Bespoke Cutter And Tailor

The Reference Section => Sewing machines and equipment => Topic started by: Henry Hall on December 31, 2018, 03:43:08 AM

Title: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Henry Hall on December 31, 2018, 03:43:08 AM
Don't worry, I've not gone mad like those people claiming old domestics are 'semi-industrial'. Read on....

A few weeks ago I went to buy an old Kohler overlocker, for parts and the outboard reverse motor. I only paid €20, but had to pick it up myself. That's another story, but there was something else I saw when I was there. The woman had a machine set-up for her main activity, which is dressmaking. A very lovely old Singer in what looked like a treadle table, but motorised. It looked like this:
And that is because it was this machine exactly. A Singer 1300-2. As you can see it's got a knee-lifter and a clutch motor attached to a treadle-like pedal. Hers was unchanged, though it may have been a servo rather than a clutch, I didn't see it running. I assumed it was just another old industrial machine I hadn't seen before.
Today I looked it up on the ISMACS website and the machines there are all listed there with their function and whether they are domestic/industrial. I hadn't noticed before that a few are listed as 'Artisan' machines and specifically for tailoring/dressmaking. I was beginning to think it was another of those 'semi-industrial' things, but after looking at some old catalogues it's real enough. It appears that some machines were made with features of industrials - the bigger motor, knee-lifter, similar build of the machine head - but not the same super speeds (they are between 1000-3000 spm).

It makes sense when you think about it; since in hand-tailoring you don't have the machine running day-in-day-out like some sort of clothing factory. The reliability of an industrial is there and some of the speed, along with the knee-lifter, but without the need to have it running all day at rocket speed.
Another machine that fits this description is the Pfaff 138, which looks obviously like an industrial, but isn't self-oiling and doesn't run past 2500-3000 spm. It also has the zig-zag function. There seem to be others and they are all from more than 45 years ago.

It seems the manufacturers have forgotten about these machines and there is no middle ground between a flat out industrial machine and a domestic. The modern industrials are now faster and with all kinds of things like the thread sweeper, cutter and all sorts of functions designed for factory use. They are of little use to the smaller-scale artisan and yet domestics are sometimes just not enough; certainly not the modern ones.

I perceive a gaping hole in the 'continuum'.

Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: spookietoo on December 31, 2018, 05:39:03 AM
Henry - I've recently seen one of those Singers and I thought it quite peculiar - a treadle with a motor and a housing resembling a 66. I thought it was something that had been "doctor'd".

Now to see if it was my Craigslist or a thrift store......

Not on craigslist.....think I remember the dark corner it was hidden in at which thrift store - priciest in town. Not open today. Change of plans for tomorrow for sure.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: spookietoo on December 31, 2018, 07:15:28 AM
Henry - the Ismacs website has the needle listed as 16 x 251.  Schmetz has a 16 x 251L (long) available with a 3-4 week lead time. Probably manufactured as ordered. Where they charge $36 for a bundle of 100 From their website (these are cheaper from distributors), they charge $185 for a bundle of 100 of the 16-251L. I can buy a pack of 10 of these for $11 US.

I know there are some vintage Singers that use what others have described as "discontinued" needle sizes. Is this what they mean? Do you know?

Just something to consider.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Henry Hall on December 31, 2018, 07:39:42 AM
I couldn't say. I know some of those old industrial Singers, though mostly the obscure and cancelled ones, used specialist needles, but the extant ones seem to use available needles. Both the 1200 and 1300 use needles that are available.

As far as Singer machines go I only have domestic ones - 15, 128. The others are Pfaff and all of them use the same standard needles you can get anywhere.

My Juki uses 'system 134' needles and they are very available.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Dunc on February 04, 2019, 11:41:43 PM
I have a Janome 1600P that might fit in this niche - metal construction, knee lifter, thread cutter (with optional remote switch) rotary hook, takes industrial feet and HLx5 high speed needles, up to 1600 SPM, separate bobbin winder motor, etc... Straight stitch only. I was toying with the idea of an industrial, but my sewing machine dealer persuaded me that this was more practical for a domestic setting, and I think he's probably right. He assures me that it'll last practically for ever - claims that he has one customer that uses one so heavily that most of the enamel's worn off it.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: theresa in tucson on February 05, 2019, 01:23:15 AM
Bernina makes the 950 which would fit this bill.  Consew actually makes the 950 for Bernina nowadays but the older ones were made by Bernina.  We have one of them at the community college where I take sewing classes.  If it were placed in a better location that would be my machine of choice as it does everything my 930 does and faster with more stable foot pressure.  It also uses the older Bernina feet which makes it compatible with my Bernina.  It's stored against the wall next to the two Juki industrials and must share its table with the coverstitch machine and some half scale dress forms so the lab has effectively made it unusable.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Hendrick on February 05, 2019, 06:48:54 AM
I was impressed by the Juki qvp 2200, it is fast and has ample arm stretch (“harp space”😀 for americans). At around 1500 € it’s not cheap and that is without the table... But it is probably the nicest “semi industrial” I have seen. Then again, being a straight stitcher, she wouldn’t do anything a nice Singer 201 would... Then again, it proves, Henry, that there must be a market for this type of machine, but without the hassle of clunky motors, 3phase power and all that...

