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Thread: Cheap Back-up

  1. #1
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    Cheap Back-up

    Can you please tell me if there is an inexpensive machine that will sew a straight and perfect 1/4" seam consistently? Some are just fine for crafty things but I need a back-up ASAP for piecing. Crooked seams drive me crazy. Thanks for being there.

  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Singer 301 or a Featherweight. The 301 you can usually get for less than $150 and much better than a disposable, plastic machine.

  3. #3
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    Sewing straight and a perfect 1/4" depends on the sewer not the machine. Do you have a marker of some kind to guide you. Even painters tape will do. Probably not the answer you were hoping for but fact.

  4. #4
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    I have to respectfully disagree. My regular machine does sew perfectly straight 1/4" seams, it's just getting a tune-up. I am using my daughters machine and it's not straight. I would be the first to admit to my shortcomings but this time, it's not me, it IS the machine.

  5. #5
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Another vote for a Singer 301, a Singer 15 or a Japanese 15 clone. A straight stitch machine usually sews a straighter seam than a ZZ machine and these metal oldies do it well. The 301 is lighter than the 15.

  6. #6
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    Have to agree with the others in recommending an older metal machine. I was very lucky to inherit my mil's 1948 Singer 15-91. I was accustom to sewing on my Singer 1036(zz & ss) I purchased in 1979. It was a pleasant surprise to discover how well the 15-91 sews a straight seam.

  7. #7
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    I vote for the 301. Sews great, simple to use, lightweight, and stores easily.

  8. #8
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i do the best 1/4" seams when i use the machine that has a 1/4" foot with fence... it's an old kenmore
    Nancy in western NY
    before you speak T.H.I.N.K.
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  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    301 are great machines! I have one and I love it. Never had a machine that did not sew straight!!!!

  10. #10
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I had a machine that the feed dogs moved crooked. I couldn't sew a straight seam without a fight. It took the repairman a long time to figure out it was the very slight crooked movement of the feeddogs. He recommended not wasting money fixing it. I didn't mind, the machine was given to me because it wouldn't sew straight. I though yeah right. LOL
    Got fabric?

  11. #11
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    Best for the money is a used mechanical machine. I would suggest an old Singer - a 201.

  12. #12
    cjr
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    Super Member cjr's Avatar
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    FW are perfect but not always available cheap. my first backup portable is a Janome 3180 that I purchased at Hancock fabrics for $99. That was all i could afford at the time. Hancocks puts them on sale regularly, I've seen it as low as $89. Good Luck.

    By the way mine has fallen off a snack a few times, the only injury was the spool holder fell off. Mine came with a 1/4" seam foot.
    www.etsy.com/shop/quiltinglycaroline

  13. #13
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    Wow! This is a timely post!!! Boonedox - I'm sure that you will probably like either a FW or a 301 because they are so portable.

    This morning, I stopped in at our local sewing machine techy to see if he happened to have a 301 for sale. I want to get one to take to classes and for travel. I have ready been searching for awhile through the thrift/collectibles stores along with watching the internet ads for awhile. He said that he has too many machines of all types in his personal collection and has been thinking of selling off some and reorganizing his stuff. I gave him my number and will hear from him in a few days. I really hope he gives a reasonable price so that I can be sewing on one soon. I already have a FW and she is in near pristine condition so I want to use her less often so that she stays that way - guess I can be a bit of a purist when it comes to vintage machines.

    Does anyone have suggestions as to any particulars that I should be on the look out for and which of the 301s are more sought after?
    Last edited by costumegirl; 01-22-2013 at 02:42 PM.

  14. #14
    Super Member quilts4charity's Avatar
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    I think any straight stitch only machine will work...I have several and they all do great!

  15. #15
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    Would the Janome HD1000 be a wise choice as a back up? I will keep my eyes open for that 301. Thanks

  16. #16
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boonedox View Post
    Would the Janome HD1000 be a wise choice as a back up? I will keep my eyes open for that 301. Thanks
    I believed I tried that one out once at my LQS and was pleasantly surprised at how sturdy it felt. I also think that Leah Day had a favorable review on this one a year or two ago.

  17. #17
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    OK, I found the link and wasn't actually dreaming! http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.c...e-hd-1000.html

    There's other stuff in the article, but near the end she adds, "Now as for the machine! As I said earlier, I'm really loving this little machine! While Josh is hoping I'll sell each machine in the review before buying the next one, I don't think I can part with this one. It takes the same bobbins as the Horizon so I think it's going to make a great little workshop machine, something I can tote around town with no problem."

    Sounds like a good endorsement to me! :-) Laura

  18. #18
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    Here's the link where she has a video review of the Janome HD1000. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.c...e-program.html

  19. #19
    Senior Member ghquilter53's Avatar
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    We sell something called an Easy Anlger that is placed on your machine at our quilt shop. It solved my quarter inch problem with one of my machines. It's about 10 dollars if I remember right.

  20. #20
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    My Featherweight sews the best straight seam of all my machines, but the 401 does a good job, too. As you can see by my signature, I love the vintage and antique models. I wouldn't have a modern machine, even if you gave me one!
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

  21. #21
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    I don't know where you are in NC but I bought a Janome My Style which weighs between 12 and 13 pounds so I can take it to classes or quilt guild. I also have a Janome 10001 and my 1/4" foot works perfectly. I bought it at Ye Olde Forest Quilt Shop in Greensboro. If you buy it and don't have a Janome machine do buy the 1/4" foot. It is great for sewing quilt seams.

  22. #22
    Junior Member ArlaJo's Avatar
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    I have a Viking Mega Quilter that sews a perfect straight stitch. It will only sew a straight seam but it's my workhorse for quilts.

  23. #23
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    sewing a straight seam is an operator function... heaven knows after 50 years I still go off wack at times when I rush. I say, buy a feather weight instead of a plastic machine

  24. #24
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    Necessity is the mother of invention. This is what I just came up with to get perfect seams.



    Yes, that's a grocery store key card taped to it. Works perfectly!

  25. #25
    Junior Member krisgray's Avatar
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    it the feed dogs

    Quote Originally Posted by Boonedox View Post
    I have to respectfully disagree. My regular machine does sew perfectly straight 1/4" seams, it's just getting a tune-up. I am using my daughters machine and it's not straight. I would be the first to admit to my shortcomings but this time, it's not me, it IS the machine.
    I have 2 Vikings - one much older than the other. When sewing a 1/4" seam the newer definitely sews more straightly. It has to do with that right feed dog not catching enough fabric to keep sewing in a straight line. Do not have any problems keeping straight seams with the FW or a 301, which has a 1/4" mark on the plate.

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