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Recommend Singer portable sewing machine

Recommend Singer portable sewing machine

Old 04-15-2023, 06:42 AM
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Default Recommend Singer portable sewing machine

Hi - Iím new to this board and to sewing (I bought a Singer 401a and love it) ó and Iím learning to sew by watching YouTube videosÖ. I like having a simple sturdy machine and donít need fancy options ó so far Iím making simple projects and straight stitches are fine.
Can anyone recommend a portable machine thatís sturdy and simple? Iím not too concerned with weight ó Iíd prefer something fairly unbreakable that I could take apart and repair myself if necessary. I thought it might be wise to stick to Singer so I could swap out feet and needles etc (although I donít honestly know if thatís an important consideration). Iíve seen so many machines available on Craigslist ó I have no idea how to pick one! Iíd appreciate any comments. Thank you.
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Old 04-15-2023, 09:34 AM
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As far as portability goes, a featherweight would probably be your best option. They're light and easy to carry. A 301 would be my next choice. Is there a reason, you don't want to use your 401? I've used my 301a to take to classes and sew ins, and it works fine. Not too heavy and a good size to fit in the car. I wouldn't worry too much about the feet. I've seen them at estate and garage sales really cheap. There are also some reproduction ones. I have only used one of the reproductions and it worked well.
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Old 04-15-2023, 10:31 AM
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My 401a weighs 22 pounds while a 301 weighs in at slightly over 16 pounds. The Singer 401a and 301 are both slant shank machines which means their feet are interchangeable if that's a consideration. Many of the other vintage Singers (e.g. 66, 99, 201)are low shank machines which means their feet are not interchangeable with the 401 or 301. As Patrice indicated replacement feet are cheap. It might also help to google any vintage Singer model you are considering to learn more about the machine's features (e.g. straight vs. zig zag capabilities, etc.)

Here's a link showing which machine models have feet that would be interchangeable with your 401a: https://www.sewingpartsonline.com/st...ant-shank.aspx
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Old 04-15-2023, 12:30 PM
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The 403 (zz) and 404 (straight stitch), are also very nice machines. Both are slant shank, aluminum housing, and not as prone to the hinge issues of the 401/500/503.
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Old 04-15-2023, 02:55 PM
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Thank you for your response. Iíve thought about packing up the 401a; I think part of the issue is pure laziness (Iíve usually got it set up in my dining room and I love the idea of having a dedicated travel machine that I could have packed and ready to go).

Ignorance is probably part of it ó although Iím not overly concerned about weight, I assumed portable machines would be smaller and take up less room on a table. (Not a big deal - but some of the places Iíd take it are pretty cramped.). I also hoped to get a machine with a carrying case.

Iím not familiar with Featherweights ó are they all alike, or is there a particular model or production year I should look for?

Thanks again.

Originally Posted by cashs_mom View Post
As far as portability goes, a featherweight would probably be your best option. They're light and easy to carry. A 301 would be my next choice. Is there a reason, you don't want to use your 401? I've used my 301a to take to classes and sew ins, and it works fine. Not too heavy and a good size to fit in the car. I wouldn't worry too much about the feet. I've seen them at estate and garage sales really cheap. There are also some reproduction ones. I have only used one of the reproductions and it worked well.
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Old 04-15-2023, 03:28 PM
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The foregoing posters have said it all. So let me suggest that once you decide on a machine, you look st shopgoodwill.com and search for "sewing machine". Watch the shipping cost and don't bid on anything because you want the case (it has about a 50/50 shot at making it intact).

I'd primarily look for a 301A if I wanted to travel with a vintage machine. Though I wouldn't overlook a 158.xxxxx Kenmore. Plenty around, usually cheap, work well and offer a few utility stitches. Feet do not interchange with your 401.

I fell in the rabbit hole about 10 months ago and how have 33 machines... be careful!
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Old 04-16-2023, 05:41 AM
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I would also recommend the 301. I, too, have a featherweight and love it but because of the 'cuteness' factor, they tend to be quite pricey. The 301's are not overly cheap but they are not quite as price (at least most of the time) as the featherweights. I'm on the hunt for a 301 myself but not willing to spend a lot so I'll be looking for a while, lol.

Do an image search on google and you can see what both of those machines look like.
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Old 04-16-2023, 06:55 AM
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NJ, I bought a 401 at garage sale the other day in the case. I mostly want it for the case which I think will also fit my Rocketeer. They're out there and cheapest at garage sales.
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Old 04-16-2023, 09:00 AM
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If you just want to carry the Rocketeer in the 401 case, it will probably fit. I had a 403 case and put a 500 in it, mounting it to the base of the case, and had to do some modifications, drilling new holes for the underside mounting bolts and cutting some plastic around the plug end.
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Old 04-16-2023, 02:00 PM
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It seems to me the most time consuming part of packing sewing stuff to take to retreats is not packing the machine but packing all the other paraphemalia like the scissors, thread, extra needles, sewing machine oil, pins, rulers, rotary cutter and blades, etc. etc. Packing for a retreat might seem less burdensome if you either have second set of this kind of stuff or if you stored it in a bag or box that you access when at home and can also just grab and take with when traveling.
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