Ever thought about going back to the root of the art of sewing? This list of the best vintage sewing machines that we have compiled features great options for both collectors and avid sewers. Some of the machines have better options and features, while others appeal to collectors and older, more experienced sewers because of the old-school design.
It is important to know what you are looking for in a machine before buying one, so we suggest asking yourself what you are going to use the machine for and then read about each product on our list to then make a great decision. There are options for all budgets on this list so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Without further ado, check out these 7 different vintage options and read about what we like and don’t like about each one. Good luck!
Best Vintage Sewing Machines – 7 Possible Options For You!
1. JUKI TL-2010Q
This machine from Juki, the Juki TL-2010Q is a great choice when looking for a vintage product. This is considered one of the best vintage options out there on the market today. It is built with an aluminum frame so it is very sturdy. The frame makes the machine run very smoothly and doesn’t vibrate as much as some other options in this category. The machine has a big enough workstation — as well as an extra table — that big projects are going to be a breeze.
The 2010Q comes with a couple of different stitches, like straight, zig-zag, and decorative. It also offers many other features such as — a speed controller, an industrial sub-tension system, foot-controlled trimming system, automatic needle threader, thread tension cable, and many more.
The machine has an auto thread button that allows you to bobbin and cut easily. The LED light on this machine makes it a little more modern than some of the other options in this list and creates light for sewing in dark areas.
The machine weighs in at about 38 pounds so you might run into problems if you are wanting to get up and go with it. Many reviews state that the manual doesn’t necessarily make it easy to use.
Sample Customer Review… What a dream machine. I needed a straight stitch for piecing and the ability to quilt including free motion quilting. This is the machine. It is substantial. With a larger harp area, it is easy to see what you quilt. The table helps support larger items. It has a couple of more steps to thread than my Singer, but it was not difficult. I like the bobbin that loads from the side. The auto trim is neat. It snips top and bottom threads and doesn’t lose the bobbin thread. I am finding this to be a great feature. This is really a workhorse machine. The stitch is consistent and it feeds the piecing very well. The feed dogs take the fabric easily. I am really falling in love with this machine already. I debated on the price, but after quilting a lap quilt, which would have cost over $100 at the quilters, I feel it will pay for itself in no time. If this machine could talk it would say “Here, let me help you with that.” Love it!!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
2. BROTHER GX37 LIGHTWEIGHT SEWING MACHINE
This machine is a great option when thinking about a sewing machine to purchase. Brother is always rated high when it comes to sewing machines. The Vintage Brother GX37 is a very versatile option because it comes with… wait for it… 37 built-in stitches. This includes blind seams, stretch stitches, decorative seams, zig-zag stitches, and an auto-size buttonhole.
Some of the major features that the GX37 comes with are as follows. A drop-in bobbin, an automatic needle thread, a free arm with multiple functions to make all projects more efficient, twin needles, 6 sewing feet, 4 bobbins, and a set of 3-piece needles.
Another great part about this machine is the LED that it comes with. The LED helps make sewing more precise and makes sure that adjustments can be made in a timely manner. The Brother machine also comes with a manual and an instructional DVD that will help less experienced sewers. When buying a Brother product, it means you’re buying the warranty as well. It comes with a 25-year limited warranty.
Sample Customer Review… I love this machine! I took a very basic sewing class about 10 years ago and I was intimidated to try again but this machine is so easy to use. Love the needle threader, the extra feet, and the automatic bobbin drop-in feature. The stitching is nice and even. All over it is a great machine for beginners.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
3. BROTHER ST371HD VINTAGE SEWING MACHINE
Like the previous Brother product that we reviewed, this one has a great vintage style while also taking advantage of some of the newer features from newer models. It has a very retro design that could make for a cool present to an older, more experienced sewer who needs an upgrade.
The machine can handle a slew of fabrics and can tackle almost any project. This machine also has that Brother sturdy build and can handle sewing at high speeds without issue. With the 37 built-in stitches, it makes for a much more versatile machine than some of the others. The machine comes with an automatic needle threader, a drop-in top bobbin that helps prevent jamming and pushes the thread more smoothly. It also comes with an instructional DVD like the other Brother model.
It weighs around 14.5 pounds which means it is much more portable than some of the others on the list. We consider this one of the better options as well, because of that Brother warranty — 25 years is a great reason to consider this machine.
Sample Customer Review… Oh heck yeah! Great machine!! 5 layers of Sunbrella fabric, (sailboat canvas) and whizzed right through them. Sure, I slowed down when I reached thick seams, that’s just prudent, and the Brother ST731HD took on the task just as advertised. The self threader? Perfect. Looked over the directions, placed the thread in the proper position, and moved the lever per the instructions. Childs play. Thanks to the previous Amazon reviews on this machine, those are what inspired me to buy this product. 5 Stars.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
4. JANOME HD1000 SEWING MACHINE
This next machine from Janome is a great-looking product with many features that make for a good sewing machine. The Janome HD1000 comes with a 4 step buttonhole, which does most basic seams, and also has 14 built-in stitches. This is another machine that is made out of aluminum both inside and out which makes for another durable product. Combined with the 75-amp motor, this is a very strong machine.
