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Thread: old Singer machine

  1. #1
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    I notice a lot of you have old Singer (or otherwise) machines, and post pictures of them, ask questions about repairing them, etc.
    I have one; my question is, do you just have these for display, or do you use them, or...? If you use them, what is the advantage of the old machine? I've never used mine (given to me by an aunt), and actually don't even have it on display.

  2. #2
    AbbyQuilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge1
    I notice a lot of you have old Singer (or otherwise) machines, and post pictures of them, ask questions about repairing them, etc.
    I have one; my question is, do you just have these for display, or do you use them, or...? If you use them, what is the advantage of the old machine? I've never used mine (given to me by an aunt), and actually don't even have it on display.
    A lot of us use them in either general sewing like I do and a few quilt with them.

    I like the treadles as I use it for physical therapy also I find that I sew a lot better as I have more control over the speed.
    To me there is nothing better then the simple clack of a treadle sewing

    I also got an older machine its form the late 70's-80's that has all metal parts for my everyday electric sewing that way I dont have to worry about computerized parts and plastic parts wearing out and my husband can fix it.

    What did your Aunt give you?

  3. #3
    Super Member Colbaltjars62's Avatar
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    Oh Darlin, Use it!!!
    I have a old Featherweight and it was designed to use. Singer's older machines were made back when they were used for making clothes so they got alot of use. I'd say to have it tuned up once in a while and keep it oiled and greased the way the manual says and sew like crazy!!
    I have a treadle machine that I am slowly working on restoring and I want to learn to use it as well.
    Its not only a beautiful piece of decore but you can use it too.
    Have fun with it and enjoy!
    Faith

  4. #4
    Junior Member jackkip's Avatar
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    I have just recently been bitten by the vintage machine bug. After reading the boards for a couple of weeks. I went and dug in my closet and pulled out my Grandmother's Singer 301. It was made in 1951 and sews like a dream. Using the Tutorials on the boards here, I gave her a good cleaning and she is running like new. I sew on the 301 and my new Bernina. Actually I have one upstairs and one downstairs. Hopefully once all the kids have left the nest I can combine the two rooms. Until then, I will keep one on each level. :-)

  5. #5
    Super Member KatFish's Avatar
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    I LOVE my old vintage Singers. I hate the newer ones they make today with all plastic gears. I have a Feather weight, Singer 99, 223, 301, 401, 500, and 774 and I love them all. I also have a "Pink" atlas sewing machine and a green Montgomery Ward sewing machine that I got at an auction for a song. They sew the straightest seams, and are still very easy to find parts for. I can do most of the maintence myself, so I don't have to take tem in for repairs so much. Pull out that old machine and use it. You'll love it.

  6. #6
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I love my old Singers too. I do all my piecing on a featherweight, usually bind on my 301. The rest (too many) I just don't have room to display, but they're there when I want to put one up to sew on. Small house, many machines, I sew in the livingroom and quilt on a Tin LIzzie in my kitchen. If I had room I'd have them all set up and ready to sew!

  7. #7
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I have several old sewing machines, mostly Singers. I have used them, but now don't have the room to have them set up. Am currently trying to get a new or used motor for the one I learned to sew on; it was my mother's. They are good for sewing on leather and other heavy duty fabrics, as they don't bog down. The new computerized ones overload the motor and shut down on you. I do have a White treadle that I have used but currently don't. One of these days when I have time to fiddle I will get it out.

  8. #8
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I had a Singer machine my DH bought me in 1964, I used it until the 80's when I bought a new one. The old one was terrible about sewing over heavy seams like bluejeans. It ran good but wasn't for heavy duty sewing. I gave it to my sister but I don't know if she still has it.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Suzan Larrimore's Avatar
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    It might sound silly but I like the vintage machines because of the sense of continuity I feel when I use them. Like I'm part of a long line of (mostly)woman using them. My mother and grand mothers have all passed and I feel closer to them when I use these old beauties. Like a part of the whole. It feels like a tribute to the women that have gone before. It sounds kind of sappy when I read it, but there you have it.

