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Thread: Necchi BF Any Good For FMQ?

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    Question Necchi BF Any Good For FMQ?

    Hi Everyone

    I've recently bought my very first sewing machine - a Singer 401! Since acquiring it I have become interested in learning how to free motion quilt, but I don't think this is the machine for it. I've come across what I think is a Necchi BF for $95 (CAD) on craigslist: http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rd...905952198.html It looks absolutely beautiful, but is it a good choice for FMQ?

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    any machine that has a nice, even straight stitch is ok for quilting- if the feed dogs drop it is good for free motion quilting (people do find ways to cover their feed dogs if their machine does not have a 'drop' feature. a nice, even stitch is more important.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    If it is in good working condition and has all of the accessories it is an excellent machine. Necchi's are know for very close tolerances so it may be gummed up. If it needs a new belt you can only get them at Allyn or Allen or some such spelling. Those are the minor negatives. The positives far outweigh them. Great machines. Oh, and they are powerful and fast.

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    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    I have one of these in perfect condition. I just gave it to my son to sell. I just don't have room for all the machines..

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    If I am going to buy another machine just for FMQ, I want to make sure it is very good for the task. I'm wondering if it has a vertical bobbin, as I've read that the horizontal ones aren't very good for what I want to do (hence part of the trouble with the 401). Does "very close tolerances" mean that I will be fighting with it a lot? Does anyone have any experience FMQ on one of these machines? Powerful and fast sounds great, but is that something I necessarily want for FMQ?

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I can't answer your question about this Necchi in particular as I don't own one (yet:>). If you don't get your answer here, there's a vintage Necchi group on yahoo that I'm sure can help you. I agree that finding a machine that's a good FMQer is important. Some machines are simply better at it than others and the 401 and 500 machines are not good machines for it. Yes, the horizontal bobbin system is preferred by many for FMQing as lots of people(myself included) think the tension is better and stitch quality is better.

    Have you shopped around for a Singer 301 or 15?

    Powerful and fast is a good thing for me since I sew and FMQ like a speed demon:>

  7. #7
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Yes, the BF has a vertical bobbin. When my 301 needed a cord repair, the BF was my only back up machine that would FMQ as well as the 301. My 15 clone wasn't good enough for me. It still has the original round black rubber belt, but I bet an cogged orange one be found to fit. My LQS has them with only 1/8" variation in diameter.

    Yes, the machine has close tolerances but I'm used to that with the Elna. You just need to keep it oiled. That one has been serviced so it should be good to go. I do like the knee control.
    Last edited by irishrose; 07-09-2013 at 07:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    the horizontal bobbin system is preferred by many for FMQing as lots of people(myself included) think the tension is better and stitch quality is better.
    The horizontal is better? Or did you mean to type "vertical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    Have you shopped around for a Singer 301 or 15?
    Yes, I have put up a wanted ad on craigslist for a 15-91. Someone has offered one for $75 that she says needs some cleaning and oiling. I am waiting on photos. The 301's seem harder to come by and if I buy another machine I want it to be one of the really old style ones.

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonswade View Post
    The horizontal is better? Or did you mean to type "vertical"?


    Duh, I meant to type vertical bobbin is preferred by many:> I just rehabbed a 15. Look for bad wiring and broken bobbin winder springs. None of those things is a deal breaker, but it would help you negotiate if it needs more than just oiling and cleaning.

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hi lemonswade, welcome!

    I didn't realise you were in Vancouver when we started talking about the FMQ stuff from the Slant yahoo group. I think a 15-91 is a great machine, I used to have one, but it went to a working home, as opposed to sitting in my sewing room looking longingly at me every time I walked in.

    The 15-90 is pretty much the same machine, but with a belted motor instead of a gear driven motor. For FMQ, the "power" of a gear driven motor isn't a necessity. My first (and so far only) actual quilt was FMQ'd on a 15-90, the one in my sig. It didn't so much as hiccup. Some people also say some of the clones are even better than the Singers.

