Help Sewing machines

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
While I am still holding out hope of repairing my Husqvarna Viking 190, it's beginning to look like it is the motor, which is beyond my affordable repair level. (Although I'm probably going to save because I love that machine.)

I know absolutely nothing about most sewing machines. Well, okay, mostly nothing. I know that I tend to easily break the machines that you can buy in general stores and that are the lower end of the craft store machines. Apparently I expect more from the machines than modern machines are fond of doing. I started sewing on a Singer 915 and heavy duty machines if that gives you a clue. I expect my machines to handle seams and folded material without breaking, even on denim and upholstery materials. (Although I will hand turn and use care on harder things.)

But I am also broker than broke. So I've been looking on Marketplace, eBay, craigslist, and shopgoodwill. The problem is that I know little to nothing about these machines. I'm avoiding Singer and Brother because I have broken modern versions of their machines. And while I prefer older machines, I do need a machine that can do zigzag and knits. I don't need fancy stitches or embroidery. And I'd like to avoid machines made in China or Taiwan, even if the brand is good. So, so far, I've been looking at Husqvarna, Viking, Elna, and Janome machines. But I know nothing about them, except Husqvarna.

Are there lines from those manufacturers that I should avoid? Recommendations for specific lines? Etc. Please help. My brain is about to explode because I can't test the machines in person and I can't find the knowledge online. I'm willing to take the risk for a known good product/product line but there is little to no information out there about older machines. And if you know of somewhere else where I could look for older used machines, please let me know.

I hate change when it comes to my sewing machines. I really do.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Do NOT buy a machine from WM, Target, Kohls, JoAnns, etc., buy one, even if it's used, from a reputable dealer. Big box stores sell disposable machines, meaning you toss it after one or two projects. I have a Janome 6500 that is a work horse, I've even stitched copper sheet metal with that machine. It's capable of sewing multiple layers of denim, canvas, leather, etc. You should be able to find a used one easy enough.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
I saw a Janome 3500 on shopgoodwill. Good? I'm trying to stick to Swedish or German made as typically those machines are solid.
And there are no dealers within reasonable distance of us. The closest to "dealer" I could get to is Joann's. And yeah, anything from the other stores I'm not touching. BTDT. I was actually able to return and get refunds when I tried them because they broke so quickly. That lesson was learned a couple of lifetimes ago. (And I was just doing normal fabric projects with them!)
The Husqvarna was a used machine picked up from a repair shop when the owner didn't come back for it. I saw it, tested it, and stood there with my hand on it until my ex came back with the cash required to buy it. But I don't live anywhere near that area anymore.
 

Grouchy Granny

Deceased
I love my Bernina's (I have 2, one with the embroidery attachment). The 440 is about 10 years old and I have done leather on it.

They are made in Switzerland and are pretty dependable. You can get used ones at a reputable shop, but I don't know how the prices are anymore.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
If you buy a used Bernina do some research first, there was a bad batch about 15 or so years ago, avoid one of those at all costs.
 

Kathy in FL

TB Fanatic
While I am still holding out hope of repairing my Husqvarna Viking 190, it's beginning to look like it is the motor, which is beyond my affordable repair level. (Although I'm probably going to save because I love that machine.)

I know absolutely nothing about most sewing machines. Well, okay, mostly nothing. I know that I tend to easily break the machines that you can buy in general stores and that are the lower end of the craft store machines. Apparently I expect more from the machines than modern machines are fond of doing. I started sewing on a Singer 915 and heavy duty machines if that gives you a clue. I expect my machines to handle seams and folded material without breaking, even on denim and upholstery materials. (Although I will hand turn and use care on harder things.)

But I am also broker than broke. So I've been looking on Marketplace, eBay, craigslist, and shopgoodwill. The problem is that I know little to nothing about these machines. I'm avoiding Singer and Brother because I have broken modern versions of their machines. And while I prefer older machines, I do need a machine that can do zigzag and knits. I don't need fancy stitches or embroidery. And I'd like to avoid machines made in China or Taiwan, even if the brand is good. So, so far, I've been looking at Husqvarna, Viking, Elna, and Janome machines. But I know nothing about them, except Husqvarna.

