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Sewing machine-Old School vs. New School

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:07 pm
by Max Caswell
Recently bought a sewing machine at the used store, a Singer plastic model with every known stitch pattern in the world, I just couldn't tune it, tuning being all the fine internal adjustments. Brought it back to Rich and Lacey, the managers, and they exchanged it for an old Sears Kenmore single stitch metal cased model, a real workhorse of the kind I used to sew my own hip clothes as a teenager, that's a real improvement. These are not manufactured anymore, and can only be found used, but parts are readily available for name brand models. This one cost me $40 US.

Having grown up trained on a sewing machine by my Mom, for me simpler always was better. And having worked in the mechanical field, I've found the less moving parts, and metal as opposed to plastic parts, the less breakdowns. One of the utility kilt companies out of Vancouver Canada was recently posted on YouTube, the guy using an old single stitch sewing machine similar to mine and a fully metal iron from the 50's.

I recall my Grandmother using an old treadle sewing machine, she could do wonders with that Singer.

So (or sew), if anyone's having trouble beginning on a sewing machine, you might try to find an old single stitch machine. Make sure you buy a known name brand so you can find retro parts.

Re: Sewing machine-Old School vs. New School

PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 6:33 pm
by Zorba
That is correct.

My dance teacher told me, when I expressed a desire to buy my first sewing machine, to buy an old all metal one that can zig-zag from a sewing machine dealer. That advice served me very well, I came home with a 1976 White that is my "primary" machine to this day. Paid $75 for it.

It also got me into sewing machine collecting, I have 6 or 7 now. All of them are straight stitchers from the 1900s to 1960, several from the 30s and 40s. All any of them needed was a good cleaning, a good oiling, and new belts and bobbin winder tires. They all sew excellently and were all very cheap, sometimes as little as $10! I have 3 Singers, and 3 Nationals - I have a soft spot in my heart for Nationals - who sold machines badged with 10,000 different names!

There's something about well oiled reciprocating cast iron. The cheap plastic Singers, Brothers, et al, can't even come close! And those wonderful $2,500 computerized wonders? Will be so much scrap plastic in 20 years or so - my antiques will still be running a century from now if someone bothers to oil them once in a while...

Re: Sewing machine-Old School vs. New School

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:46 am
by pepsie1
The Elna Supermatic, all metal, Swiss made is an excellent choice if you come across one. I've seen them priced as much as $300. Straight stitch, zig-zag, button hole and tons of decorative stitches with optional cams typically available on EBay.