A Comparison of Any New Plastic Sewing Machine to Any Quality Vintage All Metal Sewing Machine – In One Sentence

Comparing a new plastic sewing machine of any brand to a vintage quality all metal sewing machine of any brand is like comparing a vintage Rolex watch to any other plastic watch in the world… I wouldn’t say it unless I believed it.

Published by pungoliving

First and foremost, I decided to share some of my experiences with vintage all metal sewing machines. It is a natural progression of my life experience exercising my hands and my mind. My background is a simple story... graduating High school, I wanted a trade. I landed an apprenticeship at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in welding. 5 years later after earning certification and working in many different environments, I decided to enroll in College and earn an Engineering. At the same time, I married a wonderful girl and started a new life. Graduating College with a degree in Structural Engineering, I began a 35 year career in the Federal Government. Along the way, we were blessed with 3 beautiful children. Earning a Masters degree in Engineering and registration as a Professional Engineer I worked for the benefit of my family and my Country. Over the years, I have pursued many different hobbies... woodworking, car mechanics, astronomy, and taking apart and putting together all sorts of things. Pretty much anything I could put my mind and my hands into. So now, many years later, I am retired and finally able to wile away my days at home with the love of my life. Her interests have always been in sync with mine, but spending so much free time with her, I realized how broad her talents are! One interest she is particularly fond of is sewing. It didn't take me long to put 2+2 together and realize that I could do something with this. So, acquiring, adjusting, servicing, and restoring sewing machines was a win-win. I have a hobby that is detailed, involves tinkering with precision engineered high quality manufactured machines, while she has an opportunity to sew on various different makes and models of sewing machines. While there are many that have information on line, and what I have to say more than likely has already been said, I wanted to contribute to that conversation and learning gleaned from my experience and research.

3 thoughts on “A Comparison of Any New Plastic Sewing Machine to Any Quality Vintage All Metal Sewing Machine – In One Sentence

    As well as several vintage beauties, I do have 3 modern machines, some which are better than others and one that I love because it has a HUGE harp space for quilting. However, they’ll never match the quality of my vintage machines, especially my vintage Kenmores. My “old ladies” will still be around for generations to com if well cared for, but the modern plastic/electronic machines will be fodder for the recycling plant long before that.
    I once saw a Japanese (or maybe Chinese) video of a man who pulled a rusty wreck of an old Singer, or perhaps a Singer clone, out of a lake! He took it completely apart, removed all the rust and debris. He cleaned every single bit, oiled it, repainted it and it works beautifully.


  2. I really appreciate this blog. I just bought a 158.19412 today and it smells like old grease, so I knew I was going to need to go in and replace the grease, but I’ve only ever cleaned up one old Singer 15-91, and this is a whole ‘nother animal. Thanks for making it so easy on me. The only thing that gives me pause is taking apart the motor. I’m not comfortable with that and am thinking about just hiring someone to do the whole reconditioning.


    1. Hello Joy,

      I’m glad you found my post helpful! The gears on these vintage machines always need the grease replaced. The machine runs quieter too.

      If you don’t feel comfortable taking the motor apart, it definitely needs to be oiled. Some machines sit for years, and the motor oil felt dries up. The motor tells us to use 3 drops of sewing machine oil every 6 months, but I would recommend that you use 7-8 drops at each oil hole location to recharge the felts.

      If the motor runs then you really don’t need to do anything to it. I make it a part of a restoration for completeness. Kenmore motors are very durable and in the worst case, there are plenty of Kenmore motors available on Ebay if you need one.

      Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance and have a wonderful day!


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