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Need detailed advice please!
Buying first machine
cmartch
cmartch
Beginner
California USA
Member since 9/2/06
Posts: 3
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Date: 9/11/06 6:46 PM

OK I am a total beginner to sewing to please bear with me I will try to explain my situation and I need any advice yall can give! I really don't know much at all about sewing, so please forgive if I say anything ignorant! :blush:

OK, I have an invention that I'm currently trying to get patented (very expensive!) and it is a form of functional clothing. After I get the provisional patent I will be manufacturing it myself for up to a year until I get the money to market it and license it to a company, then I probably wont be making it myself anymore. I have to work with knits, it is infant clothing, and not only do I not know hardly anything about sewing, but even less about knits! In fact the only reason I know it is different is because I was just told so recently! My mom used to do A LOT of sewing a long time ago and has been a good source of information except a lot of what she knows is outdated like she said I needed to use a merrow stitch which I think now is called serger? But she explained to me the difference between knit and woven and how that works. My idea involves sewing together several layers of different materials like, for example, knit cotton, terry cloth and microfleece. I have quite a few excellent resources for help, only most of them are far away because my husband is military I'm nowhere near home I have a friend here who used to sew for the navy so she is going to help me get started but we're moving in two months so she can't help for long. I need to buy a machine and I can't figure out which one. I know for this particular project a serger would be best but I am not going to be sewing it myself for very long so I don't know if I should spend my money on a specialized machine and would a serger do everything I need even for one project? My other option is I was looking at the Singer Futura for 500 dollars that seems to do everything including embroidery (add a special touch to my products) AND most importantly says it has a stitch for knits. This machine would seem to me like the better choice because it will serve me after I finish this project and it does everything apparantly but then my friend told me it isn't really very good. I know I can get a Singer serger for around 200 but I heard they are pretty bad, get untimed a lot and stuff like that, I can't afford constant repairs! I can also get a White speedylock for around 200 but I haven't heard anything at all about those. I have used a sewing machine less than a dozen times and the only time I've tried using an embroidery machine (a long time ago) I remember breaking several needles. I am starting to figure I will need to take at least one class on my machine before using it. I guess I could get a cheap serger and maybe a cheap basic machine for it but I think I would prefer a nice all in one machine like the futura if I can find a decent one for less than 1000 hopefully. I have been researching and reading articles about the things I need to know but I keep coming across terms I don't understand and it's like I'm reading another language! I would also love suggestions on good books or anything for beginning sewers maybe to help me learn the terms and techniques. I'm not good at learning from a book like stitches and things like that but I could learn the terms. Basically I'm admitting that I'm a total beginner, to sewing and fabrics and everything else in this subject! And I have quite a big project facing me! Any advice is very much appreciated! Thanks in advance

Corinne

rhoda bicycle

rhoda bicycle
Intermediate
Saskatchewan CANADA
Member since 6/26/05
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Date: 9/11/06 9:04 PM

Any basic zig-zag stitch mechanical sewing machine will handle knit fabrics. Check out the Janomes if you want a sewing machine that has specific stretch stitches; I've got both a Singer and a Janome and I don't like the Singer stretch stitches much. The Janomes are genuinely stretchy. There are probably other brands that would work well, you just may have to take samples of the cloth in with you and test drive a few of them.
You probably don't need an expensive computerized machine for this sort of thing.
A basic 3/4 thread serger will also do the job (you'll continue to find uses for it if you keep sewing) but don't go too cheap. Sergers are more complex than sewing machines and you'll need to spend a bit more to get a usable one. It should have differential feed.
If there is any kind of sewing machine dealership near you, pay them a visit. Many shops offer lessons and after sales advice and service. If you are really inexperienced at sewing, buying online is probably not a good way to go.

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/11/06 9:10 PM

Why not just use a sewing contractor?

Speech girl
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Speech girl  Friend of PR
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Georgia USA
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In reply to cmartch


Date: 9/11/06 9:39 PM

If you haven't already discovered it, you might be interested in this blog:

fashion-incubator

------
Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

cmartch
cmartch
Beginner
California USA
Member since 9/2/06
Posts: 3
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Date: 9/12/06 5:31 PM

hmmm great info! What is a sewing contractor? I'm assuming it's someone I can pay to sew for me.. Are they hard to find and expensive? We are about to move to a small town in washington.. See my dilemma is a need a machine that will be good for this job, with heavy daily use but only for a few months or a year at the most. After that I will not be doing the sewing anymore so I thought it would be good to have a multifunction machine that I will be able to use afterwards for various projects. I agree a serger will still be useful for me because i will still be making childrens clothes and things and sewing with knits.. Can a serger do a straight stitch? Any good recommendations for one thats not too expensive but not bottom of the line? thanks again!

Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/12/06 7:04 PM

A sewing contractor is just that - a company to whom you contract out your sewing. Many small manufacturers use them. Check the yellow pages.

As for specific machine recommendations, I really can't give you any as I'm using mostly industrial equipment. You should check the machine reviews here on the site.

No, a serger cannot do a straight stitch (although some can do a chain stitch). It will not take the place of a regular machine.

cmartch
cmartch
Beginner
California USA
Member since 9/2/06
Posts: 3
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In reply to Gigi Louis


Date: 9/12/06 8:11 PM

I want to thank you so much because after I read your reply I went and found a really great sewing contractor that will take my idea all the way to manufacturing and finishing for me!! This seems like a really great option for me and I'm so excited about it! I am waiting to hear back about their rates, the one variable! Thanks again!

Marie_P.
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Marie_P.
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USA
Member since 10/7/05
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Date: 9/12/06 10:28 PM

Please be sure that the contract you have with the sewing contractor states clear ownership of your design and work as well as the scope of work and terms of nondisclosure if necessary.

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/13/06 8:24 AM

That's great, Corinne! Please consider going over to Fashion Incubator (Kim gave the link above) and buying The Entrepreneur's Guide To Sewn Product Manufacturing. It is a must-have, in my opinion.

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