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8 Consideration When Purchasing A Vintage Machine

Summary

So you have seen a beautiful little vintage machine - now what should you check before you take out your wallet to bring this little gem home with you?

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8 Consideration When Purchasing A Vintage Machine

So you have seen a beautiful little vintage machine - now what should you check before you take out your wallet to bring this little gem home with you?

8 Considerations When Purchasing A Vintage Machine

 

Is it in good shape? Is there any visible rust? How about the paint job? If it has decorative painting/decals, are they all still in nice shape? Is the bed of the machine scratched up from years of heavy use with pins? If you are happy with the outward appearance, now it is time to look a little deeper.

Vintage Workhorse

 

Are the power cord and foot/knee pedal in good condition? Is there any visible damage to these cords or the plug itself? These things can be safety hazards, so check carefully. Also make sure that the machine is wired for the country where you will be using it. With people traveling and moving frequently, you may find that a machine that was made for foreign use has been brought into your country that would need rewiring or an adapter in order for it to be used with your power supply.

Is the bobbin case present and rust free? Move the hand wheel and make sure that all parts are moving freely with no unpleasant sounds BEFORE you plug the machine in. It’s much better to find out there is an issue while no electricity and speed are involved than afterward.

Cord and Foot Pedal

 

Now it’s time to plug in the machine and check it out. Does the light work? For some machines, it is not just a matter of purchasing a new bulb, it can be the fixture itself and some are very hard to find a replacement fixture for like the Singer 99K. They are great machines, but replacement light fixtures are very scarce.

Place a piece of fabric under the presser foot and take a nice slow stitch. If everything sounds good, try stitching using the number of layers of fabric that you will ultimately want to stitch (maximum). (If this will include sewing on denim or other heavy fabrics, make sure that the machine needle is suitable prior to stitching.). Does the machine make a nice even straight stitch? Is it as quiet as you will need it to be for the area you will be sewing even at top speed? If so, try any other stitches that the machine is capable of making to make sure that changing the stitch will also give you suitable results.

Machine Light

 

Are there any attachments that come with the machine? Try using them to make sure that they operate properly. If you are fortunate enough to find a vintage machine with a book, you have hit the jackpot! But don’t despair if the little beauty you are looking at does not have a book, there are quite a few places online where you can download a book for free, or a small fee if the machine is from a well-known manufacturer.

Machine Attachments

 

If you are happy with the stitches, then you are almost ready to pull your wallet out and take your “new” machine home. But, you still need to check out the case. Does it come with the original case? Does it have a key (or require one?). Is there any odor that will bother you or any mold or mildew on the case? If you will be taking your new friend with you to classes and retreats this is especially important.

case

 

Last, but certainly not least, can you lift the machine? Some of the great antique machines can be quite heavy. If you will only be using the machine at home, then this is not too much of a concern, but if you will be traveling with it or taking it on an airplane where it will be weighed, you want to consider what it will cost to transport in terms of effort and $$$.

Assuming all of these things meet your high standards, give that pretty little machine a nice new home. Happy stitching!

 

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Glossary

Bobbin
A spool or reel that holds thread or yarn for spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, or making lace.
Foot
Accessories that are available for sewing machines and are especially made for quilting.
Presser Foot
The removable sewing machine accessory surrounding the needle that holds the fabric in place.
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