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BS: Sewing Machines

LilyFestre 20 May 12 - 12:22 AM
GUEST 20 May 12 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Fossil 20 May 12 - 12:58 AM
JohnInKansas 20 May 12 - 03:09 AM
SussexCarole 20 May 12 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Eliza 20 May 12 - 06:07 AM
peregrina 20 May 12 - 06:17 AM
SussexCarole 20 May 12 - 06:51 AM
GUEST,Eliza 20 May 12 - 06:56 AM
Bert 20 May 12 - 07:01 AM
Jack Campin 20 May 12 - 07:27 AM
number 6 20 May 12 - 07:44 AM
peregrina 20 May 12 - 08:02 AM
Crowhugger 20 May 12 - 08:39 AM
JennieG 20 May 12 - 08:39 AM
peregrina 20 May 12 - 08:54 AM
LilyFestre 20 May 12 - 09:36 AM
Rumncoke 20 May 12 - 09:54 AM
JohnInKansas 20 May 12 - 10:53 AM
SussexCarole 20 May 12 - 11:00 AM
Rapparee 20 May 12 - 01:18 PM
Sandra in Sydney 20 May 12 - 07:44 PM
Cats 20 May 12 - 08:01 PM
Dorothy Parshall 20 May 12 - 09:53 PM
Bobert 20 May 12 - 10:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 May 12 - 10:28 PM
JennieG 20 May 12 - 10:32 PM
Rapparee 20 May 12 - 10:43 PM
peregrina 21 May 12 - 02:04 AM
Hawker 21 May 12 - 05:14 AM
Fossil 21 May 12 - 07:04 AM
Sandra in Sydney 21 May 12 - 07:17 AM
Joe Offer 21 May 12 - 08:43 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 May 12 - 11:15 AM
Will Fly 21 May 12 - 11:40 AM
JohnInKansas 21 May 12 - 01:23 PM
Bettynh 21 May 12 - 01:54 PM
LilyFestre 21 May 12 - 03:00 PM
Rapparee 21 May 12 - 03:08 PM
Joe Offer 21 May 12 - 03:36 PM
Ed T 21 May 12 - 06:32 PM
dick greenhaus 22 May 12 - 01:25 PM

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Subject: BS: Sewing Machines
From: LilyFestre
Date: 20 May 12 - 12:22 AM

Sadly, today my old Singer sewing machine bit the dust. I have just started quilting and am now on the market for a new machine. I'll be using it to do basic quilting and sewing (no long arm stuff...yet) Do any of you sew? Do you love your sewing machine? Any recommendations?

Thanks!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: GUEST
Date: 20 May 12 - 12:57 AM

... and while we're on this particular subject, any recommendations for machines that will handle heavy-duty stuff like Dacron sailcloth?

I want to have a bash at making a small sail for my boat (have a pattern and dimensions), but don't want to have to give a sailmaker a lot of my cash.

Would rather put it into a machine I could have in reserve in the event I needed repairs doing. Or even making other stuff, boat cover, sailbags, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: GUEST,Fossil
Date: 20 May 12 - 12:58 AM

Oops, sorry! Post above was from me - forgot I wasn't on the home computer


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 May 12 - 03:09 AM

Lin says she has loved her Bernina, although it's about 16 years old (she keeps reminding me). It's an Artista 180, and (thanks to her incessant reminders) we know there are new versions "very similar but bettter" in the line. It does lots of fancy embroidery (requiring an "embroidery module" that was included in our original purchase, but might be an extra cost add on), under program control, and is fine for putting pieces and patches together for quilts.

Other machines, in most makers' lines, include sergers, most of which can use multiple threads and mostly used on knits, and "Quilting Machines" with long beds (up to 6 or 8 ft is fairly common) so you can roll an entire quilt through them without wadding it up, and sew programmed patterns to hold the layers together.

My observation from the sidelines is that relatively few people buy quilting machines (due to both cost and space) but there are nearly always some who have one in any place who will do the actual "quilting" for you for a nominal fee if you really need one of the big machines.

(The situation is similar to private pilots, nearly all of whom at least attempt to get Instructor certification, because by the time they've paid for getting their license the only way they can afford to fly is by conning others into paying them for lessons, so that the others can get ready to work on an Instructor ticket, so they can con ...)

