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Thread: Have to ask

  1. #1
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    I'm rather new to quilting although I have sewn at the beginner to intermediate level for the kids and grandkids. I have two machines but I need to know what the attraction is for the really old machines. Everyone seems so excited when they get these machines and I just have to know why?? What is it they do that others (newer ones) won't? Thanks for indulging me.

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    No computer parts to break, can easily be fixed by yourself, sews a straighter line are a few things I can think of off the top of my head.

  3. #3
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    The are kind of like a classic car. Love the oldies but goodies. I have 2 old singers. They are simple, all metal, straight stitch. easy to maintain, quiet and I could go on. I also have one new model with bells and whistles but the old singers are my go to machine for most project.
    Completely a personal preference!:)

  4. #4
    Super Member Marcia D's Avatar
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    Hmmm, interesting!

  5. #5
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erstan947
    The are kind of like a classic car. Love the oldies but goodies. I have 2 old singers. They are simple, all metal, straight stitch. easy to maintain, quiet and I could go on. I also have one new model with bells and whistles but the old singers are my go to machine for most project.
    Completely a personal preference!:)
    Agreed! :thumbup:

  6. #6
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    And in the case of Featherweights, small, lightweight, and just incredibly CUTE

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mary M's Avatar
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    I love mine just to look at and they are a part of history when things were made to last, unlike so much of what is made today. I grew up sewing on a black beauty and so there is also the nostalgia {sp?} And yes, I am into the blacks and can be different brands.

  8. #8
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i collect them because i like the art work and the history of the machines.

    all my vintage machines work but i never use them.

    i prefer new machines with all the technology for my actual piecing and quilting.

  9. #9
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    they sew through just about any fabric unlike the new machines. i was making potholders, 2 pieces of fabric, 2 pieces of batting and 1 layer of insul-brite. i got so many skipped stitches with my brother computerized machine. i wouldn't dare try to sew layers of denim with it. i was a garment sewer now turned quilter so i always wanted a sturdier, workhorse machine.

    i personally like the all metal machines because to me they are sturdier plus you cannot beat the classic look of a vintage singer machine. to know that some have been around approximately 100 years and still sewing! oh my!!!!

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    they are little work-horses-
    mostly cast iron so nothing to break- very basic- easy to maintain---no visits to the repair shop- you can take care of them yourself- much less to ever go wrong.
    they stitch a nice even straight stitch-
    mine is a 1956 singer and it is perfect for taking back and forth to classes- to work- to where ever i want- i hate lugging around my big expensive computerized Viking- when something gets banged- or what ever it costs hundreds to take it in- with my little vintage singer i can maintain it- and it never lets me down! as long as i clean it, and oil it- i believe it will last for my granddaughter's to use too- my viking on the other hand- will at some point have to be replaced- because technology keeps advancing and after a while you have to upgrade to keep it going....not so with vintage machines

  11. #11
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    My older machines are true workhorses. They'll sew anything and everything, with a perfect stitch.

    My new Singer (less than two years old) has been in the shop 4 times already for various things that have broken.

  12. #12
    Super Member athomenow's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for the info. I just never thought about using one to do my quilting but mom has a Singer from the 50's and I suppose I should rescue it from the basement. I could never get it to stitch properly and so I bought her a little Kenmore which she never uses now either. Maybe I'll inherit both! Then find out how to fix the Singer. I've been looking on Craigslist around Columbus,Oh and these machines are incredibly expensive.

  13. #13
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Nothing sews like a machine with all metal parts! The cost to maintain them is the bottle of oil and a brush to clean out the lint. If I could only have one machine .... it would be my vintage one.... no annual tune-ups , and has never ever let me down.... unlike my new computerized machine that ... I never get to pick the time when it will have an issue ...not that it happens often but it when it does its never a good time.
    If you ever get a chance to purchase one in good running condition .... buy it .... with the new machines .. you always need a back -up.