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzan Larrimore
    It might sound silly but I like the vintage machines because of the sense of continuity I feel when I use them. Like I'm part of a long line of (mostly)woman using them. My mother and grand mothers have all passed and I feel closer to them when I use these old beauties. Like a part of the whole. It feels like a tribute to the women that have gone before. It sounds kind of sappy when I read it, but there you have it.
    Not sappy at all. I feel the same way. That is why I am trying to get my mother's old machine up and running. When they are cleaned and lubed they are wonderful, sometimes a little noisy, but that's what we remember so fondly.

  11. #11
    Super Member quilterguy27's Avatar
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    I've got 3 featherweights. I've only had them a short time, but I sew on two of them. The third needs to be serviced. I'm going to eventually follow Billy's tutorial on how to service it and then I will have three working ones and will probably use all three of them until such time as I decide to sell one to pay for having another repainted. I love, love, love them. They are great machines to sew on.

  12. #12
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Quote Originally Posted by Suzan Larrimore
    It might sound silly but I like the vintage machines because of the sense of continuity I feel when I use them. Like I'm part of a long line of (mostly)woman using them. My mother and grand mothers have all passed and I feel closer to them when I use these old beauties. Like a part of the whole. It feels like a tribute to the women that have gone before. It sounds kind of sappy when I read it, but there you have it.
    Not sappy at all. I feel the same way. That is why I am trying to get my mother's old machine up and running. When they are cleaned and lubed they are wonderful, sometimes a little noisy, but that's what we remember so fondly.
    I agree!! What a wonderful post !!! :D
    We are kindred spirits with all the quilters before us :)
    I'm lovin my new Featherweight!! Didn't know I needed one till I found this board LOL

  13. #13
    Junior Member Suzan Larrimore's Avatar
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    My brother inherited my grandmother's beautiful old treadle. It currently lives in a climate controlled storage locker in Fl. He's in the Air Force. I keep trying to convince him we (the treadle and me)would be happier if she lived with me. Just think of all the freight costs saved when he moves. He's not budging, and I can't convince him. yet! I'm still trying. Say your prayers and keep your fingers crossed. Maybe he'll change his mind.

  14. #14
    Power Poster CarrieAnne's Avatar
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    I just think they are so PRETTY!!!!!!! And they usually sew like a dream!

  15. #15
    Super Member Colbaltjars62's Avatar
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    To Suzan- In Delaware

    Tell him that climate control is no way to keep a beautiful, useful piece of history. It screams to be used, and it is better for it to be used than to sit in a dark, warm room with noone to lovingly touch and use it. The oils dry up and the areas that need greasing get gummy. Can he sew from the AFB he is at? I think not. As long as it's still in the family what difference does it make who's house it is at. Besides is he a sewer? These machines are usually passed to a daughter not a son. No disrespect intended just seems a crime to keep it in the dark.
    Good luck talking him into giving it up.
    Faith :XD:

  16. #16
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzan Larrimore
    My brother inherited my grandmother's beautiful old treadle. It currently lives in a climate controlled storage locker in Fl. He's in the Air Force. I keep trying to convince him we (the treadle and me)would be happier if she lived with me. Just think of all the freight costs saved when he moves. He's not budging, and I can't convince him. yet! I'm still trying. Say your prayers and keep your fingers crossed. Maybe he'll change his mind.
    I don't understand why he inherited it instead of you but I REALLY don't understand why he won't budge??? Wow

  17. #17
    Junior Member Suzan Larrimore's Avatar
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    I can't figure out how to reply to to posts at once, so I'll do it this way. To the 2 ladies before. He inherited because he's 13 years younger than me, He's also my father's only natural child.(Stepdad adopted me). I already had a house and family. My parents wanted to take care of him. He got their house with everything inside. I keep telling him I feel about the sewing machine like he feels about our dad's tools. I work on him, and say prayers. One day she'll be mine.

