Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Reasons to LOVE a Vintage Machine!

This email from Becky just popped into my inbox….and I had to go click to the video to watch.

She writes:

Hi Bon,
After watching you explain to Cam viewers last night why you prefer antique/vintage machines over new plastic junk, I thought you'd enjoy seeing this 4-year-old video. He says it all! 
Even that Janome he shows still flexed a bit...can you imagine our old girls flexing like that? No way!!!

I'm so excited that you will be doing your next QuiltCam with a hand crank!!! It was nice to hear that Nell is inspired to look for a hand crank after seeing Wilhelmina on the GPS tractor!
I just used her in the car on a trip to Seattle this past weekend to sew up some more scrappy triangle squares. She is a GREAT travel machine!! I can easily sew away in the car while traveling with her on my lap. She's my laptop sewing machine. Couldn't do it with any other hand crank I have.
Okay...I know you're busy, so I'll let you go. Enjoy your next round of trips!!! Girl...I don't know how you do it!!

You might remember Becky as our tractor driving, string piecing diva down on the farm in Eastern Washington.  I posted her video HERE.

Check this out:

No, I can’t imagine anyone being able to flex any of my heavy metal machines.  Thanks for sending this Becky, I hope it brings about things to consider when buying a "cheap" machine. I heard the woman mention "a couple hundred dollars at a big box store" so I have a good idea of what she got.

Once you go vintage, you never go back to plastic!

PS:  There are many higher end machines that DO have metal frames inside of their plastic.  I am not dissing any brand or naming names here --just stating my own observances and preferences.

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  1. when buying a machine, give it the lift test... in other words, if you can lift the thing off the table easily it's probably plastic...my old viking doesn't go anywhere because she is way too heavy to move....LOL....25-year warranty was up 10 years ago and she is still purring away....

  2. Yes, I do love my Janome!
    Cindy in NY

  3. I can only think of one bad thing about vintage machines--their addictive nature!

  4. Bob is my sewing machine repair guy! He will fix any machine but, he truly loves Janome. He is honest and stands behind his work. I take my sick machines to him and when I pick them up - they are back 100%!!

  5. Oh Bonnie, I have been meaning to tell you this - my 91 year old mother has complained for the last ten years that none of her "new" machines work decently - too many dials and knobs, and they don't make good stitches. She kept saying she wished she had one of her "old" machines back... Finally, I found a Singer 401 on ebay at a reputable SewVac store, and had it shipped to her - she was soooooo happy - had one just like it long ago, knew just how to thread it , and away she went...........

    The funny part is the store shipped it in a box they had gotten a Pfaff in - so now she is convinced she has a Singer/Pfaff machine - wouldn't both of those companies be surprised????

    anyway, thanks for the encouragement to use older machines - it sure made my mom a happy camper.

  6. I've had my Janome 6600 for 6 years. I love it!

  7. Been sewing on my FW aka "Hummer" (she purrs), and loving it again and again. I also have a Viking Sapphire 855. I had a Viking 1+ WITH the Royal Warrant on it. The 855? No Royal Warrant. Been told a Viking is now owned by a huge Chinese firm. Wandering if this is true. The 855 is ok, and has push button controls. They are easy on my arthritis the days it flares.

    BUT all said and done, I love sewing on Hummer...she is a sweet machine.

    Thanks Bonnie for this posting.

  8. Janome 9000....18 years! I love it!

  9. I agree 100% with the woman that purchased the crappy machine! I also agree with the service man that says the companies that make these cheapy machines should know better and DO know how to make machines better!

    Years ago when I was first starting to quilt, I wanted a machine but didn't have much money to spend on one. Hubby bought me a S****r for $120 at W*****t. I do all my quilting by hand, so it wasn't used for that. I only managed to get the BINDING on 3 baby quilts and a few paper pieced blocks done before it totally seized up on me! Unfortunately, it took me a while to get those three quilts done, so the warranty had lapsed and the store would not help me out. I was stuck with a useless "throw away" machine that the tech told me would cost more than I paid for it to fix because the parts used in it were so cheap. I was devastated!

