Author Topic: Vintage Singer Machines  (Read 14476 times)

TTailor

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Vintage Singer Machines
« on: March 08, 2016, 12:16:06 PM »
I think that the old Singer metal bodied machine of the 1940's through to the 1960's are excellent value. Simple to use and sturdy, they sew through almost anything. Easy to maintain as well.

A step up from that, older industrial straight stitch machines are great value if you have the space for them.

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 11:08:24 AM »
I completely second this. Even though I have a Juki industrial, I still use a 1950 Pfaff 130 (not Singer of course, but equivalent) for up to 75% of stitching operations. I also have a Pfaff 30 set up for straight stitching. The stitch quality is very good.


This is it:


The ease of maintenance you mention is an attractive factor. Regular common sense stuff like cleaning out lint from the bobbin and shuttle race and under the feed dogs; a drop of oil in the shuttle race after extended use, and the like.

I'd hope that anyone finding this forum who hasn't yet bought a sewing machine would be guided to a vintage model rather than a new computerised model. The principle of fewer moving parts and less to go wrong is worth following...and they were built like tanks.

Tailleuse

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 04:36:41 PM »
I think that the old Singer metal bodied machine of the 1940's through to the 1960's are excellent value. Simple to use and sturdy, they sew through almost anything. Easy to maintain as well.


I certainly wouldn't turn one down.

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2016, 12:26:06 PM »
I certainly wouldn't turn one down.


Tailleuse, if I may ask... if you don't have an industrial (or maybe you do and I'm not paying attention :) ) and you don't have an old cast iron job, what are using for machine work?

hutch--

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2016, 12:47:57 PM »
i have a taste for Swiss engineering, my first domestic machine was a Bernina 707 and it was a delightful fine little machine. I still own it and its in very good condition. I went for the Elnas that I use because of their excellent engineering, high stitch quality and an unusual capacity, a massive range of stitch types using cams. I did a dirty deal with an old vendor where I swapped him an old black Singer and another Iron monster for every Elna cam he had which made both of us happy.

The model Elna machines I use are 62c which were made about 1970 and back then cost a fortune. I bought mine from eBay from ladies in the country who had carefully looked after them and they are like new. They like to be oiled regularly and the innards are like a Swiss watch but very well made.
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Tailleuse

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 12:56:54 PM »
I sew at FIT.  They have Juki and Singer industrials that can be used during off-hours.  At this point,I have a number of presser feet that can only be used on an industrial, which is why I'm strongly considering buying one at some point, in addition to the value of having a machine that only I use and whose speed can be set.  I know one of the technicians who services the machines and probably will be able to get a good deal on one, especially if I buy a used model.

I also have an inexpensive Brother at home, which isn't bad at all, but it has the flimsy feel of a cheap plastic machine and the feet for it are rather limited.  A few years ago, I took it in to be cleaned and tuned up and the work cost more than the machine. 

When I took a shirt making class at FIT, some students asked the teacher to recommend a machine.  He recommended an older model metal Singer (many students were home sewers) or an industrial.  In some ways, I'd be more intimidated by a Singer than a Juki because I know nothing about them and am not interested in researching them.

But in truth, I haven't been sewing at all.  ;D :-[ :-\ I have been looking into getting some private hand sewing instruction. It also would help if I spent less time on the web.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 02:12:26 PM by Tailleuse »

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 01:00:37 PM »
The name touches a nerve for me. I saw shiny one in a second-hand shop for 25, with accessories, didn't buy it and the next day it was gone. I don't know much about them, but the day I didn't buy it I saw a nice review of one online and watched a video on you tube and decided to go back.


It was green (of course) and part of the case doubled as the cover over the free arm to make a flat-bed. Maybe they all have this?

Tailleuse

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 01:02:02 PM »
i have a taste for Swiss engineering, my first domestic machine was a Bernina 707 and it was a delightful fine little machine.

For the longest time, I was obsessed with buying a Bernina mechanical. But then someone I respect convinced me that they're overpriced in comparison to industrials. I can't believe how expensive the feet are.  Still, I would never turn one down.

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 01:07:35 PM »
In some ways, I'd be more intimidated by a Singer than a Juki because I know nothing about them and am not interested in researching them.

