The Kenmore I'm writing about is on the table on the right. Please note the Sonic cup next to the machine. Diet Cherry Limeade is an indispensable sewing accessory. The newer looking white machine on the windowsill is a Simplicity cheapo which I can whole-heartedly recommend you NOT purchase. It did not last through a couple of months of very light sewing. The Kenmore next to it cost me $25 on Craigslist and came with bunches of feet and cams. Unfortunately it is stuck in reverse and needs a repair! Inside the table under the Kenmore on the right is a 1960s Singer that came with only a straight-stitch foot, but it makes a lovely straight stitch, and it also came with the table, all for $20!
What brand and model do you have? Mid-1970s Kenmore, model number 158-19411.
How long have you had it? My mother in law got it in 1974 or so, used it fairly heavily for a few years, and then packed it away until this past January when I dug it out of storage and put it back to work!
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? Machines like this can easily be found on Craigslist or at garage sales for anywhere from $20-$50 depending on whether there are any feet, a manual, etc.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? All of the above! I make simple skirts for myself and my two daughters, I've made a few bags, some pillow covers and am currently working on my first quilt!
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I try to sew a few times a week. This machine has never had a tune up (*gasp!*I know, I know) and still runs beautifully. I have sewn everything from quilter's cotton to several layers of heavy canvas with no problems.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I wish I had more accessories, but it doesn't bother me enough that I've really actively sought out any. It is finicky about switching stitches, but I have a serger so rarely use this for anything more than straight stitches. And I'm sure a tune up would help with it's grumpiness in that area. My machine does not have a name and while I am quite fond of her, I wouldn't say she's the love of my life.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? It was free!
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? There are times when it flat out refuses to switch from a straight stitch to anything else, and I wish I had a few more feet.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! As I said, it was my mother in law's machine, and when I got it out of storage it was full of bits of navy blue lint. I mentioned it to my mother in law and she said it must be from a pair of overalls she made for my husband when he was a toddler! I like making things for my daughters on the same machine that sewed clothes for their Daddy.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Yes, definitely, especially if you are a beginner and are not ready/willing/able to invest a lot in a machine. These older machines are workhorses and are very forgiving. They don't have a lot of bells and whistles but they definitely get the job done!
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? Think about what you REALLY need in a machine. There are tons of awesome features that would be really nice to have, but especially if you are on a tight budget, a lot of those features are fluff that you can easily live without.
Do you have a dream machine? Yep- All that talk about fancy features and living without them? Yeah, whatever-- I want the Babylock Quilter's Choice. *droooooool*