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  • Suggestions for used sewing machine

    Old 02-10-2017, 08:03 AM
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    Default Suggestions for used sewing machine

    Hi, Just found this great forum. I'm in need of a machine for mending, craft projects, and possibly quilting (when I retire). I would like more of a workhorse type that will work well on heavy fabrics, jeans, etc... This will be my only machine and I would like something that's fairly user friendly, easy to maintain, and stitches well. I think I only need straight and zigzag stitching but not adverse to more options. I have been looking at the ebay and goodwill auctions. There is one on ebay that I could pick in person. It is a Kenmore 1220 Zig Zag. I think it is a technician selling it as they describe that it has been cleaned, adjusted , and lubed. It looks pristine. I think it is from the 70's. Starting bid pretty low right now.

    I also have been looking at Viking 6000 series and Pfaff Varimatic 6085. These are more expensive I think.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I'd like to find a bargain of course, but I want a nice machine. I am not a beginner, but I have basic skills.

    Does anyone have this Kenmore 1220 or something similar? Heard that the older metal Kenmores, like this one, are nice.

    Thanks
    Coodoo is offline  
    Old 02-10-2017, 12:32 PM
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    There are a few Kenmore folks here that will give you better/more info the specific machines you're looking at.

    I would suggest checking your local craigslist for machines. I cruise local areas all the time simply using the search word 'sewing' and get tons of results. Just about any all-metal, vintage machine will probably be good for your purposes. Easy to maintain. You can also check out Victoriansweatshop.com. Lots of good info there and perhaps a few more Kenmore folks - not sure.
    NJ Quilter is offline  
    Old 02-10-2017, 04:40 PM
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    Hi, I have 10 or 12 Kenmores from the mid-'50's through the '70's/early '80's and really appreciate their stitch quality and power. While I do not have the 148.1220 model you are considering, I have had the very similar 148.12070. I recently gifted this machine to my daughter's best friend because I thought it would be a very good machine for a new sewer who has a good coach in my daughter.

    I downloaded a free manual I found on the 148.1220 (also covered the 148.1218 as well) and just finished going through it. The machine will sew straight stitch, zz, and two 'stretch' stitches from built-in cams. It had instructions for a "manual" blind hem stitch (three straight stitches, one zz stitch set on 3 stitch width, etc.). It is a Class 15, low shank machine. I did not see it in the manual but it probably has a 1.0 amp motor which is more than adequate piercing power as well as a probable left homing needle set up. I particularly like the extra space under the Kenmore presser foot.

    All in all, I think it would be a good basic machine for garment sewing. I don't know if the left homing needle set up makes quilting a little trickier. If so, that needs to be verified. BTW, I really like Kenmores!
    J3General is offline  
    Old 02-10-2017, 08:42 PM
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    Left homing needles can be a problem when sewing a 1/4" seam if only one of the feed dogs grabs the fabric.

    A machine that has stretch stitches is nice if you will be sewing knit fabrics. A narrow zigzag stitch works in a pinch if you only sew knits occasionally. Not sure if this important to you or not but something to consider.

    The Kenmore 1220 was the machine I used when I first started sewing. It's a very basic bottom of the line machine from the 70's. I swear the thing hated me but in retrospect it may have been my inexperience.

    I now own is a Kenmore 50. She's a basic all metal gears straight stitch and zigzag machine and has a left homing needle. She is a work horse but I usually use my straight stitch only machines when I'm piecing quilts.
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    Old 02-11-2017, 04:34 AM
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    pennycandy, funny you should say that a Kenmore hated you. I always swore that mine hated my daughter!
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    Old 02-11-2017, 05:27 AM
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    Thanks for all the advice. I am going to pass on the Kenmore 1220. I did not like that it is made for a cabinet and the left homing needle could be an issue. I will continue my search. I'm leaning towards finding a Pfaff, my mom's favorite brand... 1222, 875 or something similar. Any thoughts on these?
    Coodoo is offline  
    Old 02-11-2017, 05:53 AM
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    Check into the Singer 500 series, the "Rocketeers". I love mine. The slant needle handles heavy fabrics much better.
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    Old 02-11-2017, 07:51 AM
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    I looked at the Singer 500 Rocketeers...very cool looking. They seem to be more expensive, for one in nice condition.

    Also looking at a Kenmore 14 stitch #158-15511. Does anyone have experience with one of these? Found one that looks minty, but untested...cheap, but risky.

    Last edited by Coodoo; 02-11-2017 at 07:55 AM.
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    Old 02-11-2017, 08:32 AM
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    Originally Posted by Coodoo
    I looked at the Singer 500 Rocketeers...very cool looking. They seem to be more expensive, for one in nice condition.

    Also looking at a Kenmore 14 stitch #158-15511. Does anyone have experience with one of these? Found one that looks minty, but untested...cheap, but risky.

    Look around more. I paid $50 for mine, re-conditioned. I don't have all the cams, but it will straight stitch and zigzag without them.
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    Old 02-11-2017, 09:43 AM
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    You might want to check at your local quilting shops. Sometimes they take older machines in trade for new ones. And you can get something nice that has already been reconditioned for a decent price. Only shops that have a sewing machine repair department, of course! My local Bernina store usually has a few used machines in stock (only Berninas, though), and our Babylock store takes in every kind of machine.
    MFord is offline  
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