Cheers, Hendrick
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on February 06, 2019, 09:08:55 AM
I think there genuinely exists a category of "commercial grade" machines for professional commercial use outside of mass production. Not the daft claims of dodgy eBay sellers advertising worn out domestic models as "Heavy Duty" and "Semi-Industrial" with 12 layers of denim wedged under the presser foot... And never mind those UK sellers listing machines and electrical parts complete with fake PAT testing. (Yikes.)

I once had a vintage Wilcox & Gibbs industrial lockstitch machine, complete with its very old clutch motor, in a beautiful wood cabinet. It appeared to have been targeted towards professional seamstresses working from home. Sadly, I never had the chance to play with it before moving countries! I almost bought a Singer 307G2 machine, a zigzag capable industrial model that was actually specifically intended for tailoring, but the brakes failed on our car en route.

I have seen listings for two different Singer 404 machines that appeared to have had factory supplied knee lift levers, in the appropriate industrial style tables. There may have also been a 319K set up the same way, but I can't remember for sure. I can't recall what motors they had, though. Those models are domestic machines, but these definitely looked like they were originally supplied for commercial use.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Hendrick on February 06, 2019, 10:32:27 AM
To me, the class of machines, usually referred to as “Gewerbemaschine” by German builders represents the finest of german engineering. Gritzner, Nec hi and Adler produced some of the finest fully mechanical machines. Whereas Pfaffs where either speedstitchers or just great domestics. I personally do not like real industrial machines; they are simply too fast for what I like to do with them. On top of that; what artisan in their right mindneeds 5000 stiches per minute, exept for a sailmaker or an upholsterer? A sturdy, rotary hook machine is fine for me. The difference between the machine classes is also in momentum and moving mass of the machine. A “semi industrial” will go up to 1500 stitches per minute and is usually not self oiling. Because of its’ moving mass it won’t come to a dead stop the split second you lift your foot off the pedal. But it doesn’t, it goes slower anyway. And the punching power comes from where you expect it; the moving mass. An industrial wiil dead stop in milliseconds; it has to, because it is so bleedingly fast. So fast, in fact, that it can sew eight trouser outseams in a single minute... So, for repetive manipulations, where speed is of utmost important, nothing will beat an industrial. For flexible use, I would stay away from them. If had one choice only, I would get me a 201 Singer or a 103 or a Pfaff 30 and retrofit them with a dead silent 500w servo... I’d be happy to go for years!

Cheers, Hendrick
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Henry Hall on February 07, 2019, 03:48:37 AM
Since last week I actually have a Pfaff 30 set up with a servomotor in a wooden table and I'm testing it out. It is on a fairly low motor setting because they surely were not made to be run by fast motors. I keep thinking the hook and bobbin case is going to get wrecked so it's kept well-oiled.

The model I'm using is a machine that was virtually untouched until I got it, not a scratch on it. So there's no wear on it...yet. I didn't have another pedal board like on the industrial, so I've improvised with an old bass-drum pedal  ;D. It's a temporary set-up anyway.

Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Greger on February 07, 2019, 06:48:26 AM
People can learn to sew at different and variable speeds with the industrial machines.
Another method that works is using a block of wood. Slip the right size under part of the pedal so you can't go any faster.
If you use these machines enough you can gain the skill to go as fast as you want.
A slow machine can only go so "fast". Therefore, limited.
The faster machines allow the operator to gain speed skills. After that, who wants to be forced to go slow?
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Henry Hall on February 07, 2019, 07:07:19 AM
I can control the industrial via the pedal. This more about the combination of industrial (servo) motor with a domestic head.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Schneiderfrei on February 07, 2019, 09:35:50 AM
Industrial servo/domestic head sounds a good deal to me. Provided the internal workings are fit enough.

My old 1950's machine heads are robust and accurate stitchers, but the 70's Bernina would probably start smoking with its nylon bushes and gears.

Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Hendrick on February 07, 2019, 10:47:55 AM
Henry, don’t underestimate that Pfaff 30. I also own one, a “spare” from my dad, virtually unused. It has a Pfaff branded laquered piggyback motor, rated at 180 watts and it is fast. I wouldn’t worry taking it up to 1500 or so stitches. In contrast to other pfaffs, these do not have the internal cleated belt but balanced cams instead. Not self oiling, so for continuous daily use, these must be oiled daily...
For commercial use, these were also available with lightweight bakelite handwheels, for faster starting and stopping. I think that says something about the quality of the build.
Anyway, yours sounds nicely set up. So it may be a nice idea to cut off a pair of drum sticks and mount them on the table as spool pins to match the foot pedal. With your dead silent servo instead of a whining clutch motor and some Miles Davis in the background, what more could you wish for?

Cheers, Hendrick
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: hutch-- on February 11, 2019, 01:18:22 PM
When I first started on a domestic rather than using a fried's industrial, I found a mint condition Bernina 707 which was a very nice small machine to use. I made a lot of stuff on it but one day on my way to do some shopping I passed a garage sale from a small business closing down and saw this Elna for $20.00 AU so I bought it. Did it the gross dis-service of actually cleaning and oiling it properly and who ho, it was like a rocket.

