Need help with sewing machines.. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I need a new sewing machine-I think. I sew most of our clothing and I have had terrible luck with sewing machines. I had a brother cheapy-wore it out in no time. I was given a Monkey wards model-fairly good-but could never get the tensin figured out. Then i thought I found my dream machine-an older New Home. It sews like a dream-and yet-I dicoverd that someon pulled out the wires from the motor (one of the kids no doubt).

I can't find anyone who repairs machines areound here-affordably anyway...and would tinker on it myself if I had a clue where to begin.

My husband suggested we get a new machine since the old used ones have not been a great deal for me-and I am kinda up a creek without a paddle at the moment-I have a ton of sewing I MUST do and soon. Some of the things I sew I might be able to find at a thrift store-but most I can't-they are custom type clothing (capedresses etc) Plus we have a new baby coming-and have nothing for a winter baby-that isn't worn out!

So I guess I have a two fold question. Can I fix this-and how complicatd would this be? Or if I get a new machine,what are the suggestions people woudl have for the kind of sewing I do. They still make New Home machines-and I am tempted-but I don't know if the quality is there or not.

Thanks for any help anyone might have. Sarah

Oh I did check the archives-and what I found was for treadle machines-I might someday try one-but right now I just need a good machine that won't break!

-- Sarah (, September 26, 2001


Sarah I have a new home I bought used about 11 years ago and it still sews great, as far as new ones you might check out singer. I also have a brother that was on the clearance table at Wal Mart and I love it. The top of the live is suppose to be Brinina [may not have spelled that right]. We used one at the interior design workshop where I worked, and did some pretty heavy work on it.

-- ruby (, September 26, 2001.

Sarah, I have a suggestion. I have done this many times, as I sew on an old Singer peddle machine for years, then got a new fangled motor and added it. I have had several motors to go out one my machine, and all I did was find a used one a garage sales or auctions and take that motor off and replace the broken one. It really is quite simple, as the motors are all attached to the machine base anyway. It is held on with 2 bolts and you just use the same bolts to place the new one on with. Most of the time, machines at garage sales and auctions have not been used enough to have much wear on the motor and the motor has nothing to do with how well the machine sews. It just makes it sew.

-- Bear (, September 26, 2001.

I love my Viking made by Husqvarna. I have had mine for 20 years now and never had any problems with it. I'm not sure what one costs today though. The lady I bought mine from gave me a trade-in amount for my old Montgomery Ward which helped and she was having a sale on them at the time. I also just bought a very basic machine - not a lot of fancy stitches and not computerized. Mine is the Classica 100 - does zig zag, overlock stitch, overcast stitch, blind hem stitch, button hole, bobbin can be wound with thread through the needle and you can move the needle into three different positions which lets you sew buttons on. I'm not constantly having to change the tension like I did with my older machine.Can hem jeans nicely with no problem. Mine came with a plastic cover and an accessory box. Easy to clean, no belt adjustment needed and has never needed any work done on it.

At the time I bought mine, it was all metal construction, don't know if they still are. I think they are great!!

-- Terry - NW Ohio (, September 26, 2001.

You wouldn't have to have a sewing machine repair place do a rewire. Isn't anything to rewire unless it is the cord to the foot pedal or the cord to the plug. Anybody with any knowledge of basic wiring could do this.

Most folks tension problems are not the machines fault. It is usually the wrong needles. There are needles for knit and needles for cotton, in those two basic kinds of needles are numbers for thick material and numbers for thin. If you use the wrong needles you get puckering, skipped stitches, broken threads and snags, all things always blamned on tension. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, September 26, 2001.


the needle thing-what about those universal needles? I use them-and always sew on wovens...the problem is the thread gets all knotted up on the fabric and underneath...any suggestions

I will see about replacing a motor on the machine-might be a good way to go. Never thought about that.

Thansk for the replies...


-- Sarah (, September 26, 2001.

Sarah, I have had the same trouble with the universal needles and now I buy specific needles (like the size recommended by my machine manufacturer for different type fabrics) A lot of the problems I was having was also very much related to the thread. The cheaper bulk threads just don't do the job on my old machine. If you can not fix your machine I would consider looking for an older Singer. They are around frequently at garage sales and they work on and on.

-- diane (, September 26, 2001.

Universal means it works on many different sewing machine models, has nothing at all to do with the kinds of fabric they sew on. Next time you are at Wallmart read the packages, and see the information for yourself. It is very easy to understand, and makes all the difference. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, September 26, 2001.

I'd vote for older Singer. Mine's beige, 1949. My sister's is black. We LOVE them and easy to get repaired, tension fixed, tuned. Also, don't use the cheap thread. DW

-- DW (, September 26, 2001.

I've also found out that it matters what kind of thread you use. Once I had good quality thread in the top and cheaper in the bobbin, and the thing wouldn't work at all - no bobbin thread. It's not always the quality of the thread either - the bobbin and the top thread have to be compatible.

-- Chrisitna (, September 26, 2001.

I bought several machines over the last 45 years. Then my Mom died, (God bless her) and I now have her 55 year old Singer Featherweight. It is the machine I learned to sew on when I was 8 years old. Still works great, Mom and I have made everything from aprons to mens sport coats to wedding dresses on it. You can still find them but they are collectable. Quilters love them. They sell for about $300. They are worth every penny.

-- Belle (, September 26, 2001.

The singer and Sears aren't what they used to be, unless you can find an older all metal one. Bernina is a top of the line machine but very expensive, I sewed on one during some sewing lessons I took and man it was like driveing a mercedes or cadilac. My mother bought one with all the bells and whistles upon her retirement she hasn't had any problems either. Good Luck.

