Author Topic: Sewing Machine Advise  (Read 201 times)

Petruchio

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Sewing Machine Advise
« on: March 09, 2020, 10:28:35 PM »
I decided to make a new topic to avoid "hijacking" anyones thread with my questions. I'm contemplating to buy myself an industrial machine. Currently I'm only sewing shirts on an old Bernina Record 530-2. Though the results are kind of alright, I think that a lockstitch machine would provide a far better looking seam and more controll as well. Since sewing is only a hobby I plan to invest as little as possible and are hoping to get a decent machine for about 400 - 500€. I've seen a used Juki 8700 (already gone though) for that kind of money and also nearly unused Jack A2. I wonder if the JAck sewing machine is any good or why it is so cheap in the first place.
Does anybody have any advice on what to look out for? Again, it's only for shirts (altough I plan to give trousermaking a shot in the future).

Henry Hall

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2020, 08:27:38 AM »
What's wrong with the Bernina (also a 'lockstitch' machine) that you no longer want to use it? I only ask because there are quite a lot of threads on here like this one and it often turns out the idea is that it an industrial or newer machine is 'required'.

Is it that you want a proper flat bed for sewing? Just a better stitch? More power?

I don't think it's worth the cash to lay out €500 on a machine for hobby sewing. Though it might depend on how much sewing you do and what results you demand. Industrial machines have their own costs/drawbacks. If it's not from a dealer be careful. There are quite a lot of unscrupulous people selling them 2nd-hand online because they have some fault on them. I've experienced this. A bad oil pump or one with a leak etc. A dealer doing 2nd-hand sells you a machine that works and usually with some guarantee.

To be honest if I was just making shirts on the side, I would get the best old domestic I could find, put it in a sewing table (for flat-bed work) and be done with it. Plus use that free-arm on the Bernina for putting on cuffs etc. (maybe some shirt-making pros here have alternative advice for those operations?).
I used to have an old Singer 700 series machine. A domestic, but very robust with a metal case. It was in a table and performed very well. Nice stitch too.

I'm not discouraging you from an industrial if you really want it, just saying there are other options that may save you money/bother while not reducing your productivity in any significant way.
‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

theresa in tucson

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2020, 12:32:21 PM »
I agree with Henry.  The old black Singer domestic machines are unparalleled for stitch quality.  Right now I'm doing a shirt and using a Singer 201 for any stitch that shows.  I have a Bernina 930 for the other seams and I will use a little computerized Brother for the buttonholes.  The Bernina has the automatic needle up that drives me crazy.  It also has a bad habit of occasionally creating a bubble in the stitch , thus the reason for using the old Singer.  I would love to have a straight stitch industrial for heavier jobs but don't have the real estate to house one.  I can tuck my domestics in various nooks around the house (dining room cookbook shelf, corner of the living room next to the bookcase and four in the sewing room) and get to them as needed.

I made the mistake many years ago of letting an old 15-91 Singer go to charity when my zig-zag came out of storage when we came back to the States.  Almost immediately I started looking for a replacement.  Sewing machines are like rabbits.  Once you acquire the second machine they multiply.  I will part with the ones I have when I can no longer sew.

Petruchio

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2020, 06:53:15 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Maybe I'm expecting too much from an industrial machine. My bernina is a zigzag machine, so I was hoping a straight stitch machine would provide a better looking seam through the diffrent needle plate and more controll, especially when edgestitching (it also  looks to me that a straigth stitch feet is way easier to handle). Again, the seams don't look that bad, but I think there is some room for improvement and I'm not convinced that's caused by my lack of skills ;)
Since I went into making shirts for a vartiety of friend now I want the shirts to look as professional as possible, so it is only the seam quality that I'm after (as well as some details like a pedal for the presser foot, speed etc).
I see however the problem with buying a machine second hand. I was just wondering what the benefits of an industrial machine would actually be and how much expenses I should expect

peterle

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2020, 08:46:32 PM »
I (also Austria) got my Industrial Pfaff 138 with a starter motor for 150€, needed a new needleplate for about 21€.
Before I used an Elna Supermatic, it´s case can be used as a sewing table. Quite handy.
The biggest advantage of the industrial is the big table and the knee lifter (and the power for heavier materials wich is irrelevant for shirts). Wether it is easier to control depends more on the kind of motor you have, less the machine head.

I do my shirt buttonholes  the old way, by turning the fabric by hand. This works best with a buttonhole foot with two parallel grooves.

