Vintage Sewing Machines 101

If you’re interested in vintage sewing machines, you’ve come to the right place!

First, let me explain what I mean by “vintage sewing machine”, these are the all metal, built-to-last, sewing machines that your mother or grandmother used for sewing. These quality sewing machines are not only still available at inexpensive prices, but as they are all mechanical, you can restore and maintain them yourself!

I’ll admit that I have way too many vintage sewing machines, and I’m always looking to add more to my collection, but when I first started purchasing them I knew almost nothing about vintage sewing machines. I didn’t know where to find them, I didn’t have information about various models and what price I should pay for them and I certainly didn’t know how to fix them at all. I knew that I’d have to learn more about them and it took me a long time reading information and researching these machines online to get the knowledge I have today.

The good news is that I have taken all that hard-won knowledge from buying way too many vintage sewing machines and used it to create Vintage Sewing Machines 101 where you can learn everything you need to buy, restore, and use your own vintage sewing machine. During the course, I take you step-by-step through the four steps to acquire a vintage sewing machine:

  • Choose – Decide on a model
  • Find – Find and evaluate a vintage sewing machine before purchase
  • Restore – Repair, restore, and maintain your machine
  • Use – Use your "new" sewing machine

The course is organized into chapters for each of the Four Steps plus a Welcome section and a Bonus section.

  • Welcome – This section (as you are finding out) describes the content included in the course and how it is organized.
  • Step 1 - Choose helps you decide on which model is best for you. It steps you through the process of determining what type of vintage sewing machine suits you and provides in-depth descriptions from Kim’s collection of vintage sewing machines to help you make your decisions.
  • Step 2  Find teaches you how to find and evaluate a vintage sewing machine prior to purchase. It describes that best places to search for a vintage sewing machine and how to assess a specific machine to ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase.
  • Step 3  Restore demonstrates how to restore your machine to working condition and to make it look beautiful again. You will learn techniques for simple repairs, restoration, and maintenance to ensure that your new sewing machine gives you years of pleasure.
  • Step 4 - Use features Kim using vintage sewing machines from her personal collection to create two simple projects. You'll be able to see these machines in action as  Kim works through each project.
  • Guides – The Guides provide similar information as the videos  in an eBook format. The Guides are useful if you want to look up something quickly or if you prefer learning from the written word. Guide files are in pdf formats and are downloadable so you can print them out for easy reference.
  • Reference Documents - There are additional reference documents and worksheets in each of the steps that contain more information.
  • Bonus – The bonus materials contain a guide to help you determine how much to pay for your vintage sewing machine, a guide to help you sell (heaven forbid!) a machine, and a few entertaining videos demonstrating how NOT to treat your vintage sewing machine.

Vintage Sewing Machines 101 will ensure that you have all the information you need to have a fully functional vintage sewing machine that you will love to use for stitching. You will be able to zero in on which model(s) is best suited for your type of sewing. You will know where to find a machine for sale and how to evaluate it before you spend your hard-earned money. Once you get it home you will know how to give it some Tender Loving Care to restore it to prime operating condition. I know that this step can seem a bit daunting, but it’s really not that hard and well worth the effort as these amazing sewing machines will last for decades. Finally, you will have the confidence to use your vintage sewing machine to create your projects.

The best way to view the content is by streaming it online because the software presents the information in a logical format that will keep you on track, however all the videos, references, and guides can be downloaded so that you can keep them forever.

The section further down this page contains the curriculum for the course and samples of what you will see when you purchase the course.

I talk a lot about vintage SINGER® sewing machines in the course. The concepts that I teach you will apply to any vintage sewing machine but I prefer to focus on SINGER® because of the number of machines and spare parts that are available. I would recommend that anyone who is just starting to purchase vintage sewing machines limit their search to SINGER® models.

I also offer separate courses for each of the four steps for those of you who may already have experience with vintage sewing machines only need more information on one specific step. If you want all the information in one package, including the bonus items, I would recommend enrolling in Vintage Sewing Machines 101.

It won’t be long before you are ready to buy one of your own.

I’m thrilled to share Vintage Sewing Machines 101 with you and I’m sure that it will give you the confidence and knowledge to pursue your perfect vintage sewing machine.

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  • Kim Jamieson-Hirst

    About the Instructor

    Kim Jamieson-Hirst has been a quilter and a teacher for over 15 years. She has an eclectic taste in quilting and has tried everything from appliqué to piecing and embroidery. Along the way she also picked up an obsession with collecting vintage sewing machines.Kim started Chatterbox Quilts in 2008 with a line of quilting, hand embroidery, and soft toy patterns. Over the past several years Kim has transitioned to creating YouTube and Facebook Live videos, blogging, as well as hosting Facebook groups focusing on inspiring and encouraging quilters through education. Currently Kim enjoys sharing her quilting adventures through her videos, blog, and her Reclaim the Joy column in Quilter's Connection magazine.Kim has taught exclusively online since 2014 with the release of courses on appliqué, hand embroidery, and vintage sewing machines. In addition, she hosts online quilt alongs using videos and Facebook groups to engage with members from around the world.

    Kim Jamieson-Hirst

See what others are saying

“Thank you for your enthusiasm and knowledge! I acquired a vintage Singer sewing machine and now am excited to learn more about it and actually use it!”


“Thanks, you delivered an excellent presentation and have motivated me to buy a vintage sewing machine.”

Rochelle G

“I loved this program , and I own 5 vintage sewing machines I can actually sew on and I love them all. Yes I have a "modern " one also, but hardly use it. I especially love my treadle machine.”

