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Thread: Singer Sewing Machines.....

  1. #1
    Member Jennoh2's Avatar
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    I notice many of you are purchasing various "vintage" Singer Sewing Machines. Some are electric and some are treadle. Do you use them? Are they better/worse than newer models. What can they do but straight stitch, button hole, etc? LOL-I just gave away my grandmother's treadle machine because I thought it had no value.

    Just got back from a vacation in Boston, and in the Back Bay Area saw a storefront that must have had 2-300 old sewing machines on a window display. Must say I was impressed with the looks of them.

  2. #2
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I have three and I love them for their purposes. Yes, only straight stitch but i can do piecing and stitch in the ditch or grids. If you use the search function or check out the Vintage machine topic you will find lots of good info in addition to other comments you will get here.

  3. #3
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I have about 17 sewing machines, most are vintage. The ones that are mechanical and all metal parts are often wonderful. Many have only straight stich but are great for piecing or sometiems quilting. The value often varies from $35 to in the hundreds for Feather Weights. Pitty you gave away the treadle. And Yes, I definitely use them and often prefer to use them over my newer wonderful Janome 6500. Only some can do more fancy stitches. some will have stitches build in or you have to use cams. As for button holes, I think many need several steps if they even do button holes. Some only do straight stich and there is no reverse, and some only do straight stitch, zig zag and reverse.

    Singer 401
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    Singer 201
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    Feather Weight
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    Treadle
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    Singer 301
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  4. #4
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    love your antique machines and the cabinets are beautiful.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my 1956 vintage singer is my (travel machine) the one i take with me for classes ect- it has a very good even straight stitch- they are very reliable machines that sew very nicely-and are very easy to maintain (unlike the new computerized machines that need to go to a shop for maintenance/repairs)
    i wish i had been around when you were getting rid of your treadle! that is my dream machine---one i can still use when the lights go out!
    i do own a $5000+ viking- which is nice-
    but i love my little singer- yes it works- yes i use it-almost daily
    yes they have VALUE! no plastic parts to break- easy to clean, easy to oil- easy to thread- easy to sew with...great basic machines!

  6. #6
    Member Jennoh2's Avatar
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    Waaaaa - am I sorry I gave the treadle away - looked just like the picture, case and all.

    If someone is looking for singer accessories - send me a pm - I was in the local thrift store a couple days ago, and they had loads of accessory kits. Guess I'd just need to know the model number.

  7. #7
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Yup! I sew with all of my vintage machines. I mostly use treadle machines now. I'm in the process of making a baby quilt. If you look at my blog, you can see my machines and projects. After this baby quilt, my next major endeavor will be making lots of donation quilts.

  8. #8
    Junior Member totosmom's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, I'm a real devotee of those older machines. They are utterly reliable and last forever due to their metal construction. When plastic gears were introduced in the 80s, everything went downhill.

    The Viking 6440 was my first vintage machine which I use for piecing blocks. It also has cams which create some lovely decorative stitches that I use on the bindings of my quilts. I will admit that I fell in love with its red color only to discover that these things can last a lifetime -- and then be repaired to last another one!

    Then I started making Quilts of Valor with a group of friends. The Viking was too heavy to take each week, so I thought I'd get a Featherweight. I found them too expensive, so I invested in a 301 which is only a tad heavier but still quite manageable. She is always ready to sew a straight as an arrow 1/4" seam which is all I need when we meet. She's full sized too, so I'm looking forward to doing some FMQ on her sooner or later. She's not collector quality, but I love her nicks and scratches because I know she's been lovingly used.

    For all the fancy pants stuff I have a newer Bernina which is reliable too but not at all portable.

    Dorothy in PA
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  9. #9
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    I love using my vintage sewing machines. In fact, I only use my sewing/embroidery machine is when I need embroidery.

  10. #10
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    i collect them because i love the art work. i have about 12 machines now including 2 featherweights. i just got another one this weekend.

    i do go to the trouble of cleaning them up and restoring them but i never use them (they all work)

    i have 3 modern sewing machines with all the bells and prefer to do my sewing, piecing, and quilting on them - for me technology is king.

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The older Singers never mess up. Great back up machines. I have three, white FW, 301, and 15-90 in cabinet. That's all I want or have room for older machines without having clutter. My newer fancy machine is what I use the most. I gave my grandmother's Singer treadle to my oldest DD and my great aunt's Singer treadle to my youngest DD. They use them for decoration instead of sewing on them but they are out of my way and safe.

  12. #12
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    my vintage are new to me this year, 1952 FW, and #301A. I love the straight seam, and the 301 I got Sat, did the best SID I have ever done.
    Thing if I add a walking foot to the 301 I can sell my Brother 1500.

