Vintage Sewing Machines

Are you in search of a sewing machine, how about a vintage model? If you stumbled upon an old cast-iron sewing machine at a yard sale, there’s a good chance you dismissed it, but did you know that vintage sewing machines almost always outlast modern machines? This is why we’ll be telling you about vintage sewing machines.

Naturally, after you start considering a vintage sewing machine, you will be confronted by the predicament of, what are the best antique and vintage sewing machines? It is safe to say that sewing machine technology has developed and expanded over time. But there’s something about vintage sewing machines that makes them special.

Before you step into the vintage sewing machine world, it is vital that you understand what you are looking for and the value of antique and vintage sewing machines. Learn more about vintage models and where can you find vintage sewing machines.

Vintage Sewing Machines FAQ’s

Do old sewing machines have any value?

Some collectible old sewing machines sell for a lot of money, but most antique and vintage machines have a typical price range of $50-$500. That said, if you’re an avid sewer, you probably value these old machines because of their durability more than their collectibility.

Who collects old sewing machines?

You could drop it off at a charity reseller, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or you could see if your community has any local charities or organizations that could benefit from a sewing machine.

What is the oldest brand of sewing machines?

  • A rare Gem-brand sewing machine produced by the White Sewing Machine Company, circa 1887.
  • The Bernina International model 105 was the company’s first sewing machine and was manufactured from 1932 to 1945.
  • An 1851 Singer sewing machine.

How much is an old Singer sewing table worth?

Singer; antique singer sewing machine values range from about $150 to well over $1,500 for the most desirable models. A Singer Red Eye treadle machine in a sewing table sold for $1,800 in 2020.

What is a Singer sewing machine worth?

Singer sewing machine models typically sell for $50-$500, depending on the model and its collectibility. That said, you can also find rare collectible models that sell for over $2,000. In general, antique and vintage sewing machine value depends on the year of production, the rarity of the machine, and its condition.

What makes a sewing machine antique or vintage?

Sewing machines made before 1900 are called antique, while those made between 1900 and 1970 are typically considered vintage. The 1980s form a bit of a grey area. Many models began incorporating circuit boards and computerized features around this time, which makes them more modern.
You might also find some discrepancy in the use of the term “antique.” Experts differ on whether anything made more than a hundred years ago wins that designation or if the item has to have been made pre-1900.

What are the characteristics of vintage sewing machines?

  • Straight Stitch: Most antique machines only sew straight stitches. Though this may seem to limit at first, the advantage these machines have over modern machines is that they can easily stitch through thicker fabrics, and they last a long time.
  • Zigzag: Computerized machines can offer hundreds or thousands of stitching patterns because, well, computers. In earlier days, sewing machines used small, flat rounds called cams to create stitching patterns. Each cam sends the needle bar in a specific pattern to create just one type of stitch. Some older machines may contain one cam. Some have several. Some allow you to insert or swap out dozens of different cams to create unique designs like tiny dinosaurs or puppies.
  • Treadle Sewing Machines: You can think of treadle sewing machines as the ice-age era of the sewing machine world. Before sewing machines could run on electricity, they used a foot peddle, called a treadle, to turn a flywheel and power the components of the machine.

Are vintage sewing machines better?

Depending on your needs, vintage sewing machines can have some important advantages over modern machines. While they don’t have a wide variety of stitch options or computerized features, there are some ways they outshine their modern counterparts.

Why should you choose a vintage machine?

  • Durability: Vintage sewing machines are made well. These machines have been around for a long time, and they are extremely durable.
  • Heavy-duty build: Many vintage models can handle heavy-duty sewing with ease. If you need to sew a lot of denim, leather, and other heavy materials, a vintage sewing machine could be perfect for you.
  • Simplicity: Some sewers prefer the simplicity of vintage machines over the complexity of computerized models with lots of stitches. Vintage sewing machines tend to be user-friendly.
  • Environmental friendliness: Some vintage sewing machines operate without electricity, making them great for using where you don’t have power handy. They are a greener choice, as well, since they don’t harm the environment.
  • Beauty: The best vintage sewing machines are much more beautiful than their modern counterparts. They provide a conversation piece in your home in addition to fulfilling a practical role.

What to keep in mind when choosing a vintage sewing machine?

  • Check for damage: surface dings and scratches are inevitable, but do the mechanics still function?
  • Is anything rusted; if so, what is the complexity to replace the damaged part(s)?
  • Many sellers outline the current functionality of their machine; but if they don’t, ask questions.
  • Make sure to check the machine if you need a specific type of stitch, antique machines often only have one type.

Vintage Sewing Machines

Antique French Sewing Machine, Hand Crank

Antique French Sewing Machine, a very old hand-crank model from the 1800s.

Black Cast Iron body with gold decor. There is a little screw in front, which when unscrewed, the machine lifts up and backward to reveal a drawer for attachments. There are 2 old attachments with a needle holder.

Very old antique sewing machine which could be restored by a skilled technician if desired or display as is to create a vintage look to any room or storefront.

vintage sewing machines: Antique French Sewing Machine, Hand Crank


  • Vintage from the 19th century
  • Cast Iron with Gold Decal Decoration
  • Hand Crank

Rare 1800s Antique White Sewing Machine Head

This is a Singer Sewing Machine Head Model 66 ‘Red Eye’. Very hard to find. The serial number is 252369. The shuttle and needle are missing.

The wheel drives the needle to assemble easily. Some chipped paint.

vintage sewing machines: Rare 1800s Antique White Sewing Machine Head


  • Vintage from the 19th century

Rare OPEL Antique sewing machine ca. 1896

Antique sewing machine by OPEL was built about 1896. The machine is in excellent condition for its age and is a collector’s item with high value. It was used for about 100 years in a single household.

This sewing machine is a piece with absolute rarity value. The sewing machines built by OPEL were technically sophisticated, but could not sustainably prevail over the far more common SINGER machines.

The machine is suitable as an antique piece of furniture and is a real eye-catcher. On the other hand, if you want to sew with it for nostalgic reasons, you can do so.

vintage sewing machines: Rare OPEL Antique sewing machine ca. 1896


  • Sewing table wood
  • Iron inlays
  • From the 19th century

Working Antique Singer Sewing Machine / Early 1900s Portable Sewing Machine

Antique Sew Machine 1920s sewing machine singer sewing machine portable sewing machine, with machine’s case.

Beautiful early 1900s Singer Sewing Machine. The machine is beautiful with nice colors and graphics, the wooden case is nice with key, it has attachments and the foot peddle.

vintage sewing machines: Working Antique Singer Sewing Machine / Early 1900s Portable Sewing Machine


  • Foot peddle
  • Vintage from the 1920s
  • Metal, Wood

We also did our job on sewing boxes and leather sewing machines.


Photo of author
Ruth Summers is a passionate and talented crafter who has been creating beautiful fabrics since childhood. She grew up in a small town in rural Oregon and developed a strong interest in crocheting, knitting, sewing, and tie dyeing from an early age.
Photo of author
Ruth Summers is a passionate and talented crafter who has been creating beautiful fabrics since childhood. She grew up in a small town in rural Oregon and developed a strong interest in crocheting, knitting, sewing, and tie dyeing from an early age.