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Thread: Know a great electric, gear driven straight stitcher?

  1. #1
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    Know a great electric, gear driven straight stitcher?

    Hello! I’d like to tap all this amazing vintage sewing machine talent here on the QB and ask for some advice.

    Ever since my daughter permanently borrowed our shared Singer 401A, I’ve been hankering to get myself another vintage machine. We just bought our other daughter a beautiful Singer Rocketeer and I learned to give it a simple servicing. This could get addictive. My DH is now talking about taking it up as a hobby and actually told me to buy myself a vintage machine!

    For my purposes, I only need a simple machine that can handle lots of straight sewing. I'd like to find one with a terrific straight stitch with reverse / electric motor / metal gear driven / ability to use a walking foot / and maybe a larger throat space / something I can FMQ with / good visibility of the needle and good lighting. That doesn't necessarily mean the feed dogs have to be droppable, because I currently prefer simply setting the stitch length at 0 on my BabyLock, even though the feed dogs can be dropped. And as for the throat (harp?) space, the Rocketeer didn't have any more than my Babylock, which has a workable 7.5inches.

    I was drooling over 301’s but don’t know if there are others I should consider as well.

    Does anyone have a favorite or two that meets a lot of these wishes?
    Last edited by BuzzinBumble; 05-22-2012 at 07:05 PM.
    Lara B.
    ... My husband lets me buy all the fabric I can hide.

    http://www.buzzinbumble.com/


  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Check out the 201s. They fit your criteria.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    The 301 is awesome but all the walking feet currently sold on the market are too large and no matter what people will tell you the don't work like the feet are engineered to. The feed dogs on the walking feet don't mesh properly with the 301 feed dogs. Will they 'work'? Yes, they will fit, but not work properly. I own 5, 301's because they free motion quilt wonderfully. You can lower the foot pressure for straight quilting and you may not need a walking foot. The 301 would be my first Vintage Singer for all around large throat space and stitch quality.

    My second pick would be a class 15 machine. It will give you great FMQing, and the ability to use any low shank feet or walking feet on the market.

    The 201's have a horizontal bobbin case and are not the best machine for free motion quilting.

  4. #4
    Senior Member harrishs's Avatar
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    If you could find a collector of vintage machines to try out different machines----You are a little far from Iowa-----I think I like my 301's for straight stitching but I do not quilt on it (I have a mid arm hobby quilter) I also love the 201---especially with several layers....but I should warn you, one vintage is never enough.

  5. #5
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    I have a 15-91 in a cabinet that I'm setting up for this purpose. One with a potted motor. I just need to rewire the plug and she will be all set.

  6. #6
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I agree that a 15 or 15 clone would fit your requirements. They are all metal, have a generous throat space, have a reverse stitch, and use low shank feet. Billy says that some of the clones are actually better machines than the original Singer 15. My clone has a 1.0 amp motor and is the quietest machine we own - even quieter than the FW. It was made by Brother and is badged as a Compac.

    You might try poking around in thrift stores, antique stores, yard sales, and estate sales and just see what is available. You may run across something that speaks to you. You can usually pick one up for a very reasonable price, and if you don't like it you can probably sell it here or on ebay or Craigslist.

    I also have a Rocketeer (503) in a cabinet with knee bar and love it. I have pieced two quilts with it and so far it is my favorite vintage machine that we own.

    Good luck in your search.

    Darren

  7. #7
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    What a lot of great input! I'm now looking at all three of these models! They are all beautiful and you're right harrishs that it would be nice if i could try them out first. Darren I LOVE my daughter's Rocketeer, but don't really need all those fancy features. Also I read on here somewhere that a machine dedicated to straight stitch tends to do a more perfect straight stitch than a machine that also does zigzag stitches.

    I found an interesting article about FMQ on vintage machines: http://reviews.ebay.com/Free-Motion-...00000003585145 She did not recommend doing a lot of quilting with the 301 or the featherweight, stating that they were too lightweight and the harp space was too small. Candace and harrishs, do you agree?

    Are the terms harp and throat used interchangeably?

    I do have what is probably a silly question about the 15-91. Does the light and cord on the back get in the way very much? And does it provide ample illumination over the stitching area in the front? Joe and MissKira, what do you think about your machine's lighting? Is that a 201 in your icon Joe, because it is gorgeous!

    Would any of you be so kind as to measure your machine and let me know what the size of the space under the throat/harp is? (width and also height under the throat would be quite helpful information)
    Thanks everyone!
    On to craigslist!
    Lara B.
    ... My husband lets me buy all the fabric I can hide.

    http://www.buzzinbumble.com/


  8. #8
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    My 301a is a remarkable straight stitcher. And yes, I agree that a zz machine does not produce a perfectly straight seam like a machine that sews only straight. I have done some FMQ on my 301a, and I really like how easy it is to slow down on this machine. It gives me great control. It's not the largest of the full size machines, but it has plenty of harp space to do most of the projects I would do on it.

  9. #9
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    No, I don't agree with the review on the 301. The throat space is decent and because it is internally belted it's very powerful. Lightweight is a plus for the machine and it doesn't hurt the ability to FMQ. If you google you can find answers to all your questions on throat space. It's out there if you look. I have FMQ countless quilts on my 301 and the stitch quality is wonderful and I have received many compliments on the quilting.

    Many purists cringe at the term "harp" space and say harp space is for harps only. So, I stick to throat space as to not ruffle any feathers:>

  10. #10
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    Here is a good picture of a 201's throat space. I will measure my 15-91 in a bit.

    http://www.quiltedcupcake.net/2009/0...episode-8.html


    Actually I just googled it and this thread came up. It has the throat space info and some other interesting discussion on bobbin set up for FMQ.

    Which to buy - Singer 15-91 or Singer 201?
    Last edited by misskira; 05-23-2012 at 08:20 AM.

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