a question for the seamsters...

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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby ranger biteme » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:56 pm

one more vote for an older machine that is not a serger. i am a HUGE fan of the Pfaff 1222. you can find them on ebay.

they have a walking foot and can sew everything from silk to garment weight leather. those old machines are all metal and were built to last.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Ratty » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Sewing machines are like cars. You fall in love with a brand. I sewed for years on my mom's Kenmore. Then a nice used Kenmore. Next was a 3rd hand viking on loan. I got totally spoiled by it. I had to give it back and got another viking. (Really great machines). Now I'm trying out a new ultra cheap Singer. Guess what? those $70 costco machines really do sew. It doesn't pull the fabric through as easily as I would like, but it is self threading and has 100 different stitches. It's also louder than the Vikings. I sew every day and I'm guessing that this $70 machine will last 3 or 4 years if I keep it clean and oiled. I have 2 sergers set for different fabric thicknesses because adjustments are the pits. I wanted to buy a used Juki industrial this week but ran out of room.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby trilobyte » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:33 pm

Once you go juki, you'll never go back… just sayin'
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Ratty » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:48 pm

I know what you mean. I tried my friends juki. It's scary fast and powerful. I don't need to sew fast. 80% of my time is ripping and fluffing. The actual sewing involved is minimal. The Viking presser foot raised up higher for thicker fabric. The 'reverse' switch was better than my other machines and it was faster and more powerful. It broke down one thing at a time till one day it would only sew backwards. I'm good but not that good. I just bought this 'box store' machine on a whim. I know I'll eventually find a better one but come on, who needs so many machines?
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby delle » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:01 am

My Juki industrial was for sale for about all of 15 minutes before it was sold.

And I'm still getting calls - months later - from people who had heard from a friend of a friend that I had one at a good price.

I can understand why. It just flies thru anything.

THAT, tho, was why I gave it up. Ratty's assessment of "scary fast" is spot on. If you're not an experienced seamster, it can be just too much machine....... it was for me. My Toyota (and now my 1940's Singer I got for $25) are my faves for straight stitching over the Juki. As sure and sweet as the Juki, but with much more speed control.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby mgb327 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:29 am

I am currently learning to sew with a machine, for costumes/playa-wear. A widow friend had a 1961 Singer in her basement, and with a cleaning and oiling, it runs very well. I have not tried any other machines, but I am a "mechanical" type, and this seems like it is one of the better older models. Very utilitarian, basic, and solid. Cost? Zero. These are lurking in basements everywhere, some can be had for little or nothing. I bought and promptly sold 4 high-end Berninas, but never fired one up. That was in my pre-sewing era. I am an antique dealer by trade, so the old stuff is always the better stuff.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby ranger biteme » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:37 am

i have a juki upholstery industrial. i love love love it. not for the faint of heart. it will sew through your fingers if you are not careful!

i had a friend who had a very old singer foot pump machine - that thing rocked!
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:06 am

That's what I sew on - a late 20's treadle Singer 15. Unfortunately my other machine (also a 20's Singer, tho with this funny round things with wires on it, and a strange, strange treadle that has this square button in it) has a different foot attachment (it's a 66), so my accessories from my earlier Electric don't cross over to the "newer" machine... meaning I need to find an elusive accessory kit for it! But it is a rocking machine - did the camp flag on it - canvas and cotton and IIRC more canvas... not bad for a foot pumper!

BTWm I learned on my mom's late 30's Featherweight... It had EVERYTHING with it, I would give a lot to find another that good with everything she had with it. Kept the family in clothes when I was growing up!
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Ratty » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:07 am

You can buy a featherweight on eBay every day. With accessories. Since this is a favorite with the quilters, It'll cost you hundreds. You can get the same effect from other old Singers at a fraction of the price. The only difference is the weight of the machine.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Lassen Forge » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:05 am

Actually... the one I want is a 222 (the freearm one), not a 221"flatbed" like Moms... those go for about a grand and change. Something new to save for... but yes, I've been looking. Now, I need to find the accessories for my treadle... THAT'S not an easy find... they're either the puzzle box (wrong footr and bed attachments) or the tall-shank ones for newer machines.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Simon of the Playa » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:13 am

send me or post a pic of what you need...i've been collecting old singer bits and pieces for years, i have lunchboxes full of parts.


mine was made in 1933 and is an industrial model but alot of the feet will work on others.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby Ratty » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:50 pm

This may make you sick................I've been collecting the 'attachment boxes' for over 30 years. You can guess what I did with the contents. Sorry!
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby trilobyte » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:11 pm

Pandorra had previously been using a bottom end Singer model with 2 stitches and plastic parts, and beat the hell out of it for decades. It didn't really like to sew anything, but with some begging and pleading and cajoling and cursing it would manage, and we worked on a lot of great projects together with it. But after doing a bunch of pirate coats for a wedding party and what basically amounted to a playa costume for our van in 2007 (transforming it into a 25 foot long inter-dimensional space cruiser), it was time to retire it from active duty. While we stopped short of going for something in the industrial line, the Juki we got was still all kinds of expensive. But it's been luxury pie, she absolutely loves it and it'll go through everything short of boat sails or a riding saddle like it was butter.

Back on topic though, an all-purpose machine is definitely the place to start. Anything beyond that is something nice to consider once you've gotten yourself going.
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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby delle » Wed Apr 18, 2012 6:33 pm

Sorry to yank your "back on topic" bid off it's tracks so very soon after it righted, Trilo, but to address BB's wishes, I wanted also to say that I have boxes of attachments I have no idea about, and with half a clue might be able to add to her collection in a useful fashion.

Just tonight my guy brought home yet another old singer with a box-full of attachments that research showed was apparently meant for a featherweight 221.

I'd also LOVE to see pics of that weirdass machine with it's funny round things and wires and stuff. Maybe even a model number so I can find the pics myself?



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Re: a question for the seamsters...

Postby StevenGoodman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:28 pm

I have an old Singer Slantomatic 503 Special. Thing is a bleepy rock, and will sew almost anything.

I think it was the last of the all metal Singers, been using it since I was 7.

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