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My first sewing machine
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Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
My first sewing machine on 09/25/2009 02:57:43 MDT Print View

After some time thinking about it I decided to buy a sewing machine.

Looking at the basic models, some allow you to modify the stitch width and others not. Is this an important feature for the typical MYOG projects?

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: My first sewing machine on 09/25/2009 03:04:17 MDT Print View

Start cheap and see how you like it, at the end of the day so long as you can straight and zig-zag stitch thats about all you will need as a beginner.

I purchased my s/hand for $15.00, works great.

The ability to do rolled hems is also nice however with some practice you can get quite good at it with a normal foot on your machine.

Keep us updated on how you go and what you end up making.

Cheers
Mark

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Re: My first sewing machine on 09/25/2009 06:46:30 MDT Print View

Thanks Mark for the suggestions.

As you points out, my idea is to begin with a sewing machine as simple (and cheap) as possible.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: My first sewing machine on 09/25/2009 08:39:56 MDT Print View

Agreed, straight stitch and zigzag are all you need. It doesn't even need to be very powerful since ultralight materials are thinner/lighter than most clothing and certainly less than traditional camping gear.

I would suggest looking on craigslist for a used, non-computerized, totally mechanical sewing machine, but not an antique (made before 1950?) Look for one with a traditional bobbin, not a 'drop in.' Get new needles and do a cleaning and lube job on it. Try it out, if it doesn't stitch well, check the thread tension, both top and bobbin. If it still doesn't then it may need a trip to the shop.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
suggestions on 09/25/2009 11:14:46 MDT Print View

Of course, it depends what things you want to make with your sewing machine: lightweight tarps etc, or clothing.

I'd suggest the following additional features can be useful for clothing:

- ability to sew an edge-locking seam up to the edge (without needing trimming). This is useful for fleece seams; the first machine I borrowed (a Toyota) did this. The machine I bought (without thoroughly testing: bit of a 'Buffalo Bill' moment with the old biddies working in the sewing machine area of the department store...) had an edge-locking stitch, but it can't sew up to the edge, so seams have to be trimmed afterwards.

- ability to adjust the foot pressure, to cope with thicker materials (fleece again).

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Re: My first sewing machine on 09/28/2009 10:26:33 MDT Print View

Thank you everyone for the suggestions and advice. Very helpful stuff.

I hope to soon have the sewing machine to start a simple project!

Edited by marcoasn on 09/28/2009 10:27:20 MDT.

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: suggestions on 09/28/2009 12:15:52 MDT Print View

Foot pressure is useful, but my experience has been that fleece is a pain to sew. I never was able to get good results, maybe i need some tear away carrier or something to give the feed dogs something to grip.

Edge-locking (serging?) is useful, but i've managed to use french seams for my clothing projects (ala thru-hiker.com's designs.) I've also done it with a zig-zag stitch that overshoots the edge slightly.