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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Help buying from craigslist? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Help buying from craigslist?
mochabubble
mochabubble
Member since 7/4/09
Posts: 9
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Date: 8/3/13 4:46 PM

Hello everyone! So I've been researching a lot about sewing machines, and I've narrowed it down. I want to stay away from buying a new brother or singer, because I've heard they are mainly plastic and will not last long.

About my sewing: I make costumes on commission as a second job from home. I hand sew everything right now, which is time consuming.

I've heard that Viking, Bernia, and Elna are good brands to look at. I'm wary of a vintage machine because my knowledge is limited (since I'm a hand sewer). I know the vintage may last longer, but I need to be able to do button holes too, which I've noticed they don't.

On craigslist, I've found a Viking Emerald 116 for $175 and a Viking Scandinavia 200 for $100. Are either of these good picks? I am e-mailing to ask about condition, but I'll need to take it into be serviced. I'm not sure the difference between the two models as well. I really don't want to spend too much since I'm a college student, and I need to pay tuition and bills first. This would just help me so much with my side hobby/job a lot.

lgrande
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lgrande  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
MT USA
Member since 1/18/12
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In reply to mochabubble <<


Date: 8/3/13 4:59 PM

Sorry, I don't know anything about either model you mentioned, however, I do see that there are several Viking Emeralds listed on e-bay for a whole lot more. Maybe that's an indication that this is a good buy?

------
Linda

Bernina 830LE
Brother Dreamweaver VQ3000
Bernina B530
Janome 6600P
Pfaff 1209
Babylock Evolution
Janome 644D

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
Intermediate
CA USA
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Date: 8/3/13 5:07 PM

I would personally like to have the Viking Scandinavia 200 in my room. I just like the way it looks and it has a good selection of stitches. It was among the last models made in Sweden and a little bit older than the Emerald. The Emerald is a mechanical machine and the Scandinavia is computerized. Both have had good reviews.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
OR USA
Member since 8/29/06
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In reply to mochabubble <<


Date: 8/3/13 6:20 PM

For safety's sake...when you go to stranger's homes etc to checkout these machines...take someone else with you AND tell yet another person where you are going and when you expect to return. If no one can go with you (but someone should) AT LEAST tell a reliable person where you are going and when you should be back.

Viking is a very nice brand so that's a plus.

These sms may be found treasure...or they could be money pits! Their condition is what their value is all about...condition and what is missing...such as feet, manual and other necessary items that make the sms are functioning as intended...or even at all.

I recently was looking at an older model Singer at my local Goodwill that was labeled as "works". Well...when plugged in the light came on...the motor was on...the needle bar moved up and down...BUT it was missing EVERYTHING else...such as the bobbin CASE, the spool caps...all the feet expect the all purpose foot...even the bed tray was gone. Actually...without the bobbin case and the spool caps there was no way to test sew on a scrap of fabric to even know if the stitches sewed correctly. To replace all the missing items would zoom the "cost" of that sm too high in the realm of used sewing machines...and that's considering if it would actually sew correctly.

Checked for a local sm service person and what the going fee is for a service...specifically for a computerized sm?

Take note that the computerized Scandinavia is nearly half the price of the all mechanical Emerald. Are they being sold by the same seller? Wondering about the condition of the mother board and other computerized components of the Scandinavia.

Really I am not intending to rain on your parade. I am all for a sewing machine savvy person getting a good find from Craig's List or any where.

With your current knowledge of sewing machines...I am concerned that a load of trouble will not be known until after the purchase and that would set you back financially as well as set you back in using a good sewing machine. You will need a sm that has all its accessories and other parts...and its MANUAL...you don't have time or money to be looking for a manual online...and it should work just fine when you buy it...not after the tech says this and that part has to be replaced and has to order and install parts...$$$$$$.

Another caution...don't just let the seller show a scrap of fabric with pre-sewn sample stitches to "show" that it sews well. You want the seller to show right in front of you that the sm works. Bring a few pieces of fabric and a spool of thread with you. LOL

So all this post is FYI...and not to discourage you.

You mentioned researching sewing machines...go online either Viking.com or ebay...etc...see what each sm should Look like and what accessories should come with each sm.

Edited to add: OH yes...make sure they have bobbin cases...
A generic bobbin case for an Emerald 116 is $18 and a real Viking bobbin case is twice that much. Oh yes...and check out the foot shank's lips. I was told by a Viking rep that the lips are easily broken and it can be hard to tell...except the foot will not stay on.

