|Singer Stylist 457|
Now, I didn't go out seeking this machine, but it just "found" me at a thrift store. It was less than $20 and I knew before I bought it that it would almost certainly need new gears. Sure enough, before I even tried to run it, I opened it up and found this bad boy (on the right) lurking inside. This is the top gear that turns the vertical shaft that drives the machine.
|Gear on the right has crumbled to pieces, but it's worth replacing.|
Happily, these gears are still available and only cost about $10 so I was able to replace it. That's basically all it took to get this machine back in tip-top condition. Of course I also had to time the hook after I was done, but that isn't as mysterious as it sounds and it worked out fine. The stitches are actually pretty nice.
|Nice stitching, can't complain.|
All it does is straight, zigzag, and blind stitch, but for 99% of your sewing that's all you'll ever need. It has three needle positions, so you can make your four-step buttonholes, and it takes a twin needle so you can hem your knits or even make a little decorative stitching.
In spite of being a rotary hook machine, this isn't the fastest or quietest machine I've ever used, but it gets the job done. (Surprisingly, the 237 Fashion Mate, a cheaper machine in its day and with a vertical oscillating hook, runs smoother than this one.)
If you happen to come across one of these for under $50, it might be worth your while to pick it up even knowing that you'll most likely have to replace the top gear. If you DIY, it's just $10 for the price of the gear and less than an hour of your time.
I don't need more sewing machines around the house, but it is kinda cool to be able to "rescue" them from a thrift store where people just chuck their old machines that no longer work. Bringing them back to life so they can be used again is very rewarding.