Lin does the quilting (asembling the layers) on small (crib size and somewhat larger) pieces on her Bernina. She probably could stuff a full size quilt through it to quilt the layers together, but did "hire out" a couple, one full size and the other a little smaller, that were to be raffled for a Library benefit, and the costs were fairly reasonable. Her justification was that the quilting machine could make the quilting stitches more uniform (she's probably right, although of course I'd never say that) and a rather tight schedule for getting them hung in the library.

Nearly all the machine makers' better quality machines feature "computer controlled" stitches, with the various zigzags and such built in, and with nearly all you can get add-on modules for "stitched designs" ie. embroidery. Many of them advertise themselves as "programmable," which I would interpret as meaning you can create your own desings and load your program into the machine. For most of these, the abilitiy to "roll and load" your own designs requires additional "modules" that can be fairly expensive, so most people just purchase "design cards" with prebuilt programs.

In no particular order, Singer, Bernina, Pfaff, Janome, and several others, based on the published information, all make roughly comparable machines. My "cranky engineer" observation doesn't find a whole lot of difference in the basic capabilities of them, but the details are very important since the machine you choose can facilitate what you want to do or can obstruct your creativity by insisting you should "do something else it would rather do."

A very important factor in selecting a machine, in her (our) experience, is that you really do need a local (or at least easily accessible) dealer who can (and is willing to) give advice and perform the few regular maintenance duties that the machines all will need. It wouldn't be completely out of line to suggest that choosing a good dealer is about as important as deciding which machine suits you best.

***********

On the supplemental question of sewing "heavy stuff" a search for "leather sewing machines" would get you several choices (TechSew or Toyota would be a couple of makers) but these will be "industrial machines" and might sink your boat if you try to take them on board.

I'd expect that most of the sewing for things described would be simple "straight line" stitching, so the most basic of "single stitch" - or "fewest stitches you can find" would be fairly satisfactory. If you could put a motor on one of the old treadle Singers it should be fine for what you want, although the length of thread you can load in those little bobbins might be a bit limiting for sails. (Some of them did have motors, but they're really hard to find in working order.) Any zigzag stitching you'd want would probably be a wider zig than you can get on any of the fancier machines in a built-in stitch. At best you'd be able to zig and then zag a seam, with or without a zigzag stitch, to build a bigger zigzag anyway.

Nearly all of the simpler "home use" machines, if they're more or less "full sized," should be able to sew a couple or three layers of good denim (not just the synthetic ultralight crap), which should be sufficient. Nearly all places that sell machines have demonstrators set up, so if you take a couple of scraps of what you intend to sew in with you you should be able to tell if one's got the poop (mostly the motor torque) to handle what you want. (You might want to tell them what you want to try out before you break their demo machine? It could happen but I wouldn't expect it. They also might want to suggest a different needle than what would be on the machine, for your "special" material.)

If that kind of stuff is the only thing you use it for, you might wear it out a little faster; but you can afford to wear out four or five of the simple ones for the price of one of the kind they'd prefer to sell you.

Lin said she'd be happy to provide an answer, but she was deep into searching for her great great great grandfather's neice's brother in-law's stepson's, grandson's mother in Luniburgh Dumylvania, or something like that. Maybe later.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: SussexCarole
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:01 AM

My Frister & Rossmman which has served me really well for the last 30++ years gave up a couple of weeks ago. I looked around for replacement - wanting a reliable workhouse type of machine rather than one that would do fancy embroidery etc etc.

I settled for a BROTHER - oh what a MISTAKE!!! The machine was lightweight but at the same time flimsy...but I could have coped with that. There was no pressure adjustment for the foot - a basic requirement I thought....so I phoned them - ah! It's preset I was told. Preset for what I asked? Denim - silk - cotton....? No answer to that. Well. using the machine it appeared that the whole machine had been preset - the bobbin tension...yes...you've guessed...was preset. The machine would not sew anything but the most basic cotton material.
I spoke to Brother's helpline and, after telling the chap at the end of the phone that I was an experienced dressmaker he proceeded to read out of the manual regarding different types of fabric etc!!! That didn't please me much.

After a long drawn out exchange of e mails I took the machine back and was given a full refund.

I have now bought a TOYOTA. It is superb - and it cost £20 less than the Brother. I've really put it through its paces in the last few days and I've had no bother. The quality of the whole machine & accessories is far, far superior to Brother.

