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Thread: Opinions Please!

  1. #1
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    Opinions Please!

    I have been researching buying a sewing machine for several weeks now and no matter what I put in my search engine, I ended up here. So I think I was meant to be here. And I joined.

    I keep running about in circles so I am looking for recommendations from those who use these machines all the time. I want a machine that will sew almost anything. Clothing weight leather, light upholstery fabric, denim, and of course quilts. I am leaning towards a vintage machine with direct drive like the Singer 201, or 15-91. My other option is go with a treadle/hand crank type of machine.

    I really don't care about the antique value of these machines. I want to use them. I do know I don't want anything plastic or made in China. All I care about is straight stitch and reverse. Zig zag would be nice but not a deal breaker. I don't want a lot of computerized stuff I can't fix if it breaks. I've had machines with lots of bells and whistles and I never used any of it. I am fairly handy and I'm not afraid to pick up a screwdriver.

    I've been sewing for years. Mostly simple projects but I can make just about anything. I've always had cheap hand me down machines that weren't all that good. What do you think? Am I looking at the right machines? Suggestions on great machines I missed?

    Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

  2. #2
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have the Brother ps1500 and it is heavy duty, straight stitch and reverse, high feed dog lift for thick layers. It's easy to clean inside and very low maintenance. The manual is lousy but there is a great yahoo group just for the 1500 to answer any questions you have. Juki makes a straight stitch heavy duty machine too.

    I hope this helps you. There are great posters here and between all of them every machine known to man is somewhere sewing up a storm! You come to the right place. Welcome!
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 12-17-2012 at 11:47 AM.
    Got fabric?

  3. #3
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Welcome, I have a Juki TL98QE and Babylock Jane. Both straight stitch only machines. My Daughter has the Brother 1500, straight stitch only. All three of these are wonderful. She quilts on hers and I quilt on mine, up to queen size quilts. Good luck finding a great for you machine.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  4. #4
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    I keep getting outbid on e-bay but maybe for a reason. I just talked to a woman who is selling a 1906 Singer treadle machine that's been in her family since it was new. She doesn't know anything about sewing machines but she says the cabinet and the machine are practically showroom new and working.

    So I'm off to take a look. For $100 it sounds like a real bargain!

  5. #5
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I vote Bother 1500S, too. Great machine. Large throat. Heavy duty.

  6. #6
    Junior Member NewbieToQuilting's Avatar
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    I love my 201! It goes through anything. I also have a vintage Bernina 730 record and a new Pfaff. Love the vintage machines but enjoy the decorative stitches on the new one!

  7. #7
    Member calicoquilter's Avatar
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    You might try a singer 500. It does straight stitch and zig zag. Heavy duty with all metal parts. I think it is supposed to be the last great machine that singer made. I love mine.

  8. #8
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my 1956 Singer 99-K is a wonderful (utility machine!) it is cast iron- weighs a ton!-- very simple- easy to maintain- sews the most wonderful straight stitch - has reverse...and is heavy duty enough to deal with anything i decide i need to sew- best thing about it---i bought it for $20
    i have a Viking that cost over $5000...it does not sew as nice a straight stitch as my vintage singer!...it does have lots of other 'bells & whistles' so has it 's place ...but that little singer was the best $20 i ever spent!
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  9. #9
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    I hope the antique Singer visit turned into a buy - if so you got a great deal!
    Welcome from coastal central Florida!
    Cherylsea

  10. #10
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    I got it! A 1906 model 66 Lotus pattern complete with cabinet, attachments(I don't know what some of them are), and the treadle. It's a drop in bobbin and the only thing missing is the bobbin plate cover. It spins freely and the treadle is complete and working(it's even on wheels). The belt needs to be replaced. There's a motor on it with a knee pedal that's very dicey wiring wise so I will just take off the motor when I start cleaning it tomorrow. The cabinet is in great shape and complete with 5 drawers. The lap drawer needs some glue on the front plate and a new bottom. What an amazing find!

    I think down the road I will look for a 15-91 for my powered machine.

  11. #11
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    I have my mother's singer 201, bought just after WW2 finished. It has never been in the shop for repairs, been serviced, oiled a few times. It still sews like new. It has made drapes, tailored men's suits, upholstered furniture, quilts, made evening dresses, etc. Goes forward, backwards and needs an attachment for everything else, but with an attachment does everything else beautifully.