Florence S.

Course curriculum

All the details and some free lessons for you to try out

  • 01
    Show details
    • Welcome!
  • 02
    Step 1 - Choose
    Show details
    • Welcome to Step 1
    • Lesson 1 - Why Buy a Vintage Sewing Machine (2:00)
    • Lesson 2 - 5 Reasons to Buy a Vintage Sewing Machine (8:28)
    • Lesson 3 - Singer Sewing Company History (5:04)
    • Lesson 4 - Vintage Sewing Machine Categories (6:05)
    • Lesson 5 - Considerations (13:22)
    • Lesson 6 - The Classics - 99K, 221, 222K (19:18) FREE PREVIEW
    • Lesson 7 - The Classics - 201 & 15-91 (10:32)
    • Lesson 8 - The Transitionals - 301 & 301A (6:36)
    • Lesson 9 - The Transitionals - 401 & 500 (11:07)
    • References for Vintage Sewing Machines (Reference)
    • Information On Machines in Kim's Collection (Reference)
  • 03
    Step 2 - Find & Evaluate
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    • Welcome to Step 2
    • Lesson 1 - Where to Buy (10:50)
    • Lesson 2 - Doing Your Research (7:17)
    • Lesson 3 - Assessment Tool Kit (6:54)
    • Lesson 4 - Initial Assessment (10:58) FREE PREVIEW
    • Lesson 5 - Check the Moving Parts (9:01)
    • Lesson 6 - Typical Feet & Attachments (11:11)
    • Lesson 7 - Rare Attachments (3:00)
    • Lesson 8 - Miscellaneous Accessories (2:36)
    • Lesson 9 - Attack of the Attachments (0:37)
    • Assessing a Vintage Sewing Machine Cheat Sheet (Worksheet)
    • Your Vintage Sewing Machines Grid (Worksheet)
  • 04
    Step 3 - Restore, Repair, & Maintain
    Show details
    • Welcome to Step 3
    • Lesson 1 - Safety & Tools for Restoring (8:03)
    • Lesson 2 - Cleaning Your Machine (19:23)
    • Lesson 3 - Restoring Your Case (8:11) FREE PREVIEW
    • Lesson 4 - Pad Replacement (4:21)
    • Lesson 5 - Bobbin Winder and Light Bulb Replacement (4:19)
    • Lesson 6 - Wiring & Cord Repair (9:01)
  • 05
    Step 4 - Use Your Vintage Sewing Machine
    Show details
  • 06
    Show details
    • Welcome to Guides
    • Vintage Sewing Machines Guide
    • The Collection Guide FREE PREVIEW
    • Find a Vintage Sewing Machine Guide
    • Restore Your Vintage Sewing Machine Guide
    • Projects for Vintage Sewing Machines Guide
  • 07
    Show details
  • 08
    Dan the Quilter Man
    Show details

Sign Up For $39.99

If you have always wanted to know more about vintage sewing machines, but didn’t know where to find this information, Vintage Sewing Machine 101 is the program for you. In this program, you’ll get video instructions, downloadable guides, reference sheets, as well as 2 additional bonuses. No other program has all of this detailed information in one package.

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Answers to all your questions

  • What is a Vintage Sewing Machine?

    For the purposes of this course, these are all metal, straight stitch, quality sewing machines manufactured before 1960.

  • Why should I buy a vintage sewing machine?

    Vintage sewing machines are durable, reliable machines that fit the needs of most sewists. They will last for decades and are still readily available and inexpensive to purchase.They are beautifully crafted and you can restore and maintain them yourself.

  • Why should you buy this course?

    With Vintage Sewing Machines 101 you will save time and money when you are ready to purchase your first, or next, vintage sewing machine. You won’t have to struggle for hours trying to find information on vintage sewing machines: I’ve provided all of this information for you in the course.

    The content in Vintage Sewing Machines 101 can be accessed at your convenience. Unlike a “live” class, you won’t have to keep up with the teacher: you can stop the videos at any time and review any sections you wish. The program includes guides that can be printed out – or not – which means you don’t have to take any notes as you work your way through the program. We’ve done the notetaking for you!

    Vintage Sewing Machines 101 includes the best of both worlds: you can watch the videos or read the guides, whichever you prefer. You can always do both – the choice is up to you.

    Vintage Sewing Machines 101 is a digital product which means you can access the guides and videos anywhere, at any time. You can download the content and it is yours to keep and refer to forever.

  • Who should buy this course?

    If you are interested in acquiring a vintage sewing machine, but don’t know where to start, Vintage Sewing Machines 101 is the course for you.

    If you already have a vintage sewing machine, but don’t know much about it, then Vintage Sewing Machines 101 will get you up to full speed on the wonderful world of vintage sewing machines.

  • Who shouldn’t buy this course?

    Hard-core vintage sewing machine collectors or restorers who already know everything about older sewing machines should not buy this course. You may, however, want to purchase one of the separate courses to enhance your knowledge in a specific area.

  • Will I enjoy the program?

    We certainly hope so! If you are interested in vintage sewing machines, this program is for you. Check out the Course Curriculum section of this page to find a sample of the content in Vintage Sewing Machines 101.

  • Will this program help me buy and restore any brand of sewing machine?

    In the program, I use SINGER® sewing machines to demonstrate the techniques and information. SINGER® sewing machines are still easy to find, inexpensive to buy, and you can easily find replacement parts. While I can’t guarantee that Vintage Sewing Machines 101 will provide you with sufficient information to fix any make of vintage sewing machine, similar principles apply to most vintage sewing machines.