Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

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Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby johnb » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:49 pm

I'm thinking of buying a sewing machine, and not for making trousers :). I wondered whether anyone has any recommendations or thoughts on choosing the right one. I have seen them as cheap as £60, but the display ticket said lightweight fabrics only, and I don't want be limited to those, so £150 or so looks like a more realistic cost. Are there any "must have" features I should look out for ?

Thanks for any advice.

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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby r.m.anderson » Tue Nov 29, 2016 4:01 pm

One thing I would point out - are you going to be sewing leather (NO not shoe leather) but you would want to have a machine
that has the horsepower to handle a few small projects. Leather sewing needles are different to- oh those accessories are going
to add to the purchase bill. If the machine can sew leather then it can sew canvas and heavy duty denim.

Another thing to consider does the price of the machine include sewing lessons at least basic 101 stuff.

Once you do a few tasks it gets easier and you can save a small fortune doing your own alterations at home !
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Well a skirt will do in a pinch!
Make mine short and don't you dare think of pinching there !
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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby beachlion » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:54 pm

I bought a Singer 4423. A heavy duty machine but with a mind of its own. I have teached myself how to use it and the Internet was a huge source of information. You can buy the machine for about $150.
When you change fabric and/or thread, you have to re-adjust tension quite precise.
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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby Darryl » Tue Nov 29, 2016 6:55 pm

I got a Janome 2030 for starters - it is now in my mobile sewing machine cart and I have a Janome 1050 on the table where the 2030 used to sit for stuff I'm doing on a catch-as-catch-can basis.

The mobile cart is for when a friend has something that needs fixing as soon as possible. I'm still at the beginner stage, but that's good enough for most mendings, hemmings, patches, etc.
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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby johnb » Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:54 pm

Thanks for the replies so far.

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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby Pal » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:46 am

I've been using a Singer Tradition 2282, bought from Lidl for £80, for the last 2 years which has covered everything I've done. I've made around 30 skirts/kilts ranging from traditional style tweed kilts using 16oz cloth to a button through cord skirt and 6 panel moleskin midi. It's also handled everything from turning up the hems on denim jeans and sewing together 12' x 9' heavy cotton dust sheets down to stitching narrow hems on anti static lining material. The last being hideously harder than the first two.

The only thing I haven't tried is leather. I prefer to hand stitch straps on kilts.

There are 3 main stitches I use; the straight stitch. the overcasting stitch and the blind hem stitch plus button hole stitch when I have to. These stitches should be available on any reasonable quality machine. I also use a range hand stitches on my kilts and, to a lesser extent, on skirts.

You do need to bear in mind a sewing machine is just a tool. Just as buying a jigsaw won't make you an expert carpenter, buying a sewing machine just allows you to stitch cloth, you still need to learn and practice.

When I got the sewing machine my partner gave me a brief 5 minute introduction (imagine teaching your wife/partner to use a power saw and you get the idea) and then I used Youtube. Buying a machine is also only the start of the cost, good quality cloth is seriously expensive, but there's no point in spending time making a skirt with cheap materials, and you also need a range of other items. Over the two years I've bought copious quantities of thread, several sewing machine feet, zips, buttons, buckles, hooks and eyes, leather strapping (including a leather punch so I could make straps), lining (cotton and anti static), canvas and interfacing, scissors, chalk, tape measure, needles, pins and numerous other bits and pieces plus spent the best part of £40 on the definitive "How to make a kilt" book, so the cost of the sewing machine quickly pales into insignificance.

Having said all that the satisfaction of making your own things is enormous and well worth the effort.
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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby pelmut » Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:27 pm

You could look out for a secondhand machine, many of the older ones seem to have no limit to their working life as long as they are cleaned and oiled regularly. My first machine was a very modest secondhand "Viceroy", assembled in Ireland from Japanese components and sold in the U.K. by mail order in the 1960s; I made curtains, skirts, rucksacks and even a tent on that machine.

That was superseded by an even older Singer 201K from the 1950s, which is the absolute 'Rolls-Royce' of domestic straight-stitch machines and can zoom along at 1,000 stitches per minute with virtually no vibration. It can also smoothly tick-over, one stitch at a time, for the delicate bits (if you buy one of these, beware: the needle threads the opposite way from all the other machines). It never seems to put a stitch wrong.

I also have a more modern zig-zag machine, which is invaluable for stretch fabrics, buttonholes and fraying edges - and can act as a poor man's overlocker when making seams the lazy way - but it is flimsy, noisy and 'plasticy'-sounding , so I invariably fall back on the Singer 201K whenever I have a lot of heavy good-quality work to do.
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Re: Possible Sewing Machine Purchase

Postby Liam » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:16 am

My wife bought me a new brother about 10 years ago, it was around $80 and did all kinds of stuff and very easy to thread and use. A couple years ago I treated myself to a new heavy duty singer and while I like the singer better, it isn't that much better than the brother. It is just heavier duty, has much less vibrating at higher speeds and I just thought it would be fun to get a new machine.

I do not think there is anything wrong with a second hand machine either, I just liked the idea of new because I wanted an instruction manual since I didn't have anyone who knew how to sew I could ask for help if the machine did something weird.

I will mention that having the heavy duty singer comes in really nice for doing those long pleats on kilts because it doesn't vibrate nearly as much at higher speeds.
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