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Thread: Tell me why I should/shouldn't buy a Singer 401A in a beaut cabinet

  1. #1
    Senior Member Gilla's Avatar
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    I found a Singer 401A that belonged to someone's grandmother (maybe) in an antique full size cabinet somewhat reasonable. MY DH has hairies because I already have a Viking D1, Singer Quantum XL(needs repair) a Viking 6570 in good condition and a Serger. But I would sell my 6570, XL and possibly my Serger to pay for this machine. I can taste that 401 as it was my very first sewing machine years ago.

    What do you think? I am a quilter and only use my D1 for quilting not embroidery as I should.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    With the qualifications you provided, I can't see anyreason not to buy it. :D

    Years ago I collected old sewing machines in cabinets because I love those old machines. Eventually my dh pointed out that they were taking up a lot of room and had a collection of dust on them! I realized that I had enjoyed fixing up those old machines, but that I would never actually use them because I prefer my Bernina 1230 for daily use. I did sell that collection off to another collector. (I still have several old portables that I need to finish fixing up and sell them.)

    As long as you are pretty sure you are going to use the machine, I say go ahead and get it! Try it out and make sure you like it that much before getting rid of your other machines. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always sell it.

    Just try to purchase it for a reasonable price so you can resell it for a reasonable price. If it's worth the trouble to you to resell and you figure you're only out $20 or so to test out your heart's desire, I say go for it! The Singer 401A is definitely in demand as a collector's sewing machine, so it will retain value over time. My concern, though, is that sometimes these "antique" machines are overpriced for sale. Machines and cabinets have to be in top condition to get top price. Could you post the price and maybe a pic?

  3. #3
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    iF YOU FIX IT UP AND IT RUNS GOOD IT SELLS FOR ABOUT$200

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    With the qualifications you provided, I can't see anyreason not to buy it. :D

    Just try to purchase it for a reasonable price so you can resell it for a reasonable price. If it's worth the trouble to you to resell and you figure you're only out $20 or so to test out your heart's desire, I say go for it! The Singer 401A is definitely in demand as a collector's sewing machine, so it will retain value over time. My concern, though, is that sometimes these "antique" machines are overpriced for sale. Machines and cabinets have to be in top condition to get top price. Could you post the price and maybe a pic?
    He asked $160.00, countered my $100 to $125. Now he has to think some more as he just found the assesssories.

  5. #5
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    I tend to collect old machines. They are great for piecing. I have two Featherweights, a 301, 500A, another old Singer in a beautiful old cabinet, a old Kenmore, Singer treadle, hand crank and one that was made in 1877 with a beautiful cabinet. A Singer 9410. Plus my four every day machines. Oh and a bunch of toy sewing machines. And I'm sure I forgot a few. I have given a few away as they do take up a lot of room.

  6. #6
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    first, have an open, honest conversation with hubby about exactly why this idea gives him the hairies. is his only issue that it seems illogical? or are there genuine concerns about the money?

    we will all have an opinion about your dilemna. most of us will encourage you to buy it. but none of us know you, your husband, the nature and "ground rules" of your relationship, or your financial/spacial situation.

    if you want the machine, and have the money to meet his lowest price, and enough space for it, and he won't pack his bags and head for vegas, then buy it. (unless, of course, you think that would be an added bonus. :lol: :lol: :lol: )

    and, if you get it, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE DO NOT sell the other machines out of guilt. the sacrifice would be waaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion to the indulgence.

    that's my two-cents.

  7. #7
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Do you have space? Will you use it? How tolerant to change is the husband unit?

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilla
    He asked $160.00, countered my $100 to $125. Now he has to think some more as he just found the assesssories.
    Even $160 is a good price for a 401A with accessories in a nice cabinet! If the machine is in good cosmetic condition and the cabinet is in good cosmetic condition -- especially if the cabinet is a fancier one instead of the standard plain Jane cabinet -- it's probably actually worth more. The problem with these old machines is in selling them; the seller has to know how to advertise to collectors in the area because no one wants to ship a cabinet with a machine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Gilla's Avatar
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    This is the little dear.
    Attached Images Attached Images


  10. #10
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Oh my!!!!!!

  11. #11
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    Oh my!!!!!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    It sounds like a great deal. I bought my 401A as a portable and paid $120 for it.

    If it was me, I would probably go for it.

  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    That is a *really* nice machine and cabinet. Assuming you have a place for it and plan on using it, I would expect you would keep it for many decades. Those machines are real workhorses, and that cabinet is lovely! Do try to get the accessories; that makes the set complete.

  14. #14
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Wow, she is a beauty. It would be hard to pass that up.

  15. #15
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    How does it sew?
    Mary Ellen

  16. #16
    Senior Member Gilla's Avatar
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    Does it sew? That is the problem, I don't know! The guy selling it says it sews, but "I don't know nothing about sewing" . And we'll have to drive 150 miles one way to get there. He has settled on $125 and looking closer, it is not rusted, but pretty dirty so it will take some work.