    I tend to prefer the 301 for FMQ, for 2 reasons:
    1. I sew more if I leave the house. The 301 is -way- lighter to carry around, even to another room of the house.
    2. If I want to watch TV, or carry on a conversation, or just not have the neighbors lodge a noise complaint, I use the 301. The 15 is a fairly loud machine compared to many others, even other singer made machines.

    Feed dogs don't have to be dropped or covered. Just set your stitch length to "0" and go for it. This is what I do even on my 301 which is dead easy to drop the dogs on. I think this is part of why I can FMQ on a 401 too, not raising the plate removes one more issue to overcome.

    The other thing to do is turn the machine so the nose faces you. This overcomes the issue with throat / harp space, which is the biggest complaint about the 301, but the 15 isn't so much bigger that you'll think "Hey this is downright roomy". It's nothing like the newer machines built for quilting, but it's also not priced in the multiple thousands either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace View Post
    Duh, I meant to type vertical bobbin is preferred by many:> I just rehabbed a 15. Look for bad wiring and broken bobbin winder springs. None of those things is a deal breaker, but it would help you negotiate if it needs more than just oiling and cleaning.
    Lol, I figured that was what you meant. I'm not sure about negotiating, she's already said she's firm on the price.

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    Thanks, Tammi! Funny you should mention the 15-90... I got the pics and it has a belt, but otherwise looks just like a 15-91. That means it's a 90, yes? I am considering it, but for some reason I feel partial to the gear-driven machines... not sure why, I guess they just seem... sturdier?

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    More than likely, yes. Assuming it's how it came from the factory. There's nothing to say that someone didn't add a motor to a former hand crank, etc. If it has a solid wheel (not spoked) it's likely original and a 15-90.

    The thing about the gear drives is that one of the gears isn't easy to get, and it's fiber, so it can get brittle with age (if not lubed properly often enough, etc) and can break. With a belted one, the belt slips first.

    I personally will take either, and have both. I have a 201-3 and a 201-2, the same differences - the -3 is belted and the -2 is the potted motor. Functionally, for my purposes, there are no differences, but the motor on the belted one is a smidge easier to take care of. (Wait til you have to turn the machine on its front to lube the worm gear on the potted motor. Ugh. Yeah, I'm a wimp. )

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    Is 75 dollars a good deal for a 90? It does come with a bentwood case, and I have asked her if it comes with anything else and if it's been serviced, just waiting for a response. It doesn't look like it has a spoked wheel, but it's hard to tell from the pictures. Can the belts be bought at places like Fabricland or vac n sews or would I need to order them online?

    Here's the pics of the machine. Anyone know what the M.R. stands for?

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lemonswade View Post
    Is 75 dollars a good deal for a 90? It does come with a bentwood case, and I have asked her if it comes with anything else and if it's been serviced, just waiting for a response. It doesn't look like it has a spoked wheel, but it's hard to tell from the pictures. Can the belts be bought at places like Fabricland or vac n sews or would I need to order them online?

    Here's the pics of the machine. Anyone know what the M.R. stands for?
    The wheel is a solid wheel, the spoked wheel is chrome and larger. It stands out
    Being about a late forties early fifies machine, I'd believe it's an original 15-90.
    How do I know its age? That blue decal is a Centennial badge. It was produced in 1951 for their 100th anniversary. The badge went on machines as they left the factories, so sometimes it was "old" stock, like my 1948 15-90 that's a Centennial model, or sometimes it was a 1951 model, like the 66 godzilla I have here. Never on a newer model though, they thought it wouldn't sell if people thought the machine was "last year's" model.

    I knew at one time what the M.R. meant, but I draw a complete blank. I'm sure someone else will know though.
    I do know it's uncommon.

    Edit: Found it: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stor...collection-242


    I would probably pay $75 for it. It's worth asking if they're negotiable, but for a Centennial with pretty clean decals, only needing some clean up and oiling, assuming that the wiring isn't crunchy or melted or gooey, it's a fair price in most parts of Canada.

