All of us go through a phase in life when you need something and you cannot afford it – it happens to even millionaires. So what to say of us ordinary people who sometimes have to compromise.
I know very well that all homes need a sewing machine. If you cannot afford it do not yet worry.You may not have to compromise on the quality of your sewing. There are many folks looking to sell their perfectly working sewing machines. So many reasons, maybe they are shifting abroad, or they want the latest model or they have sworn off sewing ( can’t imagine why )or they cannot sew anymore due to old age. Whatever it is you have your chance to buy a good machine at an affordable price. Or till you have mastered sewing and confident enough to buy the best and latest you can buy.
In my opinion it is better to buy a used machine in good condition than buy a bottom end of the range machines available in the market today at cheap prices. Just try stitching the hem of a jeans in one of these machines and you will know. When buying a used machine you can afford a better model than if you are buying a new one. Another goodthing about buying a used machine is that you are recycling an old machine which may have gone to the dump yard. The manufacturer would pollute the environment one sewing machine less with your buy. Do you feel good about your choice now
Even if you plan to sew every spare moment or once a month or year, you need a machine which will be easy to maintain, easy to operate and easy on the eye-A reliable machine which will sew a straight stitch in different stitch lengths and additionally some other utility stitches too and comply with the 2 main considerations when looking for an old machine – PRICE and AGE. If you search correctly you will get a very good used sewing machine which does all that and more.
After you get your machine home, you donot want to find out that the beautiful vintage machine you have fallen in love with does not come with the necessary bobbin winder or doesnot have needles available in the market. There are somethings to watch out for when going to buy a used sewing machine.Let us check it out.
Where to buy a used sewing machine
Ask your friends neighbors and relatives. They may have been waiting for someone to ask them about their old sewing machine gathering dust in their garage.
Ask all the sewing repair shops nearby. If I have machine to sell I would be first informing my local repair guy.
Look in the newspaper local section. You may find one advertised. You may have to be on watch for sometime to be lucky.
Check online market places
Local thrift shops
Put up a wanted notice ‘ Used Sewing Machine wanted – in good working condition . phone no’ in the local coffee shop bulletin board.
If anyone of your acquaintances know of an elderly sewing enthusiast who is now too old to sew, nothing like it. I bet they have maintained their sewing machine with utmost care.
Some important things to consider when buying a used sewing machine
The post on How to choose a beginner sewing machine is relevant when buying a used sewing machine too
- Do not fall for tall claims of the buyer without any proof. Unless you have sewn four layers of upholstery materials on the machine do not believe claims of UPHOLSTERY MACHINE. Industrial Machine is one such claim people use on unwary beginner sewists. Know the difference between industrial and domestic sewing machine – verify that all those pointes are checked.Otherwise you may end up paying more for a heavy metal ordinary machine thinking it is of industrial capacity.
- Buy branded sewing machine. There is no two ways about it. Bernina, Singer are trusted brand names and there are only so much that could go wrong with them. But do not forget to do due diligence ofcourse. Even trusted and branded machines wear after heavy use and abuse.Also each brand has a set of advantages and disadvantages. Ease of use, availability of accessories are important things to look for in reviews.
- Metal is always better than plastic. But that does not mean that all metal heavy weight machines are good. Don’t make me remember my old machine.Some of them are so clunky and frustrating. Stitching before buying or taking some one who knows stitching with you is a very good idea.
- Be prepared to bargain. Most of the used sewing machines are listed way over priced. You will have to be careful that you donot pay more than the machine deserves.
- When you are going to check it out in person take a piece of fabric ( cotton) to try the stitching. Ensure the machine is giving EVEN STITCHES.The utility stitches like straight stitch, zig zag stitch are ones we use frequently, so try to stitch them on the cloth you have.
- Ensure that it has a light bulb. Also that it is not making any tangles in the stitches.
Ensure that the machine do not have any big cracks. Take your spectacles when you go or even a magnifying glass. Small cracks may be hidden well but they may catch and tear your fabric when sewing. Big ones may mean damage to the interior as well.
Checkout for noisy motor when operating.Ensure that the feed dogs are moving the fabric forward properly without any snags. Also watch out for irregular movements of the needle with loud noise
- If you find a sewing machine with original cover and case intact it may be a sign that the owner has cared for the machine, enough to preserve the packages. Another best thing is to have service manual available. It is a must have for all sewists.
Small problems in a used machine can be fixed but major repairs can prove costly. Checkout the post on Trouble shooting common sewing machine problems for solutions for small problems that arise when sewing.
Whatever you find in your quest, take it to your trusted repair man for a look over. Even a small irregularity can mar your sewing experience. Repair it before it becomes a big problem.