Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Sewing machine advice?
Display Avatars Sort By:
tyler marlow

Locale: UTAH
Sewing machine advice? on 07/29/2010 22:37:09 MDT Print View

I am totally new to sewing and am in the market for a sewing machine. So I did a little research and found this:

it seems like the quilting table would be absolutely perfect for MYOG but I don't know anything about the other features.
From what I've read most any sewing machine will work but are there any features I should look out for?

Oh and the best part about this machine is it's only $50 new!

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Sewing Machine ?? on 07/30/2010 04:41:45 MDT Print View

It looks to me to have a very small "throat" area, the area between the needle and the right hand support.

Sometimes, one has to rotate the work and end up pushing a lot of material through the throat. Under those conditions, a long throat area is quite desired. It is hard to guess just how big that area is from this photo.

When I looked at the Amazon page, there were illustrations of industrial sewing machines for garments below it. These machines had long deep throats, and were pricey.

The user review of the item was pretty strongly negative - just two stars.

You can download the user manual here:

Tohru Ohnuki
(erdferkel) - F

Locale: S. California
Re: Sewing machine advice? on 07/30/2010 14:16:25 MDT Print View

For that money you could get a great used machine, made of real metal and would probably last forever! I favor older pre-computerized (1990's) machines that only do straight and zigzag stitches. Check craigslist for older machines and search here for other people's recommendations as to which machine...

Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Sewing machine advice? on 07/30/2010 14:29:56 MDT Print View

Got to agree with Tohru on this one.

I exclusively use old singer all metal machines for all my quilt work and everything else. Although there are some really nice old Necchi and Pfaff machines out there, and some Elna's also.

If you want a badass unstoppable do it all machine, I recommend a Singer 401A, check ebay, you can get one under $100 on ebay. Even if you factor in a $50 service, it's a steal. These machines were the top of the line when they were built, and the cost of them in today's currency was equal to a couple of thousand dollars from what I've read.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Sewing machine advice? on 07/30/2010 18:06:47 MDT Print View

> get a great used machine, made of real metal and would probably last forever!
> I favor older pre-computerized (1990's) machines


And yes, a big throat is really good.


Daniel Fosse
(magillagorilla) - F

Locale: Southwest Ohio
looking in to buying a sewing machine on 08/17/2010 10:11:18 MDT Print View

I will be in the market for a sewing machine soon. My wife wants one for general clothes altering and drapes and what have you. She was going to just get a cheap new one but I interjected and suggested a higher quality used model.

I'd like to make gear so I need one that will sew through webbing and sandwitched materials.

My wife and I know nothing about sewing machines. Any suggestions on exact models would be great. Suggestions on new or used models would be good.


Javan Dempsey

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: looking in to buying a sewing machine on 08/17/2010 11:59:55 MDT Print View

Any old all metal singer will sew an awesome straight stitch, and shouldn't have a problem with most gear making needs. However, only a couple really stand out for zig-zag and advanced stitching.

Namely, the Singer 401A and the Singer 500A. Those were the top of the line for singer during their respective generations, and they are unstoppable. There are earlier models with more power for really heavy duty use (like thick leather), but they're pretty much limited to straight stitch operation. The 400's and 500's are considered to be two of the best quality consumer machine lines ever produced. They're not industrial but extremely heavy duty.

The 403's and 503's are essentially the same without alot of built in decorative stitches.

There are a couple of other related models that have a solid rep also, like the FashionMate, but for how inexpensive you can get one of the others I mentioned, I don't see any reason to skimp. You can find them on ebay shipped for around $150 in great shape.

I specifically use a 500A for all of my day-to-day quilt work, but I've also got a 301A and a 221 featherweight (both straight stitch only). I've sewn thru 12 layers of the Dyneema X Gridstop material that's used in various packs and that thru-hiker sells, with the 500 and the 301 without a hitch.

One tip though, if you get a 401 or 500, make sure you source the extra throat plate that's setup for straight stitch work, it really helps when working with 1.1oz or lighter nylon.

Edited by jdempsey on 08/17/2010 21:35:27 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
sewing machines on 08/17/2010 20:16:32 MDT Print View

Agree 100%, and would add to be sure to get a machine with the wheel on the right. When the sewing gets tough, a few nudges to the wheel will usually get you through it.