-- Carol in Tx (, September 26, 2001.

Sarah-Bernina and viking are fantastic-however they are expensive. I have a Singer than I bought about 8 years ago, the basic model, I paid about $300 and its been worth every penny-its pretty heavy, so I think it has mostly metal parts, no carry case. I've heard good things about New Home but havn't tried one myself.

How close are you to a good-sized city? You might check classified ads Decent sewing machines pop up pretty regularly because husbands think they are great presents for wives(I think so too!) but many women just don't want to take the time to sew, so the machine sits around a while and they finally decide to sell them. Another thought- you might check schools-high school and vocational-a friend of mine got a great deal on a used Bernina when the school "Upgraded" Sometimes you find them at yard sales, but I suspect you don't have to to look-you might check thrift stores like goodwill-you never know. I absolutly agree about the cheap thread-don't use it, also, dull needles will do nasty things-its suggested that you change your needle after every project-I suppose it depends on what you are working on. Synthetics, quilt batts and polar fleece will dull needles fast! I find I can do several cotton projects without changing the needle. Make sure you use knit needles for knit, woven for woven. Theres a great catalog-Homesew out of Bethleham, Pennsyvania that sells good quality bulk thread and needles. As for repairing the motor-I personally wouldn't do it but if you know someone who knows stuff about small motors, they could probably help you-again, if there is a trade or vocational school near you-or possably a highschool electronics class, you could do the work for you cheap-or if used as an instructional project, even free. Best of luck

-- Kelly (, September 26, 2001.

Sarah - My husband bought me a Singer sewing machine when we got married. I used it for 23 years, then a gear stripped in the bottom of it. I found out it would cost a fortune to fix. I wanted to purchase another Singer, but the owner of the store I went to told me that singer now uses synthetic gears. I bought a basic New Home with all metal gears for $200 on sale. I bought this in 2000, have sewed alot with it, and had no trouble with it. I love it. We bought a Brother for our daughter. She has had a terrible time with it. I think she finally has the tension adjusted right. I, too would suggest using only good, name-brand (I use Singer brand) needles and good thread (I use Dual Duty from Coats and Clark). I hope I have been of some help to you. I know how frustrating it is when your machine breaks down. Winona

-- Winona in MO (, September 26, 2001.

Dear Sarah You can call a vaccuum repair place to fix your wiring problem. BUT if you think it's time to really upgrade your sewing machine call to larger towns and small cities sewing centers that is where I got my good quality new to me Janome 6000.I am so pleased with it.It is twenty years old but wasn't used hard.I payed $500. Canadian for it at a reputable dealer in a small city two hours away from where we live.I went on a saturday checked out the machine,got lessons and went home.It came with a 1 year warranty and lots of extra goodies even feet for machine quilting.Finally found a reason good enough to go to the city!! Keep away from the cheapest models of any machines your just buying trouble,a nice mid range machine is probably best.Ask about a payment plan if need be because if you need a reliable machine with no problems be thrifty(wise) not cheap get the most for your dollar and it willpay you back in the long run with long service,money saved in repairs and alterations and you will sew more if you really like the machine.I just agonized through this and am glad I spent a little more than I first thought I would have to.Don't buy a kenmore(sears) or singer they are not that good any more and like others have told you use good thread and needles and change the needles alittle more frequently than you think you should as they fray thread and catch material ruining your handiwork. Hope this helps sorry it's so long I've never answered a thread before.

-- elly snyder (, September 26, 2001.

Sarah, I belong to two bulletin boards on Yahoo, one about vintage Vikings and the other about vintage Singers. Someone on the one of those might be able to put you in contact with someone who can repair your New Home OR how to do it yourself. My head starts to hurt when it comes to electrical things, but if that is not the case with you, probably you can do it.

Most of the folks on these boards think that new sewing machines are "junk". I sure don't think they make them the way they used to! I have a Viking 6030 that I got in 1973. It needed repair once, a few years ago -- otherwise, it's been just fine. My mother has a Singer Featherweight that has my name on it, whenever she is done with it, since I am the only one who really sews in my family. I just got a Singer 301 from eBay -- it was a slightly later than the Featherweight straight stitch model, but is only a couple of pounds heavier. Lots of old Singers sold on eBay, but you'll need to do some learning first to decide what you want. You MIGHT find another New Home even -- maybe for spare parts.

The Featherweights are prized for sewing quilts and go for BIG bucks most places, particularly on eBay. Reading postings on eBay is a good way to see lots of pictures of machines, though. 301's go for less, and some of the others can frequently be had for less than $50 (of course, there is shipping too, which is high and the shipper HAS to know how to pack it or it may be damaged). You might even find a seller in your area where you could pick one up. Singers seem to dominate, probably for two reasons: [1] They were very well made and last for a long time if given reasonable care, and [2] Singer wanted to dominate the market and gave great trade-ins for other brands, which they then junked, so Singer is what survives today.

There are sections for NEW machines too!

Here are some URL's for you:

eBay Vintage Machines:

eBay NEW Machines:

Yahoo Vintage Machines forums:

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (, September 26, 2001.

I have had a Janome for about 6 years and have had no problems with it I don't know how much it cost as it was a gift but it is a basic machine, sometimes all the gadgets cause more problems then they are worth. Go to a sewing machine store and try them all you can get a better idea that way. Sally

-- sally stanton (, September 28, 2001.

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