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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you have an old Singer 15-91? I'm about 90% sure that I want to get one. I want a rock solid, work horse of a machine that I can do all the maintenance on myself, and that I can be fairly certain will last the remainder of my life.
 

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My mother had one of these. I think she got it in the 50s. She sewed most of her clothes and all of my sister's and my clothes on it, and we both learned to sew on it. It held up with all three of us using it through the 50s, 60s and 70s until my sister and I got our own machines. Then my mother still used it up until the late 80s, when my stepdad talked her into getting a "better" machine.

If I had known, I would have bought that one from her, but didn't know until it was a done deal. She traded it in on a so-called top of the line White machine that never did work right and wouldn't handle anything heavier than light cotton without jamming up and messing up the tension and breaking thread, plus it had a movable needle, and any time you tried to stretch out elastic to sew it would pull the needle to the wrong side and snap it right off! She hated that machine and pretty much gave up sewing after that.

The old Singer was used for quilts, blue jeans, fake fur, vinyl, oilcloth, even naugahyde without a problem. It would sew over five or six layers of fabric without a pause. When I was a teenager, I taught myself how to clean it and replace parts on it, though it never needed much. There was also a buttonhole attachment made for it. It's a separate black oblong sort of box piece with a plate that you put on where your presser foot goes, then it had different sized "keys" to put in depending on which buttonhole you wanted. You just put your key in, set your needle at the start and press the pedal...perfect buttonholes every single time! I still think that made better buttonholes than any machine I've seen since then. There were also numerous feet you could buy for rolled hems, ruffling, etc.

I can't see where you could possibly go wrong with one of these. I have an awful lot of good memories of that machine. :)
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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I have two.

One is Alice, my daily machine. She was made in 1941, the year my grandmother got married.
She is beautiful yet strong. She goes forward and backward and will sew through multiple layers of denim and even leather... Or lace. ;)
Most of the time I use her for quilting--both piecing and free motion quilting.
And her simple, straight forward design makes her perfect to teach my children to sew.

15-91s are readily available. Don't spend too much for either the machine or the attachments (should you get them).
And you can definitely work on it yourself. The simplicity of vintage machines absolutely enthralls my husband. lol

I would (and do!) absolutely recommend not only a vintage Singer in general, but a 15-91 in particular. You'll love it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ladies, I actually decided on a Singer 201-2:
, very similar to the 15-91. I'm paying about double what I was planning on for it, but this one is an absolute peach and is being completely refurbished. I won't be paying for it until she's done refurbing it and has emailed me the photos, but I've told her I want it.

I'm pretty stoked about this baby, my christmas present from hubby!

I've been tossing around the idea of selling my Artista 730, and just keeping my 630 and this Singer when it comes.
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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Also an excellent machine. :)
Like i said, I always recommend vintage Singers in general. lol It's hard to go wrong. And when you can pick up perfectly good ones for $25-50, you can try out several and see which you like. ;)

But the 201 is considered by many to be the best machine Singer ever made. (i'm on the hunt for one!)
Personally, I wanted a 15-91 first, though as I wanted it for quilting. And it seems like the horizontal bobbin works better for that.

I'm glad your re-furbisher put the scrolled face plate on her though. I hate the striped face plates that usually went with the art deco era machines. But a scrolled face plate with all the shine still intact... It makes it a thing of beauty that modern machines will never be able to duplicate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Erin, I was really torn between the 2 machines, but decided that since I wasn't planning to do any free motion quilting with this machine, the bobbin setup on the 201 made more sense.

There's a picture of the actual machine I've bought on my blog, it does have the scrolled front as it's a 1947 model. Sometime in the 50's they went with the art deco look of the other plate cover.

By the way, the machine that I posted the image of here went for $470 on EBay.
 

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Trainer of kids, dogs and horses...fears nothing
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Yeah, to be sure the real deals are the ones you have to find in thrift shops, auctions, etc. But you can pick them up cheap on eBay too, so long as the seller doesn't really know what they have and doesn't put the model name/etc. in the description. ;)
Usually you'll have to do your own cleaning, timing, and shining of the nickel, though. (And too often, replacing of worn cords/wiring and even motors! Though those are cheap, too.)

Yours is an absolutely beautiful machine, CJ.
Are you going to put her in a cabinet?
 

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Big Front Porch advocate
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Merry Christmas CJ - that's a beautiful machine.
Reminds me of whatever I had as my first machine. I don't know what happened to it, and it had a long bullet sharp nosed bobbin case with a long narrow bobbin to put in it.

Angie
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Before I found the 201 I have coming, I placed a bid on Ebay for a 15-91 that looked to be in decent shape. I set a maximum bid of $100, and I'm still the th top bidder with one day to go, I might end up with it too! LOL

I'm sure someone will up the bid at the very end. I'm not raising mine since I have the 201 coming, but for $100 I'd be thrilled to get the 15-91 too! Hehe

Erin for now the machine will just be in a wooden base to set on a table. I don't have a cabinet. I'm still trying to figure out how to setup my sewing room in the new house. I really don't expect us to be in this house very long (3 years?) and I don't want to do anything permanent in here.
 
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