Puns N Needles

Dispatches from my adventures: sewing, knitting, and otherwise.


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Reviewing my machines

Sew, Mama, Sew has asked their readers for sewing machine reviews.  I’m reviewing my three favorite sewing machines from my collection.

What brand and model do you have?

Necchi BU Nova (early 1950s)

Husqvarna Viking 6030 (early 1970s)

Singer 201-2 (early 1950s)

How long have you had it?

In the order that I acquired them…

Necchi BU Nova: four years – it was a gift from my parents when I finished graduate school. I had a 1970s Singer that kept going out of time which I wanted to replace.

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Necchi BU Nova set up for buttonholes

Husqvarna Viking 6030: one year

Singer 201-2: Nearly five months

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

Necchi BU Nova: This machine was freshly cleaned and refurbished by a fantastic OSMG in Providence, RI, and well worth $150.

Husqvarna Viking 6030: I was looking for a free-arm sewing machine for making purses and found this one on Craigslist for $100.

Singer 201-2: This was the ultimate bargain at $38, including a beautiful mid-century cabinet and various accessories including a buttonholer.

Yellow box was a separate purchase at the same antique mall.

Yellow box was a separate purchase at the same antique mall.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

My goal is that eventually, my wardrobe will be mostly made by me, so I sew clothes for myself. I have a lot of friends having babies right now and have been doing some baby quilts. I do the curtains in my house and have dabbled in sewing for profit.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

I would say that generally at least one of my sewing machines gets used every week. But I go through phases of being in production mode and putting them all through their paces, like when preparing for my wedding and making my new “jean” jacket with an awesome Craftsy class

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

Necchi BU Nova: Love it.  I was doing just fine with this as my only machine, and then I met my husband – a machinist who has six drill presses, among other things.  He’s helped me appreciate the value of having the proper tools and enabled me to build a collection of my own machines.

Husqvarna Viking 6030: Great machine. When I brought this home, I worried I wouldn’t use the Necchi any more. I’m still looking for a good female Viking name for her.

Would only sew straight when we got it home. Elbow grease got the pattern functions working.

Would only sew straight when we got it home. Elbow grease got the pattern functions working.

Singer 201-2: This sewing machine makes me feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. We found it on our honeymoon, and my sweetie helped me dis-assemble, clean and grease it, so I feel I know it better than the rest.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

Necchi BU Nova: I really like the controls on this machine. The levers for stitch length and width have a clever design.

Husqvarna Viking 6030: This machine has pattern stitches on four different selectors – including a blind hem stitch, which I really like.  Also, the inside of the case is pretty awesome.

Willie the cat enjoying a new box.

Willie the cat enjoying a new box.

Singer 201-2: Overall, this machine is amazing. It’s quiet, the direct-drive motor is strong and smooth, and doesn’t use belts – fewer parts to wear out!  Also: fantastic buttonholes.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

No. None of them.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

I would recommend all of these machines. They are all good, sturdy machines that will last forever when maintained properly.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Mostly how one plans to use the machine, and what the budget is.  I strongly prefer vintage machines (fewer plastic parts) at low prices – when I’ve spent $10 for a nearly new Necchi Esperia and $38 for a Singer 201-2, both with cabinets, I don’t want to spend much more than that for another machine.  I also have an OSMG, a skilled husband, and growing toolkit myself to maintain these “workhorses.”

Do you have a dream machine?

I would like to have a serger sometime.  And the machinist and I always have our eyes open for a $25 Featherweight and a $100 Pfaff 1222 at flea markets, yard sale and antique malls.