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Thread: Machine use

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Blog Entries

    Machine use

    I was just wondering how you use your machines. Do you use them just for piecing or do you quilt also with them.. What is your main reason for buying a vintage machine, because you like vintage or because they are better than the modern day machines for piecing ?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Harrisburg, OR
    I bought a featherweight for piecing. I chose it because it's strong, easy to use and maintain, and of course portable. I picked it over a modern machine because of cost and I expect into live longer than anything I could buy today. I have a modern machine with many bells and whistles but find myself only using the fw now.

    My dad gave me my grandmothers 15-91 in a cabinet that I have big FMQing plans for.

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltingKrazy's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Pensacola, FL
    Blog Entries
    I have a Janome 6500 to use for everything. Piecing, quilting, crafting, clothing! I haven't yet figured out the "love" of the vintage machines to use or collect. I only have the one machine and use it just about everyday!
    Lisa B in NC
    Quilting is my Happy Thought!

  4. #4
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    I use my Singer 101 for piecing. If I need a portable machine I use my Featherweight. I do have an Elna 7300 that I use occasionally. I purchased originally purchased it because I liked the needle up and needle down function and it had a needle threader. Well, the needle threader never worked, IMHO, properly and now does not work at all. So much for progress. As for all of my other sewing machines, I clean and pet them regularly.
    Sweet Caroline

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Outer Space
    I use my vintage machines for both piecing and quilting. And for my that typically mean Free Motion Quilting as well. Some vintage machines aren't great at FMQing but most are. They are easy to repair and maintain (usually, there are exceptions) and I can bring some of my machines to the guild on sew days etc. so others can use them. They're fairly inexpensive and the quality of the machine can't be compared to today's plastic machines. I do have a few newer machines that I use for my own projects but all my charity work and scrap quilts are done with my vintage machines.

  6. #6
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    NE Indiana
    I use any and all of my machines for piecing. It just depends on my mood. The quilting is usually done on a 66 or my 201, or my wife's Bernina 930. Being an anachronism I have zero use for computerized sewing machines.


  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    I use my machines for both piecing and quilting.... I have quilted on my treadle, but not free motion quilt. I do free motion quilt on some of my machines. Piecing I can and do use them all......well except for the few that I can't find needles for. They are sitting and looking pretty.

  8. #8
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I started off a few years ago with a little Brother cs6000i, but on some heavy seams, I started wishing I could have my grandmother's sewing machine - the one I learned to sew on.

    I couldn't remember it exactly, but I finally learned it was a 401. So I started buying 401's. The first one was from a thoroughly disreputable eBay dealer who saw me coming. Beautiful pictures that hid all the damage to the paint (and I was too new to vintage collecting to realize what she'd done in the pictures) Here I'm thinking I'm getting a machine that looked like my grandmother's, and what I got looked like it had come through a war. There was hardened white lithium grease everywhere and the machine was FILTHY inside and out. The motor strained. Got that cleaned and the machine running nicely and darned if another 401 didn't walk into my path. In great shape, all the accessories, just needed cleaning and a light bulb. After that a THIRD 401 became available to me at a price I couldn't turn down. Perfect paint, a little dirty, all the toys. Shortly after that, a copy of my grandmother's cabinet popped up on craigslist. Needs some work, but so far, Dr Woodwell's has masked most of the trouble.

    After I started sewing with the 401, I started reading that what I needed for free-motion quilting was a vertical needle and bobbin - a model 15. I started watching craigslist and here comes a model 15 in a waterfall #42 cabinet complete with period literature, every attachment under the sun including a hemstitcher and a fringe-maker - and the inkwell is still in the drawer! That is still my favorite machine - I use it in conjuction with a little Brother serger for virtually everything.

    When I need a blind hem stitch, I press a bunch of hems all at once and pull out the 1970's Kenmore - unbelieveable power for sewing hems - even in jeans and canvas twill.

    I have a modern Singer Futura embroidery/sewing machine that's spent more time in the shop than it has actually sewing designs. I would never rely on it - like to make a special monogram or gift item. I would not trust fine fabrics or expensive materials to it. I might pull it out and do some cutwork or something, but only small things that don't require re-hooping. The bobbin case has been replaced twice already - and I think I've sewn a MAXIMUM of two or three dozen designs with that machine. I always follow the directions exactly, new needles frequently, etc. The machine alerts for bad threading even though I have followed the chart perfectly. I've learned to leave the threading alone and instead, reboot the computer by unplugging it for 30 seconds. When it re-boots, it sews just fine without an alert about the "mis-threading."

    I know that there are some really nice modern machines out there, but with all these vintage gals around, I never miss anything from the newer ones. I'd like to have one of those whiz-bang sergers that thread themselves because I hear they're very quiet compared to my "Harvey Wallbanger." Someday. But, not a new sewing machine, I don't think. I love the ones I have.

  9. #9
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Live Oak, Texas
    I use mine for both. I have a new brother that I like very much but my Singer 401A is still the one I love to use most.

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    No real useage yet but if I do any sewing (and I hope to do some) it will be on one of the vintage machines. In particularly it will be on a treadle or hand crank machine.

    In real life I program computers for a living and, like many other programmers I know, I have a tendency to go for simplicity in my toys. Bicycles, antique woodworking tools and now people powered sewing machines. I know full well that it's an affection - my iPhone is right there with me to remind me that I'm really not a ludite - but it's still how I like to enjoy myself.

    I'm also somewhat particular about the looks of the machines. I love the more ornate decals and the machines that demonstrate a 'waist', particularly if they have the smooth, rounded lines of the classic Singers like the 66 or the smooth rectangular sections of the Frister & Rossmanns. Once again, I understand that style doesn't relate to performance and some of the 'sperm whale' shaped machines (301, 185, Rocketeers, etc...) are great sewing machines. If I were going to be using them for production work I'd want the best performance. Since I'm not I'll settle for lesser performance but killer looks.

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