Singer was always copied. That is the way it is with the early sewing machine industry. It found a model that was superior to the rest and different companies had it copied. This process saves the copier time, money on research & development, as well as construction costs as parts are very easy to find.
It is very likely that Singer once commissioned the Shanghai Sewing Machine Industrial Company to make its sewing machines. But as it stands today the latter company is still in existence and it has a Butterfly sewing machine branch making butterfly sewing machines.
To learn a little bit more about this brand of sewing machines, just continue to read our article. There are at least 3 types, electric, manual and overlockers available and those are sold to countries like Nigeria.
This company is called the Shang Gong Group Co., Ltd. Shanghai Butterfly Sewing Machine Branch and it is a subsidiary of ShangGong Group. The latter was brought into existence when the Shanghai Shanggong Sewing Machine Co., Ltd and other companies under the same ownership reorganized.
It may sound complicated but the reorganization helped the company form a new strategy and make the butterfly sewing machine the new face of the SG company.
It is possible that the Shanghai Sewing Machine Industrial Company was in existence after the war and made machines for Singer but they also make their own sewing machines and compete with Singer.
The one difference between the companies is that Singer has often changed its sewing machine’s look while many Butterflies still look the same even after decades of upgrades.
These machines are very decorative, especially the models found in Nigeria, and will have people buying them for their looks alone. They seem to be hardy machines, mostly made from metal, especially the vintage models and stand up to a lot of sewing without any problem.
What makes it hard for this machine to stand out is that the rumor is that the original butterfly sewing machines were copies of the Singer 15. They remained copies for several decades garnering very bad reviews.
Also, what hinders this sewing machine from becoming famous is that other brands like Zoyer and Brother also make Butterfly models. The best we can say is to pick on up for its looks as it will perform like any other standard sewing machine.
The specs will depend a lot on the model you buy. For the electric portable found at this link, the specs are as follows:
Its compact size means it stores nice and easy as well as travels without giving you a lot of trouble. The different models will come with different features and specs. Their size depending on their purpose.
The size of the traditionally designed butterfly starts at about 18 inches by 9 inches by 12 inches. The portable described above will be a lot smaller. Each new Butterfly model comes with an attractive case.
From what we can tell, the Butterfly sewing machine is a basic model designed for low-income people or those who do not want to spend a lot of money on their sewing machine. The Singer models will outclass and out sew the Butterfly models even though the latter looks like it was made back in the 1800s to the start of the war.
Cost-wise, Singer will be more expensive and have a lot more features and functions than the Butterfly models. The Singer models will have more stitch patterns at your disposal as well as other modern conveniences most Butterfly models do not have.
But when you are paying between $25 and $35 per piece for the Butterfly you cannot expect to see a lot of modern accessories with the Butterfly sewing machine.
They say you get what you pay for and with the Butterfly sewing machine, you are not getting a lot. Considering that the machine is made in China and exported to countries like Nigeria do not expect to see a Bernina or Singer class sewing machine on the market.
The price you pay for one is also indicative of the type of quality you will get. Let’s just say that the Butterfly models will be up to the standards imposed upon the manufacturer by the Chinese government.
Most people would buy it for its looks or if they like or collect butterflies. They are basic machines that may do well for a beginner but not that good for an experienced sewer.
In Nigeria these machines are selling between N27,000 to over N40,000+. Wholesale, they are selling between $25 and $35 at Alibaba per piece with a minimum of about 300 pieces per sale. So you can expect to pay roughly $7,500 for 300 Butterfly sewing machines.
Right now there are none listed on eBay and if you want to buy one with a cabinet expect to pay up to $40 or more wholesale. This may be a brand that rarely makes an appearance in the western world as the main location we found them being marketed in Nigeria.
You can buy them through Alibaba if you desperately want one but again you will have to buy more than you really need as there are minimum order restrictions. parts may not be easy to come by as well.
Many of the machines look exquisite which is their strongest selling point. Also, you may find some on Alibaba for $80 approx. and you only need to buy 1 at a time.
This is going to be a limited area as it seems that very few people carry the Shang Gong Butterfly sewing machine. There were a Brother Butterfly model and a Zoyer option but those will be sold where those brands are sold.
As for the Shang Gong Butterfly sewing machine, the only 2 places we have found where they are on sale are Alibaba and Nigeria. You may come across one through a retailer or wholesaler in the western world but those finds may be rare.
No one is admitting to selling them outside of the groups we just mentioned. We did come across one internet store called Kara.com but it is a Nigerian company and not a western one.
It may be a long and difficult search if you want to add this model to your collection. Unless you like traveling to Africa as you can also find this brand in Ghana.
These machines are known to be rugged and reliable which means that they may last you a long time before a part breaks. From what we can see there may be all metal models and plastic models. You would have to ask the salesman which type of parts is inside.
Most likely, you would have to look at the usual suspects to troubleshoot any minor issues with these sewing machines. Bobbins, needles, tension, and so on will be the likeliest of suspects before having to go to an experienced repairman to see what else is wrong.
To be honest, you may have to search the internet targeting your search to Nigeria or Ghana or other African websites that list other solutions for your Butterfly sewing machine. there are no western websites that we looked at or for that provide anything but the normal common problems that all sewing machines experience.
Just do not forget regular cleaning and lubrication.
The reasons for this problem should be the same on a Butterfly sewing machine as it is on other models from other brands. First, check your tension. If it is too tight, the machine may break the thread.
Second, you may not have threaded this machine correctly although it doesn't look like a difficult machine to thread. Third, check your spool of thread to make sure it is placed on the spool pin right and spins as it should.
After that, check your needle. if it is not installed correctly, is bent, dull, or broken, that issue may be cutting your thread. Next, check your bobbin to see if it is the right size and on it goes.
The Butterfly model is a Chinese sewing machine that does not hold a candle to Singer, mechanically, or performance-wise. But if you want a very beautiful machine to look at, then you should pick up one of the few Butterfly sewing machines you can find. It is worth the money for that aspect alone.