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  1. #1
    Senior Member Slackdaddy's Avatar
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    used sewing machine choices ?

    I know nothing about sewing machines.
    Are some machines self feeding? something to do with "dogs"
    how can I tell if a machine is self feeding.

    I have found a few used ones for around $50.00

    Singer Slantomatic 500

    Singer Signature Deluxe Model

    DressMaker 7000 Sewing Machine 1960's Vintage

    any one these self feed or have metal gears?

    Thanks,

    Slack

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
    I know nothing about sewing machines.
    Are some machines self feeding? something to do with "dogs"
    how can I tell if a machine is self feeding.

    I have found a few used ones for around $50.00

    Singer Slantomatic 500

    Singer Signature Deluxe Model

    DressMaker 7000 Sewing Machine 1960's Vintage

    any one these self feed or have metal gears?

    Thanks,

    Slack
    I don't know much about machine names, but I know the Blackbirds were originally conceived with a DressMaker. So was my beloved Eldorado. They can't be bad machines.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Sewing machines have had feed dogs for well over 100 years. The treadle from 1880 my wife had had feed dogs. There are different kinds of feeding devices such as a walking foot or I've heard of a needle feed but I can't imagine any machine _not_ having feed dogs.

    My advice to all used machine buyers, unless they know what they are getting into is to purcahse from a dealer. I know there are several people on the forums who believe dealers are nothing more that theives looking legitimate. I don;t happen to agree. It is helpful in my view to have a pro do a service on a machine and get it running properly. You may pay more... but I believe it is worth it.

    I would be wary of the Singer slantomatic and the singer signature models. If memory serves... and it may not... those were made during the time when Singer was having a tough go. The slantomatic I know was marketed as having a "better view of the needle. humbug I say. I don;t know anything specific about the Dressmaker machine but the 1960 was a decade of switching over from metal gears to nylon gears... mostly with atrocious results. You should be able to find out if replacement parts are available for the gear by searching on-line. That should help you figure out if they are metal gears or not.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  4. #4
    Frawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackdaddy View Post
    I know nothing about sewing machines.
    Are some machines self feeding? something to do with "dogs"
    how can I tell if a machine is self feeding.
    Feed dogs rise up through the throat plate to press the fabric against the presser foot and drag the fabric forward (or backwards). I've never seen a home sewing machine without that feature.

    Don't know about the others, but the Slantomatic 500 was reportedly a very good machine. It's a precursor to the Touch and Sew line. I know the early 600 Touch & Sew machines had metal gears, but I haven't seen anything definitive on the 500.

    I recently got a 640 from one of the guys here and, after doing some repair work on it, I've been giving it a light workout. I'm pleased with it. From what I've since learned I'd definitely spring $50 for a working 500 if I were still in the market for a machine.
    - Frawg

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  5. #5
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frawg View Post
    Don't know about the others, but the Slantomatic 500 was reportedly a very good machine. It's a precursor to the Touch and Sew line. I know the early 600 Touch & Sew machines had metal gears, but I haven't seen anything definitive on the 500.

    I will not dispute this. My opinion is based on other than direct knowledge with that line of machine. So if frawg says they are good I won't dispute that.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  6. #6
    Frawg's Avatar
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Rev! I'm a rank amateur on this, though, so my opinion comes with a big pile of salt.

    From what I can tell, the guy who runs TandTrepair.com (Terry) seems to be the online 'go-to' guy for old Singers. I was parroting something I saw on his site.

    Edit -- I should have read your earlier post first, Rev. I believe the machines that ruined Singer's reputation were the later models (late 700 series & up) that came to be called "Touch and Swear". The earlier models were pretty much okay, from what I've learned (if I've learned enough!)
    - Frawg

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  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    That site is very well respected if I understand correctly. I've come across it before. _Personal statement_ I am not fond of the 60's and 70's singers but that's really based on my mother's experience and nothing more. She had sworn by Singers for her whole life and during that time she began to swear _at_ them. I know they went through a real hard spell during those days. My wife used to sew for a living and has found other brands to be better machines than the Singer. That said.... the cast iron head Singers of the 40's and 50's are among the best machines still in use today.

