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How important is a good machine?
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Moose's Mom
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Moose's Mom
Intermediate
Tennessee USA
Member since 5/26/03
Posts: 16
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Date: 7/24/03 0:25 AM

Hello!  I just test drove the Pfaff Lifestyle and am now dreaming of it.....

I own a Simplicity sewing machine and am always yelling at it in frustration. It will eat my fabric, stitch in place on thick layers (even when I lengthen the stitch length and adjust the pressure).  I can't sew through lightweight fabrics very well either.  It seems I'm always having to undo something that it did wrong. I'm not a stupid sewer and am using the correct needle size, etc....

I looked at the Pfaff Lifestyle a couple of days ago and was REALLY impressed.  It has this dual feed system (I think basically like a walking foot) that was amazing.  It sewed through really thick fabric layers (like 1/2 inch or more) and then right into gauze with out even flinching.  

So basically I'm wondering if it's worth saving up for this machine or one similar.  My current machine is a $200-300 machine.  the Pfaff is about $800.   Will a more expensive machine solve a lot of my problems?  

Should I spend the money to get a walking foot attachment on my machine?

Do I need to learn new techniques to prevent this from happening?

I feel as if I am somewhat limited by my machine.  

Will I be able to turn out more professional looking garments if I upgrade?

Thanks to all!  Everyone has been so helpful! :blush:  :smile:

Georgene
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Georgene
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California USA
Member since 10/5/02
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Date: 7/24/03 1:29 AM

Hi MM,
I recently got a new machine, a Pfaff 6091.  Although I think it was recently discontinued, it is still a pretty cool machine.  It has the dual feed, and some basic stitches and buttonhole capability.  It doesn't have every bell and whistle and it's electronic not computerised.  But it is really a pleasure.  I have been sewing with a 1934 Singer Featherweight for years, another great machine, but it only does one thing, sew a straight seam.....I can do so much more with my Pfaff.  Nothing worse than a machine that gets in your way and makes life difficult.  Eliminate that excuse about why you can't do what you want to do!  Do not invest in other/different attachments for the old machine.  Save up and go for the machine you want.  You may find a better price on line, or your dealer may have a sale sometime in the next year.  Meanwhile put all your change in a jar.  Good luck!

Lou.
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Lou.
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New Jersey USA
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Date: 7/24/03 6:50 AM

I have a simplicity machine, I bought 18months ago for $100 approx...and it's an angel, has never given me any bother.
Although I didn't intend on using it for long when I bought it....only until I could afford a better one....which isn't anytime soon.

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Lou

AnneM
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AnneM  Friend of PR
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Massachusetts USA
Member since 7/30/02
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Date: 7/24/03 7:38 AM

Can you return that thing?  My machine was in the same price range as yours, and has not given me any problems.  It is a Kenmore.  It has a little trouble when I sew velcro; the thread knots up sometimes.  Other than that, no issues.  

You might want to try, if you are making washable clothing, using some of that wash-away stabilizer under your seams.  

If you can't return it, I would probably do 2 things.  First: I would find a good repair shop & ask them to look at it.  They should be able to asess if the machine needs some adjustment, & give you an estimate (for free).  Depending on what they said, I would either have them fix the machine, or save up for a new machine.  If you find you really like sewing, then a more expensive machine is worth it.  If you think you will just be sewing for utilitarian purposes, then I suggest checking out the kenmores in the $300 range.

HTH
Anne M.

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With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

Janie Viers
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Janie Viers  Friend of PR
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Ohio USA
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Date: 7/24/03 11:53 AM

You don't need a new machine you need a "good" machine!  I have sewn on many older machines (mostly kenmore, singer, nicchi etc.) which are workhorses.   You cannot expect a little machine meant to sew two layers of cotton to handle 4 layers of polar fleece.  Get a good used machine from your dealer til you can afford your dream machine.  

My DD complained :rolleyes: all the time about the "clunker" her DGM gave her, I ignored the complaints as that machine was new and had bells and whistles my didn't.  BUT I took it home to tune it up and found out it "clunked" as it made each stitch! :eek:   She ended up with one of my "backup" Kenmores from 1976 AND is now happy as a lark having made roman shades with no problem.

Janie :

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JanieV

Rhonda Noah
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Rhonda Noah
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North Carolina USA
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Date: 7/30/03 2:14 PM

Moose's Mom, it sounds like the Simplicity just doesn't have the power when it comes to sewing on thick or heavy fabrics.  A different machine can be better, but doesn't necessarily have to cost $800.  

A walking foot costs about $25, but I'd use that amount to start a new machine kitty, and then go test drive a few different models, including those reasonably priced Kenmores.

Meanwhile, if your machine 'eats' lightweight fabrics at the beginning of a seam, use a scrap to start your seam with.  Butt it up against your project seam but don't overlap.  Start your seam on the scrap and sew right on into the project seam.  That should help according to Nancy Zieman (sp?).

Good luck!

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Life is mostly froth and bubble; two things stand in stone: Kindness in another's troubles, courage in your own.

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Date: 7/30/03 3:45 PM

Yes, you need a good machine!  Let's face it, some machines (like some children, haha) are just ornery from the minute you bring them home.  Personally, I feel the money I spent on my computerized machine was worth every cent and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.  Of course, now it is 6 years old but I look forward to sewing on it for many, many years.  I love the machine and am not in the least bit tempted by newer models.  I also have a 20+ year old mechanical and an ancient industrial zigzag that sew beautifully.  Getting a machine that is well-suited to the type of sewing that you do is critical.  Some machines just don't like extremes in fabric weight.  I would say you need to go machine shopping.  Take fabric samples with you so that you can really see what a machine is like - I hate those little starched cotton squares they use to demo machines!  There will be machines in every price range that will suit your needs.  Once you've experienced machines other than your Simplicity and the Pfaff, you'll be able to make a more informed decision that will suit your sewing style and your budget.

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Date: 7/30/03 4:00 PM

And don't discount used models - there are some real gems out there!

stitchinjj

stitchinjj
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New Mexico USA
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Date: 10/18/06 10:35 AM

Yes, a good machine is so much easier to sew with-less stress so your work is better. I love Pfaffs and that even feed is better than a walking foot because it is built on, you don't have to attach it and it works way better than any add on. Having said that, if you need to spend less a good older model Singer can be a good investment. They can be found at garage sales etc. and will usually work better than the lower priced new machines on the market. If you find an old Pfaff even better. Good luck!

Mufffet
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Mufffet  Friend of PR
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Vermont USA
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In reply to Moose's Mom
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Date: 10/18/06 10:44 AM

As someone else said - you need a GOOD machine, and they come at lower and high end prices. I think there are great reviews of Janomes in all ranges, and Kenmores also. The entry level machines at the better brands are always better than todays big box store brands. Pfaff has a nifty new line out - the Smart machines, and you might get a really nice used machine at a dealer or online. Viking has the less expensive models. Don't be sucked into the "bells and whistles" unless you really want them or need them. The walking foot models are really great, and there are used Pfaffs around with IDT. I still use mine from 1977, and I love it.

Using good equipment is always better no matter if it's your vacuum, sewing machine, craft or hobby or whatever, you just get better results when you aren't fighting with the tools!

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"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
--Dalai Lama

I have sewing machines

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