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Message Board > Sewing Machines > A machine for denim, what's available???? ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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A machine for denim, what's available????
TammyAnn
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TammyAnn
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Member since 10/11/12
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Date: 2/10/13 11:47 PM

Hi I'm hoping you can help me out. I'm looking for a machine that will sew through 6+ layers of denim and other (heavier fabrics) without blinking an eye, or more appropriately without skipping a stitch.
I currently own a Babylock Ellageo Plus and this baby is an awesome machine that is full of features and embroiders like a dream. She does a great job on most fabrics and the only time she's unhappy is when I want her to sew through fabrics that are heavy, the manual even suggests that you not go over a 1/4" thick. So for most garments and projects she is just about perfect!
Problem is I like to make jackets and coats and even hats that very often have multiple layers that exceed a 1/4 inch and then some.
I have done some research and from what I have found the two brands that seem to be able to accomplish this task EASILY and CONSISTENTLY are Pfaff and Bernina.
This past weekend I took a bernina 350PE for a test drive (at a dealer who is 20 minutes away) and boy that puppy had no problem whatsoever with 6 layers of denim! But, and it's a big but to me, holy cow is it expensive for what you get. I have gotten used to quite a few of the bells and whistles on my babylock and the bernina pretty much is bare bones and the harp space is tiny, but it did go through that denim like butter!
Next weekend I'd like to go and give the Pfaff Ambition 1.5 a test drive at a dealer who is about 40 minutes away. I've heard that they are just as awesome as the Berninas if not more so because of the IDT.
So I'm hoping all of you can help me out a bit, are there other brands that compare? are they affordable? will they last a while? will they go through thick fabric as nicely and consistently? any opinions on Pfaff over Bernina? I'd like to keep it under $1500. The pfaff seems to be a bigger bang for the buck at around $1000 and the Bernina quote is $1300.

Thanks so much for any help!
Tammy :)

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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Subject: A machine for denim, whats available???? Date: 2/11/13 0:30 AM

Are you just looking for a good straight stitch to plow through layers? Then you could consider something like the Juki TL2010Q or BabyLock Jane. The Brother twin PQ1500s sells for under $700.

TammyAnn
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TammyAnn
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In reply to karen149 <<


Date: 2/11/13 8:51 AM

That's a good question! It's also one that I honestly haven't quite figured out the answer to, I'm thinking I want a bit more than just a straight stitcher.
I know the decorative stitches on the bernina didn't wow me, they seemed quite small as it is a 5mm machine. I suppose I could always go back to my Babylock for any decorative type stitch.

JKimes
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JKimes  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/11/13 12:25 PM

I think you should consider an industrial machine. It would probably be straight stitch only, but in the long run would be a better investment. You'll need the torque to get through those layers. Even if a home machine can do that, you run the risk of burning it out. I know Bernina make a really solid 'basic' one.

Juliette

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Juliette near Austin, TX
Bernina 830LE
Bernina 350PE
Babylock Evolution
ElnaPro 905DCX

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
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Subject: A machine for denim, whats available???? Date: 2/11/13 12:51 PM

I have a couple of older Bernina mechanicals and of the same vintage a computerized Bernina 1090 and they all plow through denim as if they hadn't noticed it was thick. All are available on eBay and occasionally as trade ins at dealers. Look for 1020, 1030, 1031 as well as the 1090 and 1130. Most can be found for around $500 to 1,000. Yes, they do seem to hold their value, but there is a reason!
Leslie

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Bernina Gal

Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/11/13 12:52 PM

I would agree with an industrial or semi-industrial if you are planning on doing this type of thing all the time. Some used ones can be picked up for less than the price a new machine. Home machines can do this type of work but are not meant to do it continually (not even a Bernina, not Juki not a Janome etc). The modern home machines will burn out costing you alot in repairs. Have you thought of a vintage Singer? Many of them are tanks and parts are readily available (and no computer to replace) should you burn out the motor.

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Subject: A machine for denim, whats available???? Date: 2/11/13 2:30 PM

I am going to second the reservation other than vintage. If you are buying for the sole purpose of consistant heavy denim sewing, well, replacing motherboards in computerized machines is not inexpensive. Plus they are sensitive- must be kept clean, picky about thread types, timing can get thrown out from bent needle, etc.
Machines of the 50's, even some early 60's were really mechanized, not computerized. They have stood the test of homesteads and outfitted many a ranch. If you have the space for a cabinet in your room, I would go that route. My Moms Singer 301 has clothed a family, decked out a slew of rooms in military homes over the years, made tents, wedding dresses and still makes quilts and repairs canvas boat covers.
I'm thinking I need to get it back from my daughter- just kidding!

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

TammyAnn
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TammyAnn
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In reply to JKimes <<


Date: 2/11/13 2:35 PM

When you say industrial does any specific make and model come to mind? I see singer has put out what they are calling an industrial machine and it's available at Joann fabrics but after the experience with my last Singer which was bought during what seem to have been the lemon years I'm a little leary.

GothDom
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Subject: A machine for denim, whats available???? Date: 2/11/13 2:38 PM

Pfaff 130.
It's vintage . zigzags, and is the machine of choice for sailmakers.

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http://www.acdc-vintage.com
This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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In reply to TammyAnn <<
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Date: 2/11/13 2:39 PM

The Singer sold at Joann is not industrial...it's a beefed-up(if you can call it that) home machine. An industrial is something like a Juki 9000 series. You can get them with motors that are not on all the time and are very quiet:

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