    If the head is metal it is almost assurd the gears are metal. Althoug I think they were using aluminum gears in some machines which were not much better than the nylon. Also be aware that major strides have been made in the composition of non-metal gears so more modern machines with synthetic gears may be a different story. Caveat Emptor

    A word about zig zag. Don't let the lack of a zig zag stich tarnish your view of a machine. The truth of the matter is a zig zag was first put only on home machines to compensate for two very significant trends in home sewing. It was originally introduced as a quick way to finish exposed edges in home sewn garments. Industrial garments either used a Merrow machine to finish edges or bound off the edges in the hem. Home stitchers were looking for a way to do the same thing and so the zig zag was born. The second trend was the increase in stretchable fabrics and kints for home sewing. The zig zag was an attempt to provide an approach for home machines to do a stretch stitch. They work fairly well for that but frankly nothing works better than a Merrow machine or the home segers if you are doing a lot of stretch sewing. Otherwise, the zig zag is really not a required stitch. It's just as simple as that. Even double box loops stitches can be made with straigth stitched and be entirely safe. They do not need to be zigzag.
    Last edited by Ramblinrev; 07-28-2009 at 16:39.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  8. #8
    Frawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    ...the 1960 was a decade of switching over from metal gears to nylon gears... mostly with atrocious results. You should be able to find out if replacement parts are available for the gear by searching on-line. That should help you figure out if they are metal gears or not.
    That TandTRepair site I mentioned earlier has parts, parts schematics and other info, and there are other sources as well -- ebay is one place to start. I haven't seen any metal gears online, though - just plastic; some people cannibalize the old machines just to get the metal gears. From the parts schematic I saw, it looks like the internals of the 500 are very similar to my 640, and I wouldn't be surprised if the gears were the same.

    IIRC what I'd read in my research, I believe the 600 and 603 (some models?) were the last 'slant' machines to come with metal gears. The 640 (1969 vintage) I got had plastic gears. I read that those plastic gears had an expected life of about 40 years. I can vouch for that firsthand. A gear disintegrated about 30 minutes into my giving the machine its first test run.

    Parts and information are indeed available online, though, and I was able to obtain and replace all the gears (when one goes, the others will probably follow) and set the timing and lower / upper tension okay. Also figured out an electronic problem that was causing run-on stitches. While I was at it, I cleaned, lubed and oiled the appropriate spots.

    Anyone who is mechanically inclined (and patient!) and familiar with any kind of alignment process can probably learn to do this kind of repair at home. Otherwise, I would definitely follow Rev's advice and work with a good dealer / repair shop.

    Bottom line -- I feel comfortable with this particular machine but if I were less familiar with how to fix itI'm not sure how I would feel about it. My opinion is probably more positive than others' might be, so do take it as just one data point.

    Hope that qualifies my opinion sufficiently without muddying the waters.

    Edit: just remembered that there was a design 'feature' in the early T&S machines that could cause bobbin problems if the operator didn't do everything 'just right' when winding bobbins. The bobbin system was redesigned at some point, resolving the problem. I don't recall the specifics, sorry... I'll look up the details if anyone cares. - cab
    Last edited by Frawg; 07-28-2009 at 17:36. Reason: remembered something
    - Frawg

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  9. #9
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Do a search on craigslist or e-bay. The last time I looked they both had lots of machines. e-bay had quite a few machines from dealers, meaning that the machine was tuned-up recently. Also check in your area for sewing classes. They are very educational, most dealers/sewing centers offer a class. Ray White offers a traveling shop course for sewing machine repair.http://www.whitesewingcenter.com/index.php
    Sewing/making gear can be alot of fun , but with a machine that not running right, you'll be too frustrated to do much more than waste your time and money. Check with your local sewing center for used / reconditioned machines, most carry some kind of warranty policy on machines they sell.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  10. #10
    Frawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    If the head is metal it is almost assurd the gears are metal. ...Caveat Emptor
    I'm ignorant about the terminology, Rev, and not quite sure what you mean by 'the head'. If that refers to the main body of the machine, I would note that although my 640 and a 758 I came across both have metal bodies, their gears are all plastic/nylon. It's easy enough (one screw) to pop the top, though, and look at the topside gears to see what they're made of.

    BTW, thanks again for your videos... very helpful to me!!

    Cheers!

    Chuck
    - Frawg

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