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Thread: New to Sewing

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    Member AccidentProne's Avatar
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    New to Sewing

    I'm new to the sewing concept, but wanted to do some DIY stuff. Does anyone have any tips on what I should look for in a sewing machine, that won't break the bank?

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    Yoda's Avatar
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    Member AccidentProne's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help

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    Senior Member hiker_DC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AccidentProne View Post
    I'm new to the sewing concept, but wanted to do some DIY stuff. Does anyone have any tips on what I should look for in a sewing machine, that won't break the bank?
    Forward, Reverse, Zigzag. These three operations will make you 90+% of all the gear you will ever want to make.
    I have two doctors, my left leg and my right. ~G.M. Trevelyan

    Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. ~Steven Wright

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    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiker_DC View Post
    Forward, Reverse, Zigzag. These three operations will make you 90+% of all the gear you will ever want to make.
    Truth be told... the only stitch absolutely _required_ is forward. Reverse is handy. Zig-zag is totally optional but nice to have for things like bar tacks. But even bar tacks can be done with a straight stitch forward only machine. It's just a little more time consuming. The zig zag stitch becomes important when you are working with such things as lycra and stretch knits. Not your typical gear making materials.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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    Member AccidentProne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Truth be told... the only stitch absolutely _required_ is forward. Reverse is handy. Zig-zag is totally optional but nice to have for things like bar tacks. But even bar tacks can be done with a straight stitch forward only machine. It's just a little more time consuming. The zig zag stitch becomes important when you are working with such things as lycra and stretch knits. Not your typical gear making materials.
    Would it be better to buy a new one, or a used one?

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    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Depends on what you want. If you want a work horse go for a older used one _if_ you can find them. The last time I checked with my local sewing dealer the only thing they had was middle line machines from a few years ago. The real work horses are becoming more difficult to score because people are keeping them. Anything from the 50's thru _early_ 60's would probably be good. Avoid the mid 60's thru the late 80's cause the plastic gears in those machines were almost universally garbage. Mid 90's to now saw some changes in the plastics used. Those are just guidelines of my own so don't take them as gospel. You _don't_ need an electronic machine with 3700 embroidery stitches for picket fences and puppies.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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    Member AccidentProne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Depends on what you want. If you want a work horse go for a older used one _if_ you can find them. The last time I checked with my local sewing dealer the only thing they had was middle line machines from a few years ago. The real work horses are becoming more difficult to score because people are keeping them. Anything from the 50's thru _early_ 60's would probably be good. Avoid the mid 60's thru the late 80's cause the plastic gears in those machines were almost universally garbage. Mid 90's to now saw some changes in the plastics used. Those are just guidelines of my own so don't take them as gospel. You _don't_ need an electronic machine with 3700 embroidery stitches for picket fences and puppies.
    So the newer ones aren't as reliable as the older ones. Any certain brand that you recommend?

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    I might be kind of biased but I love an old Pfaff. There are always a few on ebay. The Pfaff 130 is an awesome little machine that will sew though anything you need to put holes in. It is also very simple to operate and will go as slow or fast as you need to go......at first anyway..

    Having said all of that. I will say what most people agree with. You are buying at your own risk on ebay. I have gotten good deals there and bad deals (mostly good deals though). If you keep the box your machine ships in you can always re sell it. They are so old that you can usually get most of the money you paid for it back.

    One other bonus about the old 130 is that it is similar to some old singer featherweights out there so most mechanics worth their salt can work on them. That is my 2 cents.

    ~Stormcrow

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    Quote Originally Posted by AccidentProne View Post
    Would it be better to buy a new one, or a used one?
    If you are just getting started I would suggest you pick up a cheap used machine from Craigslist (or similar). I got an old Singer for free, and while its nothing special, its done several years of DIY projects for me.

    So far I think the ability of the machine surpasses that of the sewer.
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

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