Sewing Machine Recommendations

Questions and conversations related to sewing up a magnificent kite creation.
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Babbman
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Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 05:57 AM

I'm tired of looking at everyone creations but my own... I want to make something.

Recommendations for a new starter sewing machine please?

Mechanical or electronic?
New or used?
Features that you cannot do without?
Additional accessories?

I was looking at something under $200 (I know, you get what you pay for)

I was looking at things like this:

http://www.sewingmachinesplus.com/sewin ... r-7462.php
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product. ... id=4764726

All suggestions appreciated

Chris (aka Babbman)

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

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Draftnik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Draftnik » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 08:44 AM

I just made the rounds of examining sewing machines. I refuse to pay alot for one, when I have an old counter top model that I'm happy with, but I need a portable one for MAKR.

For a new machine, I'd go with a Brother, they're cheap enough, and run well. Last I checked it was $70 to get a machine professionally tuned up. Brother's are priced so if you get 3 years out of it and can trade it in for a new one, before it needs a professional tuning, you're probably money ahead.

BUT, I'd ask family and friends first if they have an old machine laying around not being used. I've been though all the family and ended up begging on Freecycle shamelessly for an older machine and got a Montgomery Ward embrodery model in great shape for free. Then discovered a friend has a $900 dollar machine she's never touched, and probably would have loaned me on a semi permant basis! :shock: I prefer the older machines tho, with no plastic parts. They're heavy but I've not been able to damage an all metal machine, and I'm rough on them. I'm sticking with the older model, rather then risk having to replace her expensive one. :roll:

Had an old Necchi at one point with plastic parts (inside it), age and my attempt to give it a good cleaning, had it spitting broken plastic pieces at me. So, the moral of that story is if you get an older machine, be sure it's not got plastic parts in it. When I say old I'm talking 20+ years. Both my machines and dh's are close to 40 years old!

That's my cheap $.02 worth.
TTFN,
Draftnik

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 09:00 AM

I have an old Viking in the basement. It was one of those that came out in the mid 70's and for the stitch patterns, it has these round things that plug in. I just remember that my mom could NEVER get that thing to sew properly... ever... I don't know if I want to mess with it considering that some of the new ones have auto threading and are electronic, etc... I'm sure I'd spend more in getting it running than just spending $200 to get a new machine that just works...

I'm REALLY sad that after I moved in to my house, my grandfather had left a very old Singer model in the basement (I bought their house after they passed). He worked for a dress maker for 50 years... It was the type with the big round wheel on the right side and was powered by a pedal... totally mechanical... I got flooded in '96 by the 19" downpour we had and everything got pitched, including that.


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Draftnik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Draftnik » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 11:19 AM

That's a heart break to loose an old machine like your grandpa's. An old singer treadle base holds my computer now. No machine for it, but with a new top it works for a laptop desk.

My machine has the cogs I think you're talking about on the Viking. They're kinda fascinating, to watch how they change the stiches. However, I have to drop in a cog for zig-zag and that may prove to be a royal pain. The good thing about it, is it's handled all the material I've thown at it really well. It doesn't take alot of messing around to go from sewing ripstop to something thicker.

Gary Engvall has a sewing primer on the web, I think. You might just drag the old machine out and see how far he can get you with it.
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Draftnik

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denverberry
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby denverberry » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 01:24 PM

I have 3 machines, 2 Singers, and a Domestic. Not one of them is less than 100 years old. I love the treadle, and I have all the original documentation and all accessories for the Domestic. (Date stamp on the machine is 1876) The thing I really like about those old machines is that no job is too tough for it. I have a harder time finding needles that'll handle the abuse that I put the machine through... (belt leather)

One of the Singers I dumpster dived, and have used it for parts for my good Singer. (That's where I got the electric conversion.)

They only have one stitch, and other than tension the only adjustment is the length of the stitch. I'd really love to have at least a zig-zag, but these will serve me well till I can get my serger!

I found 2 Kenmore sewing machines at the Goodwill store the other day, each was $2, and missing some parts. One was missing the power cord/regulator, and the other was missing the bobbin carriage. They wern't the same model, otherwise I'd'a picked them up.

