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  • Which Sewing Machine?

    [attachment=0:2rppeb6t]logo.jpg[/attachment:2rppeb6t]
    Which sewing machine?

    Could any one advise me on which machine to get when my very old one breaks down?

    The comments below are a summary of those made by forum members:-

    - I have a PFAFF 7550 which I love - it is good and solid which means it is stable while sewing large curtains. It also has optional differential feed, slow sew control and auto tie off for start/end of seams. It also makes beautiful automatic buttonholes. It will stitch through buckram with interlining if I use a size 100 jeans needle.

    - Try and get to your nearest independent sewing machine shop as they will have several brands to look at and will also be happy to demo and service your machine. They may also have secondhand machines if you need to stick to a budget.

    - I have a Bernina and love it. You need a machine with a bit of clout for soft furnishings - nothing too light. Go to a local show room and take some fabrics with you to have a go. Not only will a decent shop demonstrate the machines, they will let you try them out too. Go with an open mind and prepare to be amazed. You may have to have a budget in mind and stick to it to help you decide which one, as the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing!

    - I have an Elna Quilters Dream which is what the term "semi-industrial" I do think industrial machinery is better if you have the space. Obviously they will cope with anything really thick. I have a Babylock overlocker which works fine but I have to take it easy on thick fabrics.

    - I have a industrial brother sewing machine that I paid £300 for about 12 years ago it was second hand but had not been used that much and I also bought a brother 3 thread overlocker from e-bay about 4years ago that was £200 and it is in very good condition

    - I've got a really old cast iron Necchi that tanks through buckram like it's plasticine, but I think it may be time to pension off the beast and get something more current. The Necchi's got the power but the stitch quality's not great any more and I'm getting more and more conscious of it.

    - Mine is a "tipmatic 6152" "1862 work horse" I got it 7 years ago this November and back then it cost me £750. Before that I was using a Singer, which is a lovely machine but more for dressmaking than heavy duty stuff. I love my Pfaff. I did look around before I got it but the thing that clinched it for me was that the presser foot went so high for a domestic machine. I recently got a Pfaff overlocker too, but to be honest that was more because I like the make and know Pfaff are reliable.

    What does ‘free arm’ mean on a sewing machine?

    It basically means you can remove the bed of the machine leaving just the arm sticking out - This allows you to sew cuffs and hems on trousers really easily.




    Blind hemming machines

    What about blind hemming machines?

    - Either a nice industrial if you have the space - Or a babylock which ain't cheap but worth every penny. Don't waste your money buying those cheapy ones off ebay

    The semi industrial babylock CM606 is a good buy

    - You need a curved needle. A curved needle picks up a single thread from a flat length of fabric and doesn't require a special fold and is therefore easier to use.

    - We have an industrial blind hemmer at work and it sews like a dream. I bought the origional one they had which is a singer semi industrial which can be clamped onto a table. It performs well and I would recommend either, although the industrial ones are best, if which has already been mentioned you have the space.

    - I have had a CM-500 for about a year now. I had a few issues with it to start with such as breaking needles (I was not supporting the fabric enough which was pulling the needle off the needle shaft), and using the wrong size needle. But on the whole I have found it satisfactory for many fabric types. It takes a bit of getting used to with tensions and scoop heights but perserverance helps!!

    Most of these semi industrials seem to have the same housing (even the babylock MP100 is similar) and presumably therefore have the same mechanical operations. Whether or not the internal parts are of a higher quality in some makes compared to others is something I cannot comment on. Most (apart from CM-512) can handle medium weight fabrics. I would stress however I did NOT buy mine off the internet. I went to a reputable sewing machine dealer and tried it out beforehand so I knew what I was buying!

    So if money and space is short, I would not automatically discount the semi-industrial CM-500. GO and see one, TRY it out, and ensure it will take typical medium weight curtain fabric. Maybe ask if you can take one on trial. My local dealer also offer a back up service if you experience problems. Obviously an industrial model is going to surpass any of these portables in terms of efficiency and handling every fabric type, but for now my CM-500 will suffice.

    - purchased the Babylock Baby Blindstitch CM606 last year. It is what I would class as a semi industrial machine. It does work really well on thick and thin fabrics and is a table top machine. It was expensive though and as yet I have not quite got my money back. Worth getting if you can afford it and plan to make a lot of curtains. I only have used on hems though and I still make the resty of the curtain by hand. Would be worth picking up second hand.

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