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Thread: New quilter needs advice

  1. #1
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    Question New quilter needs advice

    I've found two inexpensive sewing machines, and I am trying to decide which one to buy. One is a Singer 5830c; the other I believe is a Singer 128. I have heard great things about both. They both look to be in good condition, but I'm buying from a website so the details are few other than that they both power on and the needles move up and down. I want a machine to try my hand at quilt-making, but I will also want to do clothing repair, etc. Which machine is more recommended? I haven't sewn a thing since high school.

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i'm not familiar with the machines, but welcome to the board and happy quilting
    Nancy in western NY

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    There may be a newer version of the 128, but the one I'm familiar with was made about 100 years ago and uses a vibrating shuttle. While these are fantastic vintage machines, I can't imagine a new quilter using one. The old-fashioned bullet-shaped bobbin alone would be problematic if you don't have a ready supply of vintage parts.

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    I don't own either of those machines but I would be nervous buying from a website that just says they come on that doesn't mean they sew. If you have a sewing machine repair shop or a shop that sells machines you could check with them for a used machine. I just bought an older Pfaff from a local Bernina dealer, who also repairs machines and I was able to try the machine and his other trade ins before I decided which machine I wanted. The machine was a trade in from a regular customer so he was able to give me the machine's history, I only paid $200. Or I would suggest buying a new Brother, I would not purchase a new cheap Singer, several members on here have commented on how their cheap Brothers have held up. I think you are right, not buying a new expensive machine until you figure out exactly what you need. Also, if you decide to take classes or go to a retreat you will need a light weight machine and you'll have a back up if you decide to upgrade later.

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    Well, both of these machines would cost me under $20, and I definitely don't have enough money to buy anything over like $40...which is why I've been searching through shopgoodwill.com's selection. I felt like these were both pretty good finds. The descriptions for both say that they power on, the pedals work, the needles move up and down. Also, based on what I've read about both models, they are very durable. So, I'm hoping there won't be much repair needed if any.

    @dunster: The 128 I am looking at was made in 1918. It's beautiful, and I know there are a lot of sewers who absolutely love those old machines because of the look as well as durability and consistency. I mostly was worried about having a large enough harp...I also felt like maybe I shouldn't pass up such a find. I do want something that will be easy for me to learn on, though, so I think I'll take your advise and go with the newer 5830c...which I know is easy to use.

    Thanks for the input guys! I'll be certainly frequenting this site from now on. If anyone else is interested, here's the vintage one I was looking at: http://www.shopgoodwill.com/viewItem.asp?itemid=9513815 The auction ends in 18 hours!

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I'm sorry I wasn't clear - I wasn't advising you to get the 5830c. I know nothing about that machine, but the newer Singers don't have a good reputation at all. In your situation I think I would look for a different vintage machine, such as a 15-91, or 66, or (if you can find it) a 301. These machines come up all the time on craigslist at really good prices, and you can usually try them out before purchasing, unlike the Goodwill machines. I believe the 128 is a 3/4 size machine, which means it has a smaller harp size, and I believe the 15-91 or 66 would be much easier to use and find bobbins and other parts for than the machines in the 27 series (27/127/28/128).

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    Ah, I see. Well, I ended up finding someone's sewing blog who has the 5830c and she was raving about it. I think it was made in the mid 90s, and it was mainly for high school home economics classes which means that it's durable and simple...at least that's how this blogger described it. It is all metal inside, and I know that's a must if you want a machine that won't break easily and will last a long time. I'll go ahead and check Craigslist before buying this machine as you suggest, but I also think that even if the Goodwill machine doesn't work 100% I won't have lost too much money, and I'm sure I know someone who could help with repairs.

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    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    Also be sure to add in shipping (if it applies and you can't pick it up). I've found several great buys on shopGoodwill but the shipping was more than the machine. I agree on the Singer 15-91. I have one and it is great for doing most anything in simple sewing. Of course, I have a couple more 'vintage ladies" but we won't go there!

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    I plan on picking it up, those sewing machines are waaay too much to ship! I can't find any Singer 15-91s that will be affordable for me...and I am too excited to get started to wait any longer. I'll give the 5830 a shot, and if it doesn't work well I'm sure I can resell it for the price I'm going to pay for it.

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