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Singer loyalty-What do you think?-221

bbiles | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi all,

Am I crazy to be so loyal to Singer?  I am fairly new to sewing and I love my grandmother’s old Singer Featherweight 221.  It has a great stitch.  I absolutely love this machine! I just can’t say that enough.

 A few years ago I bought my first sewing machine, a basic Singer model 6416.  I have had a lot of trouble with the bobbin case.  It keeps coming loose and I have been unable to fix it myself.  I have taken it in to be fixed about five times in about 8 months.  I haven’t had to pay for the work after the 1st time it broke.  I have been taking it to the  Singer dealer.  I think I may have just bought a lemon.  But still I am considering buying a new Singer, the Qunatum9940.  I have looked at other brands but for some reason I just hate to leave Singer.  I have heard that Viking is great-but it seems very expensive. Maybe you just get what you pay for.

Would you stick with Singer or has their quality just gone down the tubes?  Thanks in advance for your experience and thoughts.


  1. suesew | | #1

    Just about any sewing machine company makes cheap versions of sewing machines. I think you get what you pay for. But I'd never spend my money on Singers. I'd go with the Viking.

    1. bbiles | | #3

      Thanks for your reply.  I think you are right.  I am going to go look at my Viking retailer and maybe Bernina.  There are so many choice out there!


  2. MegVT | | #2

    You have a fantastic basic machine in your 221.  It makes a beautiful stitch, forwards and backwards.  For a second machine, you need to go test-drive lots of different machines.  Singer isn't the same company it used to be (and I guess that goes for most companies).  Consider purchasing a high-end used machine.  You can sometimes get a fantastic machine for just a little cash.


    1. bbiles | | #4

      Thank you.  I had not thought of a used machine.  That sounds good, I will have to check out service options and warranty issues.  If that all adds up then I will have to seriously consider it. 

      Thanks, Brett

  3. Merryll | | #5

    Let me echo the comments made above.  You have one of the great machines Singer made, so never get rid of it.  But just because it was once great, doesn't mean it enjoys that rep today. However, if you love to sew, you'll probably want to invest in a second machine with utility stitches.  I would look at used Vikings and Berninas.  Some of these are basic workhorses, and as long as they are serviced regularly, they can be a perfect investment.


  4. ctirish | | #6


    Singer is not the same sewing machine company is was years ago. They went through a lot of tranitions and now there machines are made in Japan. I have a Singer Futura sewing machine from the early 70's. This machine was a workhorse it still runs well but I wanted one that did embroidery and more stitches.  I bought a Baby Lock Ellure which I love, I would have loved to have bought a Bernina Artista 200 but I don't have thousands of dollars for a sewing machine. The ellure is just under 1000.00 and does everything the more expensive ones do. I would be very leery of a Singer at this point, the people I know who do Sewing machine repairs say they are in the shop more than out. The Singer Featherweight is a classic and sells for a few hundred dollars on the resale market. Quilters love the 221 because it does such a nice consistent stitch and locks each one evenly.  They aren't exactly "featherweight" light though,are they?   There have been some articles ( in Threads I believe) that list all the brands and what they do so you can do a comparision among the brands. I loved my old machine but having a needle threader and so many other helps sold me on a new machine. I also bought the Baby Lock Evolove serger and that is dynamite. Having a serger that threads itself is just amazing.

  5. Wunmismom | | #7

    Get rid of that Singer!  I am an American living in Nigeria since 1970 and am fed up with having to pack the Singer in a suitcase to cart it over the Atlantic Ocean to Seattle, Wash. for repair!  I have repeatedly bought new machines thinking a new Singer will perform better.  I have sunk so much money into the repair of each machine!  None of them has performed well.  Being so far from home in a third world country where my sewing skills have been my salvation, the unexpected breakdowns of these Singers have brought me much heartache.

    My last trip home, I took the Singer to a Phaff sewing center for repair.  There I was shown the remarkable difference between a Phaff and a Singer--German built, it is built to last.  I could not buy a Phaff last year because I had brought by second child home to start at the university and needed every penny for tuition.  Believe me, this trip I am dumping the Singer for a Phaff  ( I hope I have spelled the name correctlly!)


    Wunmi's Mom

    1. bbiles | | #8

      Thank you all for your advice and experience.  I have for sure decided against the Singer!  I like the divorce your singer and don't ask for alimony comment! He He!  I suppose that is what I need to do.  I just picked it up from the shop again today!

      What you all have said echos what sewing machine retailers have told me.  I just wanted to hear it from sewers like you.  Now,  I just need to save up my money to buy a new machine or a good used one. 

