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sewing machine newbie - help needed

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default sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by budburst12 on 7th October 2010, 3:11 pm

I've not used a sewing machine since school needlework classes, but as winter's coming on, I'm thinking another year without proper curtains may be another year too long. So it's time I got a sewing machine.

Can anyone advise me on this? I'd love a singer foot pedal job and I know these go pretty cheaply at the local auction house. But how do I know if I'm buying a good one or a dud? What should I look out for?

Alternatively - electric - what makes are good? And even - does anyone know a good model that doesn't have all those fancy bells and whistles - just good, simple stuff, sews things together and that's that.

Any help here would be much appreciated.

I'll post up another thread just as soon as I've got it I'm sure, saying 'help, how do you work this thing!'

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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Compostwoman on 7th October 2010, 6:11 pm

Aldi ( or was it Lidl) had cheap and simple sewing machines in very recently?

I really wouldn't go for a treadle one in the first instance...life is too short IMO BUT it is a personal thing.

Not sure if Mrs C tried a foot treadle singer?

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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Compostwoman on 7th October 2010, 8:06 pm

Budburst, if you want you can come and play with my electric sewing machine AND CM used to maintain the many and varied ones in the needlework and crafts dept at the school where his mum was HoD and taught such lovely skills to the secondary girls...

so he knows a fair bit about how they all work.

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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Dandelion on 7th October 2010, 10:05 pm

I have a treadle Singer, circa 1908, bought with the last £15 of my grant when I was a student! I have made children's clothes using it, but I didn't find it easy as I learned on an electric machine. My other machine is a 1950s Pfaff, which sounds like a motor bike when you use it! (Given to me by an elderly neighbour years ago, so quite special.) I personally prefer heavy old machines (I'm not talking about bikes...) as they seem to be more robust (my mother and I mended a deckchair using her old electric Singer - I held the frame and supported the weight while she guided it under the needle!)
IfI was choosing a machine I would probably try other people's machines out to get the feel of them.
My youngest has an all-singing computerised machine which I won't go near!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Sparhawk on 7th October 2010, 11:50 pm

At the begining of the year I bought a lovely hand cranked old Singer in good condition for about £15, yep you guessed it from a charity shop:lol: ...

Although this isn't a piccy of mine, I think it is the same, if not very similar model & in at least as good condition

http://the.earth.li/~kake/images/london.crafts/kake/singer-99k-above.jpg

It is wonderful, has no problem with materials including quality jeans...

At the moment I am not even considering getting my comparitively all singