You May not realize all the ways that Vintage Sewing Machines are far superior to new, fancy sewing machines? Today, I’m going to break down the 7 Reasons Everyone Should Own a Vintage Sewing Machine. Just to be clear, when I say vintage I’m talking about machines that are heavy, metal, beautiful and almost industrial. The same sewing machines that you’ve been offered countless times by neighbors, co-workers or strangers once they learn that you’re an avid sewing enthusiast. The sewing machines that you’re mother or grandmother used tirelessly year after year after year. You may have been intimidated with the thought of learning how to use and maintain a vintage sewing machine but let me assure you that after you read this article you’ll be screaming HECK YEAH then next time someone offers you their Grandma’s Vintage Singer! So here’s my break down of the 7 Reasons Everyone Should Own a Vintage Sewing Machine:
The Metal Parts Were Made To Last! There’s a reason these machines are so heavy – they’re not made of plastic!!! The greatest advantage to having metal parts is they are extremely hard to break which means you rarely have to replace those metal parts. With the exception of the belt, made of rubber, almost every part of a vintage sewing machine is built like a classic car – Heavy, Strong and With Care! Fortunately they don’t require high levels of octane to sew but their speed and durability is pretty amazing. With the right care and maintenance, these metal monsters can run forever.
Thanks to the help of the internet, maintaining and fixing Vintage Sewing Machines is no longer a mystery. Parts can be purchased very easily on eBay and learning the ins and outs of fixing YOUR vintage machine can be viewed on YouTube. The thing that makes Vintage Machines ideal for maintenance and repairs is that they have no computer software, like new sewing machine do. That’s one of the reasons it’s so expensive to fix 21st Century Machinery like cars, phones and sewing machines. When you eliminate all of the wires and electronics you are left with a beautifully basic machine that is straight forward and simple.
Their Straight Lines are THE Straightest! Most sewists don’t realize that all of those funky, fun stitches can actually effect your machines ability to give you a perfect straight stitch. Sewing Machines like the classic Singer Featherweight have the most consistent, beautiful straight stitches – Hands Down. So if you’re struggling with a straight stitch, it might not be your fault. A vintage machine in your arsenal might be exactly what you need for a better stitch line.
Thin Tulle to Thick Flannels – You’re in Control. Because sewing enthusiasts for years gone by were making everything from suits & wedding dresses to quilts and blankets, vintage sewing machines were designed to sew every loft of fabric under the sun. The majority of vintage machines have a manual lever to add or reduce pressure to the presser foot. Reducing the pressure for thicker fabrics and increasing it for thin materials, give much more creative control to the sewist.
They are Heavy! Sometimes the weight seems unbelievable but instead of seeing the weight as a bad thing consider it a blessing in disguise. When you’re working on quilts, curtains or a huge wedding dress – these machines won’t slide around and move on you like a light weight plastic model will. In fact, even with current sewing machines you will notice that the price goes up the more heavy the machine for this very reason. Coupled with vintage machines often times being nestled into strong, sturdy cabinetry – you’ve just upgraded your sewing experience without paying the high prices at the local sewing & vacuum shop.
You’re Saving Mother Earth! Dusting off a vintage sewing machine rather than throwing it into a land fill is like giving our earth a big, huge hug. As if sewing with a fully metal, stronger than a freight train piece of machinery didn’t already make you awesome – now you’re an eco-friendly, earth-saving super hero. Wow, that’s cool!!!!!
They’re Usable Art! How often do you have something that doubles as functional machinery and beautiful artwork. No longer will you have to tuck your machine away when friends or family come over. You can proudly display your sewing machine as a show stopping art installation. Function, Form and Fashion all rolled into one.
Consider the History! As if all of the previous reasons aren’t enough to make you want to own a vintage sewing machine, consider this. Sewing, particularly in the United States, may be a dying art form. A life long passion & fundamental skill that was passed down from generation to generation is slowly fading away. But wrapping our arms around the history of sewing and teaching the next generations are the only way to keep it alive. Vintage Sewing Machines are a link to the past and serve as a a reminder not to let this beautiful art form disappear.
So, if acquiring a Vintage Sewing Machine is something that entices you, consider investing in these three machines. You won’t be disappointed.
The Singer Featherweight – Beautiful, Petite and Built to Last. The Featherweight has maintained it’s value and can still cost $300-$400 depending on it’s condition. Featherweights are portable and only sew a straight stitch which makes them ideal for taking classes. You will certainly be the bell of the ball when you pull out one of these classics at your next sewing retreat.
The Singer Slanto-Matic – Built in the 50’s and 60’s the Slant-O-Matic was touted as the ‘Greatest Sewing Machine Ever Built’. It introduced a slant shank presser foot, 9 utility and decorative stitching cams, a really great instruction manual and the ability to ‘sew anything and everything’. Did I mention it comes in a mid-century, ultra stylish cabinet. If you love mid-century design and vintage machines, the Slant-O-Matic is a must!
The Singer 337! I’ve had the pleasure to repair and maintain several of the Singer 337’s. It’s about as straight forward and sturdy as it gets, but the reason I think it’s a must buy is it’s beauty! It has all of the structure and strength, with the added bonus of being a vintage teal blue color that’s quite delightful to look at. It would be easy to incorporate this machine into a living room as a conversation piece and a practical creative instrument.