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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Bought a Singer Fashion Mate ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Bought a Singer Fashion Mate
but local repair shop says it's not worth even touching
birdmcfarland
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birdmcfarland
Intermediate
PA USA
Member since 8/1/08
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Date: 7/26/12 4:51 PM

I found a Singer Fashion Mate 237 a few months ago on Craigslist and bought it. The 83 year old owner said "I bought this new and hardly ever used it". Yay!
I called our local service center - Brubaker's in New Holland, PA - to get it cleaned up and serviced and they said these are so fragile inside that they're not worth even touching and they wouldn't service it. Does anyone know that to be true? I thought these were good machines. The one I have was made in Italy with a motor made in France, apparently one of the last of the models to be made in Europe.
This is what it looks like (not my photo):

lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
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thumbsup 2 members like this.
Date: 7/26/12 4:54 PM

All I know about that particular machine is that I made the mistake of buying a new one in the late 60's.
It was a total POS!

------
Linda

Bernina 830LE
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Laurie Lou
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Laurie Lou  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/26/12 5:03 PM

Oh my word!!! There might be help for the little bugger. You can carefully oil it etc...Just don't take apart the tensioner on the top...that might be a problem if it springs apart. I'd check another shop ...someone might have a completely diffferent history with them and do it for you. Good luck.

------
Laurie Lou

andye
andye  Friend of PR
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VA USA
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Date: 7/26/12 5:24 PM

Some comments from a sewing machine restorer on the Singer Fashionmate 237

Unlike other fashion mates, these do not have nylon/plastic gears.

------
Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

sings2high
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sings2high  Friend of PR
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In reply to birdmcfarland <<


Date: 7/26/12 5:27 PM

Well, there are some people who like these machines. Here's the background - Singer started putting plastic gears into their machines in the 1960's so they would break down within a few years and have to be replaced.

However

this is not one of those machines. The shop where you took it probably doesn't know much about older machines, because this machine does not have plastic gears and they obviously thought it did. Most machines (like the Touch-and-Sew's) with plastic gears produced in the 60s and 70s are now non-functional.
Here's some more information about the 237.

The motor is attached to the rear of the machine and is easily replaced. The rest of the machine is probably in fine shape and will reward your oiling with easy-moving parts.

I would LOVE to find one of these machines, because I have a treadle stand eagerly waiting for a zigzag-capable machine, LOL.

------
Measure twice, cut once. While this saying is useful in many ways, I have no qualms about editing my posts.

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CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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CA USA
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Date: 7/26/12 5:43 PM

I bought one of these from Craigslist recently, too. I haven't cleaned it up yet. The person I bought it from had been recently sewing on it, but it has obviously not been cleaned or oiled in a long time, but is, apparently, functioning.

What I have heard, from an avid sewing machine collector, was that this model had a reputation for being somewhat underpowered. This has to do with the motor, not the mechanics of the machine itself. It is possible to replace the motor.

You can do a moterectomy on this machine and use it on a treadle base. This is what interested me about this model. The flywheel will accept a treadle bealt.

SewClassic Singer 237 FashionMate review. Jenny at SewClassic notes that the bobbin race is made of plastic and can crack, but can be replaced. For example, you can buy 237 parts from Sewing Machine Parts Online.

For whatever reason, they did not want to work on this machine at the shop you visited. I find it difficult to believe that a machine with no plastic gears and many readily available replacement parts is "too delicate" to work on. In my area (Silicon Valley, CA), there's a semi-retired sewing machine repair guy who is really into repairing and restoring older mechanical sewing machines. He advertises on CraigsList. Someone like this might be more willing to work on your 237.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

CMC
ETA: Sings2high and I were thinking and posting at the same time. I think sings2high has suggested a plausible reason why someone might not want to work on an older machine with plastic gears, and therefore might choose to pass on repairing any vintage machine.
-- Edited on 7/26/12 6:04 PM --

Mufffet
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Mufffet  Friend of PR
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VT USA
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In reply to birdmcfarland <<


Date: 7/26/12 5:51 PM

I am surprised that Brubaker's would say that. For one thing they are well known experts at rebuilding the classic old Pfaffs which do have nylon gears etc., and I am wondering if you spoke to a person who even knows what machine this is! If you actually take it in you may have another reaction. :)

------
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
--Dalai Lama

I have sewing machines

birdmcfarland
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birdmcfarland
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In reply to Mufffet <<


Date: 7/26/12 5:55 PM

Quote: Mufffet
I am surprised that Brubaker's would say that. For one thing they are well known experts at rebuilding the classic old Pfaffs which do have nylon gears etc., and I am wondering if you spoke to a person who even knows what machine this is! If you actually take it in you may have another reaction. :)

It surprised me too. I wouldn't have bought this thing if it hadn't been one of the good ones made before the quality bottomed out. It runs fine, it's just that the tension is not quite right in the bobbin and I can't seem to get it correct. It sews beautifully though.
Thanks for everyone's help and advice. Going to read your links now.
birdmcfarland
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birdmcfarland
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Date: 7/26/12 5:58 PM

Checked out your links and that's the website I read when I initially saw the machine on Craigslist! It confirmed in my mind that this was a good purchase. Maybe I'll call brubakers back and tell them it's a good model.

horsegirl

horsegirl  Friend of PR
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MI USA
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Date: 7/26/12 6:10 PM

I don't know anything about that model, but I think the repairman was a dud. I hate interactions like that. It makes me so nostalgic for a time when things were routinely repaired, not built with obsolescence in mind. I realize parts may be hard to locate, but come on, the internet is a great resource, esp for technicians. There just isn't a lot of respect for older engineering by techs trained on much newer models. I think sometimes they get jaded and just don't even want to try (especially if they are part of a dealership). I would love to find a vintage repair specialist around this area....

------
My Years of Sewing Fearlessly

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