Signature — Never Judge a Sewing Machine by Its Age

Signature — Never Judge a Sewing Machine by Its Age

Signature — Never Judge a Sewing Machine by Its Age

An overview of the Signature sewing machines (model UHT J252B and UHT J283A), made by Happy sewing machine company of Japan for Montgomery Ward.

My first sewing machine was a vintage Signature Dressmaker, model UHT J252B (probably made around the late 1950s), and I can’t tell you how much I love this old workhorse. I love it so much, I bought another one! My Dressmaker came with no manual, no instructions, nor any replacement parts. All it came with was its original case and foot pedal.

Signature Dressmaker model UHT J252B

The Signature Dressmaker is a beauty. It is painted in a cream color that is not too yellow nor too white but just perfect. Sizewise it is pretty compact and small compared to modern sewing machines, but don’t let its look deceive you. Like any other vintage sewing machine, the Signature Dressmaker weighs like a ton, especially for its size. Every inch of it is made of metal, even the original foot pedal. Sitting at the top left of the sewing machine is a large metal label “Signature Dressmaker”. At the bottom right side are engraved words of “Made in Japan”.

Signature Dressmaker model UHT J252B stitches from 1–8 stitch lengths (left to right)

Although small in size, this little Dressmaker can take on any sewing projects. It sewed beautifully and without any problems given its age. It can take on any type of material including many layers of jeans, canvas fabrics, and even thick dog bite-proof fabrics. The Dressmaker model UHT J252B can only do straight stitches, making it a great machine for a beginner sewer.

Best of all, the Dressmaker is very easy to troubleshoot and require little maintenance. Everything works mechanically. There are no fancy motherboard or automatic features. All you need are a screwdriver and some sewing machine lubricant and you are good to go.

Signature model UHT J283A

It was such a fun little sewing machine. I love it so much and couldn’t help myself and got another Signature, model UHT J283A (probably made around the late 1970s). The model UHT J283A is similar to the Dressmaker, but with the addition of zigzag and decorative stitches and a button mode. It operates similar to the Dressmaker and weighs just a slightly heavier as it is a little bigger in size.

Signature model UHT J283A decorative stitches

All in all, I love my Signature sewing machines and can’t wait to use them for future sewing projects. Do you have a vintage sewing machine you love or own?

Signature — Never Judge a Sewing Machine by Its Age was originally published in ThriftedCrafts on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


  1. Loved your glowing remarks about the Signature Dressmaker. My friend was recently given one and is having trouble top threading it. No manual:(. Would you have any suggestions for her? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi MaryHope, Thanks for the comments. Sorry for the late response. Hopefully your friend was able to figure out how to thread her machine. If she still is having trouble with top threading, let me know and I would be happy to send you some helpful guides I have.

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