pinking Attachment includes an L-Pin for locking the gears.  This is needed if you are going to switch blades or for dis-assembly.

This thumb nut is reverse threaded.  Turn it clockwise to loosen and remove the blade.  Just be sure to adjust the lower disk down (see instruction manual) so that you don't damage the edge on the blade.

The Pinking Attachment also has a unique thumb screw with a coil spring.  This helps attach it securely to the machine through the backside of the presser bar.  A normal thumb screw is not the proper length or strength for this attachment.  You will either need an original or a suitable replacement sometimes available here.

You can see above how the concave shape of the screw fits perfectly on the backside of the presser bar.  In the photo below, you can see a standard thumb screw compared to the Pinking Attachment thumb screw. 

Attach your Singer Pinking Attachment to your Singer Featherweight or other low shank Singer Sewing Machine and let the machine do the work for you!

Scrapbookers – yes you, too, can use the Singer Pinker without the fear of the scissor-police coming after you for dulling the blade. I use my Pinker day in and day out – fabric, paper, paper, fabric – from one task to the next, it doesn’t matter. It’s just so sweet and feminine, I enjoy trimming lots of things.

On fabric and paper it creates a rounded or scalloped, pinked edge. It is quite the old technology to cut a running length of fabric rather quickly! Traditional scissor-style pinking shears are heavy, slow, can be tiring to the hands (arthritis, anyone?) and creates sharp, angled edges. This unit will give you more of a soft scallop or rick rack edge.

I am always thinking of new ideas – felt books, Christmas ornaments, stationery or gift cards, gift wrap paper or I’ve even used the pinker to make little tiny strips of fabric to replicate grass for Easter baskets. Regardless, cutting strips of fabric or paper is easy and fun.  For those of you with small children, you needn’t worry. My daughter loves to play with the old Singer Pinker and has done so for a several years now. It certainly gives her something fun to do while Mama is sewing.  I just remind her to keep it away from pins and staples, of course.

Turning the crank is easy and fast on the Hand Crank Pinker! And, with the cutting guide, it’s easy to feed your fabric or paper through for a smooth, even cut. A C-Clamp is of necessity to securely fasten the Pinker to a table or other hard surface, so make sure you either have the original C-Clamp or a new one handy.

Original Simanco C-Clamp
Supplied either with a Singer Hand Crank Pinker or the Singer Model 20 Sewhandy Child's Sewing Machine

A few hints if you already own a Pinker or Pinking Attachment:
  • Do not run pins or staples through with the fabric or paper – they will put a ding in the blade and dull it permanently.
  • If the fabric isn’t getting cut all the way through, increase the pressure of the disk according to the instruction manual.
  • Keep the pinker properly oiled.
  • A C-Clamp is required for the Hand Crank Pinker.  If your table surface is thicker than what is allowed by the original C-Clamp then you can use any clamp found at most hardware stores.
  • If you hear a clicking sound and the crank seems to slip, feel free to contact us and we can assist you with troubleshooting.
Pinkers were originally sold with only the standard-wave blade, in an original box, with an original Singer original instruction manual. However, by special order direct from old Singer Sewing Centers, two specialty blades could be purchased separately – the straight-edged blade and / or the narrower scalloped blade. Thus, it is very difficult to find a complete set in pristine condition today.  The blades are interchangeable with the Pinking Attachment and the Hand Crank Pinker.

The above photograph shows you the comparison of the cutting styles of the three different blades. The larger swell or wave being the original blade and most common, followed by the cut of the smaller wave blade (the most scarce to find) and the last being a cut from the straight-edged blade. The extra two blades were special orders made to the Singer Manufacturing Company and were not originally supplied with each Pinker.  Only the standard-wave blade was supplied originally.

Standard wave blade

Straight-Edged Blade . . . Punch Needle Rug Makers would find this specialty blade quite useful in cutting small, narrow strips of wool for their punch needles.

The rarest of them all — the Mini-Wave Blade.  This particular one is quite popular amongst doll collectors in creating a delicately pinked edge when replicating original doll clothes.

Carmon, the Featherweight Technician, services, oils, tests and samples all Pinkers for our Shop, so you can be assured that the Pinker you will receive from us is ready to use.  USA Shipping is Free.

If you already have a Singer Hand Crank Pinker or Pinking Attachment and just need the instructions then click on the links below to download a free Instruction Manual.