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Thread: Why can't I find any?? Where are they?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Tippysmom's Avatar
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    Question Why can't I find any?? Where are they?

    In all my travels to thrift stores and secondhand shops, I have yet to find a vintage machine, any machine! Seems like most of you find them on a regular basis.

    I frequent shops on a regular basis, but score a big ZERO. What can I do to improve my chances? I don't really want to go every day!

    Renate

  2. #2
    Super Member mlmack's Avatar
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    Thrift shops aren't very reliable for me, though I have found 2 or 3 bargains. Craigslist is where I find most of my machines, and occasionally at garage sales.
    Mark

  3. #3
    Senior Member Vridar's Avatar
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    Don't give up. I had the same problem until my last excursion. Found a Dressmaker, 403a, a Morse, 2 15 clones, a White treadle and a Red Eye at three different thrift shops. Got the Morse, Dressmaker, 2 clones and the 403 in a descent cabinet all for under a $150. SUV was full.
    Ron in NW MO

  4. #4
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    Don't get discouraged, they are out there. It took me a long time to get my first one. Craig's List is a great place to look, along with your local thrift stores and garage sales.
    Aronel aka Lee

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Shopgoodwill.com is loaded with vintage machines of every brand and description.
    { http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/s...umbs=on&page=1 }
    That's where I've gotten many of mine as the Springfield area is devoid of vintage machines too.

    Joe

  6. #6
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    My area also has almost nothing in the thrift stores sewing related. I find more in antique malls - often hidden as they use the cabinets for display tables, and you can't tell if a machine is in there unless you look/feel underneath. I've also gotten some great deals on attachments at antique malls.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Tippysmom's Avatar
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    I have checked out the Goodwill site, but it's hard to figure out exactly what machine is really a FW, esp. if they don't know. A lot of them are in sad shape I almost feel sorry for them, is that crazy?

    There is a new antique mall that opened nearby, a good reason to check it out!

  8. #8
    Junior Member brunswickgirl's Avatar
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    I have had the best luck with the unexpected surprises at garage sales. I ask do you have any old machines. My last score was a FW for $75 doing this. People often do not think to put them out or with the elderly they do not think anyone wants them. I also leave my little biz card at the flea markets with the owner or manager. They pass the word along that I collect old machines. And I placed an ad earlier this summer on CL that I would pick up old machines. Got several that were junk, but was able to salvage the drawers out of a treadle that was falling apart, repair a 60's singer and gave it to the teenage neighbor girl who wants to learn to sew AND scored a 185K, my fav color green.

    Just put the word out and you will find them
    Linda K Stafford

    "Wag more - Bark less"

    Wine is the Answer.....What is the Question????

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sideways's Avatar
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    My area goodwill stores never have any machines, they all go to shopgoodwill.com,

    i have better luck on Craig's list, I check it all the time, sometimes I get lucky.
    Never met a scrap of fabric or vintage sewing machine I didn't like!
    Many a lost and lonely vintage machine has found a home with me, 26 and------ uh oh lost count, who is counting anyway!

    Susan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sideways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Shopgoodwill.com is loaded with vintage machines of every brand and description.
    { http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/s...umbs=on&page=1 }
    That's where I've gotten many of mine as the Springfield area is devoid of vintage machines too.

    Joe
    Joe, glad that you use shopgoodwill and have had success. Do you have any helpful hints about using this site? Thanks!
    Never met a scrap of fabric or vintage sewing machine I didn't like!
    Many a lost and lonely vintage machine has found a home with me, 26 and------ uh oh lost count, who is counting anyway!

    Susan

  11. #11
    Junior Member Tippysmom's Avatar
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    Yes, any tips would be great!

  12. #12
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    I started purchasing vintage three weeks ago and now I have 6. I bought one on Craigslist, and the others were all from consignment shops. They are privately owned and most are just glorified junk stores. Good luck as it is fun and addicting...very addicting. Don't give up they are out there.

  13. #13
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Salvation Army, goodwill.com, ebay.com (2), local thrift store, garage sale, church sale, local quilt show (2) and Craigslist (2 -both Christmas gifts from my son). They're out there. I left a Singer 15 in a cabinet with the stool at a garage sale($15). Some buyer's remorse there but I guess I have leave some for others.

  14. #14
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    I've also been lucky with goodwill online - most of them just need cleaning. I have 5 now, but sold 6 to one lady.

