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Author Topic: Old Sewing Machines
sarcasticmuppet
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I'm on the prowl for a good workhorse sewing machine, and I think I've found one at the local thrift store: a Viking 6370. It's forty dollars, not counting any potential work I'd have to put into it, but I've heard good things about vintage viking machines.

I'm going to try to bring some samples and thread and see just how useful it is, and I called a local repair shop that gave me some good advice. I know that if the cam is cracked it's pretty much useless, but just about anything else can be fixed with varying degrees of skill and cost.

In general I've seen older, all-metal interior machines far outlast the cruddy all-plastic models that are so abundant. I'm sewing on a second-hand modern singer, and it drives me up a wall how terrible it is, but you can't argue with free stuff. Even if I have to eventually drop some money on a vintage machine, it still is a better deal than the thousands-dollar models you have to wade through to find something of quality in today's market.

I'm wondering if anyone on the 'rack has similar experiences. Are there enough sewing enthusiasts who know enough about vintage machines to give me any tips? Maybe someone's mom knows about them?

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Goody Scrivener
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I don't know much about vintage machines, but I did want to say that my current Sears Roebuck machine that my mother got as a wedding present and my old Pfaff that was made in the 40s have been absolute dreams to work with. And the White "Jeans Machine" model, which was supposedly heavy duty to deal with multiple layers of denim was pretty much a piece of junk.
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Tatiana
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My mom's Domestic sewing machine, vintage about 1954 and already looking way-retro back then is the awesomest best sewing machine I've ever used, bar none. The new ones have nothing on it, in my experience. It's such a beautiful machine. Everything works just right. It's heavy as can be but I think that's because it's solid. It's all metal and wood. There's no plastic on it at all. I think plastic didn't even exist then maybe. (Maybe that brittle bakelite stuff did.) I love it!

Not sure if Vikings are the same way. But I hope you find one you like.

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King of Men
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Almost completely unrelated, but... my parents-in-law just had their washing machine, which they inherited from my MIL's father, finally break down after thirty years. (Plus ten years or so in my grandfather-in-law's house.) It was still cheaper to repair it than to get a new one. I fully expect to inherit it at some point.
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breyerchic04
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I really would rather use a vintage sewing machine than the current ones with displays and all that crap. It needs to sew a straight line, zigzag is nice but not required. The other stitches, sorry, overkill.


My parents dryer is 40. The washer is 15, they're probably replacing the washer this weekend, the dryer is fine (other than being harvest gold).

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Hank
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My machine is from the 60's and works incredibly well.
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PSI Teleport
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I'm in love with my Singer 221 Featherweight. The best thing about it is that no parts are plastic, and I can take the thing completely apart and put it back together myself. I don't know anything about Vikings, though. Sorry.

I do have a little piece of junk machine that's probably only a couple years old that my cousin gave me, but I have only used it once, for the stretch stitch function. I couldn't even tell you where it is right now.

ETA: Harvest Gold makes me shudder, but I think it's still better than Avocado Green.

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breyerchic04
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The neighbor's had avacado green, I think they finally got rid of it all.
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DDDaysh
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I learned how to use a sewing machine on one of those where you still had to "pedal" it. I don't know what kind it was though. I'm kinda wishing my parents hadn't let it go in the auction when my grandfather died though. My mom offered it to me, and at the time I thought it was a stupidly sentimental think to keep...
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sarcasticmuppet
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A lot of those old treadle machines work, after, like, a hundred years. Awesomesauce.

So, as an update, I didn't get the viking. At first glance tt seemed to work okay, but it was frozen into one stitch mode, which is a sign of some fairly serious issues with the innards. I didn't have the hundred bucks or more to get it completely redone (though it would have still been a good deal!) and I didn't feel like I could take it apart and fix it myself, and I didn't want it to just sit and get worse, so I let it go.

Still on the prowl, though.

[ October 30, 2009, 12:20 AM: Message edited by: sarcasticmuppet ]

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ketchupqueen
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I have a late 60s-era Singer. Gets a tune-up every 2-3 years and works great. It's the kind with the little fancy stitch discs you can put in. It also came with its original manual and a ruffler! It's a cabinet machine (in a table.) $50 at a yard sale. I love it.

I think my mom's is of the same vintage, and my dad's is an early 70s model. These machines are all probably going to outlast their current owners as they did their original owners. I'm betting on them being handed down to my kids some day.

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