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Thread: Vintage Sewing Machine Shop.....Come on in and sit a spell

  1. #38001
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misseva View Post
    Note to amit11 - if your area is anything like mine a Featherweight would be quite expensive to use only the one time for classes. Unless someone is very fortunate and finds one for a steal they could go for up to $500 each. If you just want one for classes - go to Walmart and get a Brother for less than $100.
    TwandasMom, I have to say I don't agree with this statement at all. The $100 machines at Walmart are usually the bottom of the line machines. They are not meant to be used except occassionally! If you want a really good machine that won't cause you headaches, that will last forever, spend the $100 to $350 and get a 301 or a FW. Those machine will last forever, and you can service them yourself. If you want decorative stitches then spend $50 to $100 for a really nice vintage machine that does decorative stitches. Or go to a sewing machine shop and invest in a good plastic machine! A good sewing machine is an investment - but, you will never regret that you got the 'good' one! Down the road, it will be the cheaper machine to get as it will keep on going year after year.

    Nancy
    Last edited by BoJangles; 09-19-2012 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #38002
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizkaki View Post
    Nancy,

    I'm looking forward to next month's Girl's Night Out.
    Now I need to find a machine to bring <VBG>

    Cathy
    Cathy, what is wrong with your little cute featherweight? I bet it would appreciate being used a little!

    Nancy

  3. #38003
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJangles View Post
    TwandasMom, I have to say I don't agree with this statement at all. The $100 machines at Walmart are usually the bottom of the line machines. They are not meant to be used except occassionally! If you want a really good machine that won't cause you headaches, that will last forever, spend the $100 to $350 and get a 301 or a FW. Those machine will last forever, and you can service them yourself. If you want decorative stitches then spend $50 to $100 for a really nice vintage machine that does decorative stitches. Or go to a sewing machine shop and invest in a good plastic machine!

    Nancy

    Nancy
    There are MANY MANY good quality vintage machines other than the FW and 301 - those seem to be a status symbol of some sort. Plenty of other machines will be good sturdy last forever machines with out the expense. Some might weight a ton but they won't dance off the table either. You want something cheap and sews very nice try a Spartan or how about a Singer 404 - neither have that much status but good machines. SS only though. How about some of the Kenmore machines - well designed and sew about anything... I think I've posted time and again how to evaluate a used machine... if you can't find those posts here, there should be stuff if you google search how to buy a vintage sewing machine...
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  4. #38004
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I don't think it's status for a $100 machine like a 301, Miriam. A hundred bucks is nothing for a sewing machine in today's market. If I wanted a status symbol I'd get a fancy Bernina. Oh wait, I have a fancy Bernina:> I believe it's more that it's loved by many people and quilters for being a fabulous all around piecing and quilting machine. That's why it's talked about so often. I think most of the women in my guild think I'm poor since I only bring "old" machines to groups. LOL. No status upgrade at all for bringing my 301's.

  5. #38005
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    a featherweight isnt a status symbol. atleast to me it isnt. i love the way they look. very similar to my 15-91. i love the shiny black and gold.
    and no, the cheapest one from walmart isnt for me. 1. mostly plastic. i like to buy things once and be done. not buy and in 2 years replacing because it is worn out. quality is what i am after.
    people and friends and family that know me, know vintage is my thing. i refinish furniture for my house. i redo metal porch gliders. my kitchen...well it could have been in the 50's/60's. my husband even restores old cars and trucks. when the opportunity presents itsself for us to buy another house, it will also be old, and i dont mean 20 years old. its who i am, its what i love. vintage.
    my daughter will be using a cheaper machine from walmart or somewhere because she is a beginner. im not going to spend the money on her a vintage machine just for her to realise that sewing isnt something she is really into. me however, it will be used and loved. im not taking the classes for me to "learn to sew", i am taking them with her to give us something to do together and to be there incase she needs help during the class. more than likely when the classes start, i will be the only one with an older machine. at the shop we are taking classes at, is pushing baby locks and other higher end models.
    so again, it has nothing to do with a status symbol. and i dont want to buy junk. i asked for other models that were good, i am just more familiar with the featherweights. i received several recommendations on other models and brands, and i am researching.
    again, vintage is me. its what i love and what i search for. if i walk into the sewing class with a "new" machine and someone there knows me, im sure i will have some explaining to do. =)

  6. #38006
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    It would be easier to say what machines are junk.
    Plastic = JUNK
    Stamped metal = JUNK
    Some vintage machines ARE better than others. If you can come up with a real nice high end European - some of those are very nice vinatage machines. I'm partial to Elna - the old blue ones are nice. Some people are partial to vintage Pfaff or Viking or Bernina... I think it also depends on how much money you have to burn. If you buy any vintage machine that has been reconditioned, expect to pay a bit more depends too on who reconditioned it. I think the main thing is that you have fun with it. I guess since I learned on a FW I don't see it as any big deal.