Are there lines from those manufacturers that I should avoid? Recommendations for specific lines? Etc. Please help. My brain is about to explode because I can't test the machines in person and I can't find the knowledge online. I'm willing to take the risk for a known good product/product line but there is little to no information out there about older machines. And if you know of somewhere else where I could look for older used machines, please let me know.

I hate change when it comes to my sewing machines. I really do.
Do you have estate sales in your area? Check estatesales.org and estatesales.net I have seen some really, REALLY expensive sewing machines going for cheap at estate sales. You just have to stay on the look out for them and then get there and get in line early and go strait for what it is you want.

You'll sometimes find other gems as well. For instance, a couple of estate sales ago I picked up a brand new commercial grade iron to replace the one my son screwed up using it to iron down some kind of crap on a counter for his dad. I had a cheapo out in the barn specifically set aside for that purpose but he didn't know it so he took my good iron from inside the house. I could have ... just never mind. He was going to replace it as penance I found the brand new one ... sold for over $100 and picked it up for $7.

I also saw, and now wish I had purchased, a barely used Singer commercial steam press. I've seen them going for $150-$200 bucks and at the estate sale they only wanted $40 for it.

You won't find those deals at every sale but if you keep your eyes out they aren't that rare either.
 

Donna_in_OK

Senior Member
After I left the IT world, I sold a few sewing machines at a dealer because I hated the manager at the store local to me, and wanted to provide the customers a better relationship (which I did until I moved back to Oklahoma). Look at a Janome HD 3000. Not computerized, and very dependable. I've owned a Kenmore (made by Janome) since the mid 90s, and recently (say 2015 or 2016) got a newer computerized Janome (Skyline S7) and love it. If I had to do it over again, I would either do the HD3000 or the 1600P (about twice the price of the HD3000, but oh so close to an industrial). Actually, look around your area for dealers that sell and/or specialized in industrial machines. You can probably pick up an industrial straight stitch for a good price. Good luck, and let us know what you got.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
I've been watching and not having much luck. Someone gave me two machines. Both were doa. I'm probably going to drop them on ebay as for parts.
I did finally find someone that likes repairing older machines. And can actually repair the board in the Viking if that's the problem. Even more of a surprise, he's affordable.
And my Singer is going in as well. The tension has gotten whacked.
The scary thing, in another generation there won't be anyone that can fix these machines. The new machines require some serious skills with computers and the ability to repair motherboards.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
I'm so glad you found someone! Hopefully, he'll get you back up and sewing quickly!

I'm stuck right now... all my machines are in storage, until we can get the sewing room set up. It's driving me nuts! I need new night shirts, and the little girls are always asking me to make them something. But now that Spring is here, I don't know how much time I'm going to have. All in good time...

Summerthyme
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
Fingers crossed. I want to make bags for holding things in the freezer. I'm tired of digging. I've got the pattern made. I've started one by hand but I really don't want to make 8 of them by hand.
And there are a few other things on the sewing list.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
So I got a text. Both machines are functional again. The Singer somehow had the wrong bobbin shuttle. He replaced it and gave the machine a good cleaning.
The Viking had a bad switch. He couldn't find the exact same one but he found one that works the same, and looks the same on the outside.
I'm doing a happy dance.
 

Martinhouse

Veteran Member
Congrats on those machines being fixed!

I have a 1963 Universal that I bought for $100 when it was a year old.....it had been a Minnesota State Fair demo, according to the little creep I bought it from. I got the instruction booklet and a little box simply crammed full of feet and tiny tools, etc, for another $25. This was a fortune in those day for a 20 year old working mom. I was making well under a dollar an hour at the time. Babysitter charged ten bucks a week and rent was $35 per month and it was a real downtown hole. Two small apartments down and one nicer one up, where the caretaker and family lived.