See if you have a "Habitat For Humanity" (my candy store) or check with the Goodwill/Sally Ann stores, and pawn shops. I don't think there's any reason you can't have a machine for $20 tops if all you want is just to straight stitch.
Denver Berry
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Frodos Majik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Frodos Majik » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 07:40 PM

The only .02 I can put in is,I agree with Draftnik. The older ones with metal housing, gears is going to out live any newer one with plastic.

The one I have been using was a xmas gift I had got my wife going on 20yrs ago. :shock: It was one of those things that she HAD to HAVE!! :lol: :roll: So I got it for her but of course it just sat and collected dust for all those yrs. :twisted: :roll: Till now and it has no idea what has hit it. :mrviolet: :rotfl

It is also from Monkey Wards, the only think that kind of sux is its PINK :shock: :shock: :oops: If only I would have known!! :roll: It would have been all black with flames. :twisted:
May Ol Ma Nature never hold her
breath on you.
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Chris
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Chris » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 09:33 PM

I agree with the older machines, they run smoother and quieter than the newer ones(at least in the lower price range)

That being said, I finally gave up on the 1964 sears/Kenmore I got for free. The straight stitch just wasn't consistent, and the zig-zag drove me nuts. :wallb:

I went back to my newer singer, and all is good with the world :-D
It's a great satisfaction knowing that for a brief point in time you made a difference.

-unknown

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 10:07 PM

OK, I went down to the dungeon and pulled out the sewing machine I have...

It is a Viking 6020... old, dusty and spiderweb covered.... All of the knobs seem to turn but I'm sure it needs a good cleaning/oiling as it's never been done as far as I know..

I have an almost full set of accessories....

[albumimg]180[/albumimg][albumimg]181[/albumimg][albumimg]182[/albumimg]

Considering some of the comments here, I think I'll try to get it up and working before I cough up $200 for a plastic machine. I have the manual also...

what's everyone think?

ok, update... it sews fine, straight stitches... zigzag and all the cartridges seem to be not working... I'm gonna tear this thing apart and see why it's not moving the needle side to side..


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Frodos Majik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Frodos Majik » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 10:27 PM

Good luck on getting it up and running full!! Can always take it to a fabric store like JoAnns. They have people that know about them and would be able to look at it, maybe?
May Ol Ma Nature never hold her

breath on you.

-------

Ken

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Draftnik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Draftnik » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 10:32 PM

Atta boy! :) Let us know what you find out inside it. I'll bet oil will do it, or maybe a spring is disconnected.

Be sure to use sewing machine oil!!!
TTFN,

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Wed, Nov 29 2006, 10:51 PM

definitely needed oil... taken care of...

BUT, there is a broken piece in it...

[albumimg]183[/albumimg]

If you look at that black piece, it seems to be split. There is a rocker arm on the right that follows the cog in order to move the needle from side to side..

(I can't believe that I'm fixing a frickin sewing machine... you SEE what you guys have done to me!)

That the rocker arm on the right is virtually frozen in place and will not follow the cog's pattern. I oiled it a bit and moved it by hand and hopefully, it will penetrate and free things up so that the rocker tracks things properly.

When the split hits the rocker though, it gets stuck and that's all she wrote... Now, this really brings back some memories for me because as a kid, I tried playing with this machine for hours and hours and could NEVER get it to do zigzag or any of the patterns on those inserts.

I have a feeling that this has been broken for over 30 years and is why I could never get it to do anything as a kid. I did find out that the machine was used exclusively for leather work by my parents and if the crap I found under the plate where the needle goes through is any indication, they sewed A LOT of leather as this was packed so tight with junk that I'm surprised that fabric would move at all....

any suggestions?


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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denverberry
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby denverberry » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 01:00 AM

Sounds like you've got everything under control Babb, you've probably got more of a machine there by the sound of it than I do. A good cleaning, and I'd see if I could repair the cam with J.B. WELD if it's metal, or thick slow cure C/A if it's plastic.
Denver Berry

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Chris
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Chris » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 05:34 AM

Jo-ann fabrics might be able to help you, they are a Husquevarna-Viking dealer. Watch it though, some of the women there don't seem to like men who sew :shock:
It's a great satisfaction knowing that for a brief point in time you made a difference.



