Anyone who sews, whether a prolific seamstress, or someone who needs a sewing machine for mending a torn seam or hemming a pair of pants now and then knows the value of having a sewing machine that will make a great seam without causing you to pull your hair out just to get it to stitch!
Through the years I've come to realize what a treasure the old sewing machines are. My very favorite machine is the Singer 301. Probably the most popular of collectible sewing machines is the Singer Featherweight.
Both the Featherweight and the 301 are fantastic machines, and in my biased opinion, two of the best machines ever made. The 301 weighs approximately 16 pounds vs. the 11 pound Featherweight. The 301 is gear driven vs. the Featherweight being belt driven. The feed dogs can be dropped on the 301 for free motion quilting, whereas the Featherweight feed dogs cannot be dropped. Both can come in a convenient carrying case, though the 301 machines were often sold with a cabinet instead of a carrying case. Both only do a straight stitch, though there is an attachment for the 301 that allows it to make a few decorative type stitches.
Almost all of my sewing is done on the 301. The stitch quality is always perfect! There's nothing that can go wrong with either a 301 or a Featherweight that my husband cannot fix, and he is not a sewing machine repairman!
Due to the Featherweight being in such high demand as a collectible, they're often very expensive. In our area, the 301 machines are more readily available for a reasonable price. I've seen them from $30 to $150.
And, if you're a serious lover of sewing machines, you want to be on the lookout for a treadle machine. I have this White model that works great. I don't use it but my grandma had a Singer treadle and she taught me to sew on that old treadle. If ever we're without power for an extended amount of time, you can bet this machine will be sewing up a storm!
When you find yourself in the market for a sewing machine, the new ones are shiny and make lots of stitches you may never use, and the cost of new machines may cause you to do a double take. Don't overlook an older model machine, especially those made in the 50s. They're definitely worth having.