So 10 out of 10 for Toyota.    Their range does cover special quilting machines and also has one called Super Jeans which is a real heavy duty machine.   Worth a look.

Carole


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:07 AM

I have had my New Home machine for ages and it's very good. But have you considered going to a sewing department of a large store? They often have demonstration evenings where different machines are shown in action and you can have a go on them to see which might suit. We have a lovely shop called Sew Simple, with everything for the obsessive stitcher and crafter (like me!) and they have evenings of all kinds of demos. I feel you'd be better actually trying a machine before you buy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: peregrina
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:17 AM

I downscaled to a second hand cast iron singer from ebay recently and gave away my newer machine, no regrets!

No fancy stitches on these older machine, so to zigzag or buttonhole, you need a separate attachment, but they'll do most perfect even straight stitches ever. Parts, even new motors, are still widely available for the most common models and there's lots of info on the web. They're very heavy to ship, so getting a bargain is most likely if you find one to pick up near you.

If you look on ebay or decide to research them, the main ones to look at are:

singer 99: excellent smaller cast iron

singer 201: very large and heavy, can sew leather, engine as smooth as a rolls royce, and said to have been used to sew rr upholstery, not that I would know--the people who serviced it for me said it ran nicer than anything they'd seen. It's a real monster to put away and get out.

singer 221 or 222 -portable and free arm portable, favourites of quilters and a virtual cult in the US, so unfortunately very pricey there, 222 also have a free-darning attachment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: SussexCarole
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:51 AM

New Home machines are now known as Janome


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 20 May 12 - 06:56 AM

I'm pleased you told me that, SussexCarole, because I wondered why they weren't around! (Although I've never needed parts etc because it still runs well after many years) It has a basic number of embroidery stitches and can deal with quite heavy materials such as denim. I didn't spend a lot on it. In fact, my fav. machine of all time was my gran's old Singer treadle. It was beautiful, ornate and decorated, solid as a rock but obviously only did one type of stitch. I got rid of it due to lack of space, but I still miss it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Bert
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:01 AM

To handle the heavy stuff try a used Pfaff 360 or a Viking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:27 AM

Most makers produce a range of machines of very different quality from junk to professional, so the brand name tells you nothing at all. (If you want a very simple rule of thumb: weight. No matter what the brand, heavier is better).

As peregrina says, the Singer K99 is great but simple. But it won't do sails. I'm not sure if even an ordinary industrial machine like the Singer 66 would do that - they're designed to do vast amounts of ordinary sewing with great reliability, not bash through huge pieces of exotically tough synthetic fibres like kevlar.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: number 6
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:44 AM

My wife would certainly recommend a Pfaff ... she has had one for over 20 years and it's still running like a finally tuned Porche on the Autobahn to this day.

biLL


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: peregrina
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:02 AM

singer 201 will do sails!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:39 AM

I hope to be sewing machine shopping in the next few months. I plan to take with me several sets of doodle cloths to test the short listed machines at quilting, heavy-duty, sheers, knits and mixed. Maybe even some of my own regular thread plus metallic and elastic threads. My biggest limiting factor (after space & budget) is that I quilt so I want a fabulous free motion foot as well as a big "mouth" meaning will take half a lightweight queen sized quilt rolled up even if I have to squeeze it a bit as I sew.

Lots of great tips in this thread, stuff that's easy to forget to ask about when sales staff is blabbering. I should make a list to take along with my test pieces.

My workhorse is a 1940-something Singer Featherweight, which sews denim and lightweight leather just fine provided the drive belt is properly adjusted, although when hemming jeans it does require manual help to bite through the 4 layers of flat fell seams. It has great old attachments for hemming, shirring, ruching and whatnot and the buttonholer is excellent, doing a far better job than my newer machine. (Caveat if you're using a Featherweight buttonholer for the first time: Do a few practice runs to figure out proper alignment. But they always look so much tidier than any I've seen made with a zigzag machine and they have never sprung a thread or needed any repair.) I have a 20-year-old dinky something or other that has zigzag and basic embroidery stitches but it's hopeless for denim or sheers. Having the other machine, that limitation was an acceptable compromise for the price at the time but it would be rather nice to have 1 machine and 1 set of bobbins. But what am I thinking, I'll probably never get rid of that old Featherweight--it sounds wonderful, feels wonderful and smells wonderful to use, and is itself a work of art.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: JennieG
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:39 AM

