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Sewing Machine purchase
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Scott Jones
(Ultimate2) - F
Sewing Machine purchase on 03/21/2008 19:25:32 MDT Print View

Would this machine be perfect for sewing gear?

This Viking machine is suppose to be top of the line. Is it overkill or would it be advantageous?

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Sewing Machine purchase on 03/21/2008 19:40:53 MDT Print View


I would stay away from the "1000 and 1" stitch type machines, especially the computerized ones. I use an old Sears Kenmore 158 series with all metal gears and made in Japan. You can find these at the thrift shops where I live for $35 in great shape. It does straight and zig zag with satin stitch option. That's really all you need to sew gear. However, if you would like to invest a few hundred in a machine I would recommend a Pfaff industrial, table top model. These are very powerful (useful for going over webbing on a shoulder strap) and legendary for durability and performance. Check ebay or your local sewing shop for leads.

Hope that helps,


peter kvamme
(karacolor) - F

Locale: midwest
for quilters, not gear makers on 03/22/2008 09:13:27 MDT Print View

This machine is top of the line, for quilters.
Do you need 156 different kinds of stitching and 5 kinds of lettering? Probably not, most likely you will just use straight and satin stich. Most of the features are probably wasted on someone sewing camping gear. The long arm feature would definitely be a plus though, along with some of the new features like self adjusting tension and thread cutting button and auto needle threading. (I do not see auto threading listed on the website, but most new quiltling machines have a feature like this)
Overall, I agree with Jhaura. Find a "cheap" heavy duty machine instead of this one that probably costs at least $1500.

p.s. That being said, I do my sewing on my mom's quilting machine, similar to this one but of a different brand, and it works great. Unused features dont slow you down at all.

Scott Jones
(Ultimate2) - F
Sewing Machine Purchase on 03/22/2008 11:56:26 MDT Print View

But what I liked is it will also embroider logos or emblems I think. Did I read that correctly? If you were to start your own product line, would not that feature be a necessary one?

For example, I own a Golite Fur quilt. This quilt has an embroidered Golite label. It looks very cool. I would like to be able to do the same. Also, I have limited sewing experience, this machine sounds like it does the work for you almost. Maybe the advertisement sounds to good to be true.

This whole quilt phenomena has got my interest. The Golite Fur has many drawbacks. First, it was not designed wide enough in my opinion. If you roll around in your sleep you will become separated from the quilt. The temperature rating was a joke. They claimed it would get you down to 20 degrees but that was overly optomistic by at least twenty degrees. Now I have read the reviews on the Fanatic Fringe quilt on this website and on another Hammock camping website, and apparently it has drawbacks, I have read about the Bozeman Mountain Works quilts and the reviewer had serious reservations about it. I have read the reviews on the Nunatak quilts which seem to be very high quality but have a price tag that just makes it seem counterproductive to the fact you can get a full down sleeping bag from Western Mountaineering, Montbell, Integral Designs, Marmot, etc. The JRB quilts seem to be the best for price, functionality, and value for a down quilt. Golite has returned to the quilt idea with their down quilt which reviewed nicely here, but I wonder if it has the same width problems that the Fur had.

Sorry for the rambling, but I think I have an idea for a synthetic quilt that would be superior to the ones offered today. To see my idea come to reality I am going to have to attempt to make a prototype by myself.

With that background provided is it best to go with top of the line or is it best to go with a cheaper but workhorse type machine as mentioned in previous posts?

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Sewing Machine purchase on 03/22/2008 12:02:47 MDT Print View

My girlfriend bought a $100 machine from K-mart that works great for me. I just make stuff for myself and am not looking to go into business.

My first projects were done on a sewing machine that is of 1970's vintage.

I have only used straight stitches, some zig-zags, and done a couple of manual buttonholes. A machine with 1000+ different stitches doesn't sound too appealing to me, but maybe you want to be more creative in your designs.


peter kvamme
(karacolor) - F

Locale: midwest
embroidery on 03/22/2008 12:42:39 MDT Print View

That machine will only do simple text (letters and numbers), it will not embroider logos or emblems. For an actual logo, or even larger text, you would need an embroidery machine.
If you are just starting sewing, I would definitely start with a cheaper machine. In my opinion, an old workhorse would be great for you. Besides sewing lettering, the new ones are easier to thread, and have buttons for "needle up/down" "thread cut" and have additional stitches. This is all they "do for you" as far as I can tell anyway. If you want these new features though, a new low end machine typically has these features anyway.
Other features to look for if you are making a quilt are a long arm and a walking foot accessory.

