Singer Sewing Machine

Poignard

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I have carried out extensive cover repairs and alterations using a hand-cranked Singer 99k on the dining room table. The important thing is to use suitable needles. I was advised by a lady who teaches sewing to use jeans needles.

The one you are considering doesn't look to have a very long arm which can be awkward when sewing a large item.

I wonder if you might do better trying to find a reconditioned commercial machine.
 

lw395

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Personally I take the view that about £200 is quite a lot to spend on a machine that I'm going to borderline abuse.
I bought a used machine for £40 which has been Ok for a couple of layers of canvas, or covers made from heavy material.
If I was looking for a better machine, I'd be torn between serious heavy duty and the facility for multi-step zigzag.
If I had space to store a proper industrial zigzag machine built into a table, I'd have one. If our next boat doesn't come with a cruising chute, I suspect we'll buy a multistep zig zag machine and have a go at making one!
 

Plum

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Having trawled through more threads than I care to think about (sewing machine choice is akin to anchoring threads :rolleyes:), I am looking at getting a Singer 4411https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008CCK4RC/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_1?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1. Not for serious sail repairs but one or two layers of canvas and the likes. Has anyone got any views on it or alternatives?

many thanks

Chris

I am not a sewing machine expert but i have been making my own boat and sail covers for 15 years using an old Singer sewing machine that I bought on ebay for £5. Mine is a 196K5 similar to this one https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sou...Vaw0uCQLk3yhTJC6EJFAJTmp9&cshid=1554062505569 and has a few characteristics that I have found to be good. 1) the arm is not particularly long but I certainly would not like a shorter arm. The one you show looks to have quite a short arm. 2) unlike many domestic sewing machines, mine has a large motor that runs constantly once turned on and the foot pedal engages a drive clutch. This makes it better for starting with thick material. 3) mine will sew through 9 layers of Topgun fabric. Although you say you only want to sew through 1 or 2 layers, in practice you will need more. Just folding an edge twice for a seam gives 3 layers. Then, if you fold the adjacent side twice, at the corner you will have 9 layers. For a sail or boat cover made to last you need good seams. 4) mine only does srtaight stitches and I have found this perfectly adequate and never wished for a zig zag.

Hope this helps.

Www.solocoastalsailing.co.uk
 
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geem

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We have a Singer 201k. They are perfect for boat sewing projects but not for sewing sails as they dont have zig zag. They have a wide throat and can sew anything you can fit under the foot. We have sewn 5 layers of heavy canvas. We have sewn webbing on to sails to reinforce the clew that tried to pull out.
Ours has made sun covers, stackpacs, fuel tank covers, liferaft cover, winch covers, engine covers and done all the upholstery down below. Ours came refurbished from a sewing machine shop with new motor for £70.
 

jwilson

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Possibly better a good quality older relatively basic machine: I've used Bernina, Frister Rossman and now an Elna domestic machine for covers, and with zig-zag for small to medium sized sails. Recently collected a £50 old basic Jones machine from a sewing machine shop that is to be used by family member for upholstery and crafts. Nice and heavy, looked good for straight stitch work.
 

Neeves

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We use an Singer EC1, not sure if that is its coding - its on a little plate on the base, it was my mothers, she had it for her 17th birthday, its around 80 years old now. We have made covers bimini and the like, boom covers and repaired sails, the latter limited by the restricted space on the machine. Its hand operated and a much better machine than a modern domestic electric Singer (which do not have the grunt). It is seriously heavy compared to modern machines.

As mentioned needles for jeans and decent thread, the latter is as critical as the needles. If you buy an old Singer - make sure you get the bobbins (are they the same bobbins for all the machines of 'that' vintage). If you are making large items, like a bimini, having lots of bobbins is convenient - if you run out of bobbins mid stitch you have to load up new ones which spoils the flow of work.

Would not be without it.

At some point in the future it will become the property of one of the granddaughters.

Jonathan
 

William_H

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I think OP is being quite fussy specifying the model he wants. Around here sewing machines an be found in junk put out for collection or car boot sales. All IMHO are pretty much the same certainly singer no better for light jobs than Toyota or other brands. We have one new Singer bought new incredibly cheap but of course made in China. Sometimes the plastic gear wheels will fail through age which really means throw it away. To be sewing machine owner you really have to master maintenance and how they work. ol'will
 
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ghostlymoron

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Words of wisdom from Will as usual. I remember a thread from years ago which concluded you needed an old Jones or Singer from the era before plastic gears. Zig zag is necessary for sail repairs. I can't recall the model numbers recommended unfortunately but suitable machines can be picked up on Gumtree, eBay or local buy and sell sites for £20 or so. Of course a Sailrite is the pinnacle of sailboat sewing but, unless you're sewing a lot, you may as well employ a sailmaker to do it for you.
I think OP is being quite fussy specifying the model he wants. Around here sewing machines an be found in junk put out for collection or car boot sales. All IMHO are pretty much the same certainly singer no better for light jobs than Toyota or other brands. We have one new Singer bought new incredibly cheap but of course made in China. Sometimes the plastic gear wheels will fail through age which really means throw it away. To be sewing machine owner you really have to master maintenance and how they work. ol'will
 

ctva

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I think OP is being quite fussy specifying the model he wants....

Sorry????

What part of, "I am looking at getting a Singer 4411... Has anyone got any views on it or alternatives?" is being fussy?

I happened to look at a currently live thread on the MoBo forum which you should look at and have a think about.
http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?518275-Threads-and-thread-drifts

As to everyone else, thanks for the info. The Singer201K is around £100+ on fleabay with it's only draw back being no zigzag. The Toyota 15B is another one that has caught my eye. My wife will also look to use it for light domestic use as she has always just hand sewed items up till now.
 
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ghostlymoron

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I think that singer model 457 was the one that was recommended before. Often these machines need a service and tension adjustment but this can be done easily and cheaply by a service shop. I tried resetting the tension on my wife's modern Singer but had to resort to the shop as it's tricky for a novice.
 

ctva

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I think that singer model 457 was the one that was recommended before. Often these machines need a service and tension adjustment but this can be done easily and cheaply by a service shop. I tried resetting the tension on my wife's modern Singer but had to resort to the shop as it's tricky for a novice.

Thanks, looks interesting...:encouragement:

The reason I was looking for a new machine is that I have never used a sewing machine so am unsure of what to look for and the pitfalls of a second hand "old" one. But I'm getting there with these old ones now with the help of the forum.
 

Neeves

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Chris,

Don't be discouraged. Many of these old machines are, well old, ours is around 70 years old and is still going strong. By all means have it serviced by a professional but these machines soldiered on - without professional help (because then most families could not afford to have them professionally serviced (which might of course mean that after 70 years a service might be timely!). Many service centres also sell older machines, or they do here.

Jonathan
 

geem

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Thanks, looks interesting...:encouragement:

The reason I was looking for a new machine is that I have never used a sewing machine so am unsure of what to look for and the pitfalls of a second hand "old" one. But I'm getting there with these old ones now with the help of the forum.
An old Singer is far higher quality than most modern machines. The suprising thing is how quite the old machines are compared to a new one. If you buy from a shop you will pay a little more but you will have some sort of warranty. Ours weighs 26kg. At 69 years old its still going strong.
 

Yngmar

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I have a Singer 4411 and it did the job of canvas repair absolutely fine, including double folded plus acrylic window. As someone already mentioned, right choice of needle type and size is very important.

Also had an old Singer 507 before - internally they are almost identical, including the gearing. That old 507 had a broken plastic gear, which was still available on eBay and not that difficult to replace. I got the modern 4411 when I needed a working machine in a hurry and it happened to be on sale. Advantages of the modern machine are a better motor, no belt problems and slightly lighter weight (due to modern materials in non-essential parts, such as the casing). Oh, it also replaces the horrid hot glow bulb with a LED light. The pedal is however a bit too light and best mounted on something heavy, lest it constantly slips around, especially on a hard cabin floor.

So overall not much difference. I was happy with either machine. Wouldn't bother having a machine without zigzag though. If you a sewing machine on board, you'll also end up using the thing for all kinds of other stuff. Towel seams, bags, curtains, clothing repair, jackstay webbing (that pushed it to its limit), etc.
 

geem

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I have a Singer 4411 and it did the job of canvas repair absolutely fine, including double folded plus acrylic window. As someone already mentioned, right choice of needle type and size is very important.

Also had an old Singer 507 before - internally they are almost identical, including the gearing. That old 507 had a broken plastic gear, which was still available on eBay and not that difficult to replace. I got the modern 4411 when I needed a working machine in a hurry and it happened to be on sale. Advantages of the modern machine are a better motor, no belt problems and slightly lighter weight (due to modern materials in non-essential parts, such as the casing). Oh, it also replaces the horrid hot glow bulb with a LED light. The pedal is however a bit too light and best mounted on something heavy, lest it constantly slips around, especially on a hard cabin floor.

So overall not much difference. I was happy with either machine. Wouldn't bother having a machine without zigzag though. If you a sewing machine on board, you'll also end up using the thing for all kinds of other stuff. Towel seams, bags, curtains, clothing repair, jackstay webbing (that pushed it to its limit), etc.
I think you have said enough for me. A broken plastic gear! There are no plastic gears in the the 201k so no breakages. We can stitch through the corner reinforcing on a sail. Not sure how many layers of sail cloth that is incuding the UV strip but the old machines are super tough. We have never needed the zig zag stitch yet. Things like webbing reinforecement on sails are straight stitched. Given the choice of old robust heavy duty straight stitch machine or plastic gear zig zag there is no contest for me. Singer 201k every time
 

Heckler

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We got the same, fitted a new taiwanese motor, done the same sort of thing. Changing some windows in the cockpit dodger this time.
 

ffiill

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My wife's old Bernina is quite happy to do most things on as I recall a100 jeans needle.
Most recently O have had to redo all the seems on my stack pack and deck house side screens because of UV damage-the polyester canvas seems perfectly all right.
But as an aside sewing in new clear see through panels was a pain.
I should have attached with double sided tape as had been done when new.
Problem is that the plastic has a sticky surface to it such that with a fixed foot the polyester fabric moves at a different speed to the plastic and you end up with a mess all be it good enough to act as a tack.
Anyway job done all be it I need a little warm weather for the plastic to stretch a little!
 

neil_s

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Once you get the sewing bug you won't be able to stop yourself doing sail repairs. Get a machine that does zig zag! I have a Jones 553 - all metal. I use 100/16 needles and Dabond thread.
 
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