Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Vintage sewing machine

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193

    Vintage sewing machine

    I would like to buy a vintage sewing machine but what I want it for is free motion quilting. What type of machine would be a good one for this or are they best for piecing? Please help!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    637
    I'm not an expert, but I'm thinking they would not be the best choice for free motion quilting because of the distance between the needle and sewing machine. You'd probably want that area to be larger than the vintage one seems to be (but I'm not sure). Unless you plan on free motion quilting little things (placemats, wallhangings, etc.)....I'd say it probably wouldn't work for you. You will also want the feed dogs to be able to be lowered....not sure if the vintage ones can do that. I'm sure some of the vintage machine enthusiasts would be able to better answer your questions. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    near Topeka kansas
    Posts
    1,998
    Many vintage machines have feed dog drops, or some you can easily take them off entirely. I've never tried FMQ so I can't answer beyond that. Howdy from KS.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  4. #4
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Victorian Sweatshop Forum
    Posts
    4,232
    Free motion quilting with a vintage machine is not only possible, most of them will do it better than the light weight plastic wonders of today, unless you want to pay $$$ for the newer straight stitch machines built for it. The throat space can be an issue, but most vintage machines actually have more room in the throat than the light weight plastic machines. A vintage straight stitch machine can have up to 7-8 inches of throat space. I have an ugly little black Japanese straight stitch machine that I used to use exclusively for free motion work. I've also done great free motion work with several of my 50s and 60s Japanese Brother machines. There are many vintage Singers that are also good at free motion work. I prefer using a machine that takes a 15 class bobbin. This is one of my favorites, but there are so many choices out there that you have to decide for yourself what you want.
    Name:  14769046896_511fdaab45_o.jpg
Views: 440
Size:  119.6 KB

    Cari

  5. #5
    Super Member NZquilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    2,933
    I use my vintage Singer 15-91 for FMQ. The feed dogs can drop easily and it makes a lovely stitch. The throat space is 7 inches. Once I started using it for FMQing, I will never go back to using a cheap plastic machine again! I feel like I have a lot more control.

    Name:  P1000114.jpg
Views: 433
Size:  73.2 KB

    This quilt pictured here is a Full size quilt. It wasn't hard at all.
    We didn't realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun. ~ Winnie the Pooh ~

    1912 World's Rotary Treadle (White Company), 1942 Singer 66-16, 1952 Pfaff 130-6, 1954 Singer 15-91, 1956 Singer 201-2

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193
    Thanks for your help. I think I will get a vintage sewing machine.

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    1,735
    Singer 15 is a favorite for quilting and free motion. The later one with the stitch length lever can drop the feed dogs. The earlier ones require a feed dog cover, they have a sort of screw and nut stitch length adjustment. I have seen people set up model 66 to use on a frame, I guess they remove the feed dogs. Some have set up 201 exclusively for free motion quilting and even embroidery. They do full size bed covers with the thicker type cotton wadding (batting?).

    I am on the look for an early cast iron zigzagger, and I have read good revies on Necchi BU. You can't really go wrong with the old straight stitchers, it probably have some advantages to a lot of new machines. My favorite machine to use is a 201. The advantage with a 15 is mostly for quilting, it has the CB bobbin case many like, though it doesn't entirely exclude models with drop in bobbin case.

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,346
    The Singer 15 was also my fav for FMQ Though I bought a LA pretty early on so only did specialty stuff on the 15.



    I was putting glitter thread accents and didn't want to attempt that thread on the LA
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Posts
    6
    I agree with those who prefer the vintage straight stitchers. They usually have a narrower body above the needle area which gives a better of sewing area than the more boxy new machines. I tried free motion on my Singer 9960 and oof...it was a struggle. Then I tried a vintage straight stitch Monarch (classic black Singer 15 clone) with feed dog drop and it was a lot easier. I finally understood why people actually enjoyed free motion quilting!
    One note, some of the foot controllers on the vintage machines are kind of zero to sixty in speed. If this is the case on the machine you get, it's pretty easy to change it to a new electronic foot controller. That really helped me with variable speed control and my stitching improved. There are videos and tutorials on how to change a foot controller on the internet. Good luck and let us know what you get.
    MJ

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    High Point, NC
    Posts
    74
    If your vintage foot controller "goes from zero to sixty" too quickly, your controller needs servicing. There are online tutorials and YouTube videos that will walk you through the steps. It's pretty easy.

    John Thomas in NC

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193
    Yesterday I went to visit my mother-in-law and found this sitting in her garage. I had my husband load it in the back of his pick up and we brought it home. All I know is it's a Minnesota A, a treadle machine and it is very rusty and its missing a few parts. I'm not sure if it is worth trying to get it running or no.
    Sorry for the blurriness. There's not lighting in her garage.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,346
    that MN A is most likely a Davis VS machine. Based on the tension type, this may be a later machine that takes "modern" size needles, but the shuttle and bobbins are only available vintage.

    Sears sold machines under teh Minnesota name, and I think over the years, at least 5 different companies had contracts with Sears to supply them. And even the "A" got reused - but it's easy enough to tell who the manufacturer is by looking at the machine. One key item is the square needle plate and also how the belt rides. Though the front inspection plate on yours has me wondering - would need better pictures

    Here are two of my Davis machines. I think they would both be older than yours.





    It also has a top clamp foot, so you can't get something like a hopping foot for FMQ, and the feed dogs don't drop so you need a cover plate for FMQ.

    It's a nice machine, and should sew well as a treadle or hand crank - not sure if it's got a way to mount a motor to it like Singers have. However I don't think I'd recommend this type of machine for FMQ.
    Last edited by Macybaby; 02-07-2019 at 05:15 AM.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193
    Thanks Macybaby. I think I will try to get it fixed up and use it for piecing. That is if I can get it working.

  14. #14
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    1,581
    Quote Originally Posted by J3General View Post
    If your vintage foot controller "goes from zero to sixty" too quickly, your controller needs servicing. There are online tutorials and YouTube videos that will walk you through the steps. It's pretty easy.

    John Thomas in NC
    If you will do your search on Youtube for Singer 401 (or 401a) controller, you will find several very good tutorials. The controllers are the same on all the vintage Singers.

    bkay

  15. #15
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    near Topeka kansas
    Posts
    1,998
    Name:  12 shuttles c.jpg
Views: 340
Size:  71.0 KB The bobbins and shuttles in the left of this pic are similar to what you will want. Sears started in Minnesota so "borrowed : the name.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  16. #16
    Super Member leonf's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    near Topeka kansas
    Posts
    1,998
    Oil everything that should move. Don't get water near your decals.Name:  Minnesota c first day.jpg
Views: 338
Size:  390.6 KB

    This is a Minnesota C with an odd controller.
    "Sacrifices must be made." Otto Lilienthal

  17. #17
    Super Member Irishrose2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Posts
    1,896
    I do all my FMQ on a Singer 301. 7 1/2" throat and with the slant needle I have a good view of the working area. A king/queen is on the machine now. I did use a 1949 Necchi that looks similar to a Singer 15 for one quilt and it did a nice job.

  18. #18
    Super Member Aurora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Somewhere in Time
    Posts
    2,541
    Blog Entries
    2
    Actually, you will find the harp areas are larger on the vintage machines than the newer machines. When I first took my 301A to quilting, I almost felt like an outcast. Everyone else had newer machines with all the bells and whistles. I finally bought a new machine and I absolutely hated the thing. I practically gave it away just to get rid of it. I love the vintage machines, my favorite is my Viking 6440, then my two New Home L372's, and my three 301's (two long beds, one short bed). I can do all the maintenance on them myself. When I purchase each one I take it to my service guy (Wild Man) for a total checkup/cleanup. After that I can do most maintenance myself. My machines only go in for a check up occasionally.
    Aurora

    "A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot." -Robert A. Heinlein

  19. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193
    I'm now starting to work on it. I finally got the wheel to turn. It is still a little tough to turn but it is turning with no squeaks. Yeah!! I'm going to work on it some more. After I get it turning smoothly I will take it out of its cabinet and buy a base box to put it in. The stand it self I will replace the top and repaint the medal legs and use it a table for it to sit on in my sewing room. That is once I rearrange it. There is only so much you can do with a 10x10 room. Thank goodness for walk in closet (which houses my 9 ft christmas tree).

  20. #20
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    South Dakota
    Posts
    6,346
    found this -



    I was searching online and ended up back on QB!

    https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintag...e-t295723.html
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  21. #21
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    251
    Just a thought about a portable base for your sewing machine: the way the head sits now, in the table, you have a flat bed working space, and very likely close to an ergonomic position for your height. If you put the machine in a base, on top of a table, you will lose your flatbed working surface (more drag from the fabric ensues) and may feel as if your hands are "perched" uncomfortably at a weird height and angle. You may want to try it as is before making major changes.

  22. #22
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    NEBRASKA
    Posts
    193
    Thank you WIChix for the bit of info. My newer sewing machine, singer model 5511, sits on my sewing desk right now. It puts more drag on my fabrics. I made my own extension table that's 24"x24" for it and that works well. I'm figuring of making my own base and I can get it as the same height as my singer so that I can use the same extension table.

  23. #23
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    5,642
    Quote Originally Posted by WIChix View Post
    Just a thought about a portable base for your sewing machine: the way the head sits now, in the table, you have a flat bed working space, and very likely close to an ergonomic position for your height. If you put the machine in a base, on top of a table, you will lose your flatbed working surface (more drag from the fabric ensues) and may feel as if your hands are "perched" uncomfortably at a weird height and angle. You may want to try it as is before making major changes.
    I was thinking the same.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.