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  1. #1
    g2outdoors's Avatar
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    Craigslist Sewing Machine errrrrr Thread Injector

    My wife has this fancy machine with embroidering capability, crazy stitch options, different feet attachments and all kinds of stuff that scares me. I've gotten it all out several times, been scared to even thread the dam thing and put it away with my tail tucked between my legs.

    I want to buy a simple straightforward machine to make hammocks, stuff sacks, tree huggers and other simple DIY projects. I need idiot proof.

    Can someone take a look at my local Craigslist options and tell me which one to buy?

  2. #2
    bkrgi's Avatar
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    Nothing more pure and simple than a old Singer with Treadle

    Get one that is clean and working (new belt is easily had) and go at it....is pure joy
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    Life is too Short to not feed the addiction....Hang on and explore the World

  3. #3
    g2outdoors's Avatar
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    The only thing about one of those is the space it occupies. Currently the wife stores all her sewing stuff in the closet under the stairs. I don't think that whole table would fit.

  4. #4
    Senior Member gargoyle's Avatar
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    There is no "idiot proof" machine.
    They all take a learned set of skills. Proper threading, needle, speed, stitch length and tension all need to be mastered, over time.
    Some machines you linked seem okay, but without running one with a knowledgeable person or service shop, I would pass. For the same price basically you can buy new at a shop or even Walmart. You get a warranty. And then grab a class.

    If your wife can sew, have her give you a lesson. Her machine may be a wonderful tool for the job. Just avoid any crazy adjustments (just use the basic foot and basic stitch).
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  5. #5
    Wkerber's Avatar
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    I'd probably look at this Kenmore, if you want a solid, low cost machine that will do both a straight stitch and zig-zag.
    http://utica.craigslist.org/for/5000367797.html

    If you want a Singer with only straight stitch, which is all you really need for most DIY. then I'd look at this.
    http://syracuse.craigslist.org/fuo/5001923001.html
    Bill

  6. #6
    Bubba's Avatar
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    Is there a sewing machine shop near you? They sometimes sell used machines and give free lessons with a purchase.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  7. #7

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    While there are a couple of straight stitch machines on the list that catch my attention, like this 1948 Singer 15-91...http://utica.craigslist.org/fuo/5032215356.html and this Singer 301...http://syracuse.craigslist.org/fuo/5001923001.html, be prepared for this kind of TLC to put them in top working order...http://vssmb.blogspot.com/2012/01/co...ted-motor.html (the 301 should require less work).

    I completely agree with gargoyle, have your wife show you how to use the basic straight stitch on her machine and how to clean and oil it. Better yet, take a class or two on basic machine use. Her machine will be as easy to thread and use as the older "simpler machines". just forget about all the fancy stitches that you don't need.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Tendertoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    For the same price basically you can buy new at a shop or even Walmart.
    Agreed.

    Using an 80 dollar Singer machine from Big Lots we got 5 or so years ago, I've made many hammocks, multiple quilts, modified backpacking gear and clothing.

    My wife has made multiple items of clothing for the family, curtains, bedding quilts, etc. etc.

    I think it has paid for itself 100 times over.

    If you spend somewhere in the 75-100 dollar range, you can get a decent machine at a box store and it'll do what you need it to.

    Google "How to Use a Sewing Machine" and you'll be good to go.

  9. #9
    g2outdoors's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. I'll check into the sewing stores here.

  10. #10
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    If you already have a sewing machine in your house, ask your wife to show you how to do basic stitches. Ignore all the complicated embroidery stuff as no one really uses them. If you are worried about messing up her machine (some women are territorial over their machines) and have to get a separate one for yourself, I would avoid all the new Singers (mid-90s onwards). Read the reviews on the new white plastic Singers and most of them have motor issues and calibration issues. Plus their warranty is pretty much useless.

    While one of the cast iron vintage Singers mentioned above are the most reliable, they only do the very basic stitches and don't bar tack, zig zag or buttonhole which may be useful in your DIY projects.

    If you're looking at a new machine try to buy from somewhere with a good merchant warranty such as Costco or from an actual local sewing shop.

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