Do You Know When to Replace Your Old Sewing Machine?

Replace Your Old Sewing MachineAll sewing enthusiasts can agree, it's very difficult to decide when to change or replace your old sewing machine.

Imagine using that same sewing machine for decades, and all the memories that attach to it. What if you inherited the machine from your Mom or even your GrandMa? Wouldn’t that make the value of the sewing machine as even more priceless and difficult to replace?

However, a certain time will come that you have to let go of that old sewing machine that you've had for decades because YOU JUST HAVE TO. Now, here are some tips to help you know and decide when to replace your old sewing machine.

1.  When you have to pay a huge amount over and over just for repairs

You know it is time to replace your sewing machine when the total costs of repair start to come close to the price of a brand new machine.  It’s impractical to keep spending large amounts of money on repairs and you'll end up not finishing your sewing projects on time. If sewing is a serious hobby, or especially if you sew to sell, then you should consider replacing your sewing machine as soon as possible.

Replace Your Old Sewing Machine

2.  When you always ruin your project instead of finishing it

If you have a sewing deadline to beat:  dresses ordered by a friend, repairs from a neighbor etc. But your sewing machine just won’t cooperate with you.  Instead of helping you finish off your projects, it just keeps ruining them. When this still happens even after you spent the time and money to bring your machine to a repair shop and still nothing improves, it’s time to get a new one.  This will undoubtedly lessen your stress and help you make much higher quality work.

Replace Your Old Sewing Machine

3.  When your machine is older than your Grandma and you just have to get an upgrade

Nothing is wrong with keeping good memories by hanging onto your old sewing machine.  As all our reader's world know, I'm absolutely a fan of vintage sewing machines. But, if you can afford it and you want to explore new trends in sewing, you should think about getting an upgrade to get with the latest sewing technology.  With a number of key new additions to the basic sewing machine, you'll definitely find more and better uses for it.  The latest sewing machines come with lightweight features, computerized functions, and many other amazing things that both make your life easier and your sewing better.

Replace Your Old Sewing Machine

If you're now convinced you need a new sewing machine, I've got a couple resources for you:

Here's a quick and easy guide we put together a while about with all kinds of tips for buying a new sewing machine:

10 Tips for Buying a Sewing Machine

Secondly, here's a terrific site a friend of mine is putting together. It gives the best advice and reviews in all things sewing machines.

Let us know in the comments below if you have other ways to know that it's time to replace your old sewing machine!

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17 Responses to Do You Know When to Replace Your Old Sewing Machine?

  1. Cheryl says:

    I have an early 70’s singer, with only a straight stitch and zigzag. But it is more heavy duty than any heavy duty home machine in the last 10 years, or more. There are no plastic parts in it. It weighs about 15-20lbs. I use it for heavy duty sewing and it doesn’t miss a beat. I also have a singer talent 3323 with 20 stitches, compared to the old singer, there is no comparison. It feels cheap and I have had so many issues with it. If I take that talent in to be checked for timing issues, it would cost more than it’s worth and it’s not an old machine. Never have had an issue with the old singer.

    • Mayra Cecilia says:

      Hi, Cheryl would you be so kind to send me pictures of your machine so I can add them to a new article I am doing about old great sewing machines, I will give you credit. If you are able to share please send them on landscape mode using natural light to

  2. Yianna says:

    I have a 1957 Bernina Rekord…it still serves me well; I’m the second owner, it has travelled from the UK to Zambia to Rhodesia to Johannesburg, back to the UK then on to Cape Town – and me! I look after it, replaced the motor once and the belt twice. I’ve also been told by a technician that it’s worth more than a new one!

  3. Seeds to Sew says:

    I still use my 28yrs old Bernina 1630, 16 yrs old Artista 180E, and my vintage machines. They all have their favorite things to sew/quilt/appliqué/etc and they do it very well. So, I kept all of mine. Some of the vintage sewing machine I will donate to young people whom love sewing.

  4. Tiff Qwiltz says:

    I’m another vintage sewing machine user, I had a modern machine when I first started quilting and killed 3 in 3 years! My machines are all pre-1963. My oldest machine is 1911 and the newest is 1963, I have 12 and rotate them in use. I have a 1948 Featherweight, 2 1951 Singer 301’s a long and short bed which are my absolute favorites of the bunch, I piece and quilt on those machines. I just taught myself how to treadle on a 1927 Singer. I wouldn’t have a modern machine again, they just sound so odd, they are so fussy and just can’take handle thick layers.

