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Old machines
quiltingwolf
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quiltingwolf  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/6/12 12:25 PM

By this I mean machines from the 70's back. I have old machines. I no longer use them. These I've are mostly kept for sentimental reasons. I know the arguments about being solid etc. Mechanical machines and are better made. But don't you want the bells and whistles? I'm not saying a top of the line machine. But even some of the more basic machines have things we wouldn't have dreamed of back in the 70's. Once I got my first computerized machine, the Singer CXL, in the 90's, I never looked back. They just make sewing easier. Opinions?

Sure I love the old machines but I don't use them. If I had the room I'd have my old ones in glasses cases like knick knacks on display.

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quiltingwolf.blogspot.com

Leoladysw
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Leoladysw
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Date: 9/6/12 12:40 PM

I like the old machines to sew on. The new ones seem flimsy and fragile to me.

Different strokes for different folks.

------
Six Elna Lotus/Stella sm [kid's sewing classes]
Elna 33C SP sm, Pfaff 1473 CD sm, Viking 6030 sm, Singer Sphinx 127 sm, Singer Lotus 127 sm, Bernina 830 Record, Nelco J A-38 sm, Necchi Lelia 515 sm
http://leoladyshousecollectiblesandgardens.blogspot

path49
path49
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Date: 9/6/12 1:20 PM

I'm a vintage machine fan. My favorite machine is a 158.17550 model Kenmore from 1970. Or my Singer 201-2 (for a straight stitch only machine).

I find that I can do anything I want with the old Kenmore...fancy stitches, blind hem, stretch stitches, buttonholes, etc. Just takes a little more fiddling with cams & knobs! The buttonholes with a Singer Buttonholer on my 201-2 are perfect every time! These old workhorses just sail over heavy denim seams & do a lovely job on chiffon & knits too!

I also hate the lightweight, plasticky feel of a newer machine. And on my old mechanicals, I can maintain, adjust, & repair them myself. No new computerized models for me...EVER!

sewplenty
sewplenty
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Date: 9/6/12 1:20 PM

I love the old machines. I like the way they look, and they sew a marvelous stitch. However, I have gotten very lazy in my old age. On my old Singer if I sew anything but cotton, I have to spend time getting the right tension. Put in a new bobbin? Open the cabinet, lift up the machine and try to get in right the first time. Buttonhole? 4 or 5 steps or I can use the old buttonholers just for fun, but with my newer machines, just put the button in the buttonholder, press a button and it is done, perfectly time after time. Constant turning of the hand crank for positioning. And worst of all is the oiling - a 20 minute job requiring taking parts of the machine apart. My old Singer is nice, but give me a new computerized any day. Especially since the quality of the newer machines has really improved.

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Singer Quintet
Brother 1034D
Singer Stylist II Serger
Singer Heavy Duty 5532
Singer Signature (New One)
New Home Combi DX
Singer 319
Singer Featherweight 221

Soolip
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Soolip
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Date: 9/6/12 1:39 PM

My opinion is that the bells and whistles were created to sell expensive machines. I have not found I actually use them. I use a straight stitch, buttonholes and occasionally use the blind hem stitch.

1) The needle up/down feature is more of a nuisance than a help. It's easier to grab the balance wheel than it is to search for that little button. I also forget if the needle is up or down, and have ripped through a seam allowance while removing fabric from the machine because I forgot the needle was down.

2) Needle positions cause problems too, because I sometimes forget to re-set the needle to center causing me to rip out a seam that was sewn with the wrong allowance due to an off-center needle position.

3) Buttonholes on my computerized machine are nice, but the ones made with my buttonholer attachments are prettier.

4) Zig zag machines sometimes cause thread nests at the beginnings of seams, no matter the brand. My expensive Bernina 930 did this all the time. I've never had a problem with a straight stitch machine. My straight stitchers also never drag the fabric down into the hook area, which I experience all the time with zig zag machines.

4) The alphabets on every machine I have seen are ugly. You can't kern the letters. I can't think of one artistic application for which they would be useful.

5) Being philosophically opposed to decoration of any sort, I have no use for decorative stitches. If I want to show off my skills as a sewist, perfectly straight topstitching does the trick. No talent is required to sew rows and rows of fancy stitches, only thread and patience.

6) Knee lifts are great on industrial machines. The one on my 930 keeps popping out, which is frustrating.

7) I can sew everything without a free arm, with no trouble whatsoever. What is annoying is continually misplacing that plastic piece that converts a free arm machine into a flat bed.

8) There's a lot of hoopla about "self-adjusting" features: tension, pressure foot pressure, feed dog adjustments, etc. As an artist, I prefer to be in control of my tools, not the other way around.

9) As I use a straight stitch for 99% of my sewing, I can't see compromising its quality by using a zig-zag machine. My 201 makes the best straight stitch I've ever seen. All the "bells and whistles" in the world could not make me change my mind about this.

I'm sure this post will infuriate lots of people, but it's just my opinions, thoughts and experience. What I write says everything about me, and nothing about you, so please try to be respectful. Thanks.

quiltingwolf
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Date: 9/6/12 2:04 PM

Soolip I knew you would chimed in about this. Your opinions are well known. I agree with some of what you said. But I also think it depends on what kind of sewing you do. And there are some new machines that are really nice that aren't cheaply made. I think everyone should have the sewing machine they feel comfortable with no matter how old or how many bells and whistles. On most things (except sewing machines) I believe less is better. Less, less to break etc. A good example of this is cars.