Scott Jones
(Ultimate2) - F
Sewing Machine Purchase on 03/23/2008 12:17:42 MDT Print View

Name some workhorse starter machines that could do the required stitching and embroidery if you could please.

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: Sewing Machine Purchase on 03/23/2008 12:58:21 MDT Print View


If you want embroidery for logos, most UL people dislike those kind, because they are hard to remove. Better to use the sew on ones that are made by third parties and that you sew into the seam, so we can easily remove them later. So that just leaves you with the workhorse machine that does straight and zigzag:

Kenmore 158 series (vintage)
Pfaff tabletop industrial (self-contained motor, not separate under taple)
Juki industrial

I would stay away from any new machines that are sold in the big box stores, as they are mostly made in China or Taiwan and use plastic in the running gear and are considered tinker toys by most sewers. So that rules out the current line of Kenmores sold at Sears. Some will disagree with this and tell of years of great service from new model cheapies, but I have to generalize a bit to make the point.

Scott Jones
(Ultimate2) - F
Sewing Machine Purchase on 03/23/2008 22:18:46 MDT Print View

"Remove the logo", that is akin to some sort of vandalistic blasphemy. LoL!!! Golite actually embroidered the logo and name into the Fur Quilt. It looks cool. If you want to save the weight of the logo just cut your toothbrush in half or leave it at home. I doubt if that extra embroidery weighs even an ounce. I have to have a machine that can do that. I will go to the local sewing store and see what they say. It will be an interesting experiment. But thanks for the suggestions. I will stay away from the big box cheapies.

David Erekson
(finallyME) - F

Locale: Utah desert
How serious are you? on 03/25/2008 10:12:09 MDT Print View

My wife has a cheap $150 singer from Wally-World. I am able to do a lot with it, but it never looks great. The stitches are uneven, and I have to baby the thing. When I made a backpack, gators, and a few other things, I have only used ONE type of stitch. For my purposes (making backpacking gear), spending a grand on a machine is stupid. However, my wife does a LOT of sewing. Mostly, she makes dresses for my daughters, with some other projects like quilts, drapes, etc. Because of this, I am probably going to buy her that $1000 Bernina A230 that she wants. And then buy a surger as well. She will use it (and most of the stitches it offers), and it will make my gear projects easier. We are also thinking of her making dresses to sell. The Bernina will do a better job at making them look higher quality.

So, how serious are you about making gear? If you are only doing it to make some personal BP stuff, a fancy machine isn't necessary.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Re: Sewing Machine Purchase on 03/25/2008 10:20:38 MDT Print View


I understand the desire to have a nicely embroidered logo on your gear. However, I'd strongly caution you againt home machines that offer that feature.

I've got a $2500 computerized sewing machine that does everthing but cook me lunch. However, it's embroidery features are far less than adaquate for commerical work.

Your best option is to have it done by a professional service bureau (not the ones you see in malls). They have advanced machines that are designed to do multiple pieces at a time. Their rates are quite reasonable depending upon quanity of pieces you need.

Hope this helps,

Mike Hinsley

Locale: England, UK
Sewing Machine purchase on 03/25/2008 11:18:45 MDT Print View

My two cents:

Don't bother getting a machine that is logo capable - you end up paying an awful lot for not very much.

You'll find that you can get a high-quality semi-industrial model from a sewing shop for a fraction of the price that you'd pay for one that is targetted at the quilting market.

I saw the documentary about the last Harry Potter movie and in the costume workshop there were just half a dozen basic Bernina's - nothing fancy, just reliable workhorses.

My first sewing machine was a very old mechanical Toyota. It's gone to a new home. It did the job but was tetchy at times.

My current machine is an 'entry-level' Bernina. It's got a good motor and a consistent feed. It'll do all the stitches that you need for making clothes and kit but few artistic stitches. It's proven to be reliable on a range of fabrics.

The more expensive models have extra stitches but don't actually add functionality. Since all the machines are electronic you pay many $00's of dollars extra for what is in fact a few Kb of extra onboard-memory.

Frankly, until you are manufacturing in volume it would be much cheaper to order a set of clothing tags - in the UK there are plenty of places that will give you tags at about 30p each or less in volume.

I'd frankly worry about learning how to make stuff before I worried about branding...

Edited by ArchNemesis on 03/25/2008 11:21:01 MDT.