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Forum > Sewing Machines > mechanical vs computerized ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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mechanical vs computerized
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neaner
neaner
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Member since 5/20/11
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Date: 5/26/11 3:17 PM

I'm new to PR but read alot and you all are a wealth of info!!

I have a Brother vx920 that I should be retiring soon and DH said he would get me a replacement. I've been studying and was wondering how the computerized ones really workout?? If there is something wrong will it just stop and not atleast let you get your work out?? I understand how computerized machinery works and they can be stubborn if you don't get it. What are that differences?? I've been using a mechanical for the last 30 years so I'm really in the dark,LOL.

I do alot of heavy duty sewing, fixing jeans to making curtains & draperies. I also make small crafty junk at times too. But I would like to start doing some garments and stuffed toys. So I would like something that can go through layers of heavy wt fabrics and also light wts for shirts. But I don't want to fight with a machine.

I notice alot of you have both, how do they stack up one from the other?? I fear electrical/board probs, should I be so concerned about that? Could that be expensive?? I've been checking out a Kenmore 19110 but wondering if a mechanical equal could serve me as well. Guess I don't understand all the bells and whistles of this machine(or other puterized) to make the purchase just yet.

TIA for any help. It will be greatly appreciated!!
Jeannine :)

sewfrequent

sewfrequent
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Texas USA
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In reply to neaner


Date: 5/26/11 3:33 PM

Sounds to me like a nice electronic or mechanical machine might be your best bet. I particularly like Kenmore 16231 for heavy stuff and I'm sure others can recommend "work-horse" models. The 19110 I have not used but it definitely does more than a simple mechanical... but I don't THINK it will have the power for the jeans and crafty stuff also it does not have adjustable presser foot pressure important for thick stuff, imho. Its true there isn't as much to go wrong with mechanical/electronics partly bc they don't have as many functions/features to go wrong. Try to find one without a lot of plastic inside if you are doing heavy stuff.
-- Edited on 5/26/11 3:35 PM --

pfafffanatic

pfafffanatic  Friend of PR
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In reply to neaner


Date: 5/26/11 4:08 PM

There are features available on a computerized machine that are not available on mechanical that I find to be of utmost importance to me. One of them is the needle up/needle down feature. Automatic buttonholes are far superior on a computerized vs/ mechanical model.

You may consider the new Babylock Serenade. I am really impressed with this machine for its many features. It is almost semi-industrial in that the bobbin case has an extra piece to go through for more secure stitching. The platform acommodates larger spools of thread with a vertical threading pattern. It also has a knee lift so you can lift the pressure foot with hands free operation. The best thing is it has a built in walking foot and lots of accessories. Expect to pay about $1300 for it.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
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In reply to neaner


Date: 5/26/11 4:40 PM

I would not be concerned about getting a computerized sewing machine if that is what I wanted. I wanted a home computer and that is what I got. Could there be expensive electrical/board problems...well yes...but we deal with that don't we? Do we expect our home computers to last 20 years...technology changes.

Some computerized sewing machines are the smaller 3/4 sized sms. A Kenmore 19110 is a pretty neat way of getting a well respected computerized full sized sewing machine at a good price and Sears has a very good extended warranty (at additional cost) that may come in handy if needed.

From what I've seen and read on PR most Sears stores have discontinued in-store sewing depts...even if there are sewing machines in Sears they are not set up to test stitch. As far as understanding the machines you are pretty much limited to the manual, calling Sears Kenmore Customer Service Dept at Janome, or posting a question on PR.

Depending on where you live...the other option is to visit local sewing machine dealers to test stitch on various sewing machines. Keep in mind how the customer service is toward a lookie lou...that will be very important. Go to as many dealers as you have access to...whatever the brand.

Keep notes to be sure comparisons are appropriate...comparing a $3000 to a $300 sewing machine will be frustrating if you don't have a $3000 budget. Take notes on what sewing machine lessons are offered and for how long. Take along some of your heavy weight fabrics and even heavy weight thread so that you know whatever sm will sew what you need it to.

You aren't in a hurry to get a new sewing machine are you? Take time looking, enjoy the search and have fun.

Personally...I like mechanical sewing machines. I like the levers and knobs and all that fiddly stuff...some don't and prefer computerized.

For a really good video demo of a lovely mechanical sewing machine...go to www.sewinginusa.com (NAYY) Search Janome Sewist 500 and see the demo. They have free shipping in 48 US States. FYI With all Janome or Kenmore horizontal bobbin sewing machines...but absolutely careful about using ONLY PLASTIC bobbins in them and preferrably Janome or Kenmore bobbins.

ETA: Janome Sewist 500 has adjustable presser foot pressure...another dial/knob...oh I like it.

-- Edited on 5/26/11 4:47 PM --

Soolip
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Soolip
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In reply to pfafffanatic


Date: 5/26/11 5:23 PM

Quote: pfafffanatic
Automatic buttonholes are far superior on a computerized vs/ mechanical model.

I have found quite the opposite to be true.
andye
andye  Friend of PR
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Date: 5/26/11 6:00 PM

Low end computerized machines often have a single, alpha numeric display, while many mechanicals have a clearly marked dial, with pictures of each stitch.

Suppose you're sewing something that uses both a superstretch stitch and a Lycra stitch (a zigzag with more frequent needle drops)--and changing between them frequently.

On a mechanical machine, you often can tell which stitch is selected by looking at the dial. You can tell that you haven't selected honeycomb by mistake.

On my machine, the first is number 9, and the latter, number 15. The Honeycomb stitch is number 17. Verifying that you have the correct stitch requires a glance at the stitch card.

Is this a fatal flaw? No. But it may unnecessarily complicate matters.It all depends on the sewer's personality.

------
Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

neaner
neaner
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Date: 5/27/11 9:22 PM

Thanks alot for all your input. I have alot to think over but I have time to make up my mind.

I noticed a sewing machine for sale on Ebay just like my Mom's, I love that machine but it's heavier then heck!! It's a 30 y/o Kenmore 158.19801. If he'd lower the price I might go for it since it doesn't come with much of the goodies Mom's came with when she got her's. Actually the one from Ebay only comes with 1 box of cams, not even the manual.


Thanks again, Jeannine

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
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In reply to neaner


Date: 5/28/11 0:46 AM

Please be careful about ordering a sewing from ebay. Unless the seller had that machine re-conditioned there may be all sorts of issues with it. It does not seem well cared for since most of its accessories are missing. Does it have its foot pedal?

I looked up that model on searspartsdirect.com and probably half of the parts are no longer available and have no substitutes. The manual is no longer available through them too.

AminaHijabi
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AminaHijabi
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Date: 5/28/11 1:05 AM

There are other places on the internets where you can get Kenmore sewing machine manual, but they aren't free.

bestgrammy
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bestgrammy
Oregon USA
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In reply to neaner


Date: 5/28/11 2:02 AM

Looked up the sewing machine on ebay that you mentioned. Seller does state it functions and has been well cared for.

Nice it's free shipping...but seller mentions bubble wrap...that is not so good for a sewing machine's shipping protection.

If individual items including the sewing machine are wrapped in bubble wrap separately it may help them from scratching each other but would not prevent the sewing machine from shifting in the box.

Seller mentions foam...best to make sure referring to styrofoam in thick sheets...not foam peanuts. Foam peanuts will not keep the sewing machine from shifting in the box even if double boxed.

Seller mentions missing thread guide is available at sears parts.com...best to check that out before hand...many parts are no longer available and I think that thread guide is one of them.

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