  12. #12
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I'm so glad you decided on an oldie. I'm using a Singer 66, and Singer 99 exclusively. They both only go foward. I wouldn't trade either of them.
    Good Luck, and enjoy her.

  13. #13
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I love my Brother 1500 too. I have some other so called"better" machines but I nearly always use the Brother to sew and quilt.

  14. #14
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    You can't go wrong with a Singer straight stitch machine. When/if you get tired of treadling definitely look at a 15-91. A 201 will use the same bobbins as your 66 and is a very nice strong machine, but the 15-91 with its vertical bobbin will free motion quilt like nobody's business.

  15. #15
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    My 15-91 has become my main "go to" machine. The only time I use a modern machine is when I do machine applique. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a 15-91 or a 201. Both are workhorses.
    Welcome to the board!
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  16. #16
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    Go to several dealers and try out a bunch of machines. I'm not saying buy them. Try them, including used ones. When you find what you want look on e-bay, Craig's list, thrift stores and see if you can find one there. The best advice I can give you is to buy the BEST machine you can afford. I have had cheap machines that nearly cured me of sewing and now have great machines that make me forget laundry and cooking so I can play.

  17. #17
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    I love my 301a, straight stitch all the way. For zigzag, I have a vintage New Home from Janome.
    Aurora

    "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." -Robert A. Heinlein

  18. #18
    Senior Member imnywoman's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board! You are headed in the right direction. Check out the vintage & antique section here on the board, so many helpful and knowledgeable people there. I have sewn for years and have become increasingly frustrated with the computerized, plastic machines. My choices have always been Singer and Brother, with a Bernina thrown into the mix. I have, in the last year or so now purchased a Singer treadle 127, a Feather weight 221, and a Singer 237 Fashion Mate. All these machines have all metal gearing and sew like magic, straight and true. My family couldn't believe I was stepping back in time, especially after buying a rather expensive Brother 4000D sewin/embroidery machine that is so fussy about thread, that I have twice had it repaired at a cost of more than $300 and she needs another repair. Each of my vintage machines cost me $50 or less. I learned how to clean and restore each of them myself. Hope the machine your are going to look at turns out to be the one. If not, come back here and plug in again and keep looking. Also, www.shopgoodwill.com is a great place to search .Lots of luck!
    Patti
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  19. #19
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    $100 for a treadle in good shape is a deal in my area. People here think they are made of gold and charge accordingly. I have a treadle, a featherweight and a Bernina QE that I bought in 2004. Love them all but do the majority of straight stitch sewing on the featherweight

  20. #20
    Junior Member sandyquilts's Avatar
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    The older Pfaffs are wonderful. All metal guts and they sew over/through anything.
    SandyQuilter (I am not sandyquilts--have contacted the admin., but no change as yet)
    Sandy
    http://sandyquilts.blogspot.com

  21. #21
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    Maybe you need to look for an industrial machine. They will sew heavy duty stuff, no bells or whistles.

  22. #22
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I have a 1972 Sears Kenmore that will do everything you mention. They're workhorses......used it for many years and put many miles on it.
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  23. #23
    Junior Member rita222's Avatar
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    I have a juki tl98q it is a work horse. You can only do straight stitching and reverse but thats all i need for quilting. I have seen it sew through 10 layers of demim thats what sold me on buying it. I piece my tops with it and then move it to the gracie frame and quilt it. Never had a problem with it and i have it for about 5 years now.
    Rita

  24. #24
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    Have a 201 and it is great, sews almost anything, and easy to work on. Good find on the treadle machine, post pictures when you get it cleaned up (or not). Would love to see it.
    Last edited by Carol34446; 12-18-2012 at 10:18 AM.

  25. #25
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    Go get the treadle for $l00. Amazing price for one so perfect as it seems to be. I see you did go get it.....now get in touch with J Miller on this board. He can walk you through any problems you have with it--and I am not even his wife......And watching CL or whatever, watch for an older Elna. 60s to 80s. I think they are out of business now, but am not sure. I have a 1985 special edition that I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Quiet is very important in the performance of a sewing machine, and Singers and Elnas are the absolute best at quiet and performance too. Welcome to this board from someone who has learned a lot in the year that I've been on it. Sincerely spoken, Jo Ann
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

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