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Thread: Older Sewing Machine

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Hi All! I am interested in getting a older singer sewing machine. I am not really interested in getting a FW. I was wondering about the other older models, for example which one has the most throat space and what attachments are available for which ones? I basically want to get it to try to learn my FMQ as my brother machine (inexpensive model) seems to bounce around and have trouble with bulk. What type of feet were made for these machines or have been made to fit these machines to use for FMQ , Has a walking foot been made that will fit them for straight line quilting? There seem to be a number of different models available on craigslist most of the time...but how to know which one would be best. What would any of you who have a vintage machine recommend and why? Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    This is my favorite FMQ machine - a Singer 15-91. I've also had a treadled version (15-89) and a belted motor version (15-90) of this machine - all of them are fabulous, but I prefer this one.

    It takes a class 15 bobbin, a 15X1 needle and standard low shank attachments, so keeping it equipped is easy and cheap. :)

    My favorite hopping foot costs $3.00-5.00. You can get a modern repro even feed (walking) foot for $15-20. I use two different brands of these and don't notice any difference from one to the other. Both are effective.

    It's got a lot of room under the arm, more than any other domestic machine I own except for maybe the Singer 27. Lots of people like quilting on the 27, but I must be a thread hog because I feel like I no more than get started before I run out of bobbin thread. It's a spindle type bobbin, and it takes standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    Another one that's a favorite is a Singer 301. It takes slant shank attachments, a 221 bobbin and a standard 15X1 needle. It has a lot of room under the arm and a lot of people really love this machine for quilting and FMQ. I get acceptable results, but I just never really loved sewing with it the way I love sewing with my 15's.

    Several people say that they do all their quilting on their 201's. I have two that I need to put back together, but I haven't done enough FMQ on them to really judge. I think the results were acceptable, but not as nice as on the 15. And the class 66 bobbin holds considerably less thread than the 15. Standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    I've done quite a bit of FMQ on my Singer 401 - lots of skipped stitches, so the only free-motion stuff I do on that now is darning type repairs.

    My second favorite FMQ machine is a Kenmore 1803 (and I have an 1802 which is just as good at it) Super high shank attachments, class 15 bobbin and 15X1 needle. It doesn't have nearly the space under the arm as the 15.

    My third favorite FMQ machine is the one in my avatar - a Lady Kenmore 89 from the late 60's. It's also got quite a bit less space under the arm than the 15.

    I love all my old gals - but the 15 is really getting a workout in the last few weeks. :)

    Singer 15-91
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  3. #3
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    A lot of the Singer older machines have a slant shank and the attachments are a little more expensive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member B. Louise's Avatar
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    There a similar Singer on Indianapolis Craigslist today--$125, I think.

  5. #5

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    Wow thanks, sounds like you know your machines! Great information, very helpful, and definatly appreciated!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    This is my favorite FMQ machine - a Singer 15-91. I've also had a treadled version (15-89) and a belted motor version (15-90) of this machine - all of them are fabulous, but I prefer this one.

    It takes a class 15 bobbin, a 15X1 needle and standard low shank attachments, so keeping it equipped is easy and cheap. :)

    My favorite hopping foot costs $3.00-5.00. You can get a modern repro even feed (walking) foot for $15-20. I use two different brands of these and don't notice any difference from one to the other. Both are effective.

    It's got a lot of room under the arm, more than any other domestic machine I own except for maybe the Singer 27. Lots of people like quilting on the 27, but I must be a thread hog because I feel like I no more than get started before I run out of bobbin thread. It's a spindle type bobbin, and it takes standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    Another one that's a favorite is a Singer 301. It takes slant shank attachments, a 221 bobbin and a standard 15X1 needle. It has a lot of room under the arm and a lot of people really love this machine for quilting and FMQ. I get acceptable results, but I just never really loved sewing with it the way I love sewing with my 15's.

    Several people say that they do all their quilting on their 201's. I have two that I need to put back together, but I haven't done enough FMQ on them to really judge. I think the results were acceptable, but not as nice as on the 15. And the class 66 bobbin holds considerably less thread than the 15. Standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    I've done quite a bit of FMQ on my Singer 401 - lots of skipped stitches, so the only free-motion stuff I do on that now is darning type repairs.

    My second favorite FMQ machine is a Kenmore 1803 (and I have an 1802 which is just as good at it) Super high shank attachments, class 15 bobbin and 15X1 needle. It doesn't have nearly the space under the arm as the 15.

