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Forum > Sewing Machines > Up/down needle feature ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Up/down needle feature
how important is this?
kkoizumi
kkoizumi
Member since 11/13/09
Posts: 8
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Date: 11/20/09 1:03 AM

I'm a beginner - and wondering how important the up/down needle capability feature is in a sewing machine. I'm looking to sew primarily clothes and costumes for my kids. No quilts. Any and all advice greatly appreciated!

AK
AK
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California USA
Member since 2/2/04
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Date: 11/20/09 1:40 AM

If you need to turn a corner when you are sewing, you want to have the needle down so you can pivot on it. So, it is handy to have that button. However, that would never be a make or break feature for me because it is certainly easy enough to drop or raise the needle manually. HTH

Soolip
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Soolip
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In reply to kkoizumi


Date: 11/20/09 2:26 AM

Either handy or frustrating, depending on how your brain works.

I prefer to plant the needle myself -- I hate having machines do things automatically for me. I always forget how I've set the machine, and will invariably try to remove the work with the needle sticking in the fabric.

Also, there is usually a button on the face of the machine to raise/lower the needle. Whereas the handwheel is a large thing that you can grab on the side of the machine, this button is small and marked cryptically. I have to hunt for it. It's just easier to grab the wheel.

Mrs.Moos
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Mrs.Moos  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/20/09 2:49 AM

On all the machines I have sewn on, both mine and the store's where I work at, the needle up/down function is one of my favorites. Its there if you need it but if you don't want to use it, you don't have to.
To me it is almost like having another pair of hands--especially on slippery fabrics and you don't want to take the chance of running over pins. I love this feature and another is the knee lift bar that some of the machines have. Again, like having an extra pair of hands!

IDcam
IDcam
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California USA
Member since 5/13/09
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Date: 11/20/09 6:04 AM

As a fellow beginner, I really appreciate the convenience of the needle up/down button. The up/down feature can be used as a one-time push button feature or programmed so that the needle always ends in the up position or down position at the end of a seam. From my experience when a machine has the up/down feature anytime you take your foot off the pedal (or press the start/stop button) to stop the machine the needle will always either stop in the highest position - up, or lowest position - down, depending on what you have it programmed to do. This means the machine may take one more stitch after you stop to make the needle stop in the desired position. A machine that doesn't have this feature (usually a mechanical machine) will stop the needle right when you take your foot off the pedal so the needle could stop in mid-position.

Yes, it is just as easy to turn the handwheel to plant the needle down into the fabric - that isn't my gripe. But what I found out is that in order to pull your threads to the side thread-cutter the needle has to be in the highest position so the top and bobbin thread tensions are released, otherwise you can't pull the threads to cut them. So turning the handwheel to make the needle hit the fabric is very easy but if you stop with the needle in mid-position coming down (and you're ready to cut your threads) then you have to turn the handwheel so that it fiinishes going down then all the way back up to the highest position since the only correct direction to turn the handwheel is towards you. I sometimes turn the handwheel too fast then miss the position and have to turn it one more rotation to get it right or I find myself turning it really slow and staring at the hook on top to see when the needle is at the highest position. It's just one more thing to have to do/concentrate on when you're already preoccupied with getting the other aspects of sewing down.

I know a lot of seasoned sewers may not care for the up/down feature because the possibility of the sewing machine taking that *extra stitch* in order to get the needle to the desired position but that's because they already know what they're doing. They know their machines like the back of their hands and know when to stop sewing and how to tap their pedal to get the needle to the correct position. But for us newbies, don't overlook the up/down feature as a luxury. It definitely has more perks than just planting the needle in the fabric with the push of a button. I really like that it always brings the needle to the highest position when I want it to. I never worry about where the needle will stop. And I've gotten used to how my machine stitches so I don't even notice the extra stitch it may/may not take. I think if you've always used a mechanical machine that doesn't have this feature than you will notice the extra stitch when using a machine that does have this feature. HTH!

As for luxury -- an auto-thread cutter -- now that's a luxury!

-- Edited on 11/20/09 6:30 AM --

Carrie-Jane
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Carrie-Jane
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UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 12/9/06
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In reply to kkoizumi


Date: 11/20/09 6:15 AM

I do use that feature a lot too on my computerised machines.

On my Bernina and I think also on my Emerald I can tap my heel on the foot pedal to make the needle go down into the fabric. Not sure which other models / makes of machine have this feature too.

Saying all that I have a mechanical machine which I love sewing on and its really basic but tough (just hemmed some jeans on it). I haven't had it long but I am bonding with it and can if I am real careful on the foot pedal get the needle to stop in the fabric.

So I would say choose the machine you feel you bond with and if it's got that feature then all the better.

------
My machines; Bernina 135S, Elna 2300, Bernina Serger 800DL.
http://fenullapolkadot.blogspot.com

ryan's mom
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ryan's mom
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Date: 11/20/09 7:39 AM

I sewed for 25 years on a mechanical with no needle up/down feature. Then bought a computerized with needle up/down and can't imagine how I lived without it.

------
Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Coverstitch: Janome CP1000. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

My blog: www.phatchickdesigns.blogspot.com

M.S.
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M.S.
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Date: 11/20/09 8:06 AM

I hate needle up/down. My machine that has the feature keeps sewing a bit after I take my foot off the pedal. It makes me crazy. I guess I'm a control freak!

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to kkoizumi


Date: 11/20/09 8:21 AM

I bought a Janome with this feature. I had to return it twice to get it fixed; the needle kept going until after about 10 stitches. Then I tried sewing with it; yes, it WAS a nice feature, but then I saw how much more the price was for it--about $150 more than a barebones Janome. Fortunately, I had to sell the machine (for another reason) and bought one without the needle up/down. It wasn't missed.

I'm with Soolip; I like the idea of turning my handwheel when I need to pivot (needle in fabric, have to turn). It seems to make me feel like I have a little more control. I turn my handwheel on my old mechanicals anyway because I'm "finishing the stitch"; something I do to raise the takeup lever, so that the stitch starts out properly.

If it were me, I wouldn't spend the extra money for this feature.

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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ajax
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ajax  Friend of PR
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AUSTRALIA
Member since 9/30/06
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Date: 11/20/09 8:34 AM

I'm with Soollip and Miss Fairchilld on this one. Many people love the up/down needle feature but I don't think it's something that should be a deciding factor in your purchase. As a beginner you wouldn't miss it as you can do the same thing with the hand wheel or with practice the foot petal. If you try out a machine without this feature and like it don't let the lack of this put you off. Same thing if a machine you like has it. I just don't think this should be a deciding factor if you really like a machine.

------
Julie
Ingham, Queensland

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