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Thread: old black sewing machines

  1. #1
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    I guess this might be a stupid question but here goes: what's so great about the old black sewing machines? My mother has Grandma's which she'd probably be willing to "lend" me. It is still in great shape. I already have three other newer machines and was just wondering what the advantage of having Grandma's machine would be. I mainly do paper-pieced quilts. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    When you are talking about the old black Singers you are talking about durability, ease of service, beauty of stitch and reliability. These old machines are true work horses. They are made of all metal - most of the new machines are plastic an aluminum. The old ones last FOREVER!!!!! Always a true gem to own. And one of the best aspects is that tey are so easy to clean and maintain. They almost NEVER need to go to the shop. You can EASILY do all of the require maintenance.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhboxers
    When you are talking about the old black Singers you are talking about durability, ease of service, beauty of stitch and reliability. These old machines are true work horses. They are made of all metal - most of the new machines are plastic an aluminum. The old ones last FOREVER!!!!! Always a true gem to own. And one of the best aspects is that tey are so easy to clean and maintain. They almost NEVER need to go to the shop. You can EASILY do all of the require maintenance.
    And they are pretty if they have lots of nice decals, lightweight in the case of Featherweights, stitch a mean straight stitch, some can be had that are hand crank or treadle, so work without electricity, won't lose their value because they are vintage, and can be of enormous sentimental value.

  4. #4
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Lesley and Jane said it well. Plus, these old machines are strong enough to power through denim, upholstery, and drapery fabric. I used to hate making ruffles until I discovered the ruffler attachment that came with one of my machines. The buttonholer attachment makes buttonholes every bit as nice as the modern machines, even on a treadle.

  5. #5
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    In addition to all of the above, I've been told (numerous times) that there isn't a modern machine made that can sew as fine a straight stitch as the old featherweights. Not even the $10,000 Berninas.

  6. #6
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above. I have a treadle, a vintage electric in a cabinet and a featherweight. All work great and have a wonderful stitch, plus, there is plenty of room in the throat/harp to manage a big quilt.

  7. #7
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The vintage Singers have a 30 per inch stitch length. The paper will fall off the fabric if you use it for paper piecing. I have never figured out why 30 per inch setting was needed. I think every sewer should have one vintage machine for a back up. They are cheap (except the FW) and will last for generations.

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    It IS a Featherweight. I guess I'll ask Mama to send it homw with me next time I visit. She has a white one too.

  9. #9
    Senior Member anniec55's Avatar
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    Sew on it and you will know.... typically beautiful straight stitch... and tough as can be.... Take it and use it and never look back!! LOL... it really is harder on them to sit than be used, so take her and exercise her I bet you'll fall in love.

  10. #10
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    There is nothing good about them at all... they are just awful and something you don't want to mess with. Just give me a call and I'll get rid of them all for you. (Bwahhh, haaa, haa...)

  11. #11
    Junior Member makakehau's Avatar
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    As the lucky and proud owner of 4 of those old, black machines
    I can tell you the continued reliability is a huge plus! Everytime
    I sit down to sew, she is still there working hard and sure as
    She did 75 years ago. I've seen those lovely new computerized
    Machines on Craigslist and Freecycle in need of new mother boards and other
    Computer components.
    Our simple, lovely old black machines will never have complex, expensive electronics issues. They're just not made that way!
    If you have the opportunity to work with this charming
    Piece of history, I say jump on it! You just don't know what
    You're missing.
    :-)
    Lori

  12. #12
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    hey all you lucky ladies who have more than one FW there are a lot of us still out here wanting just one little sweetie.

  13. #13
    Junior Member FWDesigns's Avatar
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    Girl, run to that phone and call Momma. Have her send you both of them. :lol: :lol:

  14. #14
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    guess i should take a closer look at the sewing machine in my attic not sure who it belonged to as i never asked my husbands mom it has been there since i lived in the house for52 years

  15. #15
    Senior Member Becky Mc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lavada
    guess i should take a closer look at the sewing machine in my attic not sure who it belonged to as i never asked my husbands mom it has been there since i lived in the house for52 years
    Let us know what you find up there it could be a Featheweight just waiting to make you happy, from sitting up there alone all this time.

    RUN LOOK !!! let us know

  16. #16
    Junior Member cindit's Avatar
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    From the discussions I have seen, it seems that the Singer Featherweight is the most desirable machine to have. Is that true? I have would like to get one, but need to decide on one model to look for. What is the definition of a Featherweight? Is there a model number or what years where they made? Any information would be helpful. thanks!

  17. #17
    Super Member Dodie's Avatar
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    I have a feather weight and love it it is light weight and easy to take to classes etc. and absolutely wonderful for paper piecing it seems like it was made for that I really love it I also have a Pfaff and a Bernina but I really do use mr FW

  18. #18
    Junior Member FWDesigns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindit
    From the discussions I have seen, it seems that the Singer Featherweight is the most desirable machine to have. Is that true? I have would like to get one, but need to decide on one model to look for. What is the definition of a Featherweight? Is there a model number or what years where they made? Any information would be helpful. thanks!
    Here's what I've googled on the web. I have been trying to educate myself as well.
    http://www.planetpatchwork.com/fweight.htm
    http://www.singer-featherweight.com/
    http://singerfeatherweight221.com/
    http://www.sewmuse.co.uk/singer%20featherweight.htm

    If anyone knows of additional informative sites - please post!

  19. #19
    katlady's Avatar
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    If you do paper piecing the old machines are perfect as they do straight stitches perfect. All metal you will not wear one out if you take care of it. Clean & oil often.

  20. #20
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    just search this forum for "vintage sewing machines", what is so great about old sewing machines", etc...there has to be at least one topic a week on this!

  21. #21
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    preserving the past would be my guess...I'm looking for a treadle now and then I might be happy with what I have LOL

  22. #22
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    You need to visit the Vintage Sewing Machine Shop here on the board.......there are 1030 pages on vintage machines!

  23. #23
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindit
    From the discussions I have seen, it seems that the Singer Featherweight is the most desirable machine to have. Is that true? I have would like to get one, but need to decide on one model to look for. What is the definition of a Featherweight? Is there a model number or what years where they made? Any information would be helpful. thanks!
    A true Singer Featherweight is a 221 (222 is a free arm version - hard to find and expensive). There are white (or light-light-light green) 221 and they are really expensive.

    There is a new 'Featherweight' that is being sold and it is TRASH [sue me Singer but it is the truth]. It is almost totally plastic. That is how they are able to call it a 'featherweight' = lightweight.

  24. #24
    Super Member jrhboxers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tappedants
    It IS a Featherweight. I guess I'll ask Mama to send it homw with me next time I visit. She has a white one too.
    That white one is REALLY worth some money. They are rare - not many were produced. The insides are true Featherweight, just the color is different.

  25. #25
    Junior Member cindit's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help! I'll be checking out craigslist!!

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