Interesting point about the throat plate.
Be aware, the smaller the throat plate hole/the thinner the needle, the more critical it is to let the feed dogs do the work. Pulling the fabric can flex the needle and cause it to hit the throat plate. That is not a good thing. People have gotten needle shards in their eyes from that kind of damage. It's rare, but it happens. When my wife worked in a factory setting she had to wear OHSA approved glasses to protect her eyes from that kind of incident. Not saying we should all do that, but breaking needles is not something to dismiss lightly.
Long story short, the Necchi I was reffering to was purchased used from him a few weeks ago and I finally got it back from the repair shop (it wasn't set up properly) and ended up with a refund and no machine...so now I'm looking at buying something new (to me) again.
...Specifically I'm looking for a 50's or 60's Singer like the 400 or 500 series. I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled on ebay and craigslist for something that's been serviced and in good shape.
I said to a degree because if the machine left the shop without being set up and adjusted properly then the shop bears some of the onus as well. To me this is a sign of a shoddy job and bad quality control. I am willing to revise my estimate of the person as an expert. I'm glad you got a refund rather than having to live with a machine that is not able to be properly repaired by the seller. One of those old Singers is well nigh indestructible if even half way cared for properly. Not sure I would return to the seller of the Necchi for service issues though. Some the information you got from him just doesn't set right with me.
I had been trying to keep the fabric somewhat taught to avoid puckering as I did with the Euro but after the first break I even just went "hands free" with a piece of scrap to make sure I wasn't pulling the fabric and it only made it about 2 inches before snapping :(
Thanks for the information. Between this and a "sister thread" I made on backpacking light I've learned a lot and feel more confident in what I should be looking for now.
Just to follow up on this...I bought a Singer 403 last night.
I'll create a new thread for it if I have any questions/issues with it.