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Forum > Sewing Machines > Best vintage machine with zig zag? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Best vintage machine with zig zag?
Member since 3/3/12
Posts: 119
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Date: 5/15/12 11:43 AM

An aunt and a cousin each need a new machine. Both are on a budget and love vintage things, so I'm on the lookout for new machine for both of them. I'm really familiar with the singer straight stitch machines, but both of them will need a machine with zig zag. I think the button holer would be fine as an attachment though. What would you recommend I look for? There are some nice vintage kenmores that might work as well, aren't there? They aren't brand picky. Either cabinet or table top models are fine.

Marie367  Friend of PR
Ohio USA
Member since 5/28/11
Posts: 5387
Skill: Intermediate
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In reply to misskira

Date: 5/15/12 11:50 AM

I love my Kenmore 158 series that I purchased in 1980. She is a work horse-not good with knits but will sew over any number of denim or twill. The buttonholes are the best and I have a huge number of stitches on the machine and with cams. My mom got a less expensive model about that same time and had problems with it-the bobbin clutch gears (I think that was it) kept going out so after the warranty period she couldn't wind bobbins on it. I think problems with those are very rare. I know there are alot of Kenmore fans so I am sure someone else will chime in. I can look up the exact model number when I get home tonight if that will help. I think you can find these in a nice cabinet for a very reasonable price.
bellsew  Friend of PR
Washington USA
Member since 10/14/03
Posts: 393
Skill: Advanced
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Date: 5/15/12 12:22 PM

For a zigzag, I would go Kenmore or any nice vintage Japanese zigzag machine. The Singer 401s, 500s are nice too. All of these take regular needles. Some of the Singer 300 series do not. It's nice to get a machine that has easy to find replacement parts:)
Member since 12/2/05
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Date: 5/15/12 3:57 PM

In addition to the excellent suggestions you've received so far, I'll have to chime in for a Singer 237 as well. Adjustable needle position, adjustable foot pressure, reverse, all metal innards, droppable feed dogs, vertical class 15 bobbin (good set up for bobbin work or fm quilting,) takes easy-to-find low-shank feet and attachments, not thread-fussy, and just about the most gorgeous zz and satin stitiching you have ever seen. Being a fairly underrated machine, it's also inexpensive. Can go in a case or cabinet - or can be set into a treadle too. The bobbin winder needs a little help as it goes, but winds the most perfect bobbin of any machine I've ever used. (I believe the 401/404 and 500/503 machines are the same in that regard, but haven't tested that myself yet.) In any case, I never feel that bobbin winding is a deal breaker, since I can assist the winder or use a sidewinder machine.

Oh, and one more thing if you decide on a 237 - there were some early models on which the feed dogs did not drop. If you need droppable feed dogs, make sure there is a knob on the bed of the machine in front of the post. If you Google Singer 237, Sew Classic's excellent discussion will pop up - a must-read for great info on possible issues to watch for. Can also click "images" to see what I mean about some machines with/without the drop knob.

Happy hunting!

Twizard  Friend of PR
Member since 2/11/12
Posts: 326
Skill: Advanced
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In reply to misskira

Date: 5/16/12 6:54 PM

don't know if the hyperlink worked, but I had recently asked this quesiton, got a lot of great advice. This is the thread.

It is under this board, called vintage machines - any recommendations.

Vintage machine
-- Edited on 5/16/12 6:55 PM --

Pfaff 1471 and Passport 2.0, janome 8050, bernina 830LE & 580, Viking H 100Q; sergers singer quantum lock 5, baby lock protege, pfaff 794

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