    Some how I have not been able to load pictures any more - I don't know what changed. I had hoped to load some pics... bummer...
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  7. #38007
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Y'all might recognize yourself in my post.
    I went to an estate buyer's yard sale today and was looking through their stuff when one of the guys recognized me as the gal who had bought all 3 of their DSM at the last yard sale. I admitted to it and he said they hadn't acquired any machines lately but would be getting one, possibly 2 next week, and was I interested? Does a bear s**t in the woods??? Of course I was interested and happily gave them my name and number and siad I'd be back home late Wed afternoon and be free to look at them then. They have no idea what the machines are but are happy to know of a potential buyer. I am happy to have potential, close machines to look at and these guys are reasonable on the prices cuz they want to move the merchandise.

    Chris
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  8. #38008
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    http://kansascity.craigslist.org/atq/3274434777.html
    I am looking at this beauty tomorrow. He thinks it's a Singer cabinet. Well, I have plenty of homeless Singers.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  9. #38009
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    http://kansascity.craigslist.org/atq/3274434777.html
    I am looking at this beauty tomorrow. He thinks it's a Singer cabinet. Well, I have plenty of homeless Singers.
    looks like a White cabinet
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  10. #38010
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    looks like a White cabinet
    Crud, I have one White and it has a cabinet. Could it be modified to fit a Davis?
    What makes you say White? Just curious.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  11. #38011
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_quilts View Post
    Crud, I have one White and it has a cabinet. Could it be modified to fit a Davis?
    What makes you say White? Just curious.
    The hole in front is shaped to take the T-shirt bobbin face plate I think.....
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  12. #38012
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    OMG. I finally got my Bernina 830's cracked cam gear replaced and I retimed it. What a job. I probably sunk 8 hours into it. But, what a fantastic machine. I see why folks love them so. So smoooooooth and nice. I whipped up a rag quilt on it today for charity and it went through it like butter. It's a keeper, for sure.

  13. #38013
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    The hole in front is shaped to take the T-shirt bobbin face plate I think.....
    Glenn, thanks for the input. I may pass on this one cuz I don't need it.
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  14. #38014
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    The 301 is nice, but my ultimate straight stitch machine is still my wonderful 201-1.

  15. #38015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizkaki View Post
    Nancy,

    I'm looking forward to next month's Girl's Night Out.
    Now I need to find a machine to bring <VBG>

    Cathy
    Oh, RIGHT, because you don't have ANY machines...vbg back at ya Laura

  16. #38016
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    OMG, I can just picture the extreme cuteness in the shop! Thanks for telling all about it! I know what you mean about the pristine machine. OTOH, a lot of people felt that all young brides needed a sewing machine and not all young brides agreed! My Auntie has one that she has never even plugged in- her MIL gave it to her, and although she now likes her MIL, she says that on the way home from MILs future funeral, she will drop that machine off at the goodwill! (and no, it's nothing special)

    I had a tube of Singer brand lube, bought in the last year, that turned gunky black, Ray White said he'd never seen anything like it. I know it didn't look like that when I bought it, so maybe that's what happened to the 401.

    I'm pretty jealous of the girls night out- wish I lived closer to Miz Kaki et al. Anyone down in the SF Bay area want to get together to sew?

    Laura in Alameda, CA


    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    You all remember Glenn came to Indianapolis? Well, we went antiquing and sewing machine shopping. I found a PINK sewing machine that he tried to wrestle away from me.... It is a very pretty machine barely used. I thought I would look it over before the GDs showed up yesterday. It always scares me to see a nearly perfect machine. Why did it not get used??? This ones' tension spring was in the wrong place - would not move. I took it apart and adjusted it - the machine works fine now. It is a dandy. I took pics but left the camera at the shop. Oh and I found a 35 cent can of unused oil and a new pair of scissors under the machine but no lint.

