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Thread: A bit of Irony --old may trump new sewing machines

  1. #1
    Super Member moreland's Avatar
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    A bit of Irony --old may trump new sewing machines

    I have two relatively new machines (10-15 yr range)--One Bernina and one Elna. When the Bernina froze up on me, I switched to the Elna. One day later, the Elna would not get out of bobbin winding mode, so I packed it up and dug our my "newest" machine. I spent my snow day yesterday sewing away on my Featherweight which is over 60 years old and sews beautifully.
    I can speed along on it a lot faster than on either of the computer machines and since it is single needle, straight stitch only--that is what it does and my seams are "perfect"--wonderful machine. Here in our town we got a little over 7" of snow, but much of the state and surrounding areas had more like a foot of the white stuff.
    I am working through my scrap strips--have all the blues sewn and cut into blocks; most of the lighter strips are done, but still have a day's worth of browns & blacks to work up along with a few lights I will work in with them for the strip piecing. No idea when I'll get them put into quilt tops, but the mood will strike "someday" and I will get them made. Will have more than a hundred 91/2" blocks when I get done. Will be nice to have empty scrap drawers all ready to be filled up again.
    God Bless,
    Rachel

  2. #2
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    Morning Wildcat!! I am in Leavenworth, where we have about 15 inches on the ground and more in the forecast for the end of the weekend!!! The farmers need the moisture but my back is aching from scooping all morning! I don't have a featherweight but my straight stitch Brother 1500 is a workhorse and a half too!!! Not to mention the beautiful control I have when I drop the feed dogs. I just traded my computerized Elna in on a new Baby Lock Jane....exact same as the Brother 1500. My old girl is almost 12 years old and starting to have a few issues, so when I took her into be tuned up, the guys at Missouri Sewing Machine Company, made me a sweet deal on a trade in for the Elna and I said good bye! I just never bonded with that machine........

  3. #3
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your machines!!! I have featherweights to and I love them!!! They are always around when I need them!!!!

  4. #4
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    a friend gave me a singer clone in a treadle table. whenever something goes wrong the kenmore messes up or the power goes out I pedal my troubles away! It is so simple to use sometimes I use it just to relieve stress. no thought just pedal away!
    don't stop!just keep trying and something usable will turn out!!

  5. #5
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    I have a back-up Bernina for my Bernina. A back-up Singer clone for my Berninas and if all else fails....a back-up Singer Treadle. A quilter can never have too many back-up machines.

  6. #6
    Super Member jgriinke's Avatar
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    I have 3 Janomes that I love. but, now and then I really like to get my Featherweight out and sew with that. They are just sweet machines.

  7. #7
    Super Member sahm4605's Avatar
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    spent the day wishing i could zew. kids and hubby trapped in the house with hubby working from home is not a happoytime. we got a good foot of snow thisside of the boarder.
    when life gets you down go and talk with a little kid. They will help you work out even the worst problems with their simple logic.

  8. #8
    Senior Member HouseDragon's Avatar
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    My backup workhorse is my 1965 Swiss-made, all metal ELNA Supermatic.

    It was the top of the line sewing machine when it came out with all the bells & whistles and cams for the then new stretch-stitches. *LOL* Forty-eight years later, it's my "go to" machine when my Husqvarna 875 Q goes in for her yearly servicing.


    Now if I could just find a Featherweight for when the electricity goes out ........
    If life gives you lemons, make Limoncello!

  9. #9
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Here in Poland we've been getting snow as well. Last Thurs evening/Friday early morning we also got 7-8" inches and then a couple days ago another 3-4" plus it's snowing lightly now. I'm mostly staying in and sewing and "playing with" my embroidery machines.

    Actually I've been making labels for some charity quilts--...plus working on 4" QAYG squares and 2" QAYG squares. Almost ready to start joining them together.

  10. #10
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    Love the old machines. I had to downsize so had to get rid of some. But I did keep 2 Singer Slants. A 401 and a 301 along with my Brother and my serger this is the least machines I have had in over ten years. My absolute favorite was one from the 60's/70's called a Household it was a badged Emdeko. It would sew through anything . It went to a young fireman who is sewing equipement bags... I just couldn't lift it anymore, it was 55 lbs...
    Yes the old one will hold up for sure..

  11. #11
    Senior Member GammaLou's Avatar
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    Sorry House Dragon, the featherweight won't help with power outages. For that you need a treadle machine. Probably about 50 years older than the featherweight. Good hunting!!

  12. #12
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    I have made so many quilts through the years on my 1941 cast iron Singer. I have bought two plastic machines through the years and got tired of having to mess with both all the time to fix thread jams and such, so I gave one to my daughter and the other has been sitting on the shelf for 5+ years. Eventually I hope to be able to use it for some fancy stitches and mostly machine applique (which is why I bought both newer machines) but when I sit down to sew, I want to SEW!!!!!!!
    Mistakes are just opportunities to invent a new quilting technique!