    Gilla

  17. #17
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    I would bring different types of fabric, sewing supplies: needle, thread, scissors, needle threader and sewing machine oil. If it's frozen you'll know right away, or if it sluggish or noisy, put a drop of oil in the holes, insert a new needle and sew away. You'll get a 'feel' of the machine - how it sounds, foot pedal or knee bar, if light works, bobbin winder works, stitch quality, etc. You can always clean it later. Pack a lunch and coffee, and if it doesn't work out you had a nice day trip. I have a Singer 301, 2 featherweights, and a Pfaff 1222E. I did the above and have been very happy with my choices. I walked away from a featherweight last week, because I didn't like the feel and sound of the motor.
    Mary Ellen FL

  18. #18
    Super Member kwhite's Avatar
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    I have one of these machines. It is a work horse if it works. I have sewn many many items on mine. It is sitting in a corner now since I bought my Janome, but I will not part with it. If you need a good heavy duty machine that is it.

  19. #19
    Super Member MaryStoaks's Avatar
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    I have a bunch of old singers and love every one of them. When I find one it usually only needs to be cleaned, oiled and lubed. I have had to replace the odd part, they are still available at online sites. The manual shows how to maintain the machine.
    The old Singers have the nicest stitch for piecing. I piece on a featherweight, bind on a 301A. I have 15-91,185, 66, 99,501,503, 306, and a treadle 66,a handcrank 66 etc. They all are a pleasure to use. I didn't pay much for any of them (compared to a cheap plastic machine).
    I would buy that machine. (I keep telling my husband I don't need any more machines) :roll:

  20. #20
    Senior Member Gilla's Avatar
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    Well, I wrote the guy back, tried to call him, but have had no response since he gave me his price. I must have hurt his feelings when I mentioned that it would probably take a lot of scrubbing to clean it upThe picture looked grimy, it might have been the way he took the photo.
    I finally had my DH convinced that it was a good deal. Oh, well!

    Gilla

  21. #21
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Good luck! If you know what you are getting, and can fix what needs fixing, go for it. Hope you can contact the guy, and at least have good weather for a ride!

  22. #22
    Junior Member gangles's Avatar
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    Oh, my! is right. The cabinet alone is worth $160.00, I've seen plenty at a lot higher price. I have a 401a I inherited from my Mom, She used it for years and years, I hope to get another 50 years from it.

  23. #23
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilla
    I found a Singer 401A that belonged to someone's grandmother (maybe) in an antique full size cabinet somewhat reasonable. MY DH has hairies because I already have a Viking D1, Singer Quantum XL(needs repair) a Viking 6570 in good condition and a Serger. But I would sell my 6570, XL and possibly my Serger to pay for this machine. I can taste that 401 as it was my very first sewing machine years ago.

    What do you think? I am a quilter and only use my D1 for quilting not embroidery as I should.
    I really can't give you any advice, but I do want to say that my first machine (1962) was a 401. It still works like a charm and is at my daughter #2's house. She has a new machine now and asked me what I wanted her to do with my machine. I told her to send it back. I'll make room for it somewhere. Even if I have to use it as an end table for a while. That machine makes a beautiful stitch.

  24. #24
    kd124's Avatar
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    I am with Patrice on this. Discuss the matter with your hubby before you do anything.

    I wish we had kept Mom's when she died. It was a great machine.

  25. #25
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    first, have an open, honest conversation with hubby about exactly why this idea gives him the hairies. is his only issue that it seems illogical? or are there genuine concerns about the money?

    we will all have an opinion about your dilemna. most of us will encourage you to buy it. but none of us know you, your husband, the nature and "ground rules" of your relationship, or your financial/spacial situation.

    if you want the machine, and have the money to meet his lowest price, and enough space for it, and he won't pack his bags and head for vegas, then buy it. (unless, of course, you think that would be an added bonus. :lol: :lol: :lol: )

    and, if you get it, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE DO NOT sell the other machines out of guilt. the sacrifice would be waaaaaaaaaaaay out of proportion to the indulgence.

    that's my two-cents.
    Well, I for one, think your "two cents" is worth a million, certainly worth saving a marriage and peace of mind!! :thumbup: I say this now, after making a few attempts of my own to have this or that machine when we really couldn't afford it and it made hubby cranky just thinking about it! Ya know, we seem to be stolen by the moment, the excitement of our peers cheering us on and saying, "Go for it, I would!". I've been guilty on both ends before, until I figured out it was only cause for trouble if it wasn't the right time or the best decision to make. :?

    Can ya tell I've recently had an "awakening?" LOL :D I successfully passed up a sewing machine the other day at a thrift store without withdrawal, but that one was easy, it wasn't one I drooled over. :lol: Could I behave similarly if I found a valuable/collectible? I don't know, but I am trying to put it all back into perspective like you've mentioned above. Reality tends to bite us every once in a while, and just recently I experienced a bit of a melt down because I couldn't function in my sewing room because I didn't have the proper room to do so. How did this happen? Simple. The acquisition of too much stuff. Too many sewing machines - 5 of them, too much furniture in my room trying to resemble a station for every process of quilting, too many books, patterns and fabrics. At 50 something and with many health problems, will I live long enough to enjoy/use all these things? I don't know, but I am in the process of downsizing some, a little at a time so as not to cut myself off at the knees so to speak. Am I cured of hoarding? Too early to tell. :lol:

    We live on a fixed income so I need to make better decisions on these matters. Thanks so much for bringing an element of sensibility to this post in the flurry of excitement. No, I'm not coming down on anyone here, cuz I'm not cured yet, myself! :( If I ever join Quilter's Anonymous, would you be my sponsor? :D

    If I came across this machine, would I want to buy it? You betcha! Would I? Not until I cleared all the hurdles you mentioned, hopefully. :roll:

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