    When the GKs came they caught me working on a Singer 401 so they grabbed a box of Qtips and 'cleaned' the machine. Every time Miss L got a tiny smudge she threw out the Qtip - whole box used up... I shot pics of them standing on my bench cleaning the machine - did I mention the camera is still at my shop??? Oh, back to the 401. I have never seen a mess like that one. First it looked like someone greased it with a black crayon. The oil was very waxy like and EVERYWHERE. Then the place where the motor comes up through to the balance wheel looked sort of like it had an oil bath - it was full of waxy oil. I got most of it off the machine - Qtips are in the can... Wilbur figured out where all the screw drivers go and put them away - all of them... Then he discovered a box of hinges - he loves my shop. He says only one word when he comes - kind of scary - I think he is just absorbing - his one word is 'AMAZING!' Miss L comes in and talks my ear off and just digs in with the Qtips. She loves lint and old waxy oil and Qtips. I need to keep them in a smaller box from now on. I tried to switch her off to a brush to no avail. Wilbur was happy with a brush for a while. I let him go at it on a parts machine. Oh and he was not impressed with the pink sewing machine for some reason.

  17. #38017
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    Yesterday I got my hands on a 1952 206k. It belongs to a friends neighbor who got it back from family members. It belonged to her mother. I cleaned and oiled it, then found a 221 cord so we could try it out. Either she has the wrong bobbin case or I just couldn't get it in right, it kept spitting it out.

    I'd love to hear from anyone who could give me an insight into the bobbin area. The screw that holds a lever in place is very worn, my DH's big truck screwdriver might help me get it loose as its is a very substantial screw and worn to boot.

    Can't tell you how thrilled I was. Back home, I looked up the serial # and found it was authorized October 1st, 1952, in the Scotland factory. It has a red sticker when you lift it up that says Repossessed Machine. It would take a manual to figure out how to work the zigzag, an arm goes across the back.

    I'm encouraging her to get the cord rewired(her DH is an electrician) and compare the bobbin case to those available online. Then we'll have another go at making it her favorite sewing machine.
    Life is made up of bits and pieces. You won't know how it'll turn out till its done.

  18. #38018
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    There are MANY MANY good quality vintage machines other than the FW and 301 - those seem to be a status symbol of some sort. Plenty of other machines will be good sturdy last forever machines with out the expense. Some might weight a ton but they won't dance off the table either. You want something cheap and sews very nice try a Spartan or how about a Singer 404 - neither have that much status but good machines. SS only though. How about some of the Kenmore machines - well designed and sew about anything... I think I've posted time and again how to evaluate a used machine... if you can't find those posts here, there should be stuff if you google search how to buy a vintage sewing machine...
    Hehehehehehehehe, the only reason I mentioned the FW and the 301 is because those machines are the ones that are doable to take to class! Of course, the Rocketeers (I do take mine when I want decorative stitches) the 401's, etc., are also not too heavy. BUT the 201's, 15's, even 99's, Spartans, weigh a ton - you need a caddy to take those machines to classes! I didn't mention those because, even though, I am pretty tough, - those machines are just too heavy to be carting around! No status symbol involved. In fact, most of my friends know that I have a Pfaff embroidery machine (very expensive), a long arm machine (also very expensive), a modern Janome (nice machine), but the people who do not know me must think I must be poor when I show up with my 301's or a Rocketeer! I have, as most of you know, about 50 vintage machines, but most of them stay at home when I go out to sew, although, I want to take one of my Wilcox and Gibbs one of these days just to see what everyone says about that! That would be a hoot!

    Nancy
    Last edited by BoJangles; 09-20-2012 at 05:26 AM.

  19. #38019
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nurseknitsLaura View Post

    I'm pretty jealous of the girls night out- wish I lived closer to Miz Kaki et al. Anyone down in the SF Bay area want to get together to sew?

    Laura in Alameda, CA
    I'm interested!