This machine has a built-in needle threader which in turn makes for easier threading. It also comes equipped with a free arm and a drop feed. The free arm can be removed if needed. The HD1000 is also equipped with a 3-Piece Feed Dog system which allows the machine to work decently on thicker fabrics. The length and width of certain stitches can also be adjusted on this machine.
This machine like the other vintage options is also very heavy and could bring problems if you are planning on moving it around. Unlike the others, however, this machine is a great option for beginners looking to get into the craft.
Sample Customer Review… I always have loved Janome machines. I had a white one that I used for a very long time and sold it because I was not using it. I wish I wouldn’t have because I ended up needing a good machine again. I bought the black version of the hd1000 and it is like butter! A lot quieter than my Janome from 7 years ago. I love this machine and I will never part with it ever again! Very easy to use and it can sew super fast! And the seller shipped the sewing machine out so fast! Wow, I will be a customer for life.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
5. BARRACUDA 200ZW SEWING MACHINE
The Barracuda 200 ZW is the next vintage sewing machine that we recommend. The machine debuted in 2007 making it around 14 years old. The machine comes with 8 layers of sunbrella plus which means that it can work with thick fabrics.
The machine comes ready and able to sew multiple different stitch patterns like straight and zig-zag. This is standard in newer models but some older machines did not have an abundance of stitch patterns like they do now. The machine also comes equipped with a built-in speed reducer which makes it easy to control the speed of the machine while sewing.
Other features included with the machine are a reverse level, stitch width adjustment, and toothed belts and pulleys — all of which can help ease the process of sewing some larger projects.
This product is roughly 34 pounds, which again, is pretty heavy if you want to be able to move it around to either different places in the room or even take it on the road with you.
Sample Customer Reviews… Purchased this for 40 gauge boat isinglass window covers after trying three singer heavy duty sewing machines. This machine is a walking foot machine that can handle 40 gauge vinyl over an old canvas. It’s cheaper than the overpriced SailRite version and has a three-year warranty. The footing on a three-point stand is very tippy and I will buy the case. The power to sew into 2 layers of older canvas one older .40 isinglass and the new layer of isinglass is excellent.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
6. SINGER 221-1 SEWING MACHINE
This great retro machine is a thing of beauty to look at and is a machine that has stuck around for many years. It was first introduced to the world in the ’30s. You know a machine is great if it has withstood the test of time over and over for 90+ years! The machine is made of cast aluminum so it is just as durable as the newer models that Singer has come out within recent years.
The aluminum body, not unlike the other products that we have talked about, makes for a sturdy and stable product. Not a ton of vibrating to be seen from this machine – but then again, it also means that there will be a significant weight to it.
This machine comes with a simple lever that allows for adjustments to be made to the width and length of different seams. Being that it is 90 years old, there are not a ton of automated features. It also means that it is much rarer than the other products on the list. This makes for a much higher price point than the others as well. If you are looking to get this model, then it is for much smaller projects and very easy everyday tasks, and simple stitch patterns.
Sample Customer Review… This company did an outstanding job of getting my featherweight to me and the product was exactly as described! The packaging was incredibly secure. There are so many horror stories about the shipping of these treasures where the damage received in transit makes it irreparable. This company knows how to package the product so well that it arrives in perfect condition! I was thoroughly impressed! The machine is in very good condition and will be loved and cared for. So happy I made this purchase. I’ll be on the lookout for more of these treasures from this company! Thank you!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
7. 221K SINGER FEATHERWEIGHT MACHINE
This final product from Singer is very much like the last Vintage Singer machine that we had on the list. This one, however, comes with 24 built-in stitches and automatic buttonholes. The built-in stitches are much like the others that are offered on the list – straight, zig-zag, decorative, etc.
The build of the machine makes for another very sturdy and smooth product from Singer. Vibration when sewing should not be an issue while using this machine. This machine also comes with a decent amount of features for being as old as it is. It has a bobbin system and a drop system. It also comes with a “OneTouch” stitch feature.
It only weighs about 11 pounds so it is much lighter than some of the other options on the list. The design is almost identical to the previous SInger 221-1 and it looks incredibly cool. You can definitely tell that it’s Vintage — making it great for collecting and/or using!
Sample Customer Review… The Featherweight is splendidly designed and constructed. A half-size machine made from aluminum, it weighs slightly more than 11 pounds. It uses the same low-shank feet and accessories as full-size Singer sewing machines and comes with its own carrying case for easy transport and storage.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Buying Guide: What To Consider When Buying
These are all great options for people looking to either collect vintage products or to get a first-timer. However, choosing one might be difficult if you don’t know what you want in a machine – start by asking yourself what you need.
What features do I need to tackle the projects I want to do?
What is my budget?
How many different stitch patterns do I need to have built-in?
Some of these machines are better suited for tailors rather than people who are doing home decor projects or just sewing out of their living room. We address those concerns in each other’s product descriptions.
With all this new information that you have gained from reading this buying guide for the best vintage sewing machines, we hope that you can make an informed decision on the best choice for your needs. We have no doubt that one of these machines is the right one for you!
Written by Andrew D Amour
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Written by Andrew DAmour; Contributors: Alissa Buckley