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sewing machines

Old 09-16-2015, 03:52 AM
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I would also ask around. Perhaps put the question to your ladies aide,(if that organization still exists in your church). You'll likely find that several congregants have a machine tucked away that they never use, or was grandma's, etc. Local thrift shops are another great option. It's ok for students to learn on an old, secondhand machine. Besides the old mechanical machines are sturdy and hardworking.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:57 AM
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Another resource might be your local sewing machine repair shop. They sometimes have machines that they have serviced that are never picked up. Our shop regularly donates machines to local non-profits.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:12 AM
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Having gathered machines for a school club I'm going to suggest that you purchase machines. Having a mixed bag of vintage machines takes a lot of time and effort that you could better put into helping the kids with the actual sewing. Also, the kids won't have to learn threading and bobbin placement and winding for several different machines. You could perhaps ask for monetary donations. Your local quilt guild might help that way. Also, a dealer or store might give you a discount or even sell at their price because of where they will be used.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:26 AM
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I have better than 15 machines. The most I paid for them was $10. I bought them at auctions, thrift shops and rummage sales. The one I'm using right now was an auction purchase $2.50.
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Old 09-16-2015, 04:53 AM
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If you go vintage, look for Singer 15 type models. These will have side clamp feet, take the most common type needles (like "Modern" machines) and readily available bobbins. Almost all Japanese made machines (post WW2) are made based on the Singer 15 model. The older ones (50's-70's) are mostly metal and very easy to service. They do need to be oiled regularly, not like the "take in once a year and don't touch yourself" ones - they also need to be oiled but they want you to pay someone else to do it once a year for you.

Do not take any top clamp type, they are so varied and most take needles and bobbins that are no longer made. While they are fun and interesting, many of them have special threading and other concerns unlike the machines that were made using the Singer model.

I find it very interesting that before ww2 - singer was sort of an "odd duck" and after ww2, most became the same as Singer, and all the other variations disappeared. It's also interesting to note that Singer was also very similar to European machines - don't know if Singer copied them or they copied Singer.

And a Disclaimer - Singer once was the top - but in the mid 60's started declining.
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Old 09-16-2015, 05:14 AM
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One thing to consider ... I worked with an extension teacher who did classes every year. She always commented on how hard the new sewers were on the machine. There was always something she was working on to keep them going. Not necessarily major but issues with tension, misthreading that caused jams, etc. A more "mature" machine that is donated might be better built than the new low end machines. And, no repair with walmart or joanns.

Things to consider,
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Old 09-16-2015, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by KalamaQuilts View Post
Start with the congregation.
Ask if anyone has a vintage machine stuffed in a closet.

Easy to thread, easy to maintain, low value so someone won't think about walking off with them.
Definitely consider this approach, as purchasing machines for a whole class seems kinds out there. I'm sure you will have your pick of closet-sitting machines.
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Old 09-16-2015, 06:10 AM
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In my opinion they should all be the same machine. I think you are in for a big headache using several different ones for the kids to learn on. It would be too much confusion. Like another poster suggested I would have a fund raiser & ask for donations. My very first machine was a inexpensive Brother & I loved it for piecing. If you are trying to teach on several different machines it just wouldn't be fun unless everything went smoothly. This is only how I would want to do it but if it isn't possible to have the same machines then you will have to do what you have to do. Just have fun with the kids. Hopefully some will love quilting as much as we do.
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Old 09-16-2015, 06:18 AM
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Hmm, so many questions in my mind...how many have signed up for this class....actual number of those who have " working" machines/ those that have none. First I would ask for $$$$ donations from all for cost of buying these, what will become of them if this program fails? Is each student going to make a quilt, what about the other supplies, fabric, rotary cutter/ mat, ruler, is there a charge for those taking the class? Good luck..........
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Old 09-16-2015, 06:51 AM
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Nothing is more frustrating to any sewist, esp a new one, is having to fight your sewing machine. I'd be inclined to be careful of the really cheap all plastic models. I wonder if folks from your church might donate toward the machines or have a machine to donate. Check estate sales too because that was where I found an older machine for $20. Worked perfectly. You might be able to get a good buy at a sewing or quilting store on a trade in. Will you supply fabric? If not the LQS might give the students discounts on fabric. That would be a good way to lure future customers.
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