    As for belts, PM or email me. Since you're in Canada, I can help you out. FL won't have belts, and don't buy anything there if it's not on sale. Vac and sew might have them for you, I think the belt is a 193077 for an actual Singer part number, but most shops are going to want about $20 for that belt.

    The bentwood case will love you for a little Howard's Feed'n'Wax
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 07-09-2013 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Found the reference to "M.R"

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    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=lemonswade;6169040]Is 75 dollars a good deal for a 90? It does come with a bentwood case, and I have asked her if it comes with anything else and if it's been serviced, just waiting for a response. It doesn't look like it has a spoked wheel, but it's hard to tell from the pictures. Can the belts be bought at places like Fabricland or vac n sews or would I need to order them online?

    Here's the pics of the machine. Anyone know what the M.R. stands for?

    Hi,

    Good deal, the full sized Singer bentwood cases alone sell for more than $75 on ebay. The 15-90 weighs around 32lbs and is quite heavy so it's not easily portable. My guess on the MR is that it was a previous owners initials. Good Luck.

    Jon

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    Thanks, Tammi. I asked her when I can take a look at it, waiting for the response.

    There is another machine on craigslist that I'm pretty sure is from the same seller: http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rd...914435302.html. I asked them if it's a vertical or horizontal bobbin and they said "has a class 15 bobbin so it is horizontal", but is it the case that all class 15's are horizontal?

    Anyone know anything about this machine? Any good for FMQ? It is more in my price range...

  18. #18
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I've not loved the 15 clones I've had for FMQing, yet my true 15 is wonderful at it. So, I've found new homes for most of my 15 clones. I would suggest you bring a quilt sandwich to try it out and see... It should be a vertical bobbin. It's a clone of the 15, so a clone of the vertical bobbin assembly. Maybe the seller got her vertical and horizontal mixed up like others do. hehehehe:> For only a few $ more, I'd stick with the Singer 15.

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    The Necchi you are looking at is one of the favorite machines for FMQ. It is heavy, but very well made. I don't think you will be sorry, and that looks like a good one. Many people swear by it's fmq abilities.

    I also urge you to look into a Singer 301. I have quite a few machines, including one Necchi Super Nova, and the 301 is my all-time favorite machine for fmq (and piecing, and straight-line quilting). Compared to the Necchi, the 301 is bulletproof. There is nothing wrong with the Necchi, it's just that the Singer 301 is as close to perfect as you will ever find for fmq. It's basically trouble free, and easy to operate. And yes, the Singer 15s and Model 15 clones are good, but I still prefer the 301.

    You can maintain a 301 yourself, but probably not a Necchi unless you have additional training or experience. I recently took a Necchi apart for servicing (I have the training) - it had concrete dust in it - and it was not the easy job that the 301 is.
    Last edited by cricket_iscute; 07-10-2013 at 08:05 AM.

  20. #20
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlhmnj View Post
    My guess on the MR is that it was a previous owners initials. Good Luck.
    As noted in the link above, Jon, "The other unique feature that this machine has is the not-often-seen "M.R." decal under the badge and on the rear of the arm. The "M.R." trademark indicates this 221 was being produced for the Mexican/ South American market. It may have been assembled in Canada as it was found in Canada with a St. John's NB " marked motor." http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stor...collection-242

    Quote Originally Posted by lemonswade View Post
    Thanks, Tammi. I asked her when I can take a look at it, waiting for the response.

    There is another machine on craigslist that I'm pretty sure is from the same seller: http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rd...914435302.html. I asked them if it's a vertical or horizontal bobbin and they said "has a class 15 bobbin so it is horizontal", but is it the case that all class 15's are horizontal?

