I don't know what to do!?!!

jennifer_in_vaOctober 9, 2013

Ran to a 2nd hand store today looking for ballet slippers for the girls. Tried out a new place and didn't know that it was really more like an antique 'mall' with stalls for different sellers.

Didn't find the slippers, but did come across a Singer 15-91!! She was made in 1955 in NJ, and is in really good shape. Decals are all there and bright, well polished. She's housed in a sewing table that doesn't look like much (there may be a surprise under the paint, but who knows). Wheel turns, but I didn't look at much else...having the kids with me. Price tag was $99.

Sooooo, I've spent lunchtime doing some research. On Ebay they can run anywhere from $40-300. Not much help in comparison shopping. These are good work horse machines, that can sew leather and up to 6 thicknesses of jeans. They were high-end machines of their time.

Do I need another machine? NO
Would I like another machine? YES
Is this in great shape? appears to be; would need to look inside
Can I afford to spend $$ on another toy? Not really
Is she real pretty? YES
Could it be fun? YES

WWYD??? Anyone have one? Any input from a un-biased perspective? Oh yeah, forgot...you have the same disease I have...you are definitely NOT un-biased! lol

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Well, Jennifer, if it were me I'd ask, do I have room for it and would I actually use it? So far I've justified 3 machines by answering yes to both those questions. :) None were a stretch financially at the time, and I really do use all three, and DH wants me to be happy, so he's okay with them.

I know, not very helpful advice! On something like that, though, if you think about it too long the opportunity will pass.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Well, Jennifer.... just tell me what you want to hear, because otherwise I'm going to be an enabler!

I'd get it if it fills a unique niche in your sewing arsenal and wouldn't be a duplicate of something else..... Do you want it because it's in such good shape and pretty to look at or because you feel you can't pass up the deal, or because you need it for something it can do better than any other machine!

This coming from a guy that has 64 vacuums and 3 sewing machines (though all very different). :o)

Jennifer, you aren't alone... after I got my third machine, which cost two months rent even used, I SWORE to myself that I would not get anymore. I was at an indoor flea market this last weekend and came across a sewing machine sitting on a counter... I picked up the cover, fully expecting a 70s Kenmore like I see so often at places like this and discovered a Necchi Lydia! It was so beautiful I wanted to propose marriage on the spot.... But I didn't because the vendor of that counter was off and I don't believe in stealing. ;o). Also because it was missing the flat bed extension and only had the free arm for a sewing surface. I found out that the Lydia uses plastic gears and they are *always* broken, so I'm glad I didn't get it, but had the dealer been there, the outcome may well have been very different.

Seriously if you've never seen a Necchi Lydia, do a google search... what a beauty!

But back to you Jennifer.... sorry I couldn't be more help.... let us know what you decide... :o). It's fun to think about even if you don't buy it!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Can you contact the stall/owner and offer lower? I would try anyway. Maybe offer $50 and dicker from there? All he/she can say is no.

If you can get it for "your" price, I would get it. Be sure that you take if for a test drive first before money changes hands. Look at the belt, look for rust, and broken parts. Belts can be replaced.

Yes, if you snooze.....you lose!

Teresa, who loves old Singers

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Take some scraps and give her a test drive. If she sews well then make an offer. Maybe you can use the poor condition of the table to help lower the price.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:36PM
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Yes! That's all I have to say about that. :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:47PM
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Tough call...
1. Try to get a test drive
2. How much are you willing to pay
3. Will you use it

I grew up on a 1960 model singer that was a work horse. It would still be working today if.... Well that's a long story. If you will use it, and have space for it and the price works for you...go for it. If you go for it and later realize it wasn't meant to be, you could always sell it off. Seems there is always a market for the old Singers.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Well, I did it! I'm the new owner of an old machine.

I went in and looked her over better. She's dirty underneath and in the bobbin area. But I did find a hidden compartment that had manuals, and 6 or 7 attachments including a cam attachment w/4 stitch cams.

Also realized she has the gas pedal mounted for knee usage, though it needs adjustment to work.

I plugged her in and she hummed away, smelling that really cool old mechanical smell. I did not actually run fabric through her, though.

They were asking $99. I offered $70, and they called the seller. The seller would only take 80. But after finding the attachments, I thought that was reasonable.

Bev~ the table is in good shape, just nothing spectacular about it.

I'll take pictures tomorrow and show you what she looks like... Overall, I'm pleased with my purchase. I have nothing like her, and after I find a space for her to sit, I think it'll be fun to play with her.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:32PM
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I was going to say "YES BUY HER", but I don't have to. You would have regretted it if you hadn't done it. So now I'll just say "CONGRATS!"

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:54PM
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Yay!!! You are now a member of that Elite Society of dear people that sewing machines want to follow to their new home. I believe old machines are just like dogs and cats - they pick their people, rather than let us pick them.

Can't wait for pictures! And your new/old machine has to have a name. Be thinking of "her" name.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:09PM
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Singer's 15 class are winners. I believe this machine is gear (direct drive motor) as opposed to belt driven. Bingo..........that's what I love. All my old machines also do not have plastic gears. I have eight machines and nine when I go pick up my mother's little portable and I don't even know what model it is. I need to look at the wiring on the Necchi my mother gave me that my father bought her around 1956. It would take a sherman tank to break it and she sews through anything. Love those good old mechanical machines. You all can keep your bells and whistles I hate computer machines.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:44PM
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Well, I've never really named any of my old machines... But her name would be "AMy" (serial # begins with AM). This thought came to me as soon as I saw her...weird.

She's a heavy girl. Weighs 26#, so I'm not sure you'd say she's portable. Many of these machines carry in a wooden base, so if I ever do away with the table, I could maybe bring her to retreat.

Pictures coming today, hopefully.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:29AM
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You've been bitten by the Vintage bug!!! Its hard to stop after just one! Congrats! Can't wait to see the pictures.
These old mechanical machines are great - and you can do all the cleaning and maintenance. It is a gear driven potted motor machine. Thanks to the love of these babies, there is a lot of info and help out there if you run into any problem!
A quick word of caution - do not use any alcohol based products on the decals or the finish - it will turn them silver.
I've linked a very good source for supplies and information.
I am so excited for you!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sew Classic

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Oh, Marsha, this is soooo not my 1st! lol

I have 2 vintage that don't work, plus one that I use for leather & heavy duty stuff...has a huge harp! This was a treadle converted to motor.

I think I'm going to try and actually use Amy for piecing after she's cleaned up and see how she sews.

Thanks for the website...I'd actually found this one when I was looking for information before buying yesterday

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:53AM
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What other Vintage Machines do you have? I love the history and restoring these babies.
I can't help myself -- although last week I went to see a machine in a very nice area, but one driveway off the main street that was so scary and serial killer like -- hostage holding ramshackle shack with rotted floors and plywood on the ceiling and walls -- I wanted the machine, but couldn't bring myself to buy it -- it was so scary there. I wasn't alone; we couldn't get out of there fast enough. I had nightmares for 2 nights.
There's something to be said buying from a store. :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:17AM
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Sounds like a super scary situation! Glad you weren't alone!

I have a 1949 Singer, similar to AMy, that doesn't work;
a 1914 Singer, that is mounted in a treadle table, but have been motorized. Sews on leather like hot knife through butter; and a Free Westinghouse that I don't have any information on. I can't quickly find a serial number but will see what I can come up with when I get a chance. This one doesn't work either, and sits on a marble slab on top of a treadle base.

All of my other machines are 'modern'.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 12:09PM
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