My main machine is a Bernina Virtuosa 160, My Lovely New Bernina....bought new in August 1999, and till the day I die it will be My Lovely New Bernina. It is used for dressmaking and quilting, that is both piecing quilts and quilting the three-layered result. I can't justify the cost in sending my quilts out to be finished on a long-arm machine, and I prefer to do it all myself anyway otherwise it's not 'mine'. Also have a Bernina overlocker (serger), a vintage Singer Featherweight which I use for quilt piecing, my late MIL's cabinet Singer, my grandmother's Singer treadle which she bought in 1925, and another Singer treadle my brother's neighbour was throwing out - literally throwing out - several years ago. Those old treadles are wonderful.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: peregrina
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:54 AM

Singer featherweight = Singer 221 or free arm featherweight 222


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: LilyFestre
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:36 AM

I had the opportunity to use a Singer Featherlight yesterday. Instant love. I love the feel of it, the look and the sound. The only thing I don't like is the price.

Thanks for all your tips. I do know of a larger store that offers several kinds of machines and I have seen people use them so I think I'll go that route and try some out. Don't know why I didn't think of that but thank you!!! :)

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Rumncoke
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:54 AM

I set up my several years old mid range model Novum sewing machine the third day after moving here in the early 1980s and it has only been put away to move it between rooms as required over the years. It now has an overlocker as companion.

Novum is also New Home and Janome, the cases are sturdy the patterns are produced mechanically the motors are powerful but the foot pedal provides delicate control. The adjustments are easy and effective, and although I have no experience with any other brand of machine, I have no reason to abandon what I have. I have sewn curtains and clothes, denim and canvas bags, all sorts of repairs and embellishments

I have all sorts of attachments for zips, sewing on buttons, making ruffling, sewing stretch fabrics, doing freehand embroidery, sewing chain stitch - so the work it can do is limited only by the time I want to spend making things.

The only thing it lacks is an automatic buttonhole function, which would be nice to have but I can manage without it by using two pins.

It is a domestic sewing machine and would not cope with sailmaking, at least not for long. It could be cost effective to buy second hand machines, if you have a cheap source for them, and run them until they fail rather than investing in new models. That was what one person I knew did - but back then there were a lot of powerful straight stitch machines around for very little money.

Anne Croucher

Dorset England


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 May 12 - 10:53 AM

We do have an old treadle Singer that Lin insisted she was going to bring back to life. It still has a few pieces missing, but Singer is very good at providing parts (down to the authentic decals) on obsolete machines. Ours still has the "WPA Inventory tag" on it and I believe Singer replied to her request for "history" with a date of manufacture and original purchaser for it, and gave her a price list for some of the parts she might need. It's pretty impressive that you can order most parts for an 80+ year old machine.

Progress on restoration has been slow largely because when she say's "I'm going to ..." it generally means she'll watch and criticize "advise" me while I'm supposed to do it, and I haven't been able to get her to stay in the same room with me to watch ... or some other lame excuse like that(?)

And I think I've still got a box of "accessories" that my mother had for her old treadle machine, and if I can find them I might even be able to remember (or puzzle out) what most of them are for. The stuff she had was about ten or 20 years "newer" than the old WPA machine, but probably will still fit. I'm pretty sure there's a "gathering foot" in there, and a couple of "binding rollers" for making your own seam binding strips; but I'd have to find the stuff and take a look to recall what most of the rest of it is (or what it might do if I could figure out how to hook it up - some of the stuff looks like what happened when Rube Goldberg went out drinking with his buddy Escher).

For the old mechanical machines, you should be able to pretty much sew any material you're strong enough to crank the needle through - at least up to the point where you break too many needles (they don't bend - they break, but for most machines you can get a fairly broad range of needle sizes and tips for specific kinds of materials). Sewing stuff that requires a lot of "helping" to get through it isn't really convenient, but you're unlikely to hurt the old machines.

Many of the newer designs have too many parts that are driven in such strange ways that they don't readily allow much "helping" when they bog down, and too many plastic and/or "zinc cast" parts that can't handle being helped even a little, so it may be pretty critical that you pick a machine that's meant for sewing a particular kind of unusual material.

