Sewing machine buying help : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi Countrysiders, I want to purchase a new sewing machine, but after much research, I can't decide on brand or model etc. My criteria: $300 or less to spend; heavy duty as I want to make slipcovers and curtains and don't want the material bunching up, so maybe a walking foot?; ease of finding bobbins to fit machine; perhaps metal instead of plastic. I don't need a computerized machine or an embroidery machine or quilting, just basically a straight stitch machine.

I have a J.C. Penney portable machine that I bought in the '80's with two bobbins, no other bobbins fit this dang machine. I really would like a treadle machine like my mother used to have but most I've seen around here are not in good condition and ebay is iffy and expensive to ship. The prices on are good and I would buy one there if I knew which machine is best for my needs. I never realized how many different machines are out there to choose from until I started looking for one!

Any advise from you would be most appreciated. Thanks, Mary

-- Mary in East TN (, February 26, 2001


Hi Mary, I have a Singer Featherweight that will sew through anything. It only goes forward and backward, and you can get metal replacement bobbins. You can also find attachments like rufflers. They can be very expensive ($500) and might be hard to find, but I found one at the good will for $99, took it in for a tune up and re-sold it for alot more. I would never replace mine, it never breaks down and will sew through leather and multiple layers of denim.

If you ever decide to sell a Featherweight, you will get all of your money back out of it instead of selling it at a loss as is the case with most other machines.

-- Julie (, February 26, 2001.

Hi Mary, I have a singer, model #9410, slant needle, and also a New Home, basic model. Frankly, I use the New Home more! It is a great, basic, heavy duty machine. I sew curtains, quilts, jeans and leather on the New Home, because the Singer can't do it! I do use a walking foot on my New Home to minimize the bunching. Good luck! Sissy

-- sissy sylvester-barth (, February 26, 2001.

Hi Mary, I have 3 commerical machines( a straight stitch, a hemmer and a 5 needle safety stitch) that I bought at a factory that was going out of business. (Paid appox. $300.00 for each with a new 110 motor already on it). They also threw in needles, extra bobbins and a catolog to order from if I needed parts. Check all your local factories that sew--most are cutting back or closing all together. Good luck.

-- Debbie T in N.C. (, February 26, 2001.

I would recommend getting an older machine; the stuff they make today is inferior; made to be replaced like most everything else. Perhaps the exception would be a commercial model. I recently bought a new Singer with various gizmos and the bobbin case broke the second time I used it! Its for sale, cheap......I went out and bought a hundred year old Singer treadle machine and just love it!

-- Earthmama (, February 26, 2001.

earthmomma i saw a singer tredle the other day in a sewing machine repair shop he wanted 250.00 it looked good is that a fair price? altho it might of been a repoductin i dont think it was but then what do i know about sewing machins. Bob se.ks. ps eny one want more info let me know and ill find out more about it.

-- Bobco (, February 26, 2001.

Hello Mary, You can get a fine singer treadle sewing machine through Lehman's Catalog for about $350.00 delivered to you front door. Now, I think the cabinet is not the quality of the orginal treadles of the past but the machine and the treadle assembly is excellent. I personally would not spend more than that on any sewing machine myself. The more expensive ones have cute little assessories that 90 percent of the sewing population will never use. Why pay the extra dollars for assessories that are uneeded. If you buy used make sure you are familiar with sewing machine repairing, (though it is not rocket science). Sometimes a machine that keeps throwing a bobbin or breaking the thread can be very fustrating and your machine is used, not knowing if there is something wrong with the machine or if it is just a minor adjustment. I don't buy many things new but, I bought our treadle sewing machine brand new (from Lehmans) just so I would not start out with a problem machine. Sincerely, Ernest

-- Ernest in the Ozarks (, February 26, 2001.

Hi Bob, I paid $250 for mine! It has a real fancy cabinet, lotsa carving,just beautiful,and I had it looked at by a friend who was somewhat familiar with these old machines first. I looked at a lot of em, most not in such great shape, but most of them are fixable, cuz they're not that complex. I found some cheaper with a more plain cabinet. They were works of art, beautiful pieces of furniture as well as functional machines, and you can find them in an amazing variety of cabinet styles, some worth thousands. Take a look on ebay sometime for examples; sometimes you can find a good deal on there, but only if they're close enough to go pick up; you can imagine what shipping would be on something so heavy.

-- Earthmama (, February 27, 2001.

I think you'd do well with an old Singer (black or brown body). Mine is brown, made in '49 (older than I am). It has a zigzag. It came w/one bobbin but was able to order more. I've had it in the shop for tension problems and sews WONDERFUL. I've owned it 30yrs, paid $50 in a pawn shop, sew all the time, love it. I also have a Singer treadle, just too nice, bought it f/antique whole sell dealer and it was a deal ($25) in the 70's. I think I'd try pawn shops now, too. Good Luck!! DW

-- DW (, February 27, 2001.

I agree that the older Singers (metal body) are great, and very sturdy. I have two machines, an older dark tan metal-body Singer portable that I bought in college in the 70's for $39.00 (a lot of part-time job hours paid for that) and which still runs beautifully. The saleswoman showing it to me made the point that although it was a used machine, it could tackle lots of heavy jobs, so she folded a wooden matchstick into a piece of leather and sewed right over it. Needless to say, I don't ask it to do that on a regular basis, but it could I guess. The other machine is a very heavy Sears metal-body portable with zig-zag stitches, that I bought at a farm auction on a very hot day for a dollar. The way it performs, it is worth far more than the new plastic $300+ machines I bought this year for my classroom. Look around in the want-ads for older machines; not very many people are taking up sewing in this day and age, so there are some great bargains to be had. Good luck, and happy sewing.

-- Peggy in IN (, February 27, 2001.

Hi Folks, Thank you all for your answers. It really helped. I checked Lehmans and almost bought the treadle, checked with my local sewing machine man who wanted me to buy a new Riccar for $360, checked out all local classifieds, but finally didn't buy any of them. I bought a Necchi machine made in the 1950's on Ebay for $71.00, plus $20.00 shipping. It is all metal, has all new replacement parts, extra bobbins, book, and more, and I am thrilled. I just hope that it sews as well as described. The man selling it seems so nice and accomodating. Sometimes you can get good buys on Ebay if you spend a lot of time on their site. I've bought other things there and been very pleased.

Thanks again for your input, it really helped.


-- Mary in East TN (, February 28, 2001.

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