Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Newbie with a sewing machine question...

  1. #1
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    693

    Newbie with a sewing machine question...

    I was given a 1966 Singer sewing machine (in a table) to practice sewing with...and to see if I would even like sewing. I hadn't touched a machine in 20+ years. However, I am addicted. lol Since November, I have made bedding for baby bed, 4 baby blankets, a purse, my daughter a Christmas outfit, Christmas PJ's, notebook covers and a doggie pillow. My husband is wanting me to make a queen size quilt out of his Army uniforms. I have the design drawn out and most of the uniforms cut out...waiting on him to get me the rest. On to my question, since I am lovin' sewing and hope to learn more, I am debating on rather to buy a new machine. My budget isn't high so I can't afford the high end machines. I was looking at the Brother SQ9050 at Wal-Mart but I am not sure it would handle the big quilt of uniforms. So should I just keep using the 1966 Singer or do you recommend another machine that would be good for quilting and other sewing items? I do prefer to stay under $200 if possible. BUT if there is one higher, let me know and I can always save for one I guess. lol

    Thanks in Advance!

  2. #2
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Phoenix, AZ
    Posts
    2,890
    Like you noted ... budget comes first.

    Would you consider a gently used machine? Most sew & vacs and LQS's have them in good condition and some even with a guaranty. You might get more for you $ that way.

    ali
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  3. #3
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,946
    I'd check out Kijiji (Canadian version of Craig's List in the States). I bought a barely used Husqvarna #1+with most of the parts still sealed up in the original boxes for $200. It just hadn't been used and had originally been sold for $3600 plus tax. I keep checking the sewing machine section and frequently see very good machines for very little money. A classic vintage machine would probably stitch much better for you than a cheapie plastic one from Wal-Mart. My 201 Singer was free and it FM quilts beautifully and has a big throat for an old machine. It is fast and powers through multiple layers of fabrics with no complaints.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  4. #4
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    693
    Thanks for the fast responses.

    I am not opposed to a used machine if it was a good machine. And I will check the site you mentioned. I think I found a dealer/store close by so I might try to stop by one day to see what they have. And I figured the machine I have is probably more durable than most made now. It does need a good cleaning but I haven't found a place around here that does that.

  5. #5
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Lebanon Missouri
    Posts
    2,668
    Blog Entries
    1
    I've found you can't beat an old Singer for any kind of sewing I 've quilted on mine for 40 yrs with out any problems Cleaning and oiling is something you can do at home and save you money for fabric Stop at the sew/vac shop and they can show you how if you don't have the manual Have fun

  6. #6
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Cadillac, MI
    Posts
    6,582
    Blog Entries
    19
    You can clean it yourself. Check online for a manual. I didn't print the 40 some page one for the 1978 machine I cleaned - just read what I needed to. Work on a very large towel with a muffin tin for removed screws and remember where you took them out. I scrubbed the exterior with Simple Green and dried it well, then cleaned the inside with oil. If a spot moves oil it well. If the book calls for grease, get some - don't use oil. Take the bobbin area apart and get all old lint and thread. Toothbushes and lint brushes get a workout, but it's easy to do.

    I don't know much about a 1966 model - the newest one I use for quilting is a 1956, but if yours is working well, then put the money aside and enjoy your vintage machine. There will be machines available when you need one. I might watch Craigslist for a backup, but avoid a used plastic machine.

  7. #7
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MN
    Posts
    19,701
    If this machine is working well - hang on to it and continue to use it. (Unless, of course, you have your heart set on getting a new one)

    Read all the posts by people scoring some of the older Singers - some of the older ones sew beautifully.

    Newer isn't always better.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    693
    Thanks! It does need a good cleaning because it had been sitting up for YEARS before I got it and I didn't clean it out well before I started using it. I found the manual on Singer's site, I didn't have any tools with the machine so I will have to buy some.

    I don't have my heart set on a new one, but I have been trying to find parts for the machine and it seems this model is harder to find parts for...ie walking foot. Or maybe I have been looking in the wrong spot. It is a model 347.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    N.W. Missouri
    Posts
    829
    If the machine is in good working order and you are comfortable with I, I would suggest just using it and maybe starting a savings account for a new one if the need ever arises. I honestly don't think that you can beat the older Singers. I do have a Viking that I bought new in 2003 and I love it dearly, however, if it ever dies on me I will definitely go with my back-up machines, which are a Featherweight and a 301. They are fantastic machines.

