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Thread: Retired Sewing Machines...

  1. #1
    Super Member Crafty1's Avatar
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    Would you buy one? or go for a new updated version?

    My story: At this time I have no sewing machine because I broke mine. To fix it the labor costs are from $109 - $199 + parts and tax. We have been reading the manuals and trying to use the FW and 301 but for the life of me I can't keep the bottom stitches from bunching up. So I began this sewing machine research project. I've got Janome, Baby Lock, Brother, Pfaff, Viking and Bernina's on the list. Went to all the dealers and a couple do layaway. Then I seached the internet, an example, I saw on ebay a Brother NX400, which is retired, but the listings say New In Box. Price is reasonable but not sure if I should go for it or just get a new updated version which is the Brother NX450Q. I haven't officially made up my mind as we need two sewing machines, but was curious if you would buy a retired product? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what retired means. Superseded by a newer version or model? If so, it doesn't matter. What matters is whether the machine has the features you are looking for and "feels good" to you when you sew.

    I would not purchase a machine on eBay unless I had at least tried out the brand, and preferably that model or a close model, to make sure I like the stitch quality, the sound of the machine, etc.

    For those with budget limitations, I think it's much better to go around to local dealers and see what they have in used machines. Often you can get a better quality machine with more features if you buy used instead of new.

    It's also a good idea to check out reviews of the specific model you are looking at. http://www.patternreview.com is a good place to do that.

    I have a FW and 301. I'm wondering if there is something you are doing wrong with both machines that produces the bunched up stitches on the bottom, as that is not typical of those machines. Are you sure, when you insert the bobbin in the bobbin case, that the thread is going in the correct direction? As I recall, the FW needle threads oddly (from left to right? it's been a long time since I had it out).

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The FW threads from left to right and if the bobbin housing case is not set inside the machine just right, thread will bunch up. It is an easy mistake to make with the old Singers. A picture of how it fits is in the manual. If you don't have FW bobbins or the right size bobbins for the 301, the thread will bunch up. Regular metal bobbins will not work.

  4. #4
    JJs
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    the 301 is FANTASTIC for piecing....

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    Yep, check bobbins. I have to get two sizes now, one for the old singer and one for the new Janome.

    Jois

  6. #6
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    Check local store, you may find a deal on a machine that will hold you over until can test drive newer machines. New machine can be a large investment.

  7. #7
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    theres a thread here about Ken's Sewing Center in AL, he sells on ebay and is very reliable. I would not hesitate to buy from him and its usually free shipping. Goggle him and check out the store first

  8. #8
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    don't forget that "new in box" could mean that the parts are all there but not put together and in a new box...don't laugh, it happened to a friend of mine and she was unable to find the seller to get her money back...you're never 100 per cent sure of what you're getting when you purchase thru the internet so if you don't know the seller it's better to buy locally when it comes machines...

  9. #9
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    I recently bought a refurbished brother machine on overstock.com It is light weight so I can take it to classes. Works beautifully, I bought a second machine just like it for my daughter to teach her to quilt.

  10. #10
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crafty1
    Would you buy one? or go for a new updated version?

    My story: At this time I have no sewing machine because I broke mine. To fix it the labor costs are from $109 - $199 + parts and tax. We have been reading the manuals and trying to use the FW and 301 but for the life of me I can't keep the bottom stitches from bunching up. So I began this sewing machine research project. I've got Janome, Baby Lock, Brother, Pfaff, Viking and Bernina's on the list. Went to all the dealers and a couple do layaway. Then I seached the internet, an example, I saw on ebay a Brother NX400, which is retired, but the listings say New In Box. Price is reasonable but not sure if I should go for it or just get a new updated version which is the Brother NX450Q. I haven't officially made up my mind as we need two sewing machines, but was curious if you would buy a retired product? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    Have you checked to be sure the bobbin is in correctly or that the machine is correctly threaded. It could also be the tension.

    I would not trade my 301 or FW for a new machine. I actually packed away a new machine and bought the 301a.

  11. #11
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    let us know what you decide

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terryl
    I recently bought a refurbished brother machine on overstock.com It is light weight so I can take it to classes. Works beautifully, I bought a second machine just like it for my daughter to teach her to quilt.
    I have the Brother EX660 refurbished from overstock. Great little machine. I messed mine up but it was my bad and had nothing to do with the machine.

