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Thread: Why is everyone buying the old sewing machines?

  1. #26
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    I was looking on Ebay and someone posted that pre war were better as they were made with sturdier materials. I am not sure if that makes a difference or not.

  2. #27
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    I have old Singers because they remind me of my grandma and they are just so easy to use. I have two FWS for free because they were in a relative's shed and he wanted someone from our family to use them. They won't be sold, just used.

  3. #28
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    Why the old ones? Because no one manufactures a machine that sews a perfect straight seam while purring away. If only the replicas were anything like the originals!

  4. #29
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    People seem to be paying outrageous prices for Featherweights (221's). There are other very light machines out there by Singer around the same time period. Like the 99's...I just bought a 99-13 made in 1928..don't have it yet, but it's a 3/4 size machine, with the same very sturdy all metal mechanicals, and it's light weight also. I recently bought a 301a, and it is also not heavy, and it will be my partner for classes and guild meetings. I got each of these machines for far less than $100, and with a little "spit & shine" and a little oiling, they will both be working great shortly.

  5. #30
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    I don't have a featherweight, but I do have a treadle. I remember my great grandmother sewing on hers, and I remember that hers got destroyed with some house damage (fire? flood? I was too little when that happened).

    I found one at what I thought was a reasonable price, and just went for it. They're slowly disappearing, and nothing is made the same as it used to be.

  6. #31
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    I just bought two, that is right two Singer 301A's today. Of course, I am just tickled pink!!! They sew like a dream, solid, light weight and easy to maintain. Goes well with my other old Singers!I have two new Janome's, won't buy anymore new ones.

  7. #32
    Senior Member ncredbird's Avatar
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    I know people with purses that are bigger and weigh more than a featherweight in a case. They are truly portable and sew beautifully. When ever a bunch of us get together to sew at least two of us bring the featherweight. If you are piecing you don't need anything else.

  8. #33
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    The oldies are generally all metal construction as opposed to plastic. They were much simpler and you could service them yourself, all they needed basically was a good cleaning and frequent oiling and you were good to go. The new ones have a lot of electronics which you can't check out yourself. They are subject to ruin by magnets. The parts are plastic and they break. They are easy to get out of time. Now don't get me wrong, I have several electronic machines but these are the basic differences that I am aware of. I also own Featherweights and other old machines.

  9. #34
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    I would love to have one and a treadle as well. I learned to sew on a treadle machine when I was very little.

  10. #35
    Super Member sharoney's Avatar
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    I don't have a Featherweight, but I have a 1934 Singer 15-91 that I FM quilt with. I love it cause it's POWERFUL!!!! And it has a large area for the quilt to fit in. And it's simple, no computer to screw up. And it's beautiful.

  11. #36
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    I don't own a featherweight, but I do own and use my vintage machines which are all in treadles for piecing and quilting.
    Why own a vintage machine because:
    they are easy to care for and clean
    can be purchased for under $50
    they make beautiful stitches
    they are designed for heavy use, to sew through thick fabrics like denim
    true horse horses
    they have a large harp space which makes it easier to quilt a large quilt
    they have beautiful decals and motifs
    their cabinets are gorgeous, a piece of wood art
    treadle irons are a piece of mechanical art
    all metal, no plastics
    And they never die- their previous owner may be long gone, but these machines just keep on living.

  12. #37
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    I was wondering the same thing. I have a small Janome for class. It does a lot of different things and only cost me $300. But-since everyone is talking about the featherweight I'm wondering if I'm missing something. I keep looking for one but haven't found anything.Wish I could find something reasonable so I could find out why they're so popular.

  13. #38
    Senior Member didi's Avatar
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    Don't have one, but I'm looking for one...Had one when I was 10-12 yrs. old. I agree they are cute and sew like a charm.

  14. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    I don't have a Featherweight, although I would like to have one in my collection, one of these days.

    I buy the old sewing machines because they sew like can't believe until you've tried it. :)

    A big old tank of a Kenmore or Singer in a solid cabinet is pure stability when you're wrestling with a king-size quilt and trying to get it quilted.

    So smooth - because they're so heavy! Think about how a Cadillac or a Grand Marquis just sails along and glides down the road. That's what the old sewing machines do.

    I learned how to sew on a 1956 Singer and trying to find its twin is what got me started on collecting the old machines.

    I've been learning how to refubish them myself and I only rarely have to resort to a repair shop - as when replacing the two internal belts inside my Kenmores - that's not a job for a home hobbyist without special tools.

    I can strip the machines and clean them and put them back together and they're beautiful and nostalgic... and they sew! Oh, do they sew! And a few of them sing you a happy little song while they do it! :)
    You took the words right out of my mouth! Vintage machines are tough and reliable and will take the thickest fabric sandwich. I have a Singer treadle from the 1920's and an electric White from the same era, both marvelous machines. I also picked up a couple of turquoise machines from the 70's and also a Montgomery Ward version from the same era. They all work better than the plastic version which sits under the workbench...broken.