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    central Indiana
    Posts
    1,164
    Well...you may find you prefer your old Singer even after you get a new machine. My mom's old machine (about the same or a little older than your's) has an excellent straight stitch. If I were you, I would continue to use it and save my money to someday buy a higher-line embroidery machine.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,937
    Blog Entries
    1
    I would stick with the Singer for now and save up for a better quality new sewing machine. Many of the low-end new machines have a small harp size (area under the arm where the bulk of a quilt needs to be while machine quilting) and do not handle thicknesses well. In these respects, your old Singer is likely to perform much better.

    A new low-end machine will have the convenience of a needle-down setting (not a necessity until you get used to the feature!) and some fancy embroidery stitches (not necessary for quilting). If you save up for a Janome 1500 or 1600P (probably around $1,000 or so in the near future) you will get a heavy-duty machine with all the conveniences, a large harp for machine quilting, tons of embroidery stitches, and something that will last many decades.

  12. #12
    Senior Member fixfido's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    michigan
    Posts
    874
    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    If this machine is working well - hang on to it and continue to use it. (Unless, of course, you have your heart set on getting a new one)

    Read all the posts by people scoring some of the older Singers - some of the older ones sew beautifully.

    Newer isn't always better.
    COULDN'T AGREE MORE!! I love the vintage machines. I own 40 machines; some of which are computerized with all the bells and whistles, but those vintage machines sew circles around them in my opinion.
    Life has given me so much more than scraps, but I make quilts anyway!
    http://www.wickedcool.etsy.com

  13. #13
    RDM
    RDM is offline
    Super Member RDM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    The Evergreen State
    Posts
    1,558
    Blog Entries
    1
    The older Singers had great motors, metal parts, and can be mainted for unlimited use. With your budget, I'd save the cash, continue with what you have for now. Especially since it's working for you. Many low-end new machines have a lot of plastic parts. If later you want a machine that does more, reasearch for a good quality used machine. Hopefully you have a local store that carries your machines accessories, parts, classes, and maintenance is a good way to go.

  14. #14
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    IN
    Posts
    1,151
    Blog Entries
    1
    I love my 3 old Singers WAY better than I love my new fancy, shmancy machines. The decorative stitches on the newer machines are all I use them for. The Singers sew straighter, more consistant, perfect stitches than the newer ones. As in Rock and Roll, heavy metal rules!! I'd take an all metal "oldie" over a new plastic one any day. Just my humble opinion of course.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lived in San Diego now retired in Eagar, AZ.
    Posts
    861
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by AliKat View Post
    Like you noted ... budget comes first.

    Would you consider a gently used machine? Most sew & vacs and LQS's have them in good condition and some even with a guaranty. You might get more for you $ that way.
    ali
    this is absolutely where i take all my friends when they ask me for recommendations... many machines are traded in because the owners want newer, more complex machines...not because they are worn out... others are sold because mom/grandma/aunt susie passed away and no one wants her old machine.... you will be able to get a better machine with more capabilities if you buy used. they will let you sew on them in the repair shops... here are just a couple of things to look for.

    Pick up the machine, then pick up 2 or 3 others...you WANT metal inside your machine and the weight is one of the simplest ways to see if there is ANY in there or not. This is the biggest problem (for me.... just for me, my opinion) in the inexpensive machine in chain stores. They weigh almost nothing because they're all plastic inside.

    Don't be fooled by testing ONLY the denim scraps, you need to see those, but also ask for 2 layers of more normal weights fabrics ...everything sews denim well.... sew straight across the entire scrap for at least 6" and then check both sides for tension quality...the dots in between the stitches should be the same size on both sides.

    How does it sound? is it running smoothly, loud is not preferable... but also not as important as 'smoothly'... does it stop and start immediately when testing? if you put the needle down inside the fabric with the wheel, the motor should start and stop right away. How do ALL the cords and connections look? nothing should be loose (that 'non starting problem' could be a loose wire), or frayed. ask him to replace if you like the machine.

    How does the belt look? is it one of the new 'plastic-looking' polyester belts... they are usually amber colored and will simply never wear out. It is also a sign about what the repairman did for the machine before putting it up for sale. If they aren't even replacing an old belt, they probably didn't do much else.

