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Basics of using a vintage sewing machine

Sewing Machine 101

Sewing machines are a big investment.  Two main options for a machine are new or vintage.  New machines are in two categories: 1) inexpensive with a lot of plastic parts, 2) moderate to expensive with computers and other fancy stuff – still with a good amount of plastic parts.

Where do you get a vintage machine?  Your Grandma or Auntie might have a vintage one in her hall closet that she might be willing give/sell you.  Which could be a real score!  Be wary about what vintage machine you purchase.  Vintage can mean old and wonderful and vintage can mean beat up with missing parts (which can be hard to replace).  My mother-in-law had a wonderful Singer in a GREAT deco cabinet, but the wiring in it had rotted and I would have had to have it completely rewired.  Even though it was free and a GREAT cabinet it would have been very expensive and it made me sad, I passed on the machine.  I’ve purchased 2 machines on Ebay from people with good reputations that said the machines had been serviced and had examples of their stitching in the listing.  I was not disappointed with either!  The first one which you see in the video was $300 with $50 shipping.  The second which is her slightly less fancy little sister was only $125 plus shipping.  My thoughts were that I wanted to have two machines the same so that if I need parts I would always have  a supply.  But they both work so good I just have two good machines!

A couple of years ago I purchased a very nice Bernina sewing machine that does embroidery and has every bell and whistle you can imagine.  It was my first new sewing machine in over 30 years.  I spent $6,000 on the machine.  The Bernina is nice with all it can do, but it has spent more time in the shop than I ever thought it would.  The first year the computer went wonky and it took 4 months in the shop to get it fixed.  A year later it is now on my sewing room floor waiting for a ride to the shop because there is something wrong in the bobbin area.  I’m not knocking Bernina because I do know many people who have had wonderful experiences with them.  But it has made me consider this, do I think my Bernina will still be up and running 40 years from now and my answer is no.

I would really enjoy hearing about your experiences with your sewing machines.  I’m sure there are as many stories as they are sewers!  I hope you enjoy my video on the basics of a vintage machine.  Happy Sewing – Cindy

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