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Bjying a used sewing machine

Bjying a used sewing machine

Old 05-26-2020, 10:54 AM
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Default Bjying a used sewing machine

When going to a yard sale - or any kind of "used" sale - things connected with sewing are usually among the first things I look at.

If I happen to see a sewing machine - if/when someone says - "Grandma never used it." - my first thought is "Why not?"
Did she not care to sew? Was the machine a lemon? Is it broken?

I would much rather purchase a machine when the seller says something like "Mom used this a lot!"

My usual reaction to an "unused/new" machine is to avoid it. How about you?
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:36 AM
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I will buy a vintage machine before buying a more "modern" one at yard sales, thrift stores, etc., but I do make sure it's not frozen up, but then again, I would consider the machine model and might still buy it.
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Old 05-26-2020, 11:45 AM
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DH and I were in a habit of wandering to yard sales for a while. Before we left, I always said, I don't need another sewing machine. Need I say, I returned with many. Some were duds, some were gems, some I passed on to friends. I wouldn't put $100 into one but for $20, I say give it a try. Of course, I learned to stay away from certain ones. I once acquired a Touch n Sew with the plastic totally melted inside and out.
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:00 PM
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I bought an early 60's vintage machine from someone whose mother hardly ever used it - she said she just didn't sew much. It was in immaculate condition with all of the parts, including the owners manual. It's a tank - weighs about 40 pounds and sews beautifully. I love it.

I also bought a machine that was frozen up and beat up; it looked like it had been dropped and had bent parts. I found replacements for the damaged parts and got it un-stuck with sewing machine oil. It also sews great.
Another machine was filthy, had a mouse nest in it and the wiring was shot. I cleaned it, oiled it, and installed a hand crank on it. Her name is Minnie and she also sews great.

yeah...if it's a machine that's calling to me, I'm not too put off if it's not perfect. That's the beauty of vintage mechanical machines - you can almost always get them working again.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-26-2020 at 05:31 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 05-26-2020, 12:44 PM
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My grandmother and my aunt did not sew more than to mend something - and then, only if they had to. My mother or my great grandmother did all that for them when they were around. But my aunt moved to Los Angeles to go to college and my mom moved to WA in 1962 when my dad was transferred there by Boeing. So they did not use their machines much. My aunt was given a FW and still has it - I wonder if the best is still flexible enough to work. And my grandmother had 2 treadles. So if someone told me a machine wasn't used much that may be the reason, especially if they grew up in the era that it was important to have a machine. (Neither of my daughters have machines and they do not want them. All mending comes to my house.) You just need to ask questions and test a machine.

I hate to admit it but I don't think I would buy anything used if it were built after 1970. All those plastic gears were nice in theory but fell apart when they aged. I say that from experience. I am so glad so many are going back to making more reliable machines.

Last edited by quiltingcandy; 05-26-2020 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 05-26-2020, 03:56 PM
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My Mom had a sewing machine but almost never used it. Same with my Gram. It seems that they were a staple back in the day but I guess not everyone liked using one.
I wish I had my Gram's. It was an old Singer with the cabinet that had all the pretty drawers. No idea what happened to it.
I wasn't into sewing anyway when I was growing up.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:54 AM
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What really bums me out is when I ask, "I see there is a sewing machine there, any chance there are bags of fabric around?" and then find out "oh, we didn't think anyone would want that and threw it out".

I'm really taken with Morse machines when I see them... it's always hard for me to turn them down but I have enough machines! I just shouldn't look but I do.

Hint: If you are in the market for a good machine, watch not only estate sales but storage locker clean outs after divorces. Sometimes the guys just have no idea on how much their wife spent on that machine... You do want the ones that were obviously never used and assume that they are in perfect condition -- just bought and never used. I understand some people do that.

When my hubby moved here, he brought his Grandmother's machine in cabinet with him. It is no beauty. It still works, or did when we plugged it in and tested it 15 years ago. Think maybe it is a Wards? Rough black finish, basic cheap stand, but it was part of her life and the family's life and their memories of her at the machine and hearing it buzz along. It sits now in a place of honor as a lamp stand under a picture painted by my grandmother, bringing our families together.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:11 PM
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When checking out older machines take a good look at the cords before you plug it in. No VSM is worth your life.

I keep a bag with a spool of thread, A threader, snips and swatches in my car just in case Sometimes I'll get them out and try it if I have doubts, but by now I am pretty good at checking one out without power.
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