Member since 12/1/08
Date: 12/1/08 6:20 AM
Hello everyone(: First post.
I've read through the sewing machines for beginners thread and the sewing machines review thread, and there are still some more questions I have.
A little off topic first, when would I need a coverhem stitch or a blind hem stitch? And what are they used for?
Now the main thing. I generally use the machine for sewing patterns and some of my own designs but I do deal with a wide variety of fabric, like anything from the more common types like knits, muslin, cotton, tweed, the the heavy materials like tweeds, denim and the super slippery/hard to manage ones like satin, lace, tulle to the really weird like fur/fringe/sequins/leather.
MUST HAVES IN THE MACHINE
Able to sew through many layers of thick denim material(think hemming true religion jeans)
Able to adjust the stitch speed to VERY VERY SLOW
One step buttonhole
Adjustable stitch length/width/needle position
Electronic self adjusting tension(so I don't have to figure it out myself. and prevents thin fabric from bunching)
Adjustable pressure foot pressure
And most importantly, SEW A MEAN STRAIGHT STITCH!
I would probably need something that can almost do a super straight straight stitch that doesn't really require my hands to guide it much. I've heard the Baby Lock Decorators Choice is very good on this but it can't go through thick fabric (that and I really don't need all the fancy fancy stitches which is what the $500 is for really)
I really don't need any of the decorative stitches and would never pay more for them. The only thing I can think of is maybe a ZigZag stitch that I may pay slightly more for. Another good to have (ie. might pay slightly more for but not crucial) is the needle up setting.
So what is good?
-- Edited on 12/1/08 6:22 AM --
-- Edited on 12/1/08 6:47 AM --
Member since 8/19/06
Date: 12/1/08 7:01 AM
Have you read the sewing machine reviews here? I think they are pretty helpful in learning about how the machine works, once you know your budget, then its easy to narrow down to a few machines and then go try them out at the SM dealer, I think its important to try a SM first to make sure.
I started with a mid-range Brother, and it was a great starter machine, although, it wasnt' the best with thick/heavy fabrics, but then again..that could've been MY fault for not using the right needle/foot/setting/etc.
Do you are a sewing machine store near you? Sometimes you can find great deals on trade-ins too.
Member since 12/1/08
Date: 12/1/08 7:10 AM
^Yes. But everything looks so good and I don't know which one is THE one. and everything seems to have a little of this but not that, or they do have what I want but come with say 64 other decorative stitches and cost a lot.
I've realised that I might not need an automatic tension thingy but tey would need to some with a comprehensive card that tells me what setting to put what in when i'm using certain fabrics.
I'm looking at the cheapest machine I can get with those features I need.
Member since 1/22/06
Date: 12/1/08 7:34 AM
It's really hard to pick "the one" machine for someone else.
My best advise is to go look at the machines, test them on a variety of fabrics you normally sew and see how the machine feels to you.
I have a Pfaff 7570, I like a lot of the features it has, but I hate the buttonholes and I wish I could adjust the pressure foot pressure.
I have a Janome 300E embroidery machine and I'm realy impressed with the quality of the machine. Janome has a reputation for being very dependable rugged machine, you may want to check around at a Janome dealer.
Don't rule out a used and reconditioned machine if buget is an issue, you can often find a machine with extra feature for a reasonable price.
Consider the dealer as well. A good dealer will offer support classes and repairs. A good dealer is often worth as much as a good machine.
Member since 12/1/08
Date: 12/1/08 8:55 AM
actually, the more I read about the different sewing machines, the more I realised that all i need is just a lean mean straight stitch sewing machine, the rest I would get either by practising or they're just extras.
besides the featherweight 221, what other sewing machines sew a great even and very straight straight stitch? something that is wonderfully made(good construction, durable parts) and comes with a guide on tension settings and all.
that and the ability to handle all sorts of fabrics of various qualities and quantities.
-- Edited on 12/1/08 9:11 AM --
Member since 7/19/03
Date: 12/1/08 9:49 AM
What have you sewn on in the past?
I really don't think you need a tension guide of any sort. You'll be able to learn this very quickly and with a GOOD simple straight stitch machine it's VERY easy to adjust.
Take actual samples of your jeans seaming (and jeans needles) and other fabrics with you and go to visit some dealers and sew on the machines they have. There are lots of used machines out there that would work for you; you just need to find a good dealer and a machine YOU like when you try it.
My personal advice would be to skip any Singer machine that was made between the mid 1960s and the mid 1990s. Other than that, I'd recommend asking if the dealer has any used Berninas.
Have fun looking and trying the machines!
Member since 9/5/08
In reply to xing
Date: 12/1/08 10:16 AM
I would recommend a Janome HT 2008. It doesn't have all of the features you are looking for, but it's awfully close otherwise. I got mine for $350.