    I managed to get a Pfaff Hobby 1020 demo machine at a reasonable price to replace it and it lasted me 12 years! Recently I sold it do a young woman learning how to sew for $50. It was still working as good as it was the day I bought it. I recently bought a Babylock, and paid way more than I've every paid for a machine before. So far so good............

    HOWEVER, I am anxiously awaiting to use my 1924 Singer Treadle model 127 machine working! My first, (and probably only ever), TRULY vintage machine.....and I only paid $25 for her at a garage sale! She doesn't need much more than a good cleaning, a belt and a new rubber wheel for the bobbin winding mechanism, and a good polish to make her pretty :)

    I also have a built-in 1957 Janome but I've yet to try her out. It was my grandmother's machine. It's covered in old oil and needs to be cleaned too.

  10. I inherited my great-grandmother's treadle machine. Unfortunately during a move from Texas to N.Carolina, in the snow and ice, the trailer carrying it and several other cherished items, slipped, came loose and rolled across I-40. The machine cabinet was spread over both sides of the interstate. The sewing machine was fine.

  11. Love treadles and Janomes and own both. Still use the first Janome Memorycraft made (1980's) and a couple of years ago bought the Janome Horizon for FMQ as it was cheaper and took up less space than a Longarm. The Horizon has been well used now and is a dream to FMQ with. I only piece with my treadle but when time allows I would like to play with FMQ on it too..

  12. Umm . . . was anyone really surprised that a machine, bought at a "big box store" for "a couple hundred dollars" would be anything but cheap plastic? If you have done any research at all, you would know that you will rarely get a quality machine at these stores and at those prices. The simple truth is that if you want a solid, well-built, quality sewing machine, you have shell out some bucks.

    1. That just it...if you want a solid, well-built, quality sewing machine, you DON'T have to shell out some bucks!!! Just walk into almost any thrift store, or look through Craigslist, and you'll find the BEST machines ever made for $10-$50 bucks that will STILL out last ANY brand new machine. I was a bit shocked about a year ago when I saw the guts of a mega-bucks Bernina in a quilting shop. Even with that huge price, there were plastic parts inside. I look at one of those and think of ALL the really good machines I could buy with all that money!! Could fill a couple of houses and supply herds of quilters with perfect piecing machines. ;-) Becky E. WA

  13. My mouth is hanging open to the floor. While meching and repairing I've not come across a machine without a frame. I'm dumbfounded by this new fact!!! Many thanks to Becky in E. WA and to Bonnie for helping to spread the word. Nice to get confirmation of why I love all of my many vintage sewing machine beauties, they were BUILT TO LAST GENERATIONS!!

  14. Wow, great video Bonnie and Becky!

  15. Wow, great video Bonnie and Becky!

  16. I think the hardest part for many people is that the companies that used to make really good machines years and years ago are not the ones making them now. People who are buying their first machine or their first in many years don't realize you can't rely on the same brands. I know I didn't.

  17. I didn't buy a Janome after seeing a couple of friends that had problems with them. One machine wouldn't stop sewing even without the operator on the pedal! It was really funny! Anyway, I do own two Berninas, but enjoy sewing on the Activa 210 more than the Aurora 435. Love my two Featherweights and Singer 401A! I'm not buying ANY more machines that are plastic on the outside OR inside. Give me the oldies!!!

  18. Anonymous10:56 AM EDT

    I have one of those "big box store" machines. My hubby thought I might want a hobby and bought me a Brother 6000i about 7 years ago. Right now, the case is cracked; and only about 15 of the 60 stitches work properly . I definately am going to have him OPEN the case and see what it looks like inside. On the other hand, we have 2 treadles and an old singer he put a heavy duty motor on for upholstry work; so I guess I need to learn how to use them both. Thanks for this video. I guess when I shop for a modern replacement machine, I will look at a Janome first.

  19. I have a Janome MC5700 13 years now....its my baby. After 15 years of sewing on a JCPenny Catalog machine I got the Janome. I posted two stories (last week) of what happened on with my Janome....or more like with the former Janome dealer....the story ends happy but look at what I went through. Love the video, Thanks!


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