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quiltingwolf.blogspot.com

pknord
pknord
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In reply to Soolip <<
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Date: 9/6/12 2:28 PM

Quote: Soolip
My opinion is that the bells and whistles were created to sell expensive machines. I have not found I actually use them. I use a straight stitch, buttonholes and occasionally use the blind hem stitch.



1) The needle up/down feature is more of a nuisance than a help. It's easier to grab the balance wheel than it is to search for that little button. I also forget if the needle is up or down, and have ripped through a seam allowance while removing fabric from the machine because I forgot the needle was down.



2) Needle positions cause problems too, because I sometimes forget to re-set the needle to center causing me to rip out a seam that was sewn with the wrong allowance due to an off-center needle position.



3) Buttonholes on my computerized machine are nice, but the ones made with my buttonholer attachments are prettier.



4) Zig zag machines sometimes cause thread nests at the beginnings of seams, no matter the brand. My expensive Bernina 930 did this all the time. I've never had a problem with a straight stitch machine. My straight stitchers also never drag the fabric down into the hook area, which I experience all the time with zig zag machines.



4) The alphabets on every machine I have seen are ugly. You can't kern the letters. I can't think of one artistic application for which they would be useful.



5) Being philosophically opposed to decoration of any sort, I have no use for decorative stitches. If I want to show off my skills as a sewist, perfectly straight topstitching does the trick. No talent is required to sew rows and rows of fancy stitches, only thread and patience.



6) Knee lifts are great on industrial machines. The one on my 930 keeps popping out, which is frustrating.



7) I can sew everything without a free arm, with no trouble whatsoever. What is annoying is continually misplacing that plastic piece that converts a free arm machine into a flat bed.



8) There's a lot of hoopla about "self-adjusting" features: tension, pressure foot pressure, feed dog adjustments, etc. As an artist, I prefer to be in control of my tools, not the other way around.



9) As I use a straight stitch for 99% of my sewing, I can't see compromising its quality by using a zig-zag machine. My 201 makes the best straight stitch I've ever seen. All the "bells and whistles" in the world could not make me change my mind about this.



I'm sure this post will infuriate lots of people, but it's just my opinions, thoughts and experience. What I write says everything about me, and nothing about you, so please try to be respectful. Thanks.

I agree. You said just about everything I would have said, except that I have the needle-up and needle-down feature on all my old machines. I just have to stop moving my feet at the right time on my treadles, or stop cranking on the hand crank. I love being able to maintain them myself, instead of taking them away for a week or two at a time to pay a large sum to someone else. That said, I do have one Janome, that was less than $600, that I bought for the blanket stitches, since none of my old beauties can do that. Years ago, I had a nice TOL computerized Pfaff that did hundreds of fancy stitches. I stitched them all out once as I went through the notebooks that came with it, and then really never used 99% of them again. After a while, I realized I hadn't taken it out of its case in more than two years, so I sold it on eBay.

------
Pat in Rockport, TX
"As ye sew, so shall ye rip."
http://community.webshots.com/user/pknord
http://www.quiltingthoughts.blogspot.com/

TessKwiltz
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TessKwiltz  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/6/12 2:45 PM

There's a line at the end of the movie Trading Places - the former-butler-now-rich-guy turns to the pretty brunette and asks her if she wants the lobster or the cracked crab for dinner, and she responds: "Can't we have both?".

I love my vintage machines. My favorite machine to piece on is a Featherweight. I love my 15 year-old Berninas. I love my new 730. I love my Brother PQ1500. I use them all for what they are good at.

To each his/her own. Sew on whatever machine(s) make you happy.

------
Tess

On threadpainting flowers: "How many colors are in a flower? ... How many do you have?" - Ellen Anne Eddy

kittykate
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kittykate
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ON CANADA
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Date: 9/6/12 3:03 PM

I've taken all the features of computerized machines and spread them over vintage machines because I've acquired many vintage machines at a very low cost and I have the space to do so. I have a machine with a permanently attached buttonholer for example.

Sibilance7
Sibilance7  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/6/12 5:55 PM

I can't imagine sewing without a lot of my bells and whistles. I love needle up/down, couldn't live without needle positions, love the start/stop button for free-motion quilting, love automatic tie-off, totally love my new machine's thread cutter, and so on. That being said, I can see how someone may not like these things. More features, more problems, you might say. Sometimes I break needles because I forgot to put my needle position back to center. Sometimes I hit the stop button but I don't hit it hard enough so the machine doesn't stop when I expected it to. For me, though, those issues are infrequent enough and I love the features enough for it to be worth it. It really is a matter of preference.

I also agree with others who say there's a place for many tools in our sewing rooms. If you have no need for decorative stitches, computerized features, etc, and you love your vintage machine, stick with it. If you love your computerized machine and don't need anything a vintage machine has to offer, stick with what you love. I love my computerized machines but I'm looking into a vintage machine or a mechanical straight stitcher to chomp through the thick seams I get when I make bags. I just got my computerized machine back from my dealer because it had to be repaired after I sewed too much heavy duty stuff on it. I think for many of us, there's not one single machine that can do everything, and both computerized and vintage machines have their place.

------
My blog: www.feministstitch.com

I sew on:
Olivia, my Pfurple Pfaff Creative Performance
BabyLock Evolution

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