Queston about used sewing machines

What have you found in the thrift stores that you can modify or use as is?
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sudden
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Queston about used sewing machines

Postby sudden » Tue May 03, 2011 10:26 am

I'm going to a rummage sale this weekend (for scouts).

I saw them bringing in a few old sewing machines. One looked really ancient, built like a tank, I think it was a singer model and it was in its own cabinet. The others looked more like modern machines but still old.

What should I be looking for in a used machine? My wife bought one at a garage sale last year and we never could get it to work.

I hate to buy another door stop so I could use your advice on older brands that are considered good and what to look for to make sure everything is there and everything works.

I know it would probably take a novel to describe it all but if you can just give me a few names and what parts must be with the machine I would appreciate it.

All I want it for is to try and make some simple gear. Tarps and maybe a simple hammock.

Thanks
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

realityguy
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby realityguy » Tue May 03, 2011 11:45 am

Look for Pfaff,Bernina,and Husqvarna/Viking..Avoid kenmore,white,jc penney,Home..Those first three are worth gold..the others aren't the worth pot metal and plastic they are made of..However..of course there are exceptions to all.Some singers will do okay..
I've sewn a lot on an older more modern singer and fought everything.I use a Pfaff Hobby at the vacation home which is a simple machine but will sew everything I need for tarps,tents,hammocks,and backpacks.I don't recall ever even breaking a needle on it.
Materials make all the difference..if you are sewing 1.9 weight nylon about anything will do.If you want to sew bugmesh and 1.1 nylon which are stretchy as all H*ll.. a walking foot is almost necessary.A walking foot is a top foot that actually pushes the top layer at the same time with the bottom dogs..More than likely you won't find one...a rare item.
Keep in mind that a lot of the decorative stitching will never get used..and just adds cost to the machine you buy.More than likely you'll use straight stitching and zig-zag and that's probably about it.Some machines have "stretch" stitching but I've never needed it..
Buying used machines..always check for the bobbin holder parts ..sometimes those parts are missing.Bobbins can easily be replaced..the other parts aren't as easy to find sometimes.Always plug in a machine and use the foot peadl to make sure the needle holder moves up and down freely.Check for a reverse and that the dogs(grippers) on the table under the needle area move and will reverse.Make sure nothing binds,grinds,clicks..or other noises that usually iindicate bent or broken parts..
Weight can be a factor,,usually heavier machines mean more steel was used in the cogs and gears and less plastic..but that can also mean it'll hold a yacht on the sea bottom verses a dinghy.. :lol: I would avoid machines older than 1950..other than the first three mentioned above.Any of those first three you find for under $50..BUY them!You can always sell them for more as parts on ebay.
Avoid sergers..not needed and most need adjustments.Most of your sewing will probably be with flat fell seams(google is your friend!)and the machine only needs to sew through 3-4 layers of nylon and nylon strapping for tie-outs..most of the time.I've kind of hand pushed through some heavier stuff in making backpacks and other high strength areas that needed more power,the few times I wish I had more(Insert tim allen smilie here.)
Cams and other accessories..I avoid machines that need cams switched out for stitching..most are usually missing.most other accesories aren't needed unless you sew buttons and button holes.Basic feet are usually enough but a couple variations are a plus with being able to line up long rows of stiching,sides of zippers,etc..
Anyway..gotta get going for the day..
The views and opinions expressed by this person are his own and not the general consensus of others on this website.Realityguy

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ConnieD
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby ConnieD » Tue May 03, 2011 12:17 pm

I think you might agree if he sees a Singer treadle sewing machine, buy it. It will sew outdoor gear.

sudden
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby sudden » Tue May 03, 2011 1:37 pm

Thanks for the heads up RG. I'll keep my eye out for the first three, now I know my price limit for them.

ConnieD, They brought one singer machine in but it looked like it came from the 1800's. I saw some like it on ebay but they were all sold as antiques and for a lot of money (several hundred dollars). I'll keep an eye out for the one you mentioned.
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

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ConnieD
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby ConnieD » Tue May 03, 2011 2:27 pm

It is heavy. It has a heavy wrought iron base.

It is seen at garage sales, if ever. They sew canvas, leather!

