So I've been itching to get a second machine for a while now. I've been using the same Janome that my mother used when I was a child for a couple years now. It's overdue for a servicing, but I haven't had a time where I've been not sewing long enough to get my butt into gear about doing it. I've been looking at the expensive Pfaff and Vikings, and pining over all the cool feet and features. I hadn't and still can't justify the price. That's a new lens for my photography business, that's money that could go towards our current home remodel, or the wedding and honeymoon. But seeing as my current machine is nearly 20 years old, I wanted something reliable. I made a list of all the features I actually use on my machine and was really surprised at how little I actually utilize the "fancy stitches and feet". Things I actually use when I sew: Straight stitch, zig zag stitch, stretch stitch, twin needle, and my auto button hole maker. With that meager list, basically any sewing machine in the world would work. The only thing I really wanted to upgrade was maybe a faster sewing speed and a more mechanical machine. While my computerized machine is awesome, I feel like I'd be able to solve any issues that came up with a mechanical machine on my own. I'm firmly team "make do and mend" when I'm able too. Just ask my oven, I've fixed it twice!
So I've been stalking craigslist and some local auction sites where I scored this heavy duty Singer 4423 machine for $20. It was "Broken" when I received it, meaning someone had somehow bent the needle threader bar and caught it around the back of the presser foot. I figured if I couldn't fix it I'd be out $20, and if I could I'd save a couple hundred on a new machine. I used the very scientific method of a pipe cutter and brute force to remove the bent bar, and sacrifice the needle threader on the machine. There was no way I could remove it otherwise with how badly bent it was. I've never used the needle threader on my old machine, and haven't missed it yet. Since I've been sewing a lot of knits recently and use my sewing machine mainly for the twin needle, so it's not like I could use the threader with that anyway. I did tinker with a screw to realign the needle a bit as well.
It works amazingly now! I've been sewing with it for a week and I have no complaints yet. The only feature I miss is the auto up down needle button on my Janome, but I think that's more muscle memory than anything. It's nice to have a machine go much more quickly too!
So far I'd reccomend this machine, it's even easy to repair on your own.