Author Topic: Vintage Singer Machines  (Read 13447 times)

Anna

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2016, 03:29:06 AM »
I have a singer featherweight (221k) and it is a very capable machine, it is incredibly easy to service/maintain yourself. there's a hole in the body everywhere it expects to be oiled, the base of the machine has a plate that's easily removed in order to access all of the inner workings of the machine. It's a straight stitch only and came with most of its attachments, all I need is a buttonholer and a zigzag foot and it will be complete.

The featherweights are in higher demand so they tend to fetch a higher price tag, but nearly every other model 1960's and earlier is worth having, although they aren't manufacturing replacement parts anymore, there are enough machines around that finding a donor machine for parts wouldn't be terribly difficult or expensive. Also, you're unlikely to ever need any parts, if you find a machine in working order as long as you give it a thorough cleaning/oiling every once in a while it's not likely that anything will break. Most machines in need of repair have been severely neglected and left in garages, damp basements or even outdoors and have been damaged by the elements.

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2016, 10:53:44 AM »
^ Agree with this :)


It's surprising though that what at first seems to be a 'machine in need of repair' can turn out to be only in need of a clean and a few drops of oil. Many that are lightly seized through sitting idle easily turn freely again with 15 minutes attention.


Not sure about the buttonhole attachment though... :o  This forum advocates beautiful handmade buttonholes!

xavierrai

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2016, 11:01:52 AM »
I have several old industrial Singers from the 40's... picked them up at an auction a few years ago, when I still had a sewing studio.  Unfortunately, since moving back to the NYC area, I haven't been able to find an affordable space, and they sit in storage upstate along with most of the rest of my equipment. 

I have a domestic Viking machine that  I purchased almost 15 years ago, it's been my workhorse for many projects, and will sew through almost anything I throw at it.  I loved it enough to pick up a 2nd one a few years ago.

Fortunately, the sewing lab where I work has industrial Juki's and Singers, and I can bring in projects if I want, can't beat the speed of an industrial.  I haven't been impressed with the industrial Pfaff's I've used in various shops- they use different parts (bobbins etc) and just don't sew as nicely, other's have agreed.


Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2016, 11:20:24 AM »
xavierrai, is it the new Pfaff industrials that you find below par? A milliner I know uses a Pfaff with a cylinder-shaped free arm (a bit like a shoemaker's machine) and it stitches beautifully. It's not a new model.


Just a word about speeds. A machine like a Juki DDL 8700 does 5000+ stitches per minute, which is great, but only if and when you need it. When you put a servo motor on a machine (as many do) it can be adjusted to run the machine at a speed that stays constant no matter how hard you treadle, eliminating the touch element of a clutch motor.


Lots of sewing simply doesn't require machine gun stitch speeds - unless it's some factory division of labour where someone is sewing e.g. shirt hems all day. So I don't think speed is all that important in many cases. Singer made machines that did 1800-2000 stitches per minute in the late 1920s. In nearly 100 years the stitch number hasn't risen so dramatically all things considered.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2016, 11:47:45 AM by Henry Hall »

xavierrai

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2016, 11:49:13 AM »
None of the pfaff's I've used were new... no clue how old, one had spent some years in a large department store alterations department, and the other that comes to mind has been in with students for a little while.  The alterations dept. one just felt off.  It was a topic of much discussion around the shop, no one liked it.  It was always a little loose, and I felt like you had to fight to get it to feed fabric and sew a straight line.  It also looked like it could do something other than a straight stitch (there was a whole other tension wheel device on the side) but we were to busy discussing it's other issues to address that :-p.

I have a pfaff dometic serger which I've never really been enamored of, either.  I think it's trying to do too many things, and isn't really good at any of them (it can convert to be 2-5 threads, some other fancy things, and a coverstitch).