  13. #13
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I can't bring myself to thinking about buying a newer model machine.. I would love to embroider labels, but the thought of having computer problems, and not being able to play would send me over the edge. I don't like relyig on someone else to fix my machines. I use the Singer 66, and I do have a couple of back ups.. If she gets fussy (doesn't break), I can use one of my singer 99's.. If they decided to have attitude problems (not breakdowns), I can go to the Singer 237.. I don't use that one much, as I love the sound of the 66.. It hums..

  14. #14
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    One of the reasons the old machines sew so much better is that the feed dogs are under the presser foot. If your machine does zig-zag, the quarter inch seam doesn't even reach the feed dogs on one side. Because the needle must go side to side, the feed dogs are set very wide. That's why I love my 1956 Singer 301. The foot even marks a 1/8th inch seam.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  15. #15
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    It's a shame about the newer machines. There's a lot more that can go wrong on them, I guess. I have my mom's 1968 Elna Supermatic and it still sews like a dream. I was even able to get a bunch of additional cams for it on eBay and Etsy in recent years. I also use a wonderful old Bernina Record from 1972. Just recently I bought a machine that can do what none of my others can: sew without electricity. It's a 66K Lotus hand crank from 1919. I'm ready for the next hurricane!

    Btw, Jodimarie, I grew up in Leavenworth, and I remember a notable snowstorm in 1958 that was 9 inches. We never saw 15 inches in all the years I was there! I miss the beauty and childhood fun of snow but not so much the shoveling and trying to drive in it. Keep safe, everyone in the snow and ice zone!
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  16. #16
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GammaLou View Post
    Sorry House Dragon, the featherweight won't help with power outages. For that you need a treadle machine. Probably about 50 years older than the featherweight. Good hunting!!
    This is correct about the Featherweight, but recently I came across this http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/...s/Singer01.jpg , from oldsingersewingmachineblog.com which clearly shows that in the WW2 era Singer was simultaneously offering a model of their machines in three different options: hand crank, treadle or electric. I think the machine shown is the 66 - at least that was the type of machine I was googling about when I came upon the ad. In the US there was a great effort to get electricity out to rural areas prior to that period, but many parts of the world were still without it, so there was still a market for people-powered machines, and they continued to be made by Singer, I think I read, until about 1963. The Featherweight was always electric, however.

    I bought my 66-K Lotus hand crank less than 10 days ago, and finally got up the gumption the other day to study the oiling instructions, thread up and try it. (The price was such that I would have bought her just for her looks!) I'm happy to report that she sews beautiful stitches. We wish we could all be in such wonderful condition at age 94!
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  17. #17
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Wonders never cease! While looking for something else on eBay just now I stumbled upon this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/FEATHERWEIGH...item2574d9564e

    This is not an endorsement. I don't know this seller and have not tried this product, but it does seem as though it would be one more accessory that I might need. Has anyone else tried it?]]

    Realizing that since eBay listings don't last forever, I decided I need to edit this to state that it is a listing for a crank attachment handmade by Scott Bishop to fit Featherweight 221 and 222 machine.
    Last edited by Rose_P; 02-28-2013 at 04:11 PM.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  18. #18
    Senior Member AlaskaAlice's Avatar
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    I am excited!! I bid on a 401a singer..and got it..I have gone through several emotional realms with this adventure..1st. the person who received payment "named nolimitdave" kind of made me uneasy..but I won the bid so I paid for it.. I received the machine Monday evening..opened it..Out side of the machine looked ok..except for a break on the back corner..either had to have been dropped or something..packed quite well.. but looked like it had been ripped from a cabinet out side had been cleaned enough to look ok..opened the top and looked inside..hard gunk caked, but the seller said it "worked" I should have asked if it sewed...anyway I cleaned and worked on it for about 8 hrs.. it did have moving parts..the right stitch indicator would not move and so I cleaned and got lots and lots of hard caked on stuff off and got the stitch changer to move but it would not do a zig zag stitch so this morning I spent another 5-6 hrs cleaning and gently moving the parts until it will do the motions right.. it came with only a straight stitch plate ..ordered a Zig Zag plate this afternoon..so I am anxious to get it and see if it sews right.. It will make the pattern stitches on paper ...so I think maybe my purchase will be a good one after all. It looks like it was stored for a long time..and had not been used much. so I am hoping to have a great machine when I am done with it!
    Thank all of you posters on QB for ideas I have received! the links to different help sites are really helpful!! I have to be very careful with our budget so I am so thankful for the get information I get here!

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