You have to adjust the tension yourself (very easy to do - just a dial on the front of the machine), and it's not at all hard to learn how and when to adjust your tension. Most of the time it sits at 5 (on a scale of 1-10) and needs no adjusting at all.
It also has no adjustable presser foot pressure. I do wish it had that, but most of the time it's not needed anyway, and with the right foot (ie a walking foot for knits) you can get around not having it even though it would be nice. I also just use more pins when I'm using a type of fabric that wants to slide around.
It also EASILY sews through many layers of denim.
I've never found a machine that just never jams, but I've found that making sure you are using the right needle, and using a straight stitch throat plate will make jamming very, very rare.
Anyway, here are my reviews and articles about this machine:
New sewing machine story
My (mostly) green sewing blog: http://NapkinLady.blogspot.com/
Member since 8/14/05
In reply to xing
Date: 12/1/08 11:00 AM
One problem is that to get the machine you want it WILL have a lot of stitches. Unless you get and learn to maintain an old Singer 404, 401, 403, 500 etc., you will get a machine that has stitches these days because the machine will be computerized. This is not a bad thing.
You don't tell us your budget? For a solid new machine that meets your need, a Bernina 1008, a Viking Platinum (discontinued but still in some shops), or a Pfaff mechanical or computerized machine would probably be best. Your budget should be somewhere in the 500-1000 category for that group probably...
The recommendation of the Janome Heart Truth machine is good also, and the Janome Sew Precise has less stitches and is somewhat less expensive, but has less features. The Janome Magnolia 7330 is also less then the HT machine, and is a nice machine with the needle up/down and fix buttons also. Another good one would be the mechanical Janome 5124, which does have needle up/down, and is also a discontinued machine, but some shops still can get them.
Then there is the whole gamut of used sewing machines that a dealer has refurbished or just serviced and has for sale. Good buys here sometimes.
You will have to go see them, touch them and sew ont hem to choose.
If you fall in love with a particular machine, take your time and maybe you will get it at a price you really like.
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
I have sewing machines
Member since 12/3/06
In reply to xing
Subject: Recommend me a sewing machine? Date: 12/1/08 11:20 AM
At the bottom of this post is a video and pictures of a blind-hem and coverstitch.
Take your list, including your budget and visit as many dealers as you can.
Tell them what you are looking for and what your budget is.
Take a scrap of denim and ask for a test. Most machine will handle a jeans hem - I've done many over the years.
Although, lately I have been serging the raw edge of the hem and turning it up once and doing a longer straight stitch to hem (two layers, but there will still be eight layers at the inseam to stitch through).
No sewing machine has an automatic tension setting - you still have to set it according to the fabric you are going to sew. Most of the time, there is no need to change the setting.
A sewing machine will do a blind-hem stitch, but you need a coverstitch machine for a coverstitch hem. However, the coverstitch hem can be mimicked by using a twin needle in the sewing machine.
All home sewing machines will have a certain number of "decorative" stitches. That's not what the extra cost is for, if you look at the features beyond the decorative stitches.
At the very least you need straight stitch, reverse (for locking seams) and zig-zag (for the blind hem stitch and bar tacks).
Blind Hem Video
Pictures of a Coverstitch
Ask for lots of demonstrations.
Best wishes for finding the machine that is right for you.
-- Edited on 12/1/08 11:25 AM --
“I don’t give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.” — Harry Truman
"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge
Member since 12/1/08
Date: 12/1/08 12:24 PM
thank you all (:
I havent done major sewing at all, just some simple skirts(pencil, circle) and those patterns that vogue has under the very easy category.
I guess somewhere between checking out more machines and checking back this thread, I realised that some of what I'm looking for originally would only come with the fancy fancy machines that I'm not going to pay for. I guess I don't really have a set budget for a sewing machine, I'm willing to pay for what's it's worth. I know it's all very hazy speaking like that. I'll give examples. For example if it's a good quality(construction, parts) sewing machine I wouldn't mind paying what some of the TOL models are going for right now for it but if it's expensive because it has 64 decorative stitches(I understand that it's hard to get sewing machines with JUST a straight stitch. but 64 seems like a ridiculous number. I'll stop at say 5, 10 tops), it's the newest model and fancy computer programmes but have lots of plastic parts, ill-fitting bobbings etc, then I'm not interested even if it's $100.
Of course computerised SM aren't bad things, they look great and fun and awesome to explore but when I feel like I'm paying for all the things that I don't need then it doesn't feel like I'm getting the best deal out of it as well.
I don't really understand the reverse stitch. I survived on my mum's singer sewing machine (the chord broke) for the longest time and it went okay.
Anywhere I can look for some seams/hems guide?
PS: what's wrong with 60s and 90s singer machines?
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