  13. #13
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    It is nice to know that there are others who love the vintage Singers. I have a 301A for piecing and a 500A for applique work.

    Yesterday I bought a FW in a cabinet for $30. It runs great, just needs cleaning. Then I may be asking for help on the basics of the machine!

  14. #14
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    If I was short of cash I would consider a used machine. Some of the older models, all metal, quite heavy, in a carrying case or a cabinet are fantastic. Look around, take your time. It is possible to find a clean little used or well took care of machine. An older model that does not zig zag will give you a straight sewing line and holds the stitches firmer together. If your machine zigzags then it will not make as straight a sew line.
    The older machines do not cost much and are a jewel to use and own. I am speaking from experience. For quilting I use my old straight stitch Singer. Also use it for clothing or home deco. They seldom break, just keep oiled and clean. I also own several embroidery/sewing machines, a Brother 4001N, a Brother 8500 and a Babylock model which is between the 8500 and the 4001. I have a computerized Janome I use for classes and my quilt groups, also several Singers from old to moderately new. My pride is a old White in a beautiful cabinet with curved drawers and front has fancy carved large wood letters, vintage 1913. I love sewing machines and finding out what one does better than the other. It can be a pleasant suprise.
    My suggestion is to talk to some of the older women about their machines. Like me they probably love to give free advice and who knows you could find your buy of a lifetime, someone's pride and joy who needs a good home. You could be like me and over the years wind up becoming a collector.

  15. #15
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    My Pfaff is a retired machine. They replaced it with a newer version this year. I bought from a dealer and got it at less than half price. It was brand new and in the box. What a deal and they offer free sewing instructions and if I have any problems I can just call and they help. See if any of your dealers can offer you something like that. It's much better than buying on Ebay.

  16. #16
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    I'm not sure what retired means. Superseded by a newer version or model? If so, it doesn't matter. What matters is whether the machine has the features you are looking for and "feels good" to you when you sew.

    I would not purchase a machine on eBay unless I had at least tried out the brand, and preferably that model or a close model, to make sure I like the stitch quality, the sound of the machine, etc.

    For those with budget limitations, I think it's much better to go around to local dealers and see what they have in used machines. Often you can get a better quality machine with more features if you buy used instead of new.

    It's also a good idea to check out reviews of the specific model you are looking at. http://www.patternreview.com is a good place to do that.

    I have a FW and 301. I'm wondering if there is something you are doing wrong with both machines that produces the bunched up stitches on the bottom, as that is not typical of those machines. Are you sure, when you insert the bobbin in the bobbin case, that the thread is going in the correct direction? As I recall, the FW needle threads oddly (from left to right? it's been a long time since I had it out).
    this is just a thought but I had the same problem with my 301 and a repairman talked me thru it...#1-have you had the needle plate off???? there is a groove underneath that needs to lineup EXACTLY with the bobbin case underneath.. you need to rotate it until it lines up and then screw the needle plate back in place...it shows it in the manual but of course if in dougt read the manual...check this and make sure you have the correct bobbins and that they are placed in the right way....good luck

  17. #17
    BayridgeQuilts's Avatar
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    I had the same problem with my FW and 301 when I first got them but it was user error in both cases... Bobbin tension and needle threading issues. The 301 needle threads from right to left. Make sure your needle is inserted with the flat side facing left. And you MUST use the correct size bobbin with both. Also, make sure your bobbin tension is correct. The manuals will show you how to adjust bobbin tension. Hope this helps!

  18. #18
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    Now this is funny I am retired and I am keeping my vintage machines from going into retirement! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Seriously I think their perception of retired is the model they did away with but replaced it with a newer version. Like the 301 went to the 401 etc., so it would be new in the box if that is the way they are presenting it.

    Personally I would keep using the 301 and just save my money for a new machine that you really want. Sounds like you were threading it the wrong way, and the top tension might be a little loose. A lot of good information has been given on the 301 and you should be able to get it up and running perfect in no time!

    Billy

  19. #19
    BayridgeQuilts's Avatar
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    I happen to prefer my vintage machines to the newer ones. I like the computerized machines for their wonderful features like embroidery, etc., but I'm always afraid I'm going to burn out the motors when I'm quilting so I find myself going back to my vintage Kenmore, Singer and Domestic machines for the heavy lifting.