Did a bit of hunting around and found the model that takes cams, a circa 1970 Supermatic and went looking for them on Ebay. Found one very good one from country Victoria (in Australia) that still had the original receipts and was like new. The 1970 price on the receipts was into the rediculous range, it was that expensive back them. Cleaned and oiled it and it was absolutely perfect, nothing to fix and it ran like a new one. Hooked another from South Australia and later did a dirty deal with an old dealer, swapped an old black Singer that was a collectors item for well over 100 cams for the Elna and apart from ducks and flowers, there were many useful stitches in the collection.

With both of the Elnas, if you put the boot into them they start to walk across the table but the speed is great if you are doing multi-step zip zags on high stretch fabrics.

My favourite industrial is an old fully manual Consew that a friend of mine owns. Wide bed, mechanical clutch and a dedicated straight sewer and fast enough to sew ship sails with but she has used it for years making often very fine garments so it seems to come with practice.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: peterle on February 11, 2019, 08:07:47 PM
@ hutch:

I also love my Elnas. I even got some spare parts lately for my supermatic from the 60´s.

They usually don´t walk across the table. This is probably just because the rubber feet of your machine got hard or desintegrated. Just change them, and everything will be ok.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: hutch-- on February 12, 2019, 01:49:40 AM
I found a few tricks in the maintenance from using a mix of Singer sewing machine oil and a teflon additive for the lighter parts and for the bevel gears inside the free arm I use a teflon grease that does not throw off and it makes a noticeable difference in terms of the smoothness and speed. You are probably right about the rubber feet but its closer to the speed when they are maintained properly that helps them walk across the table. I only use it in short bursts when doing long seams so its not a problem.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: spookietoo on February 12, 2019, 04:17:54 AM
I also find a chunk of carpet gripper or shelf liner under a machine will prevent or at least help with the walking.

I also like to use sewing cabinets for end tables, night stands, etc. Double and triple duty for the furniture then. 

Of course I'm the only one dealing with any mess I make. 
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on February 12, 2019, 10:34:18 AM
We have an old Elna zigzag in need of a new friction drive wheel. I haven't had any luck sourcing a replacement part, though. Anyone else encountered this problem?
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: hutch-- on February 12, 2019, 12:27:59 PM
You need to know the exact model and in most instances the best you will get is a second hand machine that you can use for parts. I used Ebay to find stuff like this and its usually something that someone has had in their attic for years as a left over from their parents or grandparents. If there are any old Elna dealers or service folks left in the US you may just be lucky and find some bits, I was lucky and found a repairer who had been in the business for 50 years who had a number of the specialised feet for my model.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on February 12, 2019, 01:27:37 PM
I heard that there were some replacement drive wheels made, but the quality was defective. The Elna I bought was probably found in an attic or similar. I lost count of the number of machines we've got. Needless to say, eBay was involved! ;)
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on July 11, 2019, 06:08:48 AM
I inherited my grandmother's Singer 331K4 from the 1960s. In searching for further information online, I stumbled across this:

Most interesting that it was intended for "the artisan trades." I am greatly looking forwards to using it once the rewiring is finished.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: hutch-- on July 11, 2019, 11:33:42 AM
I don't know the model but I had a quick look on Youtube and it looks like a good strong industrial straight sewer. Looks like you can still get some bits for it as well.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Schneiderfrei on July 11, 2019, 07:07:48 PM
Something terrible has happened to me. I joined the facebook page -

Now I have three machines.  The third is for free, if I pick it up. a Brother buttonhole machine.
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on July 12, 2019, 07:33:16 AM
I'm hoping get a video uploaded of the 331K4 after we finish work on it. Going to clean out the clutch motor tonight, and just waiting on replacement wiring for the lamp to show up before it's put to use. It sits in a beautiful wood table my grandfather built.

I nearly joined that Facebook group last night, but thought better of it!  ;D

But I do need a carpet serger and a walking foot machine for vinyl... I've got a few cars that need reupholstery.  8)
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: mysewingpleasure on July 18, 2019, 01:48:54 PM
Hi, everyone, I find this advertisement today. I cannot believe my eyes that the roller foot, how does it work? it says that it works on light fabrics. why do we need it if we sew with light fabric? It is very interesting to me.

By the way, the price is very very expensive to me, is it overpriced?

Artisan 5550 BIG Flatbed Industrial Sewing Machine

- Reverse feed
- Servo motor - silent, with speed reducer
- thread stand and bobbin winder included
- includes bobbins and needles
- thread size range - 46 to 138
- table on lockable wheels
- knee-lift for presser foot
- “M” size big bobbins - double capacity
- roller foot - suitable for leather, canvas, light fabrics
- self-lubricating system
- very clean and well maintained
- hard copy and digital manual and parts list
- Price - $1,200
Title: Re: Industrial machines and 'artisan' machines
Post by: Futura on July 18, 2019, 02:14:49 PM
My thought is that a roller foot like that is intended for sewing leather.