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I need a new sewing machine

(57 Posts)
elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 19:57:32

Hi I have posted about this dilema before. I have a 30 year old electric sewing machine that either needs replacing or servicing. I have seen this And I am sorely tempted. If I need to do anything fancy I can borrow a machine from school. What do think?

AnnieOnnieMouse Sun 10-Jul-16 20:46:41

Buy a new janome - you would hardly replace a clapped out car with an even older one, unless you simply want an ornament.

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 20:59:10

Well I was tempted by this but it got a rubbish review. I need to do my research and go to the mainland to try machines. Also I think my Dcs will get along with the singer. I learnt with a windy handle Singer. A treadle will allow for both hands on the fabric.

CatherineDeB Sun 10-Jul-16 21:14:48

Lots of us have older machines op, I have a 99, 201, 221, Pfaff 30, 830 record and even my new machine is a mechanical Bernina.

I would say go for it, is it a 201? Lots you can do with it, I have a zig zagger and a buttonholer amongst other things.

Easy to service and parts/accessories available at Helen Howes.

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 21:19:20

I only sew on vintage machines. Modern ones have plastic gears and built in obsolescence. Why waste your money on that? (Unless you need the zig zag and fancy stitches and most of the old Singers -all attachments including zig zaggers and hemming feet, etc are cheap and everywhere).

These things were made in their millions and to such fine, exquisite engineering tolerances that they will still be here in another 100 years.

The other advantage of old machines (if you mainly like a straight stitch) is they do a perfect straight stitch - modern machines are less likely to. They are also designed to be maintained and fixed by the owner. Original manuals are easily available online - websites to ID and date your machine and loads of great YouTube videos to help with cleaning and maintaining. Most Singer manuals are free online and some even have repair manuals online.

My newest machine is 1970 (still metal, solid, well made) but the machines I use for everyday sewing are from the 1950s/60s. I have a Singer made in 1885 that sews a more immaculate straight stitch than any modern machine could. (That's all they were designed to do so nothing about it was compromised).

I have a 1917 Singer treadle in a cabinet in my living room and the cabinet holds all my cotton, scissors, etc - everything permanently to hand and well stored. Loads of info online about restoring cabinets as well as machines. And spares are available cheaply.

Can you tell I love vintage machines?

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 21:26:35

I just looks so pristine and I am a bit of a dinosaur. How many machines do you have CatherineDeB? My brother has talked me into it as all the parts will sell for more than £40 on the mainland. I don't want to sell it on though I want some straight and simple stitching.

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 21:38:12

elephant, I just bought a machine on eBay for £60 (A Centennial Singer Featherweight that now it's fixed, might be worth upto £250). Amongst the jumbled pile of accessories was an excessively rare one - that I can sell for £120 or so on eBay. Machine (and service) paid for with profit on top! Sometimes the accessories are worth something and if I get a 'dead' machine for a few quid at a car boot, I can usually sell the bobbin case bit alone for say £25.... Other parts a fiver or more.

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 21:46:12

Joffery you will hate me for this but I left 2 lovely machines in a school that was demolished. I regret it now but at the time it was just too difficult. One was a very old German machine with a shuttle type bobbin. It may have come out of Germany pre 1945 with some Jewish relatives. I just like the simplicity of mechanical machines.

CatherineDeB Sun 10-Jul-16 21:51:53

You can never have too many elephant grin, the 99 was my 8th birthday present and I am nearly 50! The record was my Mum's and she, very helpfully, gave it to me 12 months after I had bought the new bernina 1008 and 20 odd feet to go with it.

I used to sew on a treadle in my early teens until I left home! We used to have treadle races!!!

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 21:58:52

My machine was my 21st birthday present from my grandma. I am now 51. It has sewn countless wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, curtains and fancy dress costumes. I am now less busy, but need a sewing machine at the ready.

CatherineDeB Sun 10-Jul-16 22:13:47

I would buy it in a heartbeat then smile, you will love it. Honestly Helen Howes has everything you might need to make it do everything. I bought a walking foot from her last year and it fits all of my machines, with a low a shank adapter on some.

All I need is a good straight stitch 95% of the time, I know I dont need all my machines. I am a precision dressmaker, too fussy for my own good. My machines, combined with an overlocker means I rarely buy clothes from tailored suits to leggings.

Sometimes I set up the 99 and 201 and cut out dresses or skirts in both of our sizes and me and DD sew in parallel! The pfaff 30 is for really heavy stuff and the 221 just pretty!

The only one surplus to requirements is the 830 record and that is just because of timing but I will keep it as my daughter might want it when she is a bit older.