...sheer fabrics. I learned to sew on one, in Home Ec.

realityguy
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby realityguy » Tue May 03, 2011 5:19 pm

Most sewing for camp gear can be done on simple machines.Check ebay for the three I mentioned..just for their resale value..Janome can be another good one.There are others.Check "completed" for "sewing machine" on ebay and you'll get to know a "fair market value" for most machines..and ones to avoid.I buy and sell whatever I can get of those three for resale purposes..but kept a couple of the older Pfaff 1222E walking foot ones that I got for a song because they weren't the prettiest but still worked well.One had been left out in the rain and soaking wet..frozen up..but a lot of oiling and playing with it got it working great again.He could have gotten probably $150 for it on ebay,just as parts and frozen.I bought it only for the double spool holder that was missing on my other machine.Now I have a backup..but need to share a pedal.
If you are missing a foot pedal,that can be pricey and sometimes special plugs that need match-ups..Bernina foot pedals run about $65 for a knock-off brand one on ebay..However the Bernina machines are worth about $300+ for almost all of them.Don't buy them if the foot pedal is missing..unless a dirt cheap price justifys the cost of a retail foot pedal.
Treadle type and cabinet model machines..generally aren't worth a whole lot around here(sorry Connie) and take up a lot of space you will rarely use .If you don't mind looking at it all the time(antique cabinet?),have lots of room,etc..they can be worthwhile if the price is right.I do see a lot of old singers and whites in antique drawered/wrought iron cabinets..hard to sell around here..but a Pfaff or Bernina table model will be bought up to replace an old singer in a more modern cabinet..the singer ends up in the dump.
I've had a Husky Star portable(sold for $120 I think..was like new,retail $200),several of the Kenmore 1030-1050 series 3/4 size "quilters" that usually sell for $80-120 as collectibles but nice smaller machines(google kenmore 1040)..I have two of them up on craigs now for $80(beater) and $120(near mint).I wouldn't use one for camp gear..really more for light duty quilting with zigzag and straight stitching,buttonhole attachments,etc.I do have an old White and Brother I'm probably going to redonate to thrift stores..boat anchors not worth shipping anywhere.
Other machines I've had over the last couple years(for resale)..Bernina 207,sold for $300 with a matching table machine(shared pedal).Bernina 830 Record sold for $300 or so(usually go for $450+)..needed the table around the arm and a new pedal..and a couple of the kenmore quilters..sold $100-140),sold 2 sergers last month..both needed adjustments.
I do have an old 50s battleship Pfaff 332 with a ton of accessories that needs the wire replaced on the plug-in cord.I just keep forgetting to buy the wire(regular lamp stuff,slightly larger) to do it(again today)..a screw together thing..Probably worth about $200-250.They have something like 60 different stitches that come on a "calculating"revolving disk for setting them...and would probably sew through about anything..
I do have an old Singer 99 in a wooden portable cabinet and a Singer smaller 185J..both will be sold as collectibles.The 185J is binding..needs a good lube job.The other is probably from the 1920(Scotland?)and has a knee bar control verses the foot pedal ..works but I wouldn't use it.
I already mentioned I think the Pfaff Hobby model at the other house..cheaper basic portable but works great...
I like probably the Berninas best...but I can't afford to actually keep one.. :lol:
The views and opinions expressed by this person are his own and not the general consensus of others on this website.Realityguy

realityguy
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby realityguy » Thu May 05, 2011 10:29 am

Sudden..you can look through this file to see what I've sewn up over the last couple years on bplite..
http://s226.photobucket.com/albums/dd25 ... 0hammocks/

Or go through the homemade gear threads on here.. :roll:
The views and opinions expressed by this person are his own and not the general consensus of others on this website.Realityguy

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zelph
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby zelph » Thu May 05, 2011 1:35 pm

RG's the expert :D I'd follow his advice.

Singer 31-15's are good

Read the description on this ebay listing

http://cgi.ebay.com/SINGER-SEWING-MACHI ... 4aaa877af0
http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/

sudden
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby sudden » Thu May 05, 2011 3:23 pm

Zelph, that singer looks like the one I saw. I'll get a closer look at it tonight. I worry that it is so old I might not even find a needle for it :)

RG, Thanks for the link. I bookmarked it. Did you train yourself to sew?
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."

sudden
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Re: Queston about used sewing machines

Postby sudden » Thu May 05, 2011 3:39 pm

I'm interested in making a lightweight tarp/windbreaker for the camper. Something I can put up for shade or wind.

I'd also like to make the groundcloth for his tent when he finally gets his own and also one to fit his sleeping bag in case the scout tents leak.

Other stuff on the list:

Poncho's
Tent cover rain fly.
Tarp for quick shelter (help him learn knots and what they are used for).
Hammock (probably a very simple one with a cover).
Wedding Dress (ok, now I'm kidding).
Maybe just maybe a simple tent.
"People are not persuaded by what we say, but rather by what they understand."


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