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Draftnik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Draftnik » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 08:52 AM

Babbman wrote:definitely needed oil... taken care of...

BUT, there is a broken piece in it...

[albumimg]183[/albumimg]

If you look at that black piece, it seems to be split. There is a rocker arm on the right that follows the cog in order to move the needle from side to side..

Yup, that's broke. Any idea what it does? Lock in the cogs, perhaps? It looks like plastic and so do the cogs, are they? When I got into an old Necchi I'd bought, it had lots a broken plastic in it. I think the stuff just gets brittle with age. The fact it's plastic may make it easier to replace, but I'd question how much more plastic is in the machine before rushing out to fix it.

(I can't believe that I'm fixing a frickin sewing machine... you SEE what you guys have done to me!)

Well, at least it's not PINK! :)

When the split hits the rocker though, it gets stuck and that's all she wrote... Now, this really brings back some memories for me because as a kid, I tried playing with this machine for hours and hours and could NEVER get it to do zigzag or any of the patterns on those inserts.

My machine has a needle left, right, center switch. Check your manual, it maybe your machine locks that rocker if the needle isn't left. If not just oil it, it even looks like it needs it. That's where a spring could be missing too. A spring wouldn't be hard to replace.

I have a feeling that this has been broken for over 30 years and is why I could never get it to do anything as a kid. I did find out that the machine was used exclusively for leather work by my parents and if the crap I found under the plate where the needle goes through is any indication, they sewed A LOT of leather as this was packed so tight with junk that I'm surprised that fabric would move at all....

I googled your machine last night and saw a discussion thread claiming it would sew through sheet metal. :shock: That says alot for how it's going to handle layers of webbing! Also saw there's a similar machine on ebay going for $300. If nothing else it might have a little trade in value to it.

any suggestions?


Look around and see if you can find an old timer to look at it for you. I had an old sewing machine repair guy work on my cabinet model. He was delighted to work on an old machine. Must have had a stash of old machines too, cause he replaced some parts he didn't charge me for. An old timer would know what the brands track record is and know if it's worth messing with. Might even be able to tell you over the phone.

I wear an old wind up watch of my Dads. It's water proof and I got moisture in it one super hot summer day. Condensation. I called the jewerly store in town, and was promised a minimum bill of a couple hunderd just to look at it. I called an old, old watch shop outa town and was told over the phone, free of charge, to lay it under a light bulb for a day. It's running fine to this day. <eyeroll>

Anyway, good luck what ever you decide to do. Keep us posted!
TTFN,

Draftnik

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 01:40 PM

I am PLEASED!

I called around to a few places today and found out that the cam is indeed split and was a very common problem. Spare parts are still available ($35 for this) and I have a guy here at work who used to repair sewing machines for a living...

I'm golden and have a machine...


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Mike
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Mike » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 02:00 PM

Excellent! What's going to be your first project?

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 02:10 PM

Mike wrote:Excellent! What's going to be your first project?


suggestions? Obviously something rather easy to start... I'd really like to do one of these:

http://members.cox.net/gengvall/circo.html


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


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Mike
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Mike » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 02:24 PM

go for it! It's not a hard kite to make. Just a couple of really long seams and it will fly just fine if the seams are crooked.
Gary's instructions are what I used to make mine.

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Draftnik
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Draftnik » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 02:51 PM

Can't beat a $35 repair.

Oh, I'm jealous. :mrgreen: I've wanted a ciroflex for a long time. Gary's plans are nice to follow too, you'll do great!
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Draftnik

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Babbman
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Re: Sewing Machine Recommendations

Postby Babbman » Thu, Nov 30 2006, 03:00 PM

Mike wrote:go for it! It's not a hard kite to make. Just a couple of really long seams and it will fly just fine if the seams are crooked.
Gary's instructions are what I used to make mine.


I really liked yours when I saw it in Naperville.

I have a feeling that I will be attempting some things that are out of the ordinary. I'd really like to make a kite like the white ghost delta with the long flowing tails that was up in Naperville also...

I have an inside to getting 3M products and was thinking of doing up one of the ribbons also.


Chris (aka Babbman)



They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety...
Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759



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