There's nothing to be intimidated by. If you use a normal machine now, using an old Singer or Pfaff (or whatever) is no different...apart from the performance. They have few moving parts and many access areas to get into the machine (which looks empty inside!).

In some ways it's like comparing a manual tin opener to one of those electric contraptions that does the same thing with 3 times the effort.

Old Singers have several dozen types of feet for them and are interchangeable with most like models from other manufacturers. They cost peanuts.

I only use one single type of foot for my Juki industrial - a straight stitch foot. What else is necessary? If I think about multiple feet it;s always in connection to those cast iron vintage machines, not the industrial.

Tailleuse

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2016, 01:58:44 PM »
In some ways, I'd be more intimidated by a Singer than a Juki because I know nothing about them and am not interested in researching them.

There's nothing to be intimidated by. If you use a normal machine now, using an old Singer or Pfaff (or whatever) is no different...apart from the performance. They have few moving parts and many access areas to get into the machine (which looks empty inside!).

In some ways it's like comparing a manual tin opener to one of those electric contraptions that does the same thing with 3 times the effort.

Old Singers have several dozen types of feet for them and are interchangeable with most like models from other manufacturers. They cost peanuts.

I only use one single type of foot for my Juki industrial - a straight stitch foot. What else is necessary? If I think about multiple feet it;s always in connection to those cast iron vintage machines, not the industrial.

I'd be concerned about tracking down old Singer, etc. parts, manuals, and maintaining it.  I don't have any mechanical savvy.  Yes, many things can be learned, but I only have so much time.  Again, if someone gave me one, I would take it.  I'll keep it in mind.  But I see cries for assistance on the  Internet fairly frequently.

For the industrial, off the top of my head, I have compensating feet in several sizes, a Teflon foot (good for corduroy and other crushable fabrics), an invisible zipper foot (important for women's clothes), regular zipper/cording feet, and a narrow "universal" zipper foot. I also have a foot on a slide and a hemming foot that I've never been able to use. Yes, you can sew an invisible zipper with a regular presser foot, but it's much easier with the special foot.  When sewing across the prongs of welt/piped pockets, you can get in closer with the regular zipper foot or the narrow zipper foot than with a regular foot.  I think it would be hard to sew corded piping without the corded foot. If you have great control, you can topstitch beautifully without compensating feet, but they make it a no-brainer, and the machines I sew on are often unpredictable and a little too fast.

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 10:13:39 PM »
The point is that you shouldn't need to track down any parts at all. A Singer 128 of mine has all the same pieces on it from when it was built in New Jersey in 1911 and it still works perfectly. You are in NYC right?, so you should be walking into these machines everywhere and they are cheap as chips.

All the manuals exist online for free; you can get dozens of feet to do everything (and they are well made feet, not like the bulky rubbish on modern consumer machines). The narrow zipper foot is a delicate little thing you can get into the tightest spots with.
Maintenance is easy (as Terri mentioned) and essentially cost-free, save the cost of a bottle of oil. There's no learning curve if a person already knows how to use a machine.

Controlling the speed is a matter of touch (industrial or otherwise). It should be possible to make any machine go like the clappers or go slow enough to count the stitches as you do them.

tom bennett

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2016, 10:28:55 PM »
I can't recommend them enough ( ::) ) servo motors for industrials, put one on my brother755 and it is beautifully slow, while obtaining rugged speed, without the noise of the clutch model.  Makes a massive difference on the electricity too.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 10:40:38 PM by tombennett »

Henry Hall

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2016, 10:34:11 PM »
You can't recommend them? Or can't recommend then enough? :o

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2016, 01:04:50 AM »
I have a singer, 1949, and a treadle singer 1936, not used.  I snatched a 1970's Bernina in a callous transaction, when a little voice told me to keep my mouth shut til I was out the door. I have a creditable singer copy made in Australia in th 50s.  All are beautiful.  The Bernina is not really up to heavy cloth, Mehh.  Still looking :)

hutch--

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Re: Vintage Singer Machines
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2016, 01:53:34 AM »
Graham, what model Bernina is it and is it a mechanical or an early electronic.
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