In our area it's the "small shops" that sell mostly just sewing machines that are more active in providing frequent demonstrations and classes. The "big stores" where sewing machines are just one of many things they handle are less likely to offer useful help of that kind, and often have to bring in an "outside teacher" to run the classes, so you don't have the continuity of a full time "teacher" who's the same one for a variety of classes, and who's there any time you need to pop in and ask a question or two. That may depend on where you are, and also on how you decide what to call "big" and which is "little."

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: SussexCarole
Date: 20 May 12 - 11:00 AM

I have kept the feet from my old Frister & Rossman - zipper - binding - zig zag - not sure what else - this new machine has different fitting - if anyone wants the old feet they are welcome - pm me


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 May 12 - 01:18 PM

My wife, a quilter, owns two and half Pfaffs. Her friend Mary own two and half Pfaffs (they share the half Pfaff). Neither have anything else for quilting. PM me if you want more info and I'll have her answer.

She also has a Featherweight, two Kenmores, and a treadle Singer. But it's the Pfaffs that get used.

She says Berninas are "okay" but damns them with faint praise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 20 May 12 - 07:44 PM

I feel almost deprived - I ONLY have a 1996 Janome which doesn't get much use, but then I'm not really a quilter, tho I hang around with quilters (hello, JennieG) who usually own more than one machine.

My 5 quilts are doll quilts & entirely handmade, tho I just finished giving a new batik banner wadding, backing & binding so it will survive the coming decades better than it's 1968 predecessor which was just unbacked dress material & tore with use.

As my sole machine was cheap & has been to the machine doctor a few times in the past, I'm Tracing this thread for future reference, thanks for all the great info.

sandra


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Cats
Date: 20 May 12 - 08:01 PM

I have had a Riccar [made by Toyota] for over 30 years and this week the small inner wheel that stops the needle going up and down when spool threading has jammed up totally. Any ideas? It is a basic machine but if I have to get another one I would go for another Toyota brand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 20 May 12 - 09:53 PM

My 1954 Singer Featherweight is top notch. I have made canvas coats, slipcovers out of upholstery material, and clothing in every fabric. It is the only machine I have ever come to terms with and it has never needed any repairs. Unfortunately, I saw several in an antique mall, recently, for about $350! My dear little machine!


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Bobert
Date: 20 May 12 - 10:17 PM

Can't help ya, Michelle...

I used to have an old Singer that I could actually make sew... That machine is gone, gone, gone...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 May 12 - 10:28 PM

I have an old cast iron White (one of the original Whites, not the company that later bought it's name) that sews straight and reverse but has all sorts of wonderful attachments. Probably from the 1940s or 50s. I have a new White that I was assured would fit the old attachments, but it didn't. I've had the more recent White since about 1990, it uses cams, but it sews and sews. I had the cast iron machine refurbished years ago and every so often I take it in to be adjusted. My cousin gave it to me in 1978.

My daughter has a machine my next door neighbor was giving away - Singer Series 15-90 rotary, never used because it was a wedding gift and she never learned to sew, from about 1955 - a "farmer's sewing machine" that goes and goes. I gave it to Moonglow when she turned 14, she uses it all of the time (she's 23 now). It's a straight stitch, but she and her housemate who also makes costumes have other machines for zigzag and such.

I wouldn't use a regular home sewing machine for making a sail. You'll burn it out. That calls for an industrial machine.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: JennieG
Date: 20 May 12 - 10:32 PM

Peregrina, my Featherweight is a 221 - doesn't have the free arm. According to the Singer website and its serial number it's 1949-1950 vintage.

Nearly as old as I am.......

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Rapparee
Date: 20 May 12 - 10:43 PM

That's the sort of Featherweight my wife has...light, worth a lot more that she would now pay, and works.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: peregrina
Date: 21 May 12 - 02:04 AM

222is the free arm- i should have put a comma or the word respectively.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Hawker
Date: 21 May 12 - 05:14 AM

I have 2 Berninas, have had an Elna which was centuries old and a great workhorse, then had 3 frister & Rossmans, all of which pegged out over time, since I got the Breninas, I personally would not have anything else... the Rolls Royce of sewing machines in my opoinion


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Fossil
Date: 21 May 12 - 07:04 AM

Thanks, all - for the suggestions.