  14. #14
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    hey, my Singer is 30 plus years old and I don't want one older. i don't use it now that i have a Janome that is several years old, but i wont' get rid of it either.
    Featherweights and others are nice because they are old/antique looking and mean memories. my Mother had a treadle Singer years ago and used to sew at all hours of the night in my and my sister's bedroom.

  15. #15
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    I have a lovely newer Bernina that I love. However even the Bernina (known for lovely stitching) can't compete with my old machines for easy piecing. It is partly the narrow feed dogs and straight stitch foot plate, but the machines make it very easy to do good piecing. The old machines are also made for easy servicing. They do take regular oiling, maybe even every day, but it only takes a couple of minutes. Then they run and run and run - no adjustments needed, no expensive shop visits.

    There are wonderful attachments for the vintage machines that duplicate many of the tasks you might think only the newer machines could do. I think the attachments are so much fun to use!

    I do use the Bernina for much of my garment sewing since I like the zigzag function then. My piecing is done on a Featherweight mostly. I do have a new to me Singer 99 handcrank that I'm learning to use, and there is a treadle that is getting cleaned up. They just feel good.

    Pam

  16. #16
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    They are just beautiful simple machines.

  17. #17
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I bought a treadle over 30 years ago. I actually pieced my first quilt on it (Trip around the World). The only thing I found unusual was that it didn't backstitch. I have always wanted a featherweight but they were always priced out of my budget. NEVER in the right place at the right time. They are so much easier to carry to a class. I have always LOVED anything antique..... :lol:

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by athomenow
    Wow! Thanks for the info. I just never thought about using one to do my quilting but mom has a Singer from the 50's and I suppose I should rescue it from the basement. I could never get it to stitch properly and so I bought her a little Kenmore which she never uses now either. Maybe I'll inherit both! Then find out how to fix the Singer. I've been looking on Craigslist around Columbus,Oh and these machines are incredibly expensive.
    When you get the Singer and try it out, if it still does not stitch right, go the Vintage Sewing Machine thread. There are a lot of knowledgeable people there to help get it straightened out. It could just be a tension issue. Be sure to clean out any lint and oil it before using. I assume it is electric so check the condition of the wiring.

    I got a class 15 Singer in June and haven't sewed with anything else since DH replaced the wiring and oiled it.

  19. #19
    Member Margo in Maine's Avatar
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    I am a Janome lover...have 3...but would not part with my singer featherweight....it can sew through more layers easier...straighter...it is rare...plus I have a brother 1500 for my short-arm plus various old ones...singer...montgomery ward...white...smaller brother..they are my reserve

  20. #20
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I think of vintage machines as "real"....like antique furniture is real - real wood, real metal, real artistic, no noveau fabrications as in plastics, aluminum, etc.

    I have 2 vintage Berninas and a 1990s rendition of one of them; it too is 'almost' all metal and wonderful to use. I don't even want a 2011 computerized, digitized, embroidery machine!

    Jan in VA

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbernie
    No computer parts to break, can easily be fixed by yourself, sews a straighter line are a few things I can think of off the top of my head.
    I agree!

  22. #22
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I am not familer with the newer Singers but the older ones built before 1970,are real work horses , almost all the older machines seam to be built better than the newer ones, I have an Elna frome the late 50's that is fantastic, all metal,I have used it for quilts (cotton) heavy canves, repairing mens denim jeans, and repaired a sheer drape that became damaged, and she is quiet to.

  23. #23
    Super Member whinnytoo's Avatar
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    just like a timex, they 'take a licking and keep on ticking' LOL
    or the energizer bunny,,,,, they keep going and going and going........ older machines are simple and they stitch beautifully

  24. #24
    Senior Member Woodster's Avatar
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    I'm glad you asked this question. I keep looking on Craigslist for machines, have asked myself "Why??" - now there's a reason! Yeah!!

  25. #25
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I love love love the vintage Singers! What everyone said! They are my go to machines. I piece on one and quilt on another. I still use my Janome's but more for embrodiery and zigzag stuff. You just can't beat a old Singer!

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