Petruchio there is a straight stitching foot for the Bernina: https://www.willhaben.at/iad/kaufen-und-verkaufen/d/original-bernina-schnellwechsler-naehfuesse-fuer-haushaltsnaehmaschine-366432401/  For a better looking seam try first to match needle size and thread, and take a good thread. Also look wether your transporter teeth are dull or the underside of your foot is damaged by running the machine without fabric. All this has great influence on the seam quality. Your Bernina is usually a good machine, it should be able to produce a good seam quality.

Henry, you can sew nearly everything on a flat bed: instead of running the cuff downwards around the free arm just turn it upwards and let it run more or less around the sewing foot.

Petruchio

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 02:13:08 AM »
Thank you peterle, great tip on the straight stitching foot.

I checked all the issues with needles and thread and was experimanting with the tension and again, the result is rather decent. But I think the biggest issue is the needleplate - the hole, I think, is just a little too big.

Currently I do all the buttonholes by hand, since I have no other possibilities to make them look professional (altough the bernina is able to create rather good looking buttonholes for a home zigzag machine).

Henry Hall

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2020, 05:15:20 AM »
Pfaff 138 is a great machine. I'm happier with the older industrials. They may need more frequent oiling (no bath), but I still prefer them. Some years ago I acquired a Techsew zig-zag machine (for next-to no money) and used it when I had a larger house with more space. When I got a Pfaff 130 I found the zig-zag quality to be equal or better than the Techsew, so I sold that and now do all satin-stitch work on that Pfaff, like Peterle described manually making two parallel rows. The great thing about that Pfaff's satin-stitch is its uniform neatness.

At the weekend I started on a pair of braced work-trousers for myself (for looking dapper while doing the garden!), but I found a small break in the v-belt on the Juki, so I don't want to run it in case it snaps and causes damage (new one arriving by post soon). The upshot is that I'm using a Pfaff 30 straight stitcher in a table and it's doing a grand job. It's not as powerful or fast, but it's pleasant to use and chugs along like a little steam engine. I used this same machine to make the bedroom curtains five years ago.
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Hendrick

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2020, 11:09:17 AM »
I agree with Theresa; nothing beats the stitch quality from a black straight stitcher! I too use a computerised machine for single-pass automatic buttonholes. My favorite is the Singer 201k, but I like the 15k for heavy suff, like denim. For lighter materials the 99k is my favorite. Personally, I would never use a zigzagger for topstiching, especially on lighter materials. I agree that the 138 Pfaff is a gorgeous machine and sews like a dream.

peterle

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2020, 08:59:45 PM »
Petruchio I think there are also needle plates for straight stitching for the 530, 730. To veryfiy your suspect you can close the slit with tape and look wether the seam gets better.


My experiences with Singer machines are not that good. They all felt so much chunkier than the Elnas, Berninas and Necchis I´ve worked with. But I never tried an old black one.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2020, 08:30:09 AM »
I love my Bernina, Pfaff and Singer. The later is a 201K, black and heavy.  I makes faultless stitches, but it has a knee speed controller, which has hindered my coordination of the knee foot lift on the Pfaff and Juki. I am stuck between lifting the foot to increase the speed and vice versa.

Colonel

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2020, 10:56:53 AM »
I don't make garments yet, but I will echo what others have said about the Singer 201k ... I have one and it makes great stitches.

I would also recommend the Pfaff 130. Mine is a lot faster than my 201k-3, plus it has zig zag stitch for seam finishing. You can also drop the feed dog for sewing on buttons, etc. Real nice machine, quite heavy duty and around here you can usually find one for $200 or less.

I'm a fan of knee throttle controls, since I seem to get much more throttle control that way. The problem I'm having now is that my upholstery machine, an Adler 67, has a foot throttle control and a knee presser lifter, and I keep lifting the presser when I want to give it the gas...


Henry Hall

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2020, 06:12:52 AM »
Quote from: Colonel
The problem I'm having now is that my upholstery machine, an Adler 67, has a foot throttle control and a knee presser lifter, and I keep lifting the presser when I want to give it the gas...

 ;D I see the problem.
‘Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquillity that no religion can bestow.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

tom bennett

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Re: Sewing Machine Advise
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2020, 06:49:15 AM »
It's like patting your head and rubbing your belly, that's why I never started my own one man band. You know after years I still occasionally hit the knee lifter when I want to do an emergency stop on the treadle.