  20. #38020
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoJangles View Post
    Hehehehehehehehe, the only reason I mentioned the FW and the 301 is because those machines are the ones that are doable to take to class! Of course, the Rocketeers (I do take mine when I want decorative stitches) the 401's, etc., are also not too heavy. BUT the 201's, 15's, even 99's, Spartans, weigh a ton - you need a caddy to take those machines to classes! I didn't mention those because, even though, I am pretty tough, - those machines are just too heavy to be carting around! No status symbol involved. In fact, most of my friends know that I have a Pfaff embroidery machine (very expensive), a long arm machine (also very expensive), a modern Janome (nice machine), but the people who do not know me must think I must be poor when I show up with my 301's or a Rocketeer! I have, as most of you know, about 50 vintage machines, but most of them stay at home when I go out to sew, although, I want to take one of my Wilcox and Gibbs one of these days just to see what everyone says about that! That would be a hoot!

    Nancy
    Nancy, I bet you and I get the same looks of pity:> And don't forget the 401's etc. don't FMQ well, and the throat space is critical for that so I wouldn't get a 3/4 machine for classes either. Believe it or not, I DO lug my heavy machines around. I don't just bring my 301's. I also bring my Japanese clones and Pfaffs. Did I tell you I've been going to the gym 3 times a week to get strong enough to do that? :> That's the other thing. I love SOME Japanese machines for FMQ, but some of them are plain duds. I've found about 10-15% of them just don't FMQ as nicely as others.

    I think the best thing to do, is find a quilter that does what you want or dream of doing and find out what tools they use. If you only tie tops, well, you don't need a great FMQing machine. If you do or want to do more FMQing, then you need to talk to those who do and find out what they suggest. Similarly, if you piece tops and don't quilt, then a simple, straight stitch machine is all you need. Or do what I do and collect a bunch of them and weed out which ones don't suit you:>

  21. #38021
    Super Member chris_quilts's Avatar
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    There's a Singer 227 near me for a good price. Are they a good model or are they one of the quirky models? Just curious before I reply to the CL ad.
    Chris
    I meant to behave......but there were too many other options

  22. #38022
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Candace,
    You got me curious about my wife's Bernina Record 930. So I popped the top off and took a gander. Happily, it has a steel cam stack in it , but sadly it has about 4 or 5 plastic gears . None of the gears has any lube what so ever, not even those plastic gears that run with metal ones.

    So, I was thinking of putting some Tri-Flow grease on them. What is your opinion of doing that? This machine is in great shape and runs great too. I'm just wanting to keep it that way.

    Joe

  23. #38023
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Joe, it's not the cams that are the issue, as the 830 and 730 series also have metal cams, it's the gear that drives them is nylon and they do periodically need replacing(every 35 years or so). My 830 model is the model that came out before the 930(older). I replaced this nylon camstack gear and shaft in mine. The whole shebang has to come out-all cams and shaft. Of course putting a new one back in messes with all the internal components and it needs adjustment. Putting any grease on nylon gears is a bit controversial. Some will say it leads to attracting dirt and dust and others say it's fine. It's up to you. Personally, I only grease metal on metal gears. I know some of the lubricant does eventually make it to the nylon gears, but I don't put it there on purpose. If the nylon gear was making a noise or causing problems, it would probably not hurt to grease it, but I would probably just oil it as the manual states. You can ask Cathy what her opinion of this is, but I follow this same logic with my Elnas and leave well enough alone.

  24. #38024
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I've posted this machine before, when I received it, but it's now working fully. I had to send it to a local service repair and he spent 12 hours working on it over a span of 2 months, to just get it to zig zag and straight stitch. The embroidery unit was still un-operational. With the help of a kind soul on the vintage yahoo group, I was able to fix the embroidery unit and put it through it's paces today. It's an amazing machine. Pfaffs and other European machines are truly like fine watches. But, one little part out of adjustment can wreck havoc and cause considerable headaches! This machine looks almost brand new inside and out and has all attachments, case etc. Not only does it do beautiful embroidery stitches it FMQs like a DREAM. This is another one I won't let go! What's neat about this model is it has a stopmatic feature that automatically raises the needle up out of the fabric.
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  25. #38025
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Candace,

    Thanks for the advice on the Bernina. I think I'll just clean it and oil the oily places and leave it at that.
    The gears that are in there look really great and the machine runs great too. No signs of wear or damage or cracking that I can see. Cross my fingers. If this machine dies It's far to complex for my skills and it will have to go to a Bernina mechanic.

    That Paff is a sweet looking machine. I've seen a couple of them or something similar on GW. Never did bid on any, at least not yet.

    Joe

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