I don't care how heavy the machine is, as I'm not going to take it on the boat: I'll sew the sail at home. Will investigate second-hand stuff near me. At least I have an idea of brands and models to look for. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 21 May 12 - 07:17 AM

good luck for your search & the creation of the sail


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 May 12 - 08:43 AM

I had a second-hand Singer that I loved. It was sturdy and simple, and did everything I needed - mostly zig-zag, straight stitch, and buttons. But then a fiber gear at the top-center of the machine wore out and it would cost an arm and a leg to replace it. I wanted to get a hundred-dollar machine that looked simple and sturdy, but my wife insisted on one that cost $250 (not that she's used any of the fancy features on the more-expensive machine). I'm still wondering if the $100 machine would have done the trick for us. We use the machine mostly for small repairs, usually less than once a month. The biggest project was a pirate costume my stepson made for fencing.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 May 12 - 11:15 AM

If I had one of those fancy dancy sewing machines and you used it to sew sails on I'd kill you! My ex nearly destroyed the old White by sewing leather on it. Even soft suede is too hard for home machines, and it took the shop a couple of tries to get the timing and functioning all back in order.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Will Fly
Date: 21 May 12 - 11:40 AM

We bought a Pfaff in 1968 - still going strong and has been serviced twice in that time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 May 12 - 01:23 PM

Joe -

Most of the current machines that people get for quilting and/or embroidery run closer to $2,500 than to $250 now. Recollection is that Lin's Bernina was around $1,800 16 (she reminds me frequently) years ago.

The fancier machines are actually built about as sturdily as the majority of the cheap ones, but it seems we're more reluctant to "push the limits" with the fancy ones. "Cheap" doesn't necessarily mean sturdier, althugh there probably are some fairly cheap ones that are more of what you'd expect for "heavy duty use." Up to a point "Pricier" possibly does connote more consistent durability, although the connection of either to "higher capacity" is an open question.

An old $125 Kenmore that I had worked fine for punching "perforation lines" to make separable stubs on 30# card stock party tickets for the raffle (just take the thread out first); but she got nauseous when I suggested doing it on her Bernina. The old one didn't do well on belt leather, but was strong enough for wallets or art canvas.

Unfortunately she gave "my" machine to a friend when she got "her" Bernina, because "we" didn't need it any more, so I only got about 20 years out of it to assess the durability before it was gone. By the time I noticed it was gone she couldn't remember who she gave it to, or when, so "we" probably weren't using it enough to justify keeping it around.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Bettynh
Date: 21 May 12 - 01:54 PM

Have you actually priced the sailmaking job? I had a sail made for my father's kayak (mice had eaten the original, which was made of a sheet). I was surprised at how reasonable the price was. Folks who sew huge schooner sails consider this an hour's job and price accordingly, especially if they see an ordinary person who just wants to sail a little boat. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: LilyFestre
Date: 21 May 12 - 03:00 PM

WOO HOOOO!!!

The woman who sat next to me at the quilting challenge this weekend just IM'd me and she has an extra Featherweight that she is going to sell me! I am going to pick it up in an hour or so...I am SOOO EXCITED!!!! They are so beautiful to look at, sew with and to listen to!!! YAY!!!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Rapparee
Date: 21 May 12 - 03:08 PM

I've seen Featherweights priced up to USD 750.00, depending upon condition and what came with it (case, etc.). If you can grab a Featherweight for USD 350.00, do it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 May 12 - 03:36 PM

I have an old, treadle-style Singer in the garage. I've been meaning to try to fix it up, but don't really have the room for it. Too bad.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: Ed T
Date: 21 May 12 - 06:32 PM

My wife has a newer model. But, last summer I picked up an old (low numbered) White 628 Zig Zag (heavy Duty) for free. A university student was throwing it out, says it was her grandmothers and it did not work. I took it to a repair shop, cost me $35 for a tune up-nothing wrong with it is like new. In refinished the cabinet. It is a really nice working and pretty machine-white and mauve in colour.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sewing Machines
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 May 12 - 01:25 PM

I've sewn a lot of fairly lightweight Dacron sails with a Viking (Husquvarna) machine. Sail-Rite sells some reasonsbly priced sewing machines for heavier-duty sail and canvas work.


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