  13. #13
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    I have a Singer 15-86 that I got back in June. After DH rewired it and I cleaned it I have only used that machine. My 15 year old Singer sits lonely on the sidelines. I also have a 1886 Victor treadle that is not totally restored yet. I am on the lookout for a Singer model 27 treadle. That's what my mom had and the machine I learned to sew on.

  14. #14
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I've got a featherweight that I use all the time. I've also got a 201 in a cabinet that I use occasionally. It was a freebie in great condition and sews beautifully. I just don't have the space to keep it set up all the time right now. Hopefully someday I will.

  15. #15
    Senior Member ncredbird's Avatar
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    I prefer the older machines to the new ones because they aren't nearly as fussy, I can lube, oil, and clean them myself without having to pay big bucks to send them to the shop for yearly maintenance and they have worked flawlessly for much longer than the expensive new machines will ever last. The older ones don't have computer chips to worry about and I can get a magnet close to one without having to be concerned with messing up its memory. Also the old ones sew over anything. My new Janome 7700 doesn't like sewing over multiple layers of seams where blocks join together. I still like my newer machines for embroidery and fancy stitches but inevitably find myself using the older machines for piecing and quilting. Ann in TN

  16. #16
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Yup I got bitten by the bug via this site. I had my Grandmothers 3/4 1949 Singer in cabinet I never paid attention to. Now needs some TLC...but in the meantime I found a black 1951 301, tri color 301A in cabinet...love that one the best....1910 Singer Redeye....great stitches done by all but I have to say the 301A does the best work so I invested in the walking foot, FM foot, 1/4 foot with guide for it.

  17. #17
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I have 2 319W's, 1 185K, and 1 301A. They are easy to maintain and fix yourself and that's why I love them. Yes, I still love my new Bernina 830 and my Janome 9000. But, I have a deep respect for vintage machines.

  18. #18
    Power Poster blueangel's Avatar
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    Love the vintage collections.

  19. #19
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
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    I have a Singer 201, 401,415, 99K, and a newly aquired red eye. I sew on all of them. I love they was they sew and are just so much fun to use. Still looking for a FW. I hardly ever touch my newer machines.

  20. #20
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    The only time I use my Janome is if I want to do a quick stitch on something or another. Other than that, I use my vintage machines.

    I feel bad that you gave away your grandmother's treadle!! I'd kill to have my grandmother's machine...even if it didn't work, just for the sentimental value of it! No chance you can get it back? The one time I bought a machine from the "original family" (it had belonged to his grandmother) I let them know that if they EVER wanted it back that they just had to let me know... I'd be incredibly upset to part with it, but have strong feelings about family heirlooms....they're such treasures!

  21. #21
    Super Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    I bought a Featherweight earlier this year, and since then have hardly used my Janome, except for quilting bigger pieces. The Featherweight is totally untemperamental - just sews a beautiful stitch, whereas the Janome usually involves a struggle and bad language. Now I'm waiting for a guy who reconditions machines to find me a 201 or 15-91 that I can use for quilting.
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  22. #22
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    Even though my treadle only makes a straight stitches, which is what I use anyway, I feel I have more control and I don't have near as many problems as with a newer one.

  23. #23
    Junior Member Fixedgearhead's Avatar
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    I used to use high end Bernina Electronic machines. But I came to appreciate the mechanical machines for there toughness and accuracy of sewing. I sold those fancy machines and never looked back. I think if you like to do the Machine Embroidery that the computer driven machines do, and do well, that is the way you will probably need to go. But I don't do that sort of thing, and I stay with the mechanical older machines.
    John

  24. #24
    Super Member SunlitenSmiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brushandthimble
    my vintage are new to me this year, 1952 FW, and #301A. I love the straight seam, and the 301 I got Sat, did the best SID I have ever done.
    Thing if I add a walking foot to the 301 I can sell my Brother 1500.
    can you find a walking foot for the 301 ????
    slant needle SINGER is there a walking foot that works with this machine???

  25. #25
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I grew up with a FW. When I married I got an Elna - when it wore out I searched for something I could afford. LOL. I wound up with a new Viking. It was ok sort of. But when my DD got married I let her take it. The search began again. I bought a used Viking - ok but I wasn't totally happy. Sold it to a friend. Bought a brand new Janome. HATED it but they wouldn't take it back. I pretty much quit sewing for a while. Finally sold it. Then I found a 401g in the trash. I don't know why but we connected. Since then I have found I love and happily sew on various vintage machines. The 401 is a winner but I like the 403 much better. The Singer 503 is a very nice machine too. Those old slant-o-matics are all metal and the needle slants forward so you don't strain your neck to see what you are sewing. I have an old Sears Commander that does very nice work and all the short shank attachments fit it. These machines were precision built and the sewing comes out with much more precision as well. The newer machines won't sew through anything very thick - if they break you are out a machine. If the vintage machines break I can fix them my self.

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