Vintage or new for you?


I am team vintage all the way. For sewing machines, that is. I totally and completely double-heart my 36 year-old Bernina 830. That machine has been with  me longer than my husband! And it is WAY easier to feed and care for, I might add! 🙂 A new needle every 8-10 hours, some cleaning and dusting after every garment, a drop of oil now and again, a yearly physical tune-up, and my little baby continues to just hum along without a single complaint.

Look how cute she is – all eager to have the next sewing student sit down and take her for a spin. She won’t let them down. The stitches will be balanced and smooth, the tension even, the adjustments simple and easy – she is a real workhorse. She has sewn everything from my firstborn’s Swiss organdy christening gown to 48 linear feet of vinyl cushion covers for my nephew’s coffee shop. Without a single complaint, thank you very much!


Let me introduce her younger sister, only about 15 years old (20 maybe?). This is  my daily machine now, since I have been spoiled by the “needle down” button and the automatic buttonhole function. Especially on my DH’s shirts – cuz the likelihood of me getting 13 buttonholes exactly the same length is nil. Zero. Zip. Nada.


How about you? Do you prefer the newer, computerized machines with all the fancy embroidery and other functions? Have you bought a new, inexpensive model that is working well for your needs? Did you score a great machine at a garage sale or thrift shop? Or, like me, are you still sewing on vintage model machines that work beautifully? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

9 Responses to Vintage or new for you?

  1. I need to join a Sewing Machine Collector’s Anonymous group; I have a problem. Any time I see a cute vintage machine and it’s priced inexpensively (less than $10), I tend to buy it. I just love the look of the old machines! I’ve got an old Dial N’Sew (pale blue cutie), an old Kenmore (I think she’s a pale green or grey). I recently found a Bernina 730 at a thrift store for $25 so I had to have her of course.

    Someday I hope to build a shelf up close to the ceiling all the way around my sewing room and display them. Either that, or offer them up as boat anchors !

  2. I bought a Singer 500a, aka the Rocketeer, on ebay from a little old lady on Whidbey Island. I am in love with the buttonholer, the straight stitch plate, and the ruffler. I also love the sound of this old mechanical machine. My Singer was made in 1964. It is brown and has a modern swoop shape.

    I was sewing with the Rocketeer last week when my Viking #1 was in for minor repair. My project was a pair of knit pants and the machine sewed them perfectly.

    I agree with Cindy that the old machines are beautiful and intriguing.

  3. My mother had a darling singer sewing machine for children that I first sewed on when I was a wee girl. It was her first sewing machine circa 1935. It looked like a baby of the first sewing machine I remember her having…a classic black Singer.

      • My husband bought me a Singer for Christmas our first year of marriage in 1974 (which I still have and it still sews), then I bought an Elna Air Electronic (very basic) that sewed like a dream, then I bought an Elna 9000 (which passed away last summer) a few years later I bought my first Bernina (1260) after using one at a sewing school in Alabama. Last summer after my Elna 9000 died I bought another Bernina (a 530). Of all the machines, I wish I’d kept the Air Electronic but I gave it to a friend who didn’t have a machine but wanted to sew.

  4. Vintage all the way! (Except when it comes to making buttonholes and having a light machine I can take around town for costuming work – that’s why I have a new one as well.) I love those old Bernina 830 machines. =)

    I fight computer machines and can’t stand them (I refuse to own one with a brain). I really hate the needle up/down setting but I can understand why some people like it.

    I have a vintage Wizard and my grandmother’s vintage Singer 221. My modern machine is a Baby Lock Molly.

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