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Joe, is the 201 electric or treadle? Love the look of a tradle, just not sure if it's for me. Need to find one and try before I buy. I like the idea of going vintage as I don't have a huge budget to work with. Can you easily find a walking foot ans a 1/4" foot for these? Is it straight stitch only? What about repairs? Are they easy to fix? Think I would prefer an electric model over treadle in the long term. Thanks for your thoughts!!
Treadles can be a pain in the legs to get the hang of. I had fits! I could not get the darn thing to keep turning the right direction. It wanted to stall then spin backwards. When that happens the thread breaks and you have to rethread it. Frustration was dripping off the walls around me for quite a while.
Then one day in a fit of "I'M GONNA GET THE HANG OF THIS THING OR DIE TRYING!" I started spinning the hand wheel by hand as I worked the foot pedal. I just kept doing it. My feet couldn't get the hang of it so I just kept on going.
Then just all of a sudden it was like an epiphany .... POW! it hit my entire system. I pulled my hand away from the hand wheel and I was sewing. From then it took a couple days and I had it. Now the only machines I have trouble treadling is my two Singer 9w-7s because they turn the opposite way. Once I get them going it's OK, but getting them going and starting and stopping is a pain in the neck.
We paid just around $75.00 for the 201 in a nice cabinet. It needed cleaned and lubed and used.
I paid under $30.00 for the Singer 66 #2 treadle. Our Singer 66 #1 treadle was $50.00. Both came in useable condition and with some attachments.
We haven't paid much over $35.00 which includes shipping for most of the e-machines we have. A few were more, and a few we had to go pick up. But with just a couple exceptions all the machines needed was cleaning, oil and being use.
Inexpensive machines are still out there. You just have to decide what you want, and pay attention to the details.
If you stick with low shank machines you can buy walking feet and a great variety of attachments and accessories for them from many sources. We try to fit each machine with the basic most used feet and attachments, then put the bigger less used accessories like button hollers, ZZ attachments, walking feet, in a central location for use by which ever machine needs them.
The 201s, 66s, 99s, 15 Clones, and many others are straight stitch machines. For quilting you'll use the SS more than anything else. ZZ and machines with patterns are great for decorating and some sew good strong SSs too, but you'll use the SS far more than the other.
Unless we have one of those catastrophic power grid failures like the dooms day fans talk about, or you live in a location where there isn't electricity, I sincerely doubt you'll ever find yourself in a situation where you'll really need a hand crank or treadle. They are really nice to have and I do enjoy mine, but I also love the ease of the electrically powered machines.
Most machines made up until the advent of plastic gears, if kept oiled and greased, simply didn't wear out. That is why there are just so many of them around. Simple machines, few parts to wear out, and easy to maintain.
Parts are out there from both aftermarket and donor machines so to me there's no worry there.
I have many machines that are 100 years old or pushing that point. And they sew just as good today as they did when they were new. I seriously doubt the current genre of plastic and aluminum machines will be around in 25 years, let alone a 100.
Yes, what Joe said. To get the most bang for your buck, vintage is the way to go. I can recommend a Singer 15, 201, and 301. I have used them all, and more. For sewing through thick fabrics like denim, the old all-metal machines are the best.
jlm5419-an Okie in California
My 1958 Singer 401A will sew through just about anything, it is a work horse.
My daughter has a new Bernina and a new Singer, both just came back from the repairman . . . again. I bought her a 201 a few months ago. She loves it. Its the machine she always goes to first. She told me just yesterday that she sat down to sew and it was all messed up. Then she realized that my granddaughter had just used it to repair her blue jeans and had fooled with the tension. So she readjusted the tension (without taking it to the repairman) and off she went back to sewing. So I guess even the baby generation in my family goes to vintage machines first.
Last week I sold a Singer 301 to a lady who owned a nice Viking. She got the 301 because she mostly straight stitches. The Viking is very expensive to have cleaned - lint gets into the parts you can't clean yourself. She got the 301 because she can clean it herself - she said the 301 machine would pay for itself pretty quickly.
NEVER LET A SEWING MACHINE
KNOW YOU ARE IN A HURRY
Newbie, add me to the list of lovers of vintage machines. Singer 15, 201, 301 (portable), Bernina 730, 830 Record, 930, Pfaff 130 ... all of them are great machines that will probably outlive you! I would suggest buying your first one from a reputable local sewing machine repair shop. He will have the inventory and probably will let you come in and test sew. He will also be available for repairs and adjustments (if you eve need it) and may even offer a few month's warranty when you buy a vintage one. Whatever you decide, let us know how you fare. We love photos too....
Dorothy in PA