    Anyone know anything about this machine? Any good for FMQ? It is more in my price range...
    I don't know about the machine, but yes, it would be vertical. Almost all of the -non-Singer- machines with that slide plate on the left will be a vertical bobbin. (All of the ones I've seen, but I know there's going to be an exception because I've said that publicly )

    Honestly, at the end of the day, $25 difference amortized over how many years you plan on using it? Same as I said about the darning feet, get the one that's going to do the best job for you. $50 will always be more in the budget than $75, but at the same time, if you decide down the road you want the $75 one, assuming it's still available for that price, now you've spent $125, and have to try to get rid of the one you don't want.

  21. #21
    Super Member jlhmnj's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ArchaicArcane;6170004]As noted in the link above, Jon, "The other unique feature that this machine has is the not-often-seen "M.R." decal under the badge and on the rear of the arm. The "M.R." trademark indicates this 221 was being produced for the Mexican/ South American market. It may have been assembled in Canada as it was found in Canada with a St. John's NB " marked motor." http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stor...collection-242

    Thanks, Good to know. I'd would have unknowingly tried to remove them if I had come across a Singer so marked.

    Jon

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    Thanks, everyone for your input!

    Sounds like the Necchi is a good machine, but it is more expensive than the Singer and I don't want a machine that is difficult or expensive to maintain. The Margaret is adorable and cheaper but I think I'd rather get a Singer.

    As long as everything looks okay with the 15-90, I think I will go for it. She said I can see it tomorrow, but she didn't answer my question about whether I could test it before I buy it or not. What should I do if she says it's not a good idea to test it before it's been cleaned and oiled? Should that be a deal breaker or would she be right and I should just do a visual inspection?

    The 301 sounds like a great machine for FMQ, and I would be willing to forego the 15 for it, but there are not a lot of them around. There is one 301a for sale on craigslist, but it is $150, comes in a cabinet, is 2.5 hours away and I don't have a way of picking it up. I figure I'll buy the 15-90 and if I come across a 301 that I can actually get home, I'll snatch it up and if I like it better I can sell the 15-90.

    Thanks again, everyone!

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    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I consider any machine I buy without testing, a parts machine or one that will need x amount of parts and labor, and I won't pay much for them. Yes, you need to be able to test it to pay her asking price. If she's unwilling to let you test it out, keep looking. It's not like these machines are rare or hard to get. Another will come along. Probably tomorrow. LOL.

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    To me, not "Test driving" a sewing machine before you buy it is like not test driving a car (or a motorcycle, but that NEVER happens) I would be stunned if she didn't let you power it up to make sure that things worked.

    Turn the handwheel, it should feel smooth. If there are "lumpy" spots then it likely needs servicing (which you can do BTW)
    plug the machine in, turn the clutch knob so that it's in bobbin winding mode and see how the motor sounds
    put it in sewing mode, turn the hand wheel. If there are no crunchy sounds (needle striking something, etc), see how it sounds
    inspect for signs of damage or abuse (bent or cracked parts - yeah, it happens. I had a guy ask me if I wanted a 15 that had fallen off a table and the main shaft was bent) - from what I can see, it looks good, but there are parts I can't see.
    Check the wiring as I mentioned above
    Check the light
    The pedal is identical to the one on the 401, same adjustments if required.
    She's selling this as a working machine, she should be willing to let you see that it's working.

    The last 3 301s I picked up were all under $45 each. 2 in cabinets and 1 in a case. The thing is, I'm willing to do a complete dismantle and cleaning / servicing / oiling and replacing the parts required. One needed upper tension parts, one was fine, the other one needed bobbin case parts. If you want a machine that doesn't require 3 hours of that sort of work (besides an oiling which is regular - user- maintenance) when you get it, $150 isn't necessarily unreasonable.

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    Ok, I won't buy it if I can't test it - that seems reasonable. Assuming she lets me test it, how do I check the wiring? I'm completely unfamiliar with these machines. Do I need do tilt it back and check underneath? Can anyone direct me to a link with a photo of how it should look (or shouldn't)?

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