  5. Andrea Letourneau says:

    I feel I’m the “odd one out”… I have 14 sewing machines, a 15-needle embroidery machine and 2 sergers and still occasionally shop for more to add to my collection. The Vintage ones are great for projects that require obscure attachments (that modern machines no longer come with), and the modern ones serve me well when I have the urge to use a variety of fancy stitches. I think of sewing machines like potato chips: you can’t stop at one…

    • Peggy Flowers says:

      I agree with you, Andrea! I have 13 antique & vintage Singers, and 2 new computerized machines. I hardly ever use the new sewing machines!

  6. Eleonora Reeves says:

    I have 3 pre-1970 machines. All 3 are all metal. My mom’s machine ( a Necchi super nova with cams) was used to make custom draperies and slip covers for over 20 years. The only thing mom ever did was service it annually and oil in between. It still sews like the day she bought it. I have a 2nd Necchi , bought used and it does not sew as good as mom’s. Still a good machine but I prefer to use mom’s for delicate fabrics and ornate work. I also have a Universal. A good but average machine. I am considering keeping mom’s machine and selling the other 2. Any takers or suggestions on the best way to find a new home for the 2 machines.?

    • Fonda Rush says:

      There are plenty of ways to sell a machine. Here’s the start of a list: Craigslist, Facebook selling pages, talk to the people at a sewing machine repair store — sometimes they do consignments, talk to sewing friends — but don’t sell to them if the machines are less than perfect, local classified ads, leave flyers at the places where they are allowed — churches, with quilters/sewing groups, the grocery store, etc., and the list goes on. You might want to keep one as a spare for when your other is in for servicing. Best wishes. Fonda

  7. Yvonne Jinks says:

    I sew everyday and I own a 1963 Brother, one of the first swing needle domestic machines and a top of the line Janome. Yes my Janome is wonderful and it can do some amazing things but when I come to more challenging fabrics, thicker, tougher the Brother runs circles around the Janome. I have owned the Brother since 1963 and in all that time I have never had a mechanical problem, yes you need to keep it oiled (which you can do yourself) and occasionally it is serviced. My Janome is in every year to be serviced and oiled, if I do not it starts to sound strange. There is nothing more wonderful than sewing on a vintage machine, it has a feel and sound of for me the perfect sewing room. Even my Janome technician has told me not to sell my Brother, his words – they do not make them like that any more

  8. Denise says:

    I have two computerized Berninas, but the machine I use most is the 1938 Singer Featherweight that my husband gave me a few years ago. Nothing beats it for reliability. I make quilts, clothes for my granddaughter, and costumes for our local community theater on it. I can do mist adjustments and repairs to the machine myself. I don’t think that you can determine whether or not a machine has to be replaced solely on its age. It has far more to do with the quality of the machine. A machine mass produced with plastic parts is not going to last, but a well made all metal machine made decades ago can last a lifetime and be passed on to the next generation.

  9. Linda says:

    Depends on what you are sewing… if clothing etc where you need the fancy stitches then yes buy the best new machine you can afford. However if you only need straight stitch and basic zigzag, then the all metal Singers et al are way to go or like me, I have several Pfaff 1222’s that do me, all from the late ’70’s. I only use straight stitches and zigzags. I found I only used the “other” stitches on my Janome so rarely it wasn’t worth the storage. Planning on selling it and buying a Pfaff Passport which I’m hoping will give me the best of both worlds. Of course, for sewing quilts together nothing beats my Singer Featherweights.

  10. Judie Mixson says:

    I do bridal alterations and I sew anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day and I use only vintage machines. I purchased a newer machine a year or so ago and it’s already been replaced with a vintage machine. The newer machines CAN NOT keep up with the work load. I LOVE the old machines with ALL METAL PARTS.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      I am with you, I have a “new” machine less than a year old when keep giving me a headache. I just found thrown in a tip an old machine with no motor. Will let you know if I am it to work.

  11. I have a beautiful newer viking that I love. But when I need something with a bit more backbone to it, I pull out my old Singer 401a. It truly is my go to machine. Great article it really points out some very common issues we all find ourselves dealing with.

    My old Kenmore was a machine that constantly had nearly everything going on mentioned. I bought it brand new and right out of the box it was a real headache. There just was no fix for it, but I didn’t realize that for over a year. I was new to sewing and assumed it was operator error. I knew I made the right decision by getting rid of it and buying a new machine.

  12. junequilt says:

    So sorry to disagree, but I love vintage sewing machines and believe they rarely need replacing. There is nothing like a vintage (pre-1970) all-metal machine for making quilts and other projects that require only straight stitches. These machines were built to last (unlike today’s mostly plastic machines with breakable nylon gears) and you can learn to clean and service them yourself, which saves beaucoups of $$$ that you could be spending on fabric!

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