  15. #40
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    Somewhere I read that the old straight stitch machines sew the best straight stitch because they don't have any zigzag capabilities. It seems that if they can zigzag, there is an ever so slight zigzag in the straight stitch, one you don't even notice, but the straight stitch is affected and it is not as perfect. I don't see so well anyway so I can't see it, but there may be some truth to it. I can tell you the Featherweight sews a fantastic straight stitch.

  16. #41
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    I bought my 1972 Featherweight in 1973, not knowing anything about it.It has its original box, book, and tools. It cost $46. It has suffered the curiosity of two kids and is still my back up machine.I got ripped off by a repair guy once, I think because he knew how much they have sold for. It is the one I hope to carry to DIL's so that I can work on clothes for DGD. I agree about the importance of machine weight when working on completed tops or heavy drapes. I bought a Kenmore for that reason but it's straight stitch is not half as nice.

  17. #42
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    preserving history I quess...I love mine and you won't find a better straight stitch on any new plastic machine.

  18. #43
    Senior Member supergma's Avatar
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    Two reasons. Straight stitching and love of old things.

  19. #44
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    Yes, I'd love to find a featherweight but I do have one of the turqouise Singer machines from the late 60's and also a treadle that I never use. Think I'll oil and polish these up and try them out.

  20. #45
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    Many of us buy old machines because they are tried and true performers. The featherweights are in a special class since they also don't weigh much and are easy to transport to class or when you are traveling. I have two newer machines a Viking Mega Quilter and a Pfaff 2040, but I will sew on one of my older machines most of the time. All of my old machines are between 30 and 50 years old. They are solid and durable. I usually clean them myself and I can adjust just about anything on them. Now think about the new great plastic machines. The going cost is about $100 to have them cleaned and you better not miss a year. Many of the newer machines have plastic parts that won't last 30 years much less 50 years even if you can get parts. The older "metal" machines by in large you can still get parts for...somethimes older is just better or maybe because I am getting older they don't seem so old.

  21. #46
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    Some of the vintage machines are almost more like pieces of art. I love the shape and quality of the finish on some of the old machines. The older Singers and Necchis tend to be particular favorites of mine.

    I even found a vintage Singer, industrial buttonholer for sale very cheaply on our local Craigslist yesterday that promptly found its way to a new home ;-) I am so excited to see what it will look like with a litle TLC. No, I may never use it for its intended purpose, but the technology behind it is absolutely fascinating to me.

  22. #47
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    Because they are not plastic, all metal & made with precision & make wonderful stitches & if taken care of they will last forever.

  23. #48
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    You can't beat the oldies for stitch quality and reliability. They just keep on sewing forever if you just do routine maintenance, which is very easy.
    I love my featherweight for classes, portability is a big plus for these little jems.
    I took classes from Ray White and learned to love working on the oldies. Now my DH and I find them as reasonably as we can (sometimes for free), fix them up and give them to women who can't afford to buy a machine. It has become a ministry for us and keeps us off the streets - which in your 70s is a good thing, lol. Right now we have 2 old Kenmores we are just about ready to find a home to keep them sewing.
    And the old treadles - what fun it is !!!!

  24. #49
    Super Member Roberta's Avatar
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    If you are close enough to anyone who owns a Featherweight ask if you can sew a few pieces on it. You'll then understand why some of us love them. They are tough little work horses and sew over the thickest seams.

  25. #50
    Senior Member HisPatchwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vintagemotif
    I don't own a featherweight, but I do own and use my vintage machines which are all in treadles for piecing and quilting.
    Why own a vintage machine because:
    they are easy to care for and clean
    can be purchased for under $50
    they make beautiful stitches
    they are designed for heavy use, to sew through thick fabrics like denim
    true horse horses
    they have a large harp space which makes it easier to quilt a large quilt they have beautiful decals and motifs
    their cabinets are gorgeous, a piece of wood art
    treadle irons are a piece of mechanical art
    all metal, no plastics
    And they never die- their previous owner may be long gone, but these machines just keep on living.
    Well said! I don't have a FW yet, but am looking for one to follow me home. I got my 1919 Singer treadle for $20 and a portable hand crank Serata given to me by a friend when she saw my interest in vintage machines. I love the way they sew! Beautiful straight stitches. They are out there at good prices, so I will wait. After using the hand crank, I'm not in any hurry...I will probably take it to my quilt group. I think they are just beautiful. They were made to last, not to be replaced.

    Serata hand crank
    Name:  Attachment-119563.jpe
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Size:  31.8 KB

    1919 Singer treadle cleaned and oiled
    Name:  Attachment-119565.jpe
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Size:  17.0 KB

    Section of the iron stand cleaned up only...not repainted, just cleaned up. You couldn't tell it had gold paint on it before cleaning.
    Name:  Attachment-119566.jpe
Views: 29
Size:  30.6 KB

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