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  1. #1
    Member
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    Nov 2004
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    Spokane, WA (the vicinity thereof)
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    68

    Old Singer sewing machines

    Hi everybody, I am new here and new to crafting... need a little advice. I want to buy a sewing machine. My local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store has several between $20-30, all Singers set in tables, all VERY old (I would say early 20th century). Anyhow.... are these good prices? I have really very little idea as to what I am looking for. Could anybody help me out... what should I look for? How can I tell if it is working or at least easily repaired? Thanks!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Colorado
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    210
    As far as price, and if they are the kind I'm thinking of, it's a decent price as those are usually considered antiques. My best friend picked one up for free from a nun (no joke). Hers has a problem with the motor though, I don't think anything was kept oiled or tuned. Another problem you'll run into is that in order to change the stitch, it requires you to almost dismantle the foot area. My old Singer required this brick of an attatchment just to make a zig-zag stitch. So most likely you'll only be able to do a straight stitch, unless you hit the jackpot and get one that still has it's original attatchments. THEN you'll have to learn how to put them on, etc.

    I recommend getting a newer model. I'm not saying get one of those computerized thousand-dollar Pfaff machines, but Walmart sells lower budget machines that are great for beginners. You want more than just the straight stitch and older machines might not have that option. Some fabric stores like Joann's have little sewing seminars sometimes, maybe you could pick someones brain on the best and cheapest beginner machine?

    Good luck! you won't be sorry you started sewing!

    Jennjitsu

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Brooklyn
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    161
    I have a singer that was "born" in october of 1919 (you can date and locate the manufacturer of most machines, and find out the exact model if you have the serial number, most machines still have the number since it is on a metal plate that is attached somewhere on the machine, doing this will help you figure out which manual to download from the Singer web page (the old ones are free, newer manuals cost $10 or so).
    I also paid $20-30 for my machine, and my feeling was that it was so beautiful I would be happy just to have it on a shelf and gaze at it lovingly. I took it to a professional sewing machine guy (who has experience in old machines) to get it checked out, cleaned and oiled. He said it worked great and so I have been using it. I can only do straight stitch, but that has only annoyed me once. The machine is so wonderful to use, makes a beautiful straight stitch, and I just love daydreaming about all the other women who have used it.
    I am so happy with mine, and I do feel that she has made it this far, she's not quitting any time soon.
    One word on the price, I have found a number of old singers in that range (and many many others under $100), the problem with Singers is that they were built so well that a lot of them have survived and unless there is something really special about them, it has all of its assorted attachments (or the target market of the antique store is rich people that don't want to do any leg work to find their antiques) they are not worth much money. I think I would pay more for a machine that hasn't been retro-fitted with a motor and still has the treadle. Don't get me wrong, they should be worth a lot, but they're not.

  5. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    719
    The general thought is that singers made in the 1970's and later are generally crap, but the ones made before were really good quality ..

    you can date the machine with a serial number at this link:

    http://www.4bandit.addr.com/Date_Your_Mach.htm

    I bought a kenmore from e-bay that I am very happy with. It came with the manual and attachments, was shipped in the original attachemnts. I have had it for a couple of months now and it works like a dream. The total cost for the machine and the shipping was about $120 Canadian ($75 US for the machine plus currency conversion plus shipping). I think this is a GREAT deal.

    del

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Austin
    Posts
    4
    yay!
    Im looking for a machine now....I cant wait to actually get my hands on one when I get the money. Great advice..thank you guys!

  7. #6
    Member
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    Nov 2004
    Location
    Spokane, WA (the vicinity thereof)
    Posts
    68

    Thanks!

    Thanks for all the advice- I'm keeping my eye out for one used, but I've also asked DH for a new one for Xmas... so we'll see!!

  8. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    134
    This is a little later than the ones you're looking at, but I have a 1953 Singer Style-o-Matic 328K that rocks. I have all the attachments, even the book. And it is pretty easy to do zig-zag and a few other stitches in addition to straight. So maybe look for one from the 50s?

    The only real problem is that I'm haveing a bitch of a time finding bobbins that fit in just right. I have, like, two that fit just right so I just keep winding and unwinding them. Anyone know of a good place to get bobbins for old machines?

  9. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    443
    I learned to sew on a 1930's singer from my mom's friend. It was difficult to work the pedal (electric not manual) but once I got the hang of that I was golden and even able to set a sleeve with it. The older singers have a pedal that isn't so 'feather touch' i remember going to sewing class in home ec and the machine would fly if i tried to press it as hard as the singer pedal. I have a new kenmore mini ultra, it's ok, but if i had an older machine I wouldn't complain :)

    I saw my mom's singer in a used sewing machine/vac store and it was 500 dollars! her machine was 500 back in the 60's when she bought it! Apparently it has the strongest motor of a non commercial machine. Anyway the man had machines for as low as 100 dollars, tuned up and ready to go (not singers, generic) and they are probably better than my 80 dollar mini ultra, but mine was a gift and i think it's cute :)

    so i'd recommend checking out a vac and sewing shop, also you could ask him about bringinig in a machine, see how much a 'tuneup' or a quote would be. Also if it's alot to have it fixed, he might let you trade it in to take some $ off of one of the already ready to go ones.

    good luck
    jt

  10. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    San Diego
    Posts
    7
    I have 3 old Singers; a featherweight, a 401 and a 403. They are fabulous. Those suckers are going to outlive me. They run fabulously and can sew through anything. I would highly recommend getting an old machine. They were really built to last, unlike the little plastic tinker toys they sell nowadays.

  11. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    1

    Singer Style-o-Matic 328K bobbins

    i got a Singer Style-o-Matic 328K
    and i got me bobbins of ebay can get then real cheap too hugs kim


 
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