  18. #18
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    My DD has my mother's White treadle that I learned to sew on. She also has my 301 bought in 1958 to make clothes for her. DH says it's the best investment he ever made. I used it until the 80's when I bought my 1st Pfaff. I use the 301 when I'm visiting and need to do repairs. It has the prettiest straight stitch I've ever seen. I love my big Pfaff. It will sew anything! I don't collect old ones. I have a little Janome for classes and a serger.

  19. #19
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I take my FW to workshops and use it alot! The older machines do not have electronic stuff to go haywire, and they are consistently dependable. And I can tinker with it if I DO have a problem. There is no way I will tinker with my Janome!

    I also have a treadle that I haven't used for quite a while, and a couple older machines in a closet.

  20. #20
    Senior Member hulahoop1's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Featherweights that are used for classes and all of my quilt piecing. Also have a pair of treadles that need a LOT of work before they can be used.

  21. #21
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    love the soothing sound and perfect stitch the vintage Singers make. they are built so well & easy to repair if something does go wrong. only machine above the year 1956 is my Bernina (14 yrs), my favorite is the 201, but I have 201,401, 500, 99,15-91, black & tan 221's. yearn for a 222 but just can get
    myself to spend that kind of money! DH started cleaning my finds & now services vintage machines for half the Guild.
    We haunt the garage sales. now we really need to find a market for all the machines we have acquired ! can't pass by
    by the Black Beauties. smitty

  22. #22
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    ok ladies, when I got home from work, I dug out the old machine. I feel simultaneously guilty for keeping it boxed up all these years, and excited to try to use it. Can't start it up now (baby's sleeping), but tomorrow! Now, some help figuring out what I've got?! I can't find a model number on it; it seems there are pieces hiding inside the base (I hear them rattling around), but I don't know how to get them out; the bent piece of metal (see pic) seems to fit into a small hole on the base, and turn, but then nothing.This thing weighs about 150 lbs!
    Attached Images Attached Images



  23. #23
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    That bent thing goes into that hole in the front of the base and is your knee controller. I have a machine very similar to that but in a cabinet. Go to singersewingmachine.com to date it. There should be a stamped number on the base of the machine in front where you can see it. That is your serial #. I just priced getting my mother's machine fixed. Looks like it is going to cost almost $100 to get a new motor for it but I think I am going to do it anyway.

  24. #24
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarge1
    Now, some help figuring out what I've got?! I can't find a model number on it; it seems there are pieces hiding inside the base (I hear them rattling around), but I don't know how to get them out; the bent piece of metal (see pic) seems to fit into a small hole on the base, and turn, but then nothing.This thing weighs about 150 lbs!
    The serial number is at the bottom of the column on an ovel plate. It probably starts with a letter or two. If I can post the link right:
    http://www.singerco.com/support/serial_numbers.html
    this is where you can find the date, model and number of machines made in the manufacturing run. I would suggest cleaning (there are tutorials on the board done by lostn51) or having it cleaned, before you really get it fired up.

    For my part, my newest machine is a 1979 Viking. That's my 'fancy stitch' machine. Then I have a Singer 206, two featherweights, and a vintage Kenmore that I am getting ready for my DD. My favorite is my mom's machine, though, and the one on which I learned to sew. I use them all at various times. They are wonderful. What I am looking for now is a treadle to use when the power goes out. (What confidence that expresses in my DH! He works for the local power plant! :lol: )

  25. #25
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    I like the comment about using the treadle during a power outtage. I have a treadle and was without power for 5 days back in June. Problem is my treadle is in my basement sewing studio and without power is too dark to see to sew. Believe me I thought of it and was trying to figure out a way. Didn't think candles was a very smart idea and had no lantern. Here is a pic of my Singer I am getting a new motor for. I learned to sew on it. Several years ago I cleaned it all up and restored the cabinet back to its original look. It had cigarette burns all over it.
    Attached Images Attached Images


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