Does Anyone Buy Old Sewing Machines

What Kind of Sewing Machines Are There?

When it comes to the sewing machine industry, there is not just one type of machine. The basic types of machines are: manual machines, computerized machines, and industrial machines. Manual machines are the sure classics, with knobs and dials for setting speed, stitch length, and other settings. Computerized machines offer a wide array of automated features, with speeds, stitch length, and tension all programmed for a custom-made project. Finally, industrial machines are expensive, heavy-duty machines designed for large-scale production.
It is not only the type of machine that affects the pricing and buying decision; different sewing machines come with a variety of attachments and accessories. These accessories include such items as presser feet and bobbins, zippers, thread, and fabric. An experienced sewer should know what they need to buy and can be discerning when it comes to buying different accessories.

Do You Have to Buy a Brand-New Sewing Machine?

No, you do not always have to buy a brand-new sewing machine. Many people choose to purchase a used or refurbished machine either online or in a store. Depending on the condition of the machine, used machines can be a great deal. Before buying a used machine, it is important to get an independent assessment to make sure that it will perform up to expectations.
It is also important to keep in mind that in some cases, buying new may be cheaper than buying used, as older machines may require more upkeep and maintenance. However, the option to purchase an older, vintage machine at a discounted price that still runs well, could be quite an attractive option for many.

Where Can You Find a Sewing Machine for Sale?

For those interested in buying an old sewing machine, there are a number of places to look, both online and off. In some cases, older machines can be found in thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales. Online, Craigslist and eBay are the go-to options for finding used goods.
In addition to these traditional sources, a number of sites specialize in vintage machines, including Vintage Sewing Machines, USA (VSM-USA) and Sew Retro. VSM-USA sells a variety of classic machines, as well as parts, accessories, and literature. Sew Retro is a blog that focuses on vintage machines and fabrics, with a special emphasis on quilting.

What Should You Consider Before Buying an Old Sewing Machine?

When considering the purchase of an old sewing machine, it is important to take the machine for a test run to make sure it is working properly. VSM-USA offers a 10-day warranty on most of its machines, so it is important to read through the warranty policy before purchasing.
Another factor to consider is how well the machine holds up; some vintage machines may need regular servicing and upkeep, which can be costly in the long run. Additionally, different brands of machines may be more prone to certain problems; for example, Singer machines are known for their reliability and quality, while treadle machines are more prone to sticking and require the most maintenance.

How Much Should You Pay for an Old Sewing Machine?

The cost of an old sewing machine will depend on the age, type of machine, condition, and brand. Older machines will typically be more expensive than newer ones, and may even be considered vintage pieces. Manual sewing machines can cost anywhere from $50-$1000, depending on the features and quality. Computerized machines can range from around $700 up to several thousand. Industrial machines, with their advanced functions and durability, can cost anywhere from $4000 and up.
Overall, it is important to research the age, type, condition and brand of the machine before considering the cost. An experienced sewer should have a good understanding of the types of machines and can get a good sense of the cost before making the purchase.

Should You Buy a New or Used Sewing Machine?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the classic design and quality of an old machine, while others may prefer the affordability and convenience of a new machine. In some cases, a person may even combine the two, buying a new computerized machine but supplementing it with some vintage parts or attachments.
Ultimately, when it comes to buying a sewing machine, it is important to make an informed decision by researching the age, quality, condition, and brand of the machine before making the purchase. With a little bit of research and a bit of luck, a person can find themselves with a machine that is perfect for their specific needs.

Negative Aspects of Purchasing Old Sewing Machines

Many people have found great success buying older sewing machines, however, it is important to consider the possible downsides of this approach. One of the biggest issues with purchasing an old machine is that they may require more upkeep and service than newer models. Additionally, they often lack the technological advancements that newer models have; this includes features such as automatic tension adjustment, programmable stitch patterns, and automated needle threaders.
Old machines also tend to be less reliable than newer models, due to their age, rust, and lack of parts. As time goes on, it can become increasingly difficult to find parts for older machines and it can be costly to purchase and install new parts.

Pros of Purchasing Old Sewing Machines

There are a number of benefits to buying an older machine, from a financial standpoint. Older machines are often more affordable than their more modern counterparts and can present a great option for those working on a budget.
People with a passion for vintage items may also appreciate the aesthetics of an old machine. Additionally, many older machines come with the allure of a simpler time, with their beautiful decorations and quaint mechanics.
Finally, there is often a great sense of pride and accomplishment associated with buying, using, and maintaining a vintage machine.

Finding Replacement Parts for Old Sewing Machines

When it comes to buying an old sewing machine, another factor to consider is finding replacement parts. While many parts, such as needles and bobbins, can easily be purchased online, others may require a bit more effort to find. In some cases, it may be necessary to find a “parts-machine” that is no longer working but has usable parts.
Fortunately, many vintage machine parts can be found online at websites such as Vintage Sewing Machines and Sew Retro. These sites often specialize in finding rare, discontinued parts for older machines. Additionally, forums such as the Vintage Sewing Machine Forum can be used to ask other sewers and enthusiasts for help in searching for discontinued parts.

How to Clean and Maintain an Old Sewing Machine

One of the primary tasks of maintaining an old sewing machine is cleaning; this is an important step to ensure the machine runs properly and has a long life. Begin by vacuuming the machine and gently cleaning with a soft brush. Then, use a damp cloth to wipe down the machine exterior. Do not use water or other liquids inside the machine, as this can damage components.
When it comes to lubrication, it is important to use the right kind of oil or grease. If you are not sure what type to use, check the manual or contact the manufacturer. Lubricate the moving parts, avoiding areas that touch fabric or thread. Finally, run the machine with scrap fabric to check for proper operation.


Purchasing an old sewing machine can be a great move for those looking for a unique, affordable option. By researching the age, quality, condition, and brand of the machine before making the purchase, individuals can be sure to find a machine that suits their specific needs. However, it is also important to be aware of the potential downsides and take into consideration the extra maintenance and upkeep that may be required for an older machine. So, before taking the plunge, it is important to do your research and make an informed decision.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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