    Now, what comes with it? extra bobbins (i consider a dozen a necessity, the round ones can be used as spools so there is no waste), zipper foot, hemming foot and normal sewing foot are essential and I would buy them if i found that i loved the way the machine looked and sounded and sewed but not much came with it. However, if all those things are true and they did include the basics, super, you may have found yourself a repairman to keep. if this is all true, give the person their due, ask for a few extra cards to give to your friends for maintenance. and ask his opinion... how often should you have basic maintenance done? if you like his work and his prices are good, trust his opinion and spread the word...you will want him to stay in business. Also, ask (and buy) for his recommendation of a good machine oil to use and ask how often he suggests cleaning and oiling. It is much more often than a lot of us do this simple chore. Also ask his opinion on canned air...most will steer you away, but ask and then ask how to use it if he suggests it for amateurs. (the repairpeople use it when they have the machines open, but that is a different thing.

    Now how about extras? are you into piping? they have a piping foot that makes it a breeze. does the machine have a 1/4" foot? this makes piecing a joy. is there a an extra light bulb? ask the repairman how to take it out and replace it...there are 3 main types and sometimes they are hard to figure out. Now buy that light bulb...the old one will burn out at midnight when you're really in the mood to sew. The end of the extra bulb will help you remember what type you have in the machine, so you can get it out. And lastly, what kind of books come with it? I consider this an important thing to have but would not be a deal-breaker for me because almost all models of machines, new and old, are online now and many are free for the downloading, some have a small charge.

    sewing on the machines is the most important thing and if they won't let you....you need to be somewhere else... good luck... think heavy, think needs (yours, not the machine's) and sew before you buy.....
    Last edited by deemail; 12-30-2011 at 03:33 PM.

  16. #16
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    5,299
    Check with your local LQS. They sometimes have floor models or trade-ins that would be far above your budget in quality but not in price. Also, most LQS's also work on machines. That's a great benefit to have. H

    However, that said, I bought a $200 Brother on Craigslist for almost nothing and it's still a great machine. I'd still use the old workhorse for the heavy quilting though. I just started quilting a quilt that I pieced on the Brother but I'm quilting it on a 1951 Singer.
    If no one ever experimented we'd all still be making 4 patches.

  17. #17
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,699
    The machine will be okay for piecing, but kind of small for FMQ

  18. #18
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Monroe, IN
    Posts
    2,285
    I recently had to buy a new machine as my brother (cs6000i) died and would have cost more than the original purchase price to repair it. The repairman suggested an older singer, usually able to buy for under $200. But I wanted a few of the bells and whistles available on the newer machines. I found a used Janome 6600 from a dealer for $1000. It came with a limited warranty and all the free classes I wanted. It has the built in Accufeed System that is absolutely wonderful, as well as the thread cutter, needle down and needle threader. It is great for quilting with the larger throat area. Yes, it was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but I will have that machine for a long time.

  19. #19
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Cadillac, MI
    Posts
    6,582
    Blog Entries
    19
    I just looked at a pic of your machine, It looks like a regular low shank machine. Any generic feet for low shank machines will fit. My Janome walking foot for my Elna was $24.95 and other feet are available at your sewing machine dealer or online. Ebay has several boxes full right now. All you need to clean the machine is sewing machine oil and a regular screwdriver. Maybe grease - the 1956 Singer needs it, the 1973 Elna doesn't. My 13 year old GD did a great job cleaning the 1978 533 Styylist I was given. Her dad says she can take it home as soon as it jams and she learns how tro unjam it. She pieced an entire quilt top without a jam, so he may have to rethink that. It sews a pretty seam, but at the moment won't zigzag. She took the bottom off and oiled everything in there, too. Have at it - the only thing I really miss that's on a new machine is the needle down feature when I'm FMQ. You can quilt with these machines. The 301 has a 7 1/4" opening and just did a wide twin size quilt.
    Last edited by irishrose; 12-31-2011 at 07:50 AM. Reason: spelling

  20. #20
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    693
    Thank you! Being that info seems to rare on this machine, I wasn't sure if it was a low shank. I found a couple online that said it would work and they were about $25. The only thing I got with the machine was the table...no accessories or manual. I did find the manual on Singer but well it is pretty limited with information about the actual machine.

  21. #21
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Alturas, CA
    Posts
    8,413
    Personally, I would have the Singer that you have serviced and save some money until you can buy a higher end machine. My opinion.

  22. #22
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW (I wish it was the Ozarks!)
    Posts
    6,509
    Blog Entries
    6
    I have several vintage machines, and I have a newer (2years old) lower end Janome. The Janome sits unused, I keep it because my spousal unit gave it to me....I'd much rather use the vintage machines.
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  23. #23
    Senior Member tngal22's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    693
    I bought a cleaning kit today and hope to work on cleaning it tonight! I think I will feel better know it is clean...I am kinda OCD about that and maybe that is what has been bugging me. lol

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.