    As far as "retired" is concerned, it's an industry term to keep you coming back and spending money on the newest, latest and "greatest". "Retired" just means that that particular model is no longer being made. It's planned obsolescence. If it's new in the box, retired or not, it should retain the same manufacturers warranty and all it's associated benefits. Check with the manufacturer to confirm before purchasing.

  20. #20
    Super Member brendadawg's Avatar
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    I bought an older version of the Babylock Ellageo when I got my sewing/embroidery machine. I bought it at a sewing center who had taken it as a "trade-in". It was purchased new from that center and they had always serviced it. They checked it out and serviced it before they sold it as a "USED" machine. I haven't had any problems with mine -- and I got some free classes on how to use it.

    Good luck!

  21. #21
    Super Member adrianlee's Avatar
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    I had problems similar to yours with my Bernina when I got it 35+ years ago. It was a bobbin tension issue that the lady at the local fabric shop helped me with and saved me $$ from the repair guy. That old machine still works great and has sewn millions of miles. Please keep us informed on your machine. Plan on getting a backup machine, I think most on quilting board have backups.

  22. #22
    Pati- in Phx's Avatar
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    First, be very careful about buying a "name brand" machine on line. Make sure that the dealer is an "authorized dealer". If not, you have no warranty. It may cost a bit more, but it is really worth while to purchase a machine from a local dealer that includes classes in how to use the machine and local service under warranty.

    I don't sell machines now, have in the past. But remember you are buying more than a piece of equipment. You are also buying the service and all that goes along with it. Make sure the service people, at least the ones you can have contact with are reasonable/you can get along with them. That is almost as important as the actual machine.

    My current main machine is heading for its retirement. Parts are no longer being made, remaining ones are scarce. So I am also exploring machine options.
    Suggestions:
    1. Make a list of what you really need to have on a machine (needle up/down, speed control, specific stitches, and so on.)
    2. Include things you really don't want to have. (I am not interested in another embroidery machine. Don't use the one I have, don't want to spend the extra money. I also don't use the free arm so can easily do without it.)
    2B: also list what you would like to have, but aren't "musts".
    3. Figure out what you will be sewing on the machine. Take samples with you, scraps are fine. Include piecing/ sewing over multiple seams in the middle of a seam, a quilting sandwich or two. A sample of your favorite type of stabilizer(s) with fabric for decorative stitching. and so on. Be sure to sit down and try these out. (If a dealer won't let you use your own fabric for testing, I would find out why. And probably walk away if they wouldn't let me use my fabric pieces. )
    4. Ask questions, about everything. Icons on the machine seem confusing? Ask. Can you easily adjust: needle position, pressure foot pressure, tension of top and bottom threads, change stitch selection. And ask about free motion work and walking foot if you use them. Check to see if the pressure feet are proprietary or can you use generic feet (or ones you already have.) What feet are available?(Especially ones that you use a lot.)

    Don't be pressured into a decision. And ask about upgrading and return policies, as well as warranty stuff.

    Lots to think about, but Take some time and check out as many machines as you can. There are lots of good brands out there, but there isn't a "one fits all". Your favorite may not be another's favorite. That is fine. Find the one that fits you best.

    Pati, in Phx

  23. #23
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    I was having a fit with my FW bunching up the bobbin thread the other night. Finally, I decided to rethread it. Started working like a dream. I don't know why it took me so long to remember to try this, because it is a good go-to before pulling your hair out. May not always be the answer, but several times on various machines, it has corrected my problem.

  24. #24
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    When I am having machine problems the first thing I do is remove the spool of thread, remove bobbin, remove bobbin case holder and remove needle. Then I clean the machine, replace everything and put in new needle. This works for me. As a former dealer the main thing I found causing machine problems was dirt, dust, needing oil, needle in backwards, and threaded wrong. Believe it or not but long ago the sew machine repairmen made housecalls. One of the service calls was due to it not being plugged in to the outlet.

  25. #25
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I've always had good luck with Brothers machines. However, buying a sewing machine is just like buying a car---Don't get a Grand Am if you need and want a Mountaineer. Your machine should fit you and do what YOU want it to. If the price is right and this machine will do what you want, get it. If the price is REALLY good and it will do most of what you want, get it for a back up and also get you a machine that you want. I just bought an almost new Brother CE4000 off Craiglist. It's not what I want, I want a new Janomi but this one was $60 so. . . . . It does most of the things I want it to and it's very lightweight--easy to take to class.

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