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Fat Quarter Shop's Notion of the Month Sale

I have sewn on a number of different brands of machines. Some state of the art for their time and some just fairly inexpensive ones. At the present time I am doing, for the most part, "light" sewing. No leather or heavy craft stuff. But- when I retire I plan to supplement my income with my sewing. (nurses don't have pensions). I would like to sew things other than clothing- like purses or leather jackets for example. I will need a much more heavy duty machine than I have now. My question is - would it be better to invest in a better, more expensive machine, now OR wait to buy until I am getting closer to retirement. Approx. 5-7 yrs. The reason I ask is, that it seems like sewing machine technology is moving almost as fast as computers. I don't want to buy a machine and then find out in a few years that they have come out with the NEW REVALTION in sewing. I kind of wish I had my first Singer- Cam machine back - It was a work horse. Any suggestions? Brands? Ideas? Thanks, Laurie

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Hi Laurie, firstly follow your wish and get on ebay or start checking the good will and resale stores to find that model of machine that was your first one with the cams. Most vintage machines had good metal gears, some after the 60s started to have nylon or what looks like a hard plastic. You will probably have less than $100. Then wait until you retire to get a new model because you are correct about the technology. I have invested $5,000 in a Viking Designer 1 only to have the computer blow on its 5th year and now they are pushing more new models. My dealer was closed down and I have a 4 hr trip to get to a deal and they don't want to honor the warranty so its $500 to repair. I also have close to $4,000. just in software and embroidery programs for it. Its unreal how everything keeps evolving. One thing I will say the old vintage manuel machines rarely broke down. So what was your first cam machine?
It was a singer with the round cams w/ projections sticking out. The cams were plastic. You pushed them into the top of the machine. Each cam did a seperate stitch. Unfortunatly I had a step mother who threw it out when I was 17 and there wasn't much I could do about it. My grandmother who is 100 years old has sewn on the same machine since the 60's. My neice just went and got it because my granny can't see to sew. She isn't happy about it, because she gets people to repair her clothes with it. She sewed my Barbie doll clothes on that machine. Fake fur coats, evening dresses, etc. Everyone was jealous of our Barbies. My granny bought herself and my family identical machines. My father sewed my cheerleading skirt on it. It came in a nice cabinet with a knee thing that made it go - instead of the current foot ones. "don't know what its called" . At the time, I think 1960-64 it was well over $500.00. You could sew anything on it. Back then you didn't change a needle unless it broke. Maybe I'll try and get it from my niece with a trade. THANKS, Laurie
Laurie--
The machine you are talking about is the Singer 403. I have the same machine . Bought it about 1960 o '61. my first or second year as a Home Ec. teacher. It is a work horse and I still have it. The knee thing you are talking about is called the knee control used to control the speed of the machine. Don't use it too much since getting my 3rd embroidery/sewing machine--traded in the other embroidery machines. I agree with you-they don't make things to last like they used to. My daughter has my mother-in-laws Singer 201--the old black one that did only straight stitch. You can't kill that machine.
It sounds just like the machine I learned to sew on, about 1967. In1976 or so I thought that's how all Singers were and bought one, but in 1984 or so I was told THAT Singer had ruined all the plastic they used inside of it (I wore it out), so I asked the guy, "What'cha got that's all metal inside, with no computer? I bought, and have been using ever since, a Viking 630. It's not fancy, but if I need fancy, I just perfect my skills that people used before computerized machines were available

I paid $800 for it back in '84, I saw one on ebay for $300. Seems they were used a lot in school settings, back when sewing was taught in school
I agree with Cathy on waiting, it is really frustrating looking at all the new software with these machines. Stuff gets outdated so quickly. The older ones are the best. I wish I had one myself.
Sounds like you had one of the Singer Touch and Sews. I think someone once told me the 600 series was the best. I have one that I never use because I find filling the bobbin in the bobbin holder a bit of an annoyance. It is in the most beautiful early american maple cabinet and I'd love to find another one just for the cabinet to make end tables. (A collector's excuse I do believe.) Check on the bay and I bet you can find one for $20 or less. Now there is also a 401 and 500 models that Singer made that is a bit older and all metal and I have both and they sew like a dream and have the old fashioned bobbin winder with the wheel. My style! I have used both for quilting.
I have several of the older Singers with cams. The 401, 403, 328 and 503. They are all very reliable machines and all the interior pats are metal as opposed to the newer machines that had some plastic gears that have broken and rotted with age. There are a couple of Yahoo groups for Slantstitch Singers and vintage singers than can explain more of the specifics about the machines. I also have a Viking 6430which I like vry much, it also has cams.

I had a "high End" Elna which was too persinckity. I will probably NEVER buy a new machine again, like you say, if the computer chip fails you are pretty much out of luck. You are not the only one I have heard stories about computer problems that are not resolveable without huge fees. Those machines can run in the thousands of dollars ... great if you have another thousand to spend on it if it fails.

I am also a nurse, and yes it is a shame that we do not have a pension plan!! I will also be working until I die!! In one way or another!!

marky
I never realized nurses don't have retirement. I'm an insurance agent and a police dispatcher. Social security and OPERS. One penalizes the other. I will be losing my police job soon so I won't have much there. If it weren't for my sewing machines I think I'd be pretty depressed. I've been building my quilt fabric stash too. Like a squirrel saving for a rainy day.....
Also a nurse. My retirement plan just got cut big time. I'll probably die in my work shoes :) I have a high end Elna that I have had for 8 years and love. Sorry yours didn't work out. My 2 favorite machine are the Elan Grasshopper and my 2 Singer featherweights. They just don't make them like they used to
I sold sewing machines from 1990 - 2003. Before that, I sewed on Singer, Viking Bernina. Then, i sold Elna, Pfaff, Brother. For me - it all comes down to what do i want to sew? Believe it or not - I closed my shop withOUT going home with an embroidery machine - why? Cause it just doesn't push my creative buttons. Not the way I want to be creative anyway. Too 'canned' for me. Yep...sewing machines keep getting more and more computerized and WOW and Expensive! I have a good needle threader, many needle positions, Pfaff Dual Feed, a great buttonhole, and more decorative stitches than I'll EVERY use. It is my Moms 7550 Pfaff that I sold her. I don't need anything more - and take it in about once a year for tuneup. As far as I'm concerned, that's all (mroe actually) than I'll ever need! Ask a sewing machine repair man - an independent one - what he'd suggest. You might be surprised what you hear.
Anyway...that's my 2 cents worth: just because someone invented it - doesn't mean I need it!
If you want to buy now because it would cost you less for the initial machine, buy one that can be upgraded. My Brother Quattro can be upgraded. I believe most of the machines are going to that feature.
What is up with the upgrade? Do you trade in your old machine and get $ off a new one? If so this sounds like a good solution for me. Also where did you buy your Brother? Do all stores that sell these machines give the upgrade? I mean is it a manufacturers offer or can a store refuse to do the upgrade? Are there any other brands that offer this?I know I have asked a lot of questions. LF

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