This machine is the same as the White machines were back then, and it was always an excellent machine, All metal, not one speck of plastic in it or on it! One of my upholstery shop bosses wanted to buy it from me for sewing thin designer fabrics, but I declined the offer.

Gee, thanks for lifting all these old memories to the top of my mind. It's so much easier to remember the bad times, so remembering the nice things is kind of special.

Anyway, I wish you happy sewing.
 

Walrus Whisperer

Hope in chains...
I have a Viking 2000 SL. His name is Thor! I've had him around 30 yrs or so and got at a sewing machine repair shop for maybe 100 or 200$. I also have a still in the box Singer treadle.
The secret is keeping the parts underneath CLEAN. I use a small house paintbrush to gather all the fuzz that gets in there when you sew. Also have things like long tweezers and artist brushes and tiny crochet hooks to help the cleaning out under there.
I've had the old guy opened up and went thru every part I could reach with white grease on one part, sewing oil on another.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
While I am still holding out hope of repairing my Husqvarna Viking 190, it's beginning to look like it is the motor, which is beyond my affordable repair level. (Although I'm probably going to save because I love that machine.)
Wow! A motor is $289.99


Yeah, I'd pass, too, for now. Keep your eyes peeled you might find it cheaper somewhere else or be able to make
a "universal" motor work if such a part exists.

Here's a site on eBay that may help:

 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
It wasn't the motor. Just a switch. I'm just thrilled about that. And that there is someone who is capable of working on the Viking. The big repair shop hadn't even looked at it and was ready to write it off.
And I found service/technical manuals for both machines. In case this gentleman is not available in the future. And I have a lead on a machine that can be used for spare parts as well as an identical, fully functional machine.

Honestly, I've had the Singer for 30+ years and the Viking for 20+ years. They both needed the deep cleaning that is best done by a good repair person opening up the machines.

I still can't figure out how the Singer ended up with the wrong bobbin shuttle though. It was correct in general. It is the 11 o' clock shuttle but it is too deep. Just one of those mysteries of life.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
Yes, a switch is a lot cheaper to replace.

I may be going through this problem with my elderly White serger. I'm not near anyone who works on them.
For right now, I've been borrowing one from a friend. If I have to, I can make do with my sewing machine, but the
serger is better for hems on cheap fabric. I've had to tailor a bunch of blouses and hem the bottoms.
A lot of today's clothes are just crap! Preaching to the choir, I know.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
Yes, a switch is a lot cheaper to replace.

I may be going through this problem with my elderly White serger. I'm not near anyone who works on them.
For right now, I've been borrowing one from a friend. If I have to, I can make do with my sewing machine, but the
serger is better for hems on cheap fabric. I've had to tailor a bunch of blouses and hem the bottoms.
A lot of today's clothes are just crap! Preaching to the choir, I know.
Ask at the small fabric/quilt shops. That's where you'll find them. I found someone that could sharpen my shears that way. A friend found this repairman that way. Both are people who do it as a part time hobby but are very good at their hobby.
And yeah, I tend to make my own stuff. Or remake things to my preferred designs. Or just restitch favored things so I know they'll hold up. And if the fabric wears out, they become patterns.
 

Meemur

Voice on the Prairie
Ask at the small fabric/quilt shops. That's where you'll find them.
Amish Country! (Eastern Iowa). Not as many around here. A lot have closed over the last few years. Hancock Fabric closed two years ago. JoAnn's is pretty much the main game in town. I'm watching Craigs List and so forth. At some point, I'll be taking a road trip, and that's on the list of things to find.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
I have both machines back. They will get test jobs this week.
The Viking needed a new power switch. Once that was replaced, it is back up and running. It also had a thorough cleaning and greasing. I'm looking forward to using it again.
The Singer needed a deep clean, including the tension knob and the correct bobbin shuttle! Seems at some point in its life it was given a Necchi 1 o' clock bobbin instead of a Singer 11 o' clock bobbin. And yet it worked well until recently which says a lot of good about the machine. It will be getting lots of love.
 
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