  15. #15
    Senior Member haylillan's Avatar
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    i got my 301 from shopgoodwill.com came from OR. only cost 30$ shipping which i didnt think was bad since i've pd. 10$ for pattern to be shipped plus the 301 was in great shape
    esther

  16. #16
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    I have the best luck with craigslist as the thrifts near me don't have many machines (usually none), and there aren't really garage sales near me. But many years ago, when I was coming back from a trip to the Jersey shore I stopped in a thrift and they had tons of machines! I was looking for a 401 to replace my two vintage Riccars. (In those days I thought I needed only one machine -- crazy!). Some machines were out and visible, but most were inside cabinets, and the cabinets were stacked on top of one another and two or three layers deep. I crawled around under the cabinets and found my 401! When I told the owner I wanted *that* machine in the back, behind and under other cabinets, he looked at me like I was crazy. "We have lots of other machines", he said. Turns out I was crazy -- not that I shouldn't have gotten the 401 (it's great), but I wonder what other machines I should have bought there. There were no FWs, but there may have been 201s or 301s or other machines I would buy today. They weren't on my "radar" then. <Sigh....> But I was so happy to find that machine that day!
    Sheila

  17. #17
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    just start telling friends you are looking for them - many people have them and when they know someone interested they let them know. I think I am going to sell one of mine soon. today you don't live in NE

  18. #18
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    If you do shop goodwill - go there every day, look in an area you can drive to pick up and just bid. Don't get carried away. Don't over pay. Let someone else do that. A lot of times I am the only bidder. I also buy & sell at yard sales or CL. There are reasonable prices out there if you keep your eyes open. There may be auctions in your area you can find some nice stuff that way, too.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  19. #19
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I've had my best luck finding old machines on craigslist but have gotten them at auctions and estate sales. I'm retired and a morning person so I get up really early and go to the estate sales on the first day. If there's a machine I really want I get it but sometimes I risk it to wait until the 2nd day to get the 50% off price. Most old ladies had a sewing machine and often it sat around for years and years. I only have a few machines..... 12 or so.... but only buy if they are in reasonable condition. I usually find them at pretty cheap prices at auctions.... but not always.

    So, keep looking and don't get discouraged. One will turn up at the most unexpected time and then, before you know it, you'll be wading in old vintage sewing machines.....
    --- Jean

    I'd rather spend money on my quilting hobby than the therapist.... I'm probably $$$ ahead.... and I'm happy!!

  20. #20
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Try antique shops. Not the big expensive shops, but one like at an antique mall. Sometimes they have big price tags , but I scored a 101 in a beautiful walnut cabinet for $27.00 and a crinkle 66 in a cabinet for $40. I think the sellers just want to get rid of them...
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  21. #21
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    ...because they're all in my garage??

  22. #22
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    OP have you asked about sewing machines and supplies at your local thrift shops?

    I know our Lion's Thrift Shop will give you a call when something comes in. Have you asked them which days are their big delivery days? The Lions do pick up on Tuesday and Thursday.

    There are always sewing machines at my local Thrift Shops. I have had some luck finding sewing tools too. Yesterday I bought two baggies of precut strips for $3.00 each.

    I live in an area where many people come to retire. Some of the Thrift Shops like the Lions will get a household worth of stuff after someone dies and the family had taken what they want.
    Attending University. I will graduate a year after my son and year before my daughter.

  23. #23
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    I had no idea about the shopgoodwill site! Thank you for the tip!

  24. #24
    Junior Member Tippysmom's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the great tips! I know there has to be one (or more) out there that have my name on them!

    You'll be the first to know when I score!!

    Renate

  25. #25
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sideways View Post
    Joe, glad that you use shopgoodwill and have had success. Do you have any helpful hints about using this site? Thanks!
    Susan,

    Here are some of the things I've learned about buying at any auctions, not just GW.

    >Study up on what you are buying. If you see a machine you are not familiar with ask questions of the seller, or here on QB or elsewhere.

    >Look really close at the pics. Pay attention to details. I sometimes download the pics to my computer then enlarge them some and do some focusing as well. Generally that helps.
    If the pics don't show a part of the machine that you need to see, email them for more pics. BTDT.

    >Details; look at the thread take up lever, it might be broken off or just not visible due to an odd angle. Look at the wiring, the motor, the case. Especially the case if it's wooden. A damaged or worn case won't stop me from buying the machine, it just gives me an idea of what work the ensemble might need.
    Is the slide plate there?
    Bobbin cover?
    Thread spool pins?
    Filthy, grimy, or greasy?
    Is the presser foot there?
    Is the needle clamp there?
    Is all the thread guides there?

    I don't worry about the electric cords, belts, bobbin winding tires or spool pins as those can be replaced easily.
    It annoys me when the slide plate is missing, although those for many machines can be had easily.

    I have bought bare naked heads with no case, no wiring, no manuals, just the machine. I did so to learn what it would take to refurbish the machine back to a functional machine. Or, just cos I wanted it.

    Generally speaking if the machine is vintage and sanitary clean it will be gummed up inside because it was not used much and has sat for years.

    Also if you want a machine to sew with don't ignore the machines with worn paint or decals or some needle rash. Those old ladies have been used and loved and will probably sew better than the new looking ones.

    Joe

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