Sewing Machine
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Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Sewing Machine on 04/08/2010 18:00:16 MDT Print View

What do you guys use to sew quilts, tarps, etc. with? I don't have a sewing machine, but I know my wife has wanted to get one for some time. Maybe now is the time:)

Thanks for your help,

Peter

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Sewing Machine on 04/08/2010 18:13:01 MDT Print View

For home use, you do not need a really sophisticated sewing machine. Go to your local department store (Wally World, Target, etc.) and head to the fabrics department. Normally they have two or three models on display. You may see Singer, Brother, and maybe another brand. Study those. You need a straight stitch and a zigzag stich, and very little else. If you plan on working with very heavy fabrics, you might need something with some extra guts. However, most of us are working in ultra-thin fabrics.

Then go online and purchase anything you like. I paid less than $100 for a Brother. Then go back to your local stores and buy the supplies (machine needles, thread, etc.).

--B.G.--

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Re: Re: Sewing Machine on 04/08/2010 19:04:40 MDT Print View

Good Suggestions, I'm hoping to find a better built one, that's maybe older. Any other suggestions?

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sewing Machine on 04/08/2010 19:09:50 MDT Print View

Find an old Pfaff 130.

John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Kenmore or Janome on 04/08/2010 19:11:20 MDT Print View

I really agonized over this, spending about a week picking one out. If you're definitely going new, most people recommend the above brands for entry level machines. Specifically, the Kenmore 16221 or 16231, and the Janome 11574 (same as Kenmore's 16231, Janome makes Kenmore) or TB-12/Travelmate (same thing). These are all in the $150-200 price range, and should last for years and be easy to service.

Another thing to do is to call your local sewing machine shops and see what they have as far as used/repaired machines. Pfaff, Elna, Bernina, and Viking are good brands to look for when buying an older machine. They may not be as fancy, but they will sew forever.

Personally, I have a Kenmore 16221. I would have looked around for used, but I scored it on eBay for $75 (it's MSRP at $150). Unless you find a deal on eBay like I did, your best bet is to buy from here. They have some way reasonable prices on the Janomes I mentioned.

Good luck finding a machine you (and the missus!) like. I'm on my third project and I'm waist deep in ideas for more, MYOG is a crazy addiction!

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
sewing machine features on 04/09/2010 07:55:36 MDT Print View

I'd make sure it has adjustable foot pressure.

And an edge-locking stitch that can sew right up to the edge, if you want to sew fleece; saves trimming after sewing (and risking cutting the seam...

A Toyota I borrowed for my first fleece project had these. The Elna I bought in a hurry didn't. I miss them both...

John Addleman
(Jaddleman) - F

Locale: Boulder
Overcasting? on 04/09/2010 10:29:36 MDT Print View

Kevin, are you talking about overcasting? What are some good stitches to use for that? I'm going to need to for my next project and I've never done it before.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Sewing Machine on 04/09/2010 12:48:35 MDT Print View

Don't look past an old Necchi either. All metal construction, and built to last several lifetimes. I bough this on at a local thrift for $30. Love it so much I bought a second one. I have one setup for heavy duty thread and the other for standard.necchi

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sewing Machine on 04/09/2010 17:58:23 MDT Print View

> Don't look past an old Necchi either.
Startling resemblance to my old black Singer ...

Cheers

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Sewing Machine on 04/10/2010 07:49:55 MDT Print View

So do you think it's okay to buy an older machine like from the 1970s? It's easy to find old ones for sale plus they tend to be simpler. Nowadays people sew for crafts and back in the 70s moms used to sew our clothes. That's how it was for me, anyway. So I'm thinking maybe they made sewing machines more durable back then?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Sewing Machine on 04/10/2010 08:23:29 MDT Print View

Older machines are all metal construction. My Necchi weighs like 40 pounds. New machines have plastic gears and such. Planned obsolescence. I would get something prior to '65, you know pre Beatles.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Sewing Machine from the 1970s on 04/10/2010 08:55:27 MDT Print View

Piper,

>>an older machine like from the 1970s<<

Ouch! ;-) ;-)

I use my wife's Singer sewing machine to make my own gear. We bought it waaaayyyy back in 1976 or 1977. I can't remember which, it's been so long ago. ;-)

Seriously, it works like a champ. I've done two tarps, two packs, a quilt and multiple stuff sacks. It handles silnylon, polyester and quilt insulation. Any problems that I have encountered have usually been self induced by trying to feed too many layers through the machine or using the wrong thread. Nylon upholstery thread just doesn't work that well. I now stick with Gutermann 100% polyester for my projects.

