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Forum > Sewing Machines > It's Not the Sewing Machine, it's YOU! ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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It's Not the Sewing Machine, it's YOU!
Look what Miss Ann did on the GBSB
shajarataddurr
shajarataddurr
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Date: 5/11/13 6:26 AM

They gave those people what appeared to be real generic sewing machines and they had varying results. Like someone said recently regarding cameras: If they gave Slash a Walmart special and gave me the best guitar ever invented, he would still blow me off of the stage.

Of course, a higher-end sewing machine gives more needle positions and more types of stitches. But it doesn't help you select fabric better, cut better, or put garments together better.

jzygail
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jzygail  Friend of PR
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In reply to shajarataddurr <<
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Date: 5/11/13 7:08 AM

I think I missed the cultural reference that informs your post here. Or to put it another way....WHAT?

Anyway, while I will admit that a good sewist can make a basic machine sing arias, I disagree that a good sewist can make silk from a sow's ear of a machine. (metaphorically speaking and no offense to poorpigling! :D) My ex's wife bought their daughter an allegedly 'beginner's machine' from Singer--it was crap, from tip to toe. After reading reviews of the machine, both here and elsewhere, I was unable to find a single owner of the machine who had gotten more than 10 hours' sewing out of it and most of the got less than 1 hours' sewing from it. The machine my ex's wife bought was no different and she and I colluded together to get her daughter a Kenmore Mini-Ultra shortly thereafter--a very basic, but very highly rated sewing machine (for its features and price).

A crap machine (or a badly maintained machine) is a crap machine and no amount of skill can overcome it.

But a brilliant sewist can make any good, basic machine sing, I can agree with that.

LuceLu
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In reply to shajarataddurr <<


Date: 5/11/13 7:14 AM

Anne Rowley sews on a computerized Pfaff at home. She did make do with the basic Janome but I noticed she did opt to do a lot more handwork.

shajarataddurr
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Date: 5/11/13 10:45 AM

I was referring to Ann Rowley, the PR member who won the Great British Sewing Bee. She was AWESOME!

karen149
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In reply to shajarataddurr <<


Date: 5/11/13 11:18 AM

She hasn't posted here in years but is a a Moderator over at Artisan's Square.

I notice they had only the standard presser foot to use on the Janome(it looked like a 521 or 525s model). You can do just about anything with the basics.

jayl65
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Date: 5/11/13 11:43 AM

I am a professional sewer and make my living sewing at a very high level. My work is with professional designers,movie designers,broadway designers, and my personal clients who are themselves, wealthy successful individuals who include many people in the entertainment industry. Lets say if I said their names we all would know them. With that said, I get where shajarataddurr is coming from.

Let me explain. Many professional tailors and dressmakers use a straight stitch machine only. Most couture houses do this also. Everything else is sewn by hand. All buttonholes are hand bound or overcast by hand. I do work some work with a bridal and evening wear designer here in Santa Fe, NM and she only has a 40 year old industrial straight stitch. Her wedding gowns start at $5000 and to to over $20,000. All sewn on a straight stitch machine and hand sewn. Hundreds of hours of work. I have a friend who is a tailor. If you saw the move Lincoln you saw his work. He made all of Daniel D Lewis suits as Lincoln. Just a straight stitch machine was used. He sews everything by hand. So from this argument then yes in theory a simple machine should work.

On the other hand I have been looking for a new machine for the last few years to replace the one I carry with me to work. I have not been able to find one that will do the job. I sew on an older Pfaff with IDT and an older Bernina. Both great machines. The new ones cant come close in reliability and stitch quality on multiple fabrics. I often have to sew multiple buttonholes quickly. Sometimes up to 100 at a time. I often use an old singer and buttonhole cams to do this since my newer machines often fail do be consistent at doing this. So also in theory, having a better machine that would be consistent would help the situation. If I could find one.

I dont think anyone needs a $12,000 computerized machine to sew beautifully. A vintage singer,Bernina,Pfaff,Viking or Elna from the thrift store will out sew any of them I've seen on the market to date. Most people get caught up in the bells and whistles on the new machines. They get sold on features and stithies they will most often never use. But its fun to have them and if you can afford it, I say go for it.

The sad thing is I often see those expensive machines being used to sew ugly fleece baby blankets and fabrics from Joanns and Handcocks Fabrics. Yuck. No one needs to be sewing any of that stuff. Why does anyone need a machine that cost thousands of dollars to sew 99cent fabric. My advice is to buy the best fabric you can afford and get a basic good working sewing machine. Your projects will be so much better.
-- Edited on 5/11/13 11:48 AM --

jzy_gail
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Date: 5/11/13 11:57 AM

I fel like I missed half of a conversation somewhere--who is advocating buying a $12K machine?

jayl65
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Date: 5/11/13 12:08 PM

No one is advocating buying a $12000 machine. I used it just as a reference. If you've shopped lately for a new machine as I have all dealers will steer you toward their TOL machines. Janome,Pfaff,Bernina all have machines prices approaching this number. My point is a used $50 sewing machine can sew as well as a machine costing thousands. In this case, the skill of the sewer doesn't change because of the machine. But your right a crappy machine is a crappy machine.

kittykate
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kittykate
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Date: 5/11/13 12:35 PM

same vein, different course....

Know anyone with a $400 golf driver? It might have taken a few points off the score, if you're shooting 90's and want to break 80. If breaking 100 is a dream, 18 shots off a driver is not going to drop 20 points off the score however.

There's loads of these anecdotes but back to sewing

A bad low quality machine can make life miserable, especially if the tensions are rotten, or the feed rough. Someone with a lifetime of expertise can understand what is happening and compensate. We are not all that. Others will swing too far the other direction and go past the point where it's a quality machine and into the realm of bells and whistles.

Edit, I need to go find a stream of the sewing bee show but I'm currently only on episode 3 of the latest Project Runway so am a lot behind in my sewing reality shows.
-- Edited on 5/11/13 12:36 PM --

LuceLu
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Date: 5/11/13 12:53 PM

Finding a contemporary top quality consistent basic sewing machine is not necessarily easy. The closest to a heavy duty machine I can think of is one of those straight stitching quilting machines but I think you still need to get a good zigzag. I love using the buttonholer on vintage Singers because it is true, the buttonholes on computerized machines can get wonky for no particular reason, they are very touchy and if you have a thick area, they do not work well at all. They really do not make a TOL quality machine for basic sewing. I have come close with a Janome 6600 but it isn't perfect (buttonholes). That said, I did go for an sewing/embroidery combo and have lots of fun playing with it-- but I could live without it and sew many projects on my 6600 or even my vintage Kenmore (but maybe not lots of modern knits on that one....). Those two machines (Janome and Kenmore) are my go to for heavy duty home dec. like slipcovers, drapes etc.

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