Old sewing machines?

apulliam_22August 18, 2012

I am starting my search for an old sewing machine. I have given up buying at new machine, they just are made well enough for what I need.

I sew purses and wallets with very thick interfacing. My aunt told me that I should look for a machine that could easily see leather, all metal....

But I have no idea what brand and how easily it will be to find parts.

Does anyone have an old work horse machine that they just love? I don't need fancy stiches or buttholes I just need a great stright stich with a lot of power.

I have come across two really impressive machines on eBay. I tired

to post the link but can't from my phone. Does anyone know anything about these machines?



M/W 15 Class Rugged Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Professional Tune-up

Is there a certain brand that is better in old machines? I know singer parts would be easier to find but I don't know about the quality of singer.

Thank you all!

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You might consider finding a commercial machine. I do an extreme amount of sewing and they are faster, and hold up better. You will have to mail order yor needles as the fabric stores don't sell them, but most sell for about $20 for a box of 100. I've even found great deals on ebay for needles.

If you've never sewn on a commercial machine, they are faster and it will take a bit of getting used to. Mine have the 1/3 hp motor on them (110v) so they plug into a regular home outlet. You do not want one with a 220v motor) I have several Singers, most are at least 30 yrs old... parts just do not discontinue. I order my needles etc from a couple different places, SoLo Slide Fastners, also Hammer Brothers in KC.

Once you get used to it, you'll never want to sew with the home machines again...it'll feel like using a toy, but this is the best way to go if you are making to sell and make $

I have had mostly Singer Machines. I did have one commercial Phaff machine and sold it. they are supposed to be wonderful machines, I know people who swear by them...BUT mine was one of the newest machines I've ever had and I hated it. That thing got knocked out of timing so easy and it was hard to set. My singers never go out of time. The Phaff never consistantly made good stitches.. Singers always did.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 8:17PM
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I'm sorry for all my typos, I used my phone and did a horrible job!

These may be stupid questions so brace yourself;

The old singers you have aren't commercial? But they still work for your thicker fabrics?
Also my next move was to a "commercial" janome for 2000.00 but I'm not sure if that is the same caliber you are speaking of. I decided against a new machine because of the outrageous price when all I want is strength and a beautiful stright stitch

Did you mean to say the old sewing machines have discontinued parts or that you can easily find parts for a old singer? I was confused on that one. One more quesion, what model of singer do you use and recommend ?

Thank you very much for taking the time to help me out. I get so fed up with the sewing machine people here in Houston area and even the few people I have questioned on eBay are not vey helpful at all! Everyone is out to make money!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 10:38PM
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I agree with the advice to look for a used industrial machine. I'm sorry I can't recommend any particular model, but you likely just need a single needle drop feed lockstitch. Beware of ebay listings for any machines described as "industrial strength". These are usually fraudulent listings for overpriced old household machines. You may want to search out online user-groups. I know there is a Yahoo group for industrial machines, and there are several knowledgeable folks posting there.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:03AM
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Always used Singer brand industrial machines when I was in school & working @ a leather shop - they last forever, seemingly.

I have sewn simple leather goods on my own vintage Singer machines - using roller & walking feet.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 11:19AM
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for a machine that will sew leather or something that will
sew heavy duty go to the site of
leatherworker.net & post in the forum that talks about
sewing machines & ask them what type they would recommend

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 1:27PM
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For a home machine, the Bernina is about the best you can get, although I am more familiar with the 830 model than the 614. No problem finding parts for the Bernina 830, but the resale value is high, and so you won't find them for that cheap.

I've used industrial machines also, and they go extremely fast, which is good if you are very accurate, but it is also very easy to make a bad seam that will have to be taken out and resewn - not an acceptable thing if you are sewing leather. I have a Viking/Huskvarna machine that I bought new about 15 years ago, and it is almost as good as the Bernina. Best to avoid any machine that has a computer in it, as those are very expensive to repair and become obsolete very quickly. The Bernina and Huskvarna are both good at sewing leather, but you have to see the needles made for leather.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 2:13PM
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DGM, DM, & I have always taken all of our sewing machines to the same repairman. (DGM had 4 or 5, DM always has 3, & I have three.) In his shop he has several older machines that were traded in on fancier machines; he has done a complete service/overhaul on each one. He knows what each machine is capable of and best at, so he would know which machine to recommend for the type of sewing a customer outlines.

Also, My DGM had the repairman put a stronger motor on an older machine for her to sew HEAVY denim/canvas with.

Just two thoughts that might work for you. Good luck. l.marie

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:43AM
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First of all let me tell you that I am probably addicted to the older more sturdy machines. I just purchased a used Necchi Lelia 515. (approx. 1965 ish) I cleaned and oiled it but still had to take it to the repair shop for a cleaning and tune-up. He told me that it was certainly worth fixing. After spending 3 times what I paid for it since he replaced the hook and after buying 4 bobbins, I am still not happy. I cannot get it to sew the decorative stitches using the drop in cams. The stitch wide adjustment will not lock in where I set it even though I am turning the set-screws tightly. I have not been able to find a manual for this machine. Can some one help me?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:17PM
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I am really upset about my singer 221. I can't get it fixed without paying over 100 dollars. They have to be oiled all the time, if you don't use them, the oil dries up and this causes the jam. They have to be mailed back to the singer company in which they will remove the oil dried up oil. It will happen again and again. What a serving nightmare. I like my Bernina 1000 circa 1992 special. It has no computer inside. It hardier ever needs any servicing, even if you don't use it often. So, go old, but not too old, is my suggestion. Don't get one with a computer inside.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 7:39PM
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If you do garage sales, flea markets and craigslist you can find one, but the repairs will cost too much money. You have to consider how many times it will break down over the life of the machine vs. price of the machine on the onset.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 7:46PM
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tropical, why don't you just sell your 221 instead of repeatedly trashing it on these boards? It is a very fine machine, which generations of seamstresses have used and loved for its precision, durability, portability, and USER SERVICEABILITY!!! Obviously, you are not willing or able to maintain it properly, so you will be much better off by finding someone who will, who will pay you real $$ for it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:46PM
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You don't need an old machine, and I doubt the Bernina will do what you need it to do, without the motor burning out. Montgomery ward machines weren't worth what people paid for them new: they haven't increased in value in the passing of time.

You need a commercial machine. The good news is that quite often they aren't expensive. Brand new Juki runs about $800-900.

The "powerful" machines sold on Ebay are just home machines, with misleading advertising. Go to a sewing machine forum or as suggested the leather work forum and see what they suggest.

As for the 221, they were designed so the average housewife could maintain it. Yes, it costs over $100 to have it repaired. So does almost anything else.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:37PM
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