My son & I want to start making gear but we need a machine. I've picked up lots of useful information here but I haven't found much on suggested makes and models. I can get a machine for FREE and can choose from 7 machines but what should I look for? What brand/features should I look for?
A lot of sewing machine choices are made by personal preference and I know that doesn't answer much to those looking for their first machines, so I'll list what I look for.
i don't use decorative stitches - ever, so I have a machine that sews zig-zag and straight. Most newer machines at stores like walmart, k-mart and target are cast aluminum frame (not a detractor) with a plastic drive train (BAD JUJU). If I were to look for a home use machine today, the three main points it would be judged in would be, metal construction, locally serviceable (the pfaff dealer here mails them to IL for service), and noise level.
In my area I have a great bernina service guy and I have been able to find 7 bernina machines from '89-'93 vintage that I have had great luck with. I guess I should add that these machines are all still used, I have them for classes that I teach.
All that being said, if you have the room and plan on sewing a good amount, buy an industrial machine. They sew nicer faster longer and are cheap to maintain/fix. I bought a used industrial zig zag for cheap, painted the table it was on, used it for 6 years hard and sold it for more than I paid for it. It didn't have fancy stitches but I bought a binder for it for $8, bernina sells them for $80.
for a free machine, pick the heaviest one that does zig zag that sews still (not broken)
Thanks a lot Pag! That's helpful. I'm looking at the machines tomorrow morning to see what's there & test them out.
There were only 3 left:
I picked the Singer because it was the heaviest. I thought it must have more metal parts.
Thanks for your help Pag
Looks like a good pick up Del!
I would say good pick. The new homes and kenmores are just re-brands I think. Hope it serves ya well. DIY addiction meetings are on thursday.
I have a Singer 237, good solid machine
You have yourself a good machine! I really shouldn't admit how many thread injectors live here, but the Singer 237 has a well earned place of respect in the collection. "Goliath" can chomp through multiple layers of canvas, or give perfect even stitches on sheer silks. Keep a supply of good needles and change them before you think you should. Here's some info on the 237, including parts if needed: http://blog.sew-classic.com/2010/02/...ne-reveiw.aspx
New Home and Kenmore both have impressive pedigrees but have suffered sinificant losses in recent years. I think New Home has been abosrbed into something else and Kenmore is now subcontracted out by Sears to the lowest bidder that provides the chicest aesthetics. You done good.
Dell I use a 1935 Singer Model 99 in bentwood case. I bought too on ebay like new for 50.00 each. One was for my sister. These old singers sew a very tight stitch for silnylon etc. Drawback is they do not have a Bartack feature. You have to inprovise and multiple stitch stress points. So far no trouble though. The sound of the old clikity clak reminds me of childhood when ma and gram used theres. These old machines will sew about anything that fits under the pressure foot. Incidently, the Model 99 is 3/4 size version of the larger Model 66