I've been unhappy with my machine - a Viking 4500 - for years. I always felt something was wrong with it as the stitches don't lay end to end, in a completely straight line, like good little soldiers.
Yesterday, I found out that the bad stitch line was not due to an inherent problem with the machine, but with threads and needles. Jenny at Sew-Classic Blog has a great tutorial on the subject.
Sadly, that doesn't redeem my machine. I sent a request to join a yahoo group for owners of Viking Sewing Machines. Here's the reply I received:
Unfortunately, your machine is not a Husqvarna built model. The 4500 was one of the models that was produced at the old Meister factory in Germany, after Husqvarna took them over. There is absolutely no resemblance between the two types of machines except for the name on them. Viking sold these machines as low end models to compete with the Asian machines of the day, and when they had lots of trouble with them, they refused to stand behind them. If you remove the top of your machine, you will find that the camstack is a mass of cracks, and the part is NLA. In fact, the part was NLA within five years after they were produced, and if it had been available, it would have cost more to change it than the machine was worth.
What's a new sewist to do?
One thing came to mind fairly quickly. Cry.
And check Craig's List, which I've never checked before. To my glad surprise, amid the antique Singer's, there was this ad:
Sears Kenmore Free Arm Sewing Machine Model # 385.121714
Used approximately 5 times over the years... kept in box in hall closet.
This is as NEW... as a USED UNIT... could possibly be.
Tons of stitching, Straight, Zig-Zag, Utility, Stretch stitches and Buttonhole settings.
Owners manual, stitching chart and box.
I bought it this morning.
Sew, within 12 hours I went from being the despairing owner of a rip-off of a knock-off to owning an adequate machine in good working order.