Look for one with the features and types of stitches that you need. Most of what I do only requires a straight stitch. A roller type pressure foot is a really nice feature to have on a sewing machine. They can be bought seperately and installed after you get your machine. I've gotten by without one up to this point but I believe that it would help to control "fabric bunching" when sewing two different types of material together.

Buying an older machine is like buying a used car. Look for one that seems to have been taken care of that is selling for a reasonable price. Ask if you can have it checked out. Run some seams on it with the type of thread and material that you'll be using.

MYOG on a 70s sewing machine, it's Retro and cool. ;-)

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Sewing Machine from the 1970s on 04/10/2010 13:14:36 MDT Print View

Thank you! I didn't mean to be offensive with the word "older" in reference to the 70s. I went to high school in 1979 so I remember the 70s. My mom sewed my clothes through Jr. high and sewed some of them in high school. Oh the embarrassment!

I figure I wouldn't know what to do with a serger and I've been afraid to buy a newer machine. I really wanted a machine like what I remember using in the 70s. So Thanks for the info. I will go ahead and go for it if I can find one.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Sewing machine on 04/10/2010 18:35:34 MDT Print View

+1 on a pre-Beatles machine. They were made to last by people who were proud of their long lasting products. Find a sewing maching repairman in his 60s or 70s, he'll have someething around. I think my Pfaff was $75. I've sewed as many as 7 layers of Sunbrella canvas with it, when I was doing canvas for the boat.

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Used Sewing Machines - Looking For on 04/10/2010 19:23:58 MDT Print View

You might put together a little kit to have in the car when looking at used sewing machines. The kit would be a couple of needles (say Singer Type 2020 needles in sizes 80/11 or 90/14 )and some thread and maybe a bobbin or two (there are really so many bobbin sizes and shapes that the bobbin you bring probably won't fit the machine) and some white muslin cloth, or other cloth that strikes your fancy - but plain is best for seeing the stitches.

If you sew, and have threaded a bunch of different machines, threading won't be a problem. Otherwise you need to look in the instruction manual to learn threading and "picking up the bobbin thread".

Of course, having a sewer along can be just as good.

The mechanism of a sewing machine is pretty logical, but far from intuitive. Intuition without the logic can do you a disservice. The logic takes diagrams to display, and animations are excellent.

Jared Dilg
(Village) - MLife

Locale: Texas
Re: Sewing Machine on 04/10/2010 23:10:04 MDT Print View

Ken, I have nearly the identical Necchi! It was inherited from my grandmother a few years ago. Those older vertical-load bobbin machines are so easy to work with and share similar-enough designs that you could apply troubleshooting techniques from one machine to another. I've even used this machine with size 18 needles to sew Cordura using E 69 thread before getting an industrial machine. It wasn't optimal but still it got the job done.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
bar tacking on 04/10/2010 23:55:51 MDT Print View

Do any of the more affordable models offer a bartacking stich? or Do you just run the zig zag stich back and forth?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: bar tacking on 04/11/2010 00:04:26 MDT Print View

I believe that many of the newer economy machines have an automatic buttonhole stitch, and one part of that is a barstitch.
--B.G.--

Jared Dilg
(Village) - MLife

Locale: Texas
Re: bar tacking on 04/11/2010 00:13:16 MDT Print View

A mil-spec 42-stitch bartack comprises of 12 straight stitches in a Z-pattern, then overlaid with 30 zig-zag stitches. You can certainly copy this pattern manually with any zig-zag domestic machine. An industrial bartacker will lay down the entire 42-stitch sequence with one stomp of the pedal.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: "Older" Sewing Machine from the 70s on 04/11/2010 07:34:50 MDT Print View

Piper,

You're welcome.

>>I didn't mean to be offensive with the word "older" in reference to the 70s<<

There was no offense taken it was just my "Sew Sew" attempt at a bit of humor. ;-)

"Sew" if there is a "thread" of forgiveness in you for me please accept my apology if I caused you to think that I had been slighted in any way. ;-)

Seriously, please post a picture of your new "old" machine as soon as you can. The machine I use is 33 years old but I do have my Grandmother's pedal power Singer that I do not use to sew. It is however still fully functional. BTW it is definitely "Pre-Beatles".

Good luck in your search.

Party On ! 2010

Newton