Sew Happy

tonight i spent some time with my antique sewing machine that jason and i inherited from our home’s previous owner. it is a wards signature sewing machine, model UHT J277E. do you happen to have a manual i could look at?

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it’s been a while since i’ve looked at a sewing machine, so i decided that if i could do some test sewing tonight, that would be cool. i don’t want to use the machine to finish the pillow covers i’ve been working on until i have a good grasp on how to use it.

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i had a couple challenges during my exploration tonight. first, i couldn’t figure out how to run the machine! where is the foot pedal?! i searched through the drawers again (which i’ve previously looked through and cleaned up a bit) but didn’t find anything. i was almost ready to give up. almost.


it turns out that this machine doesn’t have a foot pedal, but it does have a knee pedal! on the inside under the table foldout is the pedal. so cool! i don’t know why this excites me, but i just think its so unique. it makes the machine that much more weird and awesome to have!

i mean, the thing is already avocado green. can you buy sewing machines in this color anymore?


my next challenge was figuring out how to insert a new needle. i probably spent a half hour trying to find the right screwdriver and messing with various bits to try to figure it, when i thought i’d give up for the evening and share my photos instead. (much less frustrating.)


the only useful information i’ve found online is from jim and elizabeth and i think i see a clue for installing my needle in their photos, so hopefully i have some more success during my next attempt.

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in the drawers, my favorite things are the ridiculous number of bobbins (most of them already filled with thread), the magnifying glass, and the vintage wooden thread spools. there is also a special wards signature case filled with different feet for the machine and a bunch of other little parts that i am clueless about. (again: anyone have a manual?)

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i am too lazy to look this up on google at the moment: what is “stretch stitch sewing”? i don’t think i’ll need to do this for quilting. i think.


i smiled so hard when i found what was cast into the bottom of the machine. happy!


Karen O

what a great ‘gift’ you have in your home.  I hope you can figure out how to use this, Amy.  I see the gorgeous fabrics you got for your first quilt.  Are you going to take a class?  Or wing it using blog tutorials?  🙂


I have been seriously lacking in timely updates! I was actually able to sew up a couple small pillow covers (photos forthcoming) as my test project — and it went really well! I am currently in the process of cutting many squares for my first quilt. I’m heeding a lot of advice from quilting friends and blogs. 🙂 I’d love to take a class eventually, though, just to make sure I’m doing everything “correctly”!


 I just found your blog today as I was looking for wards/signature sewing
machines like my husband gave me for my 17th birthday in 1973. We
foolishly traded it in on a Singer a few years after we were married,
not realizing that the quality of Singer had disappeared by then. I have
had a couple of inexpensive little machines since, but I really would
like to track down the model I had years ago. I did machine quilting and
embroidery on it then and wish I had it back. You can get a manual on
line for it. Good luck. I am jealous. LOL.


I have searched high and low for a manual with no luck! I think I’ve figured out the basic functions I need to operate the machine, though — and someday soon attempt machine quilting. 🙂

I’m glad for the good review of the Wards brand! I had never heard of it before.

Heidi Miller

I also have this machine. I just borrowed it from a friend to make my daughter a memory quilt with her onsies from her first year. Im totally lost with this thing. Where exactly is the knee pedal at? Or have you found out more information that you could share? Thanks!

Autumn Bagley

So I realize this was posted 3 years ago – but I just inherited this same machine (was my husband’s grandmother’s machine) and am having no luck finding a manual online. Did you have any luck locating one or any other updates?


Hi, Autumn — I never did find a manual! I got by with basic instructions from other machines but I haven’t done anything terribly complicated with the machine, either. Are you having trouble with something in particular or just trying to figure out what all of the extra pieces do? (so many extra pieces!)

Autumn Bagley

Thanks for replying Amy! No specific questions/problems – yet. I did find a 276 manual online that was close enough to this machine so I could figure out threading and oil points (As I wanted to clean and oil it before even trying to sew as it hasn’t been used in close to 20 years).
You can view that manual free here (but does cost to download):

That one however doesn’t have cams, so not sure exactly how to switch those and haven’t tried yet but I do have a box of them along with lots of different feet that are still shiny and new looking so I don’t think my Husband’s Grandma used the fancy ones much if at all.
I also LOVE the knee pedal.


Thank you for that link! I never did get around to cleaning the machine… maybe I should do that sometime. 🙂

The knee pedal took some getting used to, but I like that it’s not as easy to accidentally press too heavily too quickly!


I know this post is super old but if someone is still looking for a manual try looking up J277D instead of J277C. As far as I can tell it’s the same machine but the J277D is portable and has a foot pedal instead of the knee pedal.

Connor Petersen

I just found one of these in good will for 99 bucks. my unit is a j277c, from what i found the manual for the j277 is the correct manual. it may look slightly different in the pic because this model had many manufactures under ward. the happy manufactured unit is rock solid from what i can tell. best of luck! also the only difference between the c and the e is yours has the stretch stitch knob in the top while mine only has a small set screw.

Judy adkins

I just bought one at habitat for humanity store for30$ needs bobbin case and bobbin ordered universal ones hope they fit. It was in the cabinet to. Think I got a deal

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