I've gotten pretty picky about machines over the years, and can usually adjust them to my liking. Some machines and I just aren't meant to work together.   I think if I ever were to purchase a new industrial, I'd go for a Juki.  Not that I think I'll need to, I already have too many machines.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2016, 11:53:23 AM »
In reply to Hutch above, My Bernina is a 730,early 1970's mechanical.  Its been maintained by the TAFE education system.  Its not too bad.

hutch--

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2016, 02:38:40 PM »
Yes I know the model, almost identical to the 707 version I used years ago. A very good free arm and while not as fast as some of the more powerful machines, they were good for doing very fine work. They use a reciprocating front mounted bobbin and the feet are a taper lock using a hook arm from the back. Even if you have an industrial, this is a good machine to keep around for doing fine and delicate stuff so you did well to get one.
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theresa in tucson

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2016, 11:39:39 AM »
My everyday machine is a Bernina 930 that was built in the mid-80s.  It was the first generation of Berninas with electronics.  It blew the motherboard five months ago and cost $300 to repair.  The repair part came out of a junked Bernina.  My mechanic said if it blew the board again, he probably could not find another as the parts are no longer manufactured.  I also have three old black Singers, a 221 Featherweight, a 201 and a 15-91, two of which I picked up for $75 or less.  The Featherweights are sought after by quilters as they have a beautiful straight stitch and are very portable for taking to quilt class.  That one cost me the most, almost $500.  The other two I keep for topstitching, mending, curtainmaking and for sewing on heavier fabric.  I learned to sew on my mother's 15-91 and later had one of my own.  They are famously easy to maintain.  My mother got to talking to the mechanic at the Sew and Vac store and he had a machine from a deceased customer that had never needed service.  The lady who owned it kept it cleaned and oiled and didn't abuse it.  They are wonderful machines for home sewers.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2016, 05:49:40 PM by theresa in tucson »

hutch--

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2016, 02:58:58 PM »
Hi Theresa,

You sound like you are as bad as I am with so many machines. I discovered Swiss made ELNA machines from buying one in a garage sale for about $20.00 AU. It hadn't been used or oiled for over 20 years and was a stiff as a board but was still in good condition so after a good clean, oil and grease some of the internal gears it was a nice smooth fast machine and I was hooked. Did some research and found the similar version that took cams, the 62c version which is the later SuperMatic so I hunted up a couple on eBay that were like new as they had been looked after meticulously by ladies in the country.

I did a dirty deal with a mechanic and swapped him a Singer and another cast iron machine for every ELNA cam he had so while some of the cams are not all that useful (ducks, flowers etc ....) there are a number of very useful technical stitches that I regularly use.
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Manuela in Hong Kong

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2016, 10:47:37 AM »
I have recently acquired a Singer 201K made in 1948, operated via knee lever with the option to use a foot controller. After cleaning and oiling it, it runs beautifully and basically sews everything without complaining.
I've got 221K and 222K Featherweights too, they come with me when I travel (for example an upcoming trip to Germany later this year to attend a wedding and need to make the wedding dress). I love those little machines.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 01:00:28 PM by Manuela in Hong Kong »

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2016, 11:09:53 AM »
I have one of those knee-controllers on a Singer 15. I find it a bit harder to control than a foot controller. It may be the motor itself, but I find it harder to stop dead on a stitch, which is not usually a problem with a foot-controlled motor. That sort of thing is more likely to happen for me on a treadle machine!

Manuela in Hong Kong

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2016, 11:17:42 AM »
I wasn't quite sure about the knee lever either, hence I got a terminal build in that allows me to plug in a foot pedal. It took some time to get used to, but now I'm happy with it.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2016, 01:01:14 PM by Manuela in Hong Kong »

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2016, 12:38:09 PM »
My best Singer has a knee control,  I love it.

peterle

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2016, 01:21:57 AM »
Iīm also using Elna machines, a  70īs 62c automatic and a 60īs supermatic. Both are very sturdy and doing a lot of different stitches by using different cams. They run very smoothly, even in high speeds because they use a double turn hook instead of a repetativ hook. So hardly any vibrating compared to a Bernina 730.
Both are free arm machines, but the case is desigend to be installed as sewing table of a very generous size.
The older Supermatic comes with a knee lever to control the speed. I like this feature, because you donīt need to look for the pedal with your toes all the time. The disadvantage is, the lever mechanism is not an electronical speed control, so the motor delivers less power at lower speeds. The 62c usually has an electronic pedal, so the power of the motor is always the same.
Both machines are purely mechanical, so they can be maintained by one self. There is an Elna mechanic nearby, where I always got the spare parts (three in the last 25 years) when in need, even for the older model.

sewbriquet

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #29 on: July 02, 2016, 02:23:57 PM »
I inherited my mother's industrial Singer when she died. It's from the 1940s, I think, but it could be older or a bit younger. It's been sitting in the spare room, neglected, in need of a service. I'm not sure if it's worth servicing it or not. my mum certainly loved that machine and could never sew on my domestics. Any advice?