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 22:17:57

elephant, I don't hate you for that. wine

Saw a lovely what looked like pre WW1 (not sure) Frister & Rossman in its original table, at a car boot recently so those old German machines are gettable, still.

My electric machine of choice are Singer 221Ks. Hand crank - most Singer or Jones or Frister Rossmann, will be perfect! Your main consideration then is looks (slightly older = more gold decals) and maybe round bobbin v boat shuttle style (some people say the round ones hold more cotton - I seem to manage to do all I need to do on either sort). The only other thing then is treadle v. hand crank v. vintage electric.

Recently got a 1964 Singer 221K also on eBay someone posted to me and I couldn't believe it worked with a perfect, perfect stitch without even the slightest tension change, right from the moment I tried it. As you say - straightforward. That one just sews in straight lines and goes backwards. It's all I need. If I was going to start overlocking edges and stuff, I might as well buy mass produced clothes, is how I see it. wink

CatherineDeB Sun 10-Jul-16 22:22:23

My overlocker is a fab addition to my team Joffrey. I made a fab jersey work dress in two hours today. Fabric cost £6!!!!

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 22:26:16

It would be handy for the jersey but am willing to forego it, Catherine ! That's a lovely dress, though!

I like to just sew, using very straightforward machines, but totally get it that other people like the professional finish and/or sew stretch fabrics. It's not for me, sewing stretchy fabrics - but must admit that looks gorgeous!

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 22:36:49

Yes an overlocker is on the wish list, but I have to get a reliable machine first. I was really blown away by those pin tuck feet on Sewing Bee.

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 22:39:17

Just saying. ;o)

CatherineDeB Sun 10-Jul-16 22:41:25

Joffrey - I must confess that I have had to learn how to sew (and wear) jersey after buying a swish Bernina overlocker on a whim! Never sewn the stuff before, and, if I am honest I don't like the look of overlocked seams that much.

I prefer a fine/medium weight fabric and a french seam! How old fashioned am I?

The only thing I really don't like is that it has got a bloody automatic needle threader which complicates the lines of the thing and I don't know how to use!

Helen Howes has got a 30 year old Bernina overlocker which I would swap this 1150 for in a second if she gave me the chance.

It really is a plus though, this dress is absolutely stitch perfect which pleases me immensely! Topstitching of the neck and armhole facings on my 1008, everything else overlocker.

Fabric was £5.70 and I had matching thread in my box already!

RaisingSteam Sun 10-Jul-16 22:45:15

I'm a fan of the earlier 70s/80s Swiss made Elnas like the Carina and Jubilee. You do get stitches and buttonholes etc but they are built to last for ever. They come up on ebay or reputable used dealers.

It is true the vintage machines sew immaculate straight seams (we did my wedding dress on my nan's Singer) but IMO for day to day sewing you might not notice the difference.

What is your old machine - it might actually be worth servicing if it's a good one.

JoffreyBaratheon Sun 10-Jul-16 22:45:24

Catherine, it's really lovely (and useful, too, by the look of it!)

Great price, too!

I haunt Helen Howes' site as well. wink

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 22:51:28

Wow, I am blown away by the positives on this one. Even my Mum said go for it. I do borrow machines from school on occasion, and it is because you can set the pedal to a slow speed. I think a treadle will suit me.

elephantoverthehill Sun 10-Jul-16 23:05:17

My sewing machine is a Frister star 115. When I last had it serviced about 25 years ago I was told to hang on to it. Which I will do but I still need a stop gap.

CatherineDeB Mon 11-Jul-16 06:31:19

If you don't get a set of feet with it you can either buy a whole set or just buy a pin tuck foot, for a fiver here. I have got a few different types but the 017 one, bottom right works really well/easy to set up.

Joffrey, I used to go to Helen's a lot, my husband even liked to come shock, partly because the St Peters Brewery is on the way there and partly because he likes her husband and they talk bikes.

JoffreyBaratheon Mon 11-Jul-16 10:42:49

elephant, I hope you enjoy the treadle! Love mine but the machine I have in the base, the timing is out and that's one thing I can't fix myself so in the winter, sometime, I will get the excellent repairman we found recently, to fix it for me. I have a WW1 period Singer 66K treadle, and am really missing using it! We got it from a junk shop years ago, and it was in immaculate, almost as-new condition because being stored inside the cabinet protected it, I guess.

Catherine if I lived closer, I'd be haunting Helen's shop as well as her website! Lucky you, that you've got to visit there.

elephantoverthehill Mon 11-Jul-16 19:33:52

Arrgg! I had some kind of mix up with the guy selling it. I had to meet him at his lock-up. Will try again on Wednesday. I was so excited and had all sorts of projects to this evening.

elephantoverthehill Mon 11-Jul-16 19:34:13

*to do

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