Need the manual to show how to put the feet on those Viking shanks.
-- Edited on 8/3/13 6:34 PM --

mochabubble
mochabubble
Member since 7/4/09
Posts: 9
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Date: 8/3/13 8:31 PM

Thanks so much everyone! I went to JoAnns actually and tried both out. Personally, I liked the Emerald better. It was simpler and fit my needs. I tried out the Brother and the Singer while there, and they felt a bit wobbly if that makes sense.

I lady selling the Emerald 116 told me she is selling the machine because she has 2 other machines and is downsizing. She is not the one selling the Scandinavia. I believe she has all the accessories and it's barely used. I think I will go for this one (and cross my fingers!) and check it out in person.

Anything I should look for when I see the sewing machine?

with love Heidi
with love Heidi
Member since 11/26/12
Posts: 170
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Date: 8/3/13 8:32 PM

Have you checked the price for the Emerald at your local sewing store? They retail for about $299 at my local sewing store. By the time you pay $175 for the machine and about $100 for the service you are looking at the same as you would pay new, with a warranty and hopefully some classes as well.

mochabubble
mochabubble
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Posts: 9
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Date: 8/3/13 8:37 PM

They are on sale for 299 at JoAnn's right now. Will servicing always be around $100? I'm hoping that I wouldn't need to service it if the machine is barely used and pretty new as the seller says it is.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
OR USA
Member since 8/29/06
Posts: 3530
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In reply to mochabubble <<
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Date: 8/4/13 1:44 AM

Yes...service fees are always around $100...even if the tech doesn't do much except clean and oil...as they say and it's true...their time (and knowledge) is worth $.

If something is broken/worn out then parts have to be ordered and installed...so the fee would be more.

Sorry to be doubtful of sellers...it's just that have to be wary.

Even if hardly ever used...which very well could be true...a pin could have been sewn over and thrown the timing out of sync.

A plus is that you have sewn on a new one at Joann's...so hopefully you will be able to test sew the one the seller has and will be able to mentally compare their differences if any.

Make a list of what feet an Emerald 116 is suppose to have...so that you can compare that to what the seller's sm has. Make sure it has a manual and all it's feet (and bobbin CASE)...if anything is missing ask her come down in the price. Turn all the knobs and test sew all its stitches. Make sure the tension is good. Must not have any clunking noises.

I agree with the other poster...Joann's has Emerald 116 new for $299 and Emerald 118 for $399...which will have warranties and in-store machine use class...not a sewing class...a machine use class. ..but that's important of itself.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
OR USA
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In reply to mochabubble <<
thumbsup 2 members like this.


Date: 8/4/13 2:46 AM

Quote: mochabubble
Anything I should look for when I see the sewing machine?

Besides the bobbin CASE. the spool caps and the MANUAL...and the POWER CORD with its PEDAL...

There should be EIGHT feet...one should be on the shank already. There should be A, B, C D, E, H, J and R feet. All are often needed feet and what you will need for the costumes you make...and $ to replace.

There should also be a quilting guide...looks like a tiny bent metal rod. This is more than just for quilting...can be used to guide spacing when sewing rows of trim. I like it.

Some bobbins, a little screwdriver, and a seam ripper are part of the original accessories...but are not expensive to replace like the other items would be. Actually, most seam rippers which come with sms are almost useless...so get a good one that you like from Joann's with a coupon discount.

Be SURE to have the seller show you how to take off the feet and put them back on. The Viking shank that the feet "snap on/off" is a little different than most other sewing machine brands of shanks.

It has a little mouth like opening that the feet Pull Out and Push In to remove and attach them...and I was told by a Joann's Viking department associate that the little "lips" to the "mouth" as she called them...will break if it is not done correctly...she said she has even broken one herself.

That shank (some call it an "ankle") looks like this:
Viking white presser foot shank

Hey...after you see and test sew on the sm...and if you like it...offer the lady $150 and maybe she will say OK...nothing wrong with bargaining.
jkmom19
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jkmom19  Friend of PR
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 8/4/13 11:59 AM

I would definitely bargain her down. I wouldn't want to pay more than $150 for that machine on craigslist and even that would be pushing it.

One thing to consider. Does Joann's offer free classes with their machines? If they do, I would consider buying new, since you've never owned a sewing machine before. You will learn all the basics of your machine, plus you could bring in some fabrics or trims that you typically use and ask the instructor some advice about what feet or techniques she would use to sew it on. I haven't bought a machine from a dealer in years, but, I did find my dealer classes extremely useful.

If you think used is the best way to go, since you are doing costuming, I would make sure the machine has adjustable presser foot pressure. I would look around for a Pfaff with IDT.

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