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Thread: Thinking of a vintage machine...which one? help :)

  1. #11
    Muv
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    Senior Member Muv's Avatar
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    I couldn't persuade you to go for a hand machine or a treadle, could I? Then you haven't got the problem of dodgy old electrics.

  2. #12
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    My first vintage machine was a 1939 Singer 201. I bought it for the cabinet, $20 at an auction. Once I figured out how to thread it correctly, I am totally in love with this machine. It's a workhorse that makes wonderfully straight stitches. Next to the 201, the Singer 15-91 and featherweight are my favorite vintage machines.
    jlm5419-an Okie in California
    http://according-to-ginger.blogspot.com/

  3. #13
    Senior Member vanginney's Avatar
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    My top 3 are singer 201, 99, and featherweight. When you see it you will know its the right one for you!

  4. #14
    Senior Member csharp's Avatar
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    Okay, here's my take on the subject...learned so much from this board first of all about the Featherweights, so cute, (got one) won't be a "go to" for FMQ, too small, Loved the decals on the Singer 66 redeyes (got one) purrs and pieces beautifully, but no reverse and feed dogs don't drop, ...run across a Singer 99 and (got it) does okay and I love it but feed dogs still don't drop....lusted for a 15-91 to fill the "feed dog" item...(got one) it seems to do it ALL and does do the free motion quilting great...now if I can just get better...So I vote for the 15-91 to do it ALL. I also have a lovely Janome 6600P with all the fancy stitches, and an embroidery machine but it is the Black singers that make me smile when I walk into the sewing room. Had only the Janomes until a year ago... vintage machines IS addicting. BUT sooo much fun to use.
    with a passion for quilting and vintage machines..Singers: 99, 4 featherweights, Redeye 66, Lotus 66, Phoenix 27, 15-91, 301A
    Colleen S.

  5. #15
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csharp View Post
    Okay, here's my take on the subject...learned so much from this board first of all about the Featherweights, so cute, (got one) won't be a "go to" for FMQ, too small, Loved the decals on the Singer 66 redeyes (got one) purrs and pieces beautifully, but no reverse and feed dogs don't drop, ...run across a Singer 99 and (got it) does okay and I love it but feed dogs still don't drop....lusted for a 15-91 to fill the "feed dog" item...(got one) it seems to do it ALL and does do the free motion quilting great...now if I can just get better...So I vote for the 15-91 to do it ALL. I also have a lovely Janome 6600P with all the fancy stitches, and an embroidery machine but it is the Black singers that make me smile when I walk into the sewing room. Had only the Janomes until a year ago... vintage machines IS addicting. BUT sooo much fun to use.
    Oh how I agree! You just can't beat a Singer 15-91 OMG! I love mine, so much so, I bought another one for a spare! I love to FM on them, and they are set up all the time to piece with. If you want one to travel with a Singer 301, lightweight. Best buy is probably the 15 though, sometimes you can find a 301 at a decent price. I would certainly do my homework, look around! I have some Janomes also, but my favorites are my old Singers! Hands down!

  6. #16
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    For a beginner, I'd suggest a 201 or 15-91. They are excellent sewers and there are parts available. You'll learn to rewire, oil, grease, and experience the satisfaction of fixing up a timeless machine. They are durable and timeless.

    Stay away from Bernina's, Pfaffs, Elnas, and old treadles because they are delicate, expensive to work on, and/or have some plastic gears that require major experience to replace.
    Last edited by DanofNJ; 02-14-2013 at 07:34 PM.

  7. #17
    Junior Member Jory's Avatar
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    This weekend, I'll be looking at a 1874 Sphinx treadle. . . for $85. seems too good to be true. What should I be on the lookout for?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    Jory

  8. #18
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    I recommend a Japanese made Kenmore ZZ, or a Singer 237. If you find a Kenmore, make sure it is a low shank middle homing machine. These use common 15 bobbins and modern feet and needles. There are an almost endless number of feet available This will serve your needs for many years. A Singer 66 or 15, or a clone will also serve you well, but only straight stitches. All of the above can often be found for $20-$50
    I would stay away from Featherweights (too expensive) and 301s (uses slant shank feet).

  9. #19
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    It seems that parts for Singer machines are easily available. For a non electric machine, I would suggest a Singer 66 or 115 treadle. Both are easy to work on and both sew great. I also have a Singer 201 hand crank that is a great machine. For electric my fav is a Singer 15-91. You can lower the feed dogs on the 15-91 and I think on the 201 also. The 66 and 115 do not lower feed dogs.
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  10. #20
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    It depends what you want to use it for. IMHO:

    If piecing, the Singer 221 Featherweight is the most accurate, but fmq is yucky. Straight stitch (ss) only. Twelve pounds, I think. Easy to transport. Needs special bobbins, easily available, interchange with Singer 301.

    If piecing and free motion quilting and straight line quilting, the Singer 301 (ss) can't be beat, and it is simple to maintain. It is gear driven instead of belt driven, can handle heavier stuff (I wouldn't try leather), has a slant shank that lets you see better. Sixteen pounds. A keeper and my all-time favorite. I have two and use them constantly. Needs special bobbins, easily available.

    The 15-91 (ss) is also good at all these things, but heavier. I know people who have the 15-91 on a quilt frame for quilting despite its small harp. In fact, Model 15 (ss) anything, including clone, is great.

    For piecing and straight-line quilting of heavier items, the Singer 201 (ss) is great. It is a sweet machine. However, don't try it for fmq. I've known only one person who had one she could use for fmq, and if the threads get caught in the bobbin assembly, it's really tough to put it back together so it works. Ask me how I know. I have three 201s but they are seldom used. The hand crank is great for precision thread painting. I prefer the less finicky Singer 301. I find I MUST hold the thread tails each and every time on the 201. This is heavy, maybe 40 pounds. Do not use for bobbin work.

    For all around sewing, but not my favorite for piecing or fmq: the Singer 401. Wonderful for straight-line quilting. Twenty-two or more stitches, reliable, not easy for a beginner to use, sews through a lot (still not leather). Needs frequent use or gets cranky. A keeper. Singer 500 is almost the same. Probably 26 - 30 pounds.

    For piecing, some quilting: Singer 127 treadle (ss) lets you do this but not my favorite, at least not the one I have. Singer 66 handles heavier jobs (not leather) and that would be a better choice.

    For piecing: Singer 99 (ss). It's okay, not a favorite. I have one that has poor decals and use it for paper piecing and allow pins with it. It has the bentwood case.

    Necchi Super Nova is wonderful, endlessly versatile as far as stitches go, very heavy, not a beginner's machine. You can get any stitch you can think up by combining cams.

    For pure precision and enjoyment: Pfaff 130. A machine to die for. Not portable, 40+ pounds, but a great precision piecer, fmq, and straight line quilting. Do NOT use for bobbin work; ask me how I know. Handles heavy stuff easily, but wouldn't make leather a habit. Needs special bobbins.

    Elna grasshopper (ss) is decent for piecing and is one of only two machines made that has a true low gear for powering through really heavy stuff (The other is Viking 6400 series). Elna comes with its own case that turns into a table. Needs special bobbins.

    Viking 6400 series. SS and zz and has 16 more stitches on cams. Good machine. A keeper. Reliable, easy to use. True low gear. Has some unusual looking feet.

    Did I miss any you want to know about?
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 02-15-2013 at 07:38 AM.

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