    My third favorite FMQ machine is the one in my avatar - a Lady Kenmore 89 from the late 60's. It's also got quite a bit less space under the arm than the 15.

    I love all my old gals - but the 15 is really getting a workout in the last few weeks. :)
    wow great info! Sounds like you know your machines well! Greatly appreciate the info!

  7. #7
    Junior Member ladyinpurple135's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
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    Glad to hear so much great info on the 15-91. One is sitting up in upstate NY in my in-laws house - which we inherited from them. I've been wanting to try it out for a long time - just forget to take sewing stuff along. It's been a long time since it was used - my MIL passed away in 1992 and I am sure that she hadn't used it for many years before that. I'd love to bring it back home to NC but just do not have enough space for another cabinet sewing machine. My grandmother's 201 in a cabinet is still in storage for that very same reason.

    I also own a 301, a few 99Ks and a few featherweights - collecting is a real disese!!!

    Thanks again for all the 15-91 info.
    Sandy in cold Mooresville, NC



    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    This is my favorite FMQ machine - a Singer 15-91. I've also had a treadled version (15-89) and a belted motor version (15-90) of this machine - all of them are fabulous, but I prefer this one.

    It takes a class 15 bobbin, a 15X1 needle and standard low shank attachments, so keeping it equipped is easy and cheap. :)

    My favorite hopping foot costs $3.00-5.00. You can get a modern repro even feed (walking) foot for $15-20. I use two different brands of these and don't notice any difference from one to the other. Both are effective.

    It's got a lot of room under the arm, more than any other domestic machine I own except for maybe the Singer 27. Lots of people like quilting on the 27, but I must be a thread hog because I feel like I no more than get started before I run out of bobbin thread. It's a spindle type bobbin, and it takes standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    Another one that's a favorite is a Singer 301. It takes slant shank attachments, a 221 bobbin and a standard 15X1 needle. It has a lot of room under the arm and a lot of people really love this machine for quilting and FMQ. I get acceptable results, but I just never really loved sewing with it the way I love sewing with my 15's.

    Several people say that they do all their quilting on their 201's. I have two that I need to put back together, but I haven't done enough FMQ on them to really judge. I think the results were acceptable, but not as nice as on the 15. And the class 66 bobbin holds considerably less thread than the 15. Standard low shank attachments and 15X1 needle.

    I've done quite a bit of FMQ on my Singer 401 - lots of skipped stitches, so the only free-motion stuff I do on that now is darning type repairs.

    My second favorite FMQ machine is a Kenmore 1803 (and I have an 1802 which is just as good at it) Super high shank attachments, class 15 bobbin and 15X1 needle. It doesn't have nearly the space under the arm as the 15.

    My third favorite FMQ machine is the one in my avatar - a Lady Kenmore 89 from the late 60's. It's also got quite a bit less space under the arm than the 15.

    I love all my old gals - but the 15 is really getting a workout in the last few weeks. :)

  8. #8
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Ohio
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    I'm loving this thread!! I have 2 FW, a 66, 201,301, thought I was done, but now I want the one you're all talking about lol
    Yes, it IS a disease!!!!!!!!!! :D
    I love even READING about them!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Yep, "disease" is a good word for it! :D

    I have a 66-1 in a treadle that's still waiting for me to refurbish it. The wood is falling apart and fabric catches on the wood. The paint and decals are shot on that machine, too so I had planned to strip it and paint it and re-plate the nickel parts. I bought a good solid cabinet without the irons on it - the irons had been used to make a table or something.

    I was going to sand and paint the wood black and put brass pulls on the drawers and do the machine in fire engine red with antique fire engine gold leaf decals. I was thinking of trying to electroplate all the nickel parts with gold, too. A fire chief's badge would go on the pillar to finish the fire truck theme.

    But, as usual, what I plan to do and what I actually accomplish are two different things. Maybe after Christmas, I'll find the gumption to drag it out and get started on it.

    It's got a full set of back-clamping attachments and it sews through absolutely anything. I'm not much good at FMQ while treadling, but piecing is so peaceful and easy. :)

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Apr 2010
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    You guys might want to check out estate auctions in paper also they sell for around $350.00 on ebay and I found one in a cherry cabinet in working order for $35.00 I plan on having it cleaned and serviced I was so excited haven't really got to try it out yet.Good luck in your search it is half the fun.

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