      I'm, also glad to hear about the Babyloc machine.  I have looked at it and was very impressed.  I'm glad to here some good info from a sewer with experience.  It sounds like there are a lot of choices out there.


      Thanks so much!


      1. Teaf | | #9

        Singers made before 1970 are wonderful; any since then have way too much plastic and too few good metal parts to run well. My 1973 Kennmore still runs like a champ and can handle anything, from upholstery & repairing outdoor equipment to gossamer silks and sheers; it has never needed a repair (knock wood).No matter what brand you select, go for the simplest machine that will fit your needs; with fewer functions, the engineering is simpler, and you'll have fewer problems.Oh, and perhaps you should dump that old one with a grand celebration--don't give it to anyone but your worst enemy!

        1. Evadean | | #10

          This my first post on this fourm and maybe I am on the wrong fourm.  I would like any input on a Rex blind stiching machine.  I used to sew but haven't for many many years but my daughter in law is looking at this used machine.  It isn't very much money and wondering if it is any good at all.  I have never heard of the name.  She is a new daughter in law and I'm not sure her level of sewing.  She does alterations etc for department stores.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to a good used one.  Thanks and it has been fun visiting. 

        2. bbiles | | #11

          Thank you for the machine info.  I am so ready to dump mine.  I think I saw a good review for Kennmore on the Consumer Reports page too.  Thanks!

          1. Lalith | | #12

            I am following your discussions…I am planning to buy one for me with basic features and basic embroidery (like Ziz Zag stitch). I know basics in stitching and trying to improve it. I used Singer sewing machine I didn’t like it much…can you suggest me any other company… purchasing a good sewing machine. I don’t have much idea about sewing machines. Can you suggest me what model and which company sewing machine can I purchase with $ 200?

            Thank you


          2. ctirish | | #13

            Hi, I have an ellure by Baby Lock and I love it, But there are many good machines out there that will do the basics.  Do you have a sewing machine store near you that offers classes in sewing?  If you do, before I bought a machine, I would take a couple of classes and ask to use one of theirs in class.  Use a different one for each class and then you can decide which machine suits you the best. Any sewing machine store will let you do it and if they don't -  buy your machine some where else.  Pfaff and Viking both have some new machines out there at the lower end of the price range without going to a Singer, or something they sell in Walmart. There are some great Bernina that you can get used too.  I think in todays sewing world you need a store that is knowledgeable in machines, how to use them and also in sewing.  I can call or go in to either of two stores I take classes at and ask for help with anything.  Where are you located? Maybe one of us and give you a recommendation for a place near you.    Good luck and happy sewing, jane

          3. Lalith | | #14

            Thanks Jane!

            I live in the Seattle area.  Can you recommend anything from Seattle?  Your suggestion of taking a couple of classes before I buy a machine sounds good.  Will look around and let everyone know what I found out.


  6. cjc15 | | #15

    Hi, I have been reading all the posts with much interest.  My grandniece is a Bernina educator.  Before I bought a new machine, I wnet to their classes and tried the machines and watched those who had bought new machines learning to use them.  My best friend and my sister-in -law swear by Pfaff.  I have had old Singers and been happy with them Have literally worn 2 out.  I finally decided to get the high end mechanical Bernina.  It has lovely stitches, I also quilt and do heirloom sewing.  It fits my need with out having to have the adjustments as frequently as the computerized machines do.  The high end computerized machines lean mostly to embroidery.  If that is your goal, be assured you will not only invest in the machine itself, but the embroidery cards which are around $100 +.  Also the embroidery thread is pricey.  In the older Threads and many other sewing magazines there are instructions for machine embroidery that is not so "instant", but just as pretty.  In my life style, I would never use all the embroidery designs used in these upscale machines. Also the different size hoops used by these machines are considered a necessity.  I just decided to go with the mechanical so that I had the zigzag features and use the embroidery skills that I developed by reading the directions in the books and magazines.  Make use of the different "feet", the great array of needles and I am happy as a lark, and paid under $1k on sale.  Be sure you have good support in your store whatever machine you buy, and that the sales persons have lots of experience in the machines.  When my friend got her new Pfaff the salespeople did not know how to take her through all the lessons needed for that machine (top of the line)  My sister-in-law is a computer expert, and still has trouble programming some of the programs for her new Pfaff.  I think this is endemic of technology advancing faster than we are really able to handle it.  So I just turn on the classical music and sew in peace, and wish you lots of joy on whatever you decide to purchase.  Jody

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