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Thread: What older machine for me

  1. #1
    Member papple00's Avatar
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    What older machine for me

    I have two sewing machines, a Janome 4800 and a 1950 Featherweight. I keep the featherweight in Florida so that I don't have to transport the Janome back and forth each year. I would like to find a 1970's era sewing machine to take to Florida as there were times last year that I needed to do more than straight sewing.
    Any suggestions from this group? I have looked at Singer Touch and Sews,, which I used to have, but am having trouble finding one that is in decent shape.
    Thanks for any suggestions you can give me.
    Pat

  2. #2
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    Depends on how much you are willing to pay -

    I would recommend a Bernina or a Pfaff in a heartbeat - but those usually are comparatively expensive for older machines.

  3. #3
    Senior Member KenmoreRulesAll's Avatar
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    Kenmore, Kenmore, Kenmore!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    Even though I have two Featherweights, my go-to travel machine is an Elna Lotus. Mine is a 1976 SP model. It has ZZ and utility stitches, although I would not use it for heavy sewing. It had fold-up sides and is lightweight (although not as lightweight as a newer plastic machine). I got mine at a garage sale for $5 but do usually see them listed for more.
    I took mine to Florida last year in my carry-on bag as I was going to be in a hotel room with no car while my husband was in class all week. I also took a pre-cut quilt project, and a cutting mat. The rotary cutter, scissors, and other sharp items were packed in our checked bag. It worked out great.

    Another good choice would be one of the small Kenmores (158.10xx). I have had a couple of them (a 1040 and a 1050) and they are sweet little machines.
    Last edited by Skyangel; 10-09-2014 at 09:10 AM.

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenmoreRulesAll View Post
    Kenmore, Kenmore, Kenmore!
    A 70s 158- series Kenmore was my first thought. Inexpensive, good quality, great multiple stitches and most are all steel inside.

    Joe
    I love the old iron and wood machines. They're solid and reliable.
    Founder of IAAA - I Am An Anachronism .

  6. #6
    Super Member Mrs. SewNSew's Avatar
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    If it's one you don't need to transport, I was thinking Kenmore too! Yes Berninas, Pfaffs and Elnas are also good choices so keep your eyes open. My main machine is an Elna and you can get a wide variety of cams for them.
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  7. #7
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    if you want a machine that will stay in Florida to keep your FW company, I vote for a 1960's Brother machine. They can usually be found for a lot less money than other big name machines and are every bit as much a solid workhorse. Just sayin'.....

    Cari
    Last edited by Cari-in-Oly; 10-09-2014 at 10:43 AM.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Is the machine traveling back and forth with you or living in Florida? Tough question for me. There's so many good machines out there that it's hard to narrow it down.
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  9. #9
    Member papple00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    Is the machine traveling back and forth with you or living in Florida? Tough question for me. There's so many good machines out there that it's hard to narrow it down.
    Rodney
    I am thinking it will stay in Florida. I just don't like the idea of my Janome "bouncing" around in the car. I do have it in a good case but still......with all the electronics in our machines today you just never know!

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    There are so many machines from that time period. Try to find one that doesn't have plastic gears... It sounds like you are wanting something that does more than straight stitch. One with drop in disks will be easier to maintain and use than one with a camstack. Kenmore, anything European, White, Brother... tons and tons of Japanese machines - some better than others. Test drive before you buy see what feels good to you. Don't take our word for it. As a rule, the European machines are well made and a delight to sew with but complicated. Kenmore's some times run in reverse. Some of the Japanese machines have left home needle positions. Test. Test. Test.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  11. #11
    Member papple00's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Going to do the thrift shop thing first. Have looked online but I want to be able to touch it and as you say "test drive" it.

  12. #12
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenmoreRulesAll View Post
    Kenmore, Kenmore, Kenmore!
    agreed!!!!!!
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
    http://according-to-ginger.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    Another vote for the older 1970's 158 series Kenmores! Sturdy, reliable, inexpensive. Readily available cams and parts. The 1802 is a bit newer but more attachments.

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    I'm just getting into Kenmores- I like the little ones like the 1040,1030. I also just found the 1802 - love how it sews but didn't realize at the time that the needle sits just left of center- not fully left but enough to throw off the 1/4 inch foot (if they even make one for the super high shank or whatever it's called) I'm thinking I'll use mine for aprons, placemats, etc or quilts where I don't need 1/4 inch (string quilts, all squares, paper piecing)

    I inherited a bunch of estate sale/garage sale machines from my mom and they include 401, 403, 500, 503 singer. haven't had time to sew a lot on them but between the 401 and 403 I enjoyed the403 more - it doesn't have built-in stitches it's straight stitch unless I put in a cam. just seemed less intimidating

    with the newer machines I've see pfaff passport and another fo$600 and $800 and I sometimes use a Janome Harmony 8080 (got on ebay several years ago under $200 - but it has to go to the shop because it rode around in he car and guess it had enough - time for it's cleaning anyways.

    I just got a Kenmore low shank that I think I'll like- 1430 -not a whole lot of stitches but enough. will have to give al my machines more time to see what grows on me
    Susanna

  15. #15
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    If the machine is going to stay in Florida, I'd say a Singer 401 or Singer 500. That may be a couple years earlier than 1970, but they are good work horses, have a variety of stitches (with cams), and you can probably get one in a cabinet for not a lot of money, maybe $40-$60, depending. The only thing to remember about these machines is that you have to oil them again before using them if you let them sit. Also, be very careful/gentle with the door/hinges on the far left of the 500, over the needlebar.

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricket_iscute View Post
    If the machine is going to stay in Florida, I'd say a Singer 401 or Singer 500. That may be a couple years earlier than 1970, but they are good work horses, have a variety of stitches (with cams), and you can probably get one in a cabinet for not a lot of money, maybe $40-$60, depending. The only thing to remember about these machines is that you have to oil them again before using them if you let them sit. Also, be very careful/gentle with the door/hinges on the far left of the 500, over the needlebar.
    I see them for that price but they usually need about 8 - 10 hours of TLC.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  17. #17
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    I have a Kenmore 1521 I used ot years and it is a great machine, bought it new in late 70's.

  18. #18
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    If you had a Touch and Sew ( one of my very favorites) and you really liked it keep looking one will show up for you.
    Creativity needs focus and application...
    http://sewvintageuniqueboutique.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    One other thing to consider if you are buying any sewing machine. Can you see the needle with out ducking your head? Maybe that is why I like the old Singers and the slant-o-matics.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  20. #20
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Stick with a 600 or 603 on the Touch & Sews and you won't have any plastic gears to contend with.
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  21. #21
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Those 603 and 600s are nice - I think I have a couple real nice non-sledge hammered...
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  22. #22
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    My vote is for a 1950-60s Singer 401. With all those cams it is the perfect buddy for your featherweight. Of course I am partial to Singers - That is all I have - a featherweight, 2 -301s, and a 401 and I use them all for different things

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    There are plenty of non-Singer machines out there that are way better than Singers. Singer just has the big name.
    Never let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    There are plenty of non-Singer machines out there that are way better than Singers. Singer just has the big name.
    Amen to that!

    Cari

  25. #25
    Member papple00's Avatar
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    I saw a picture on a yahoo group site of a pink/salmon color vintage Kenmore.....it was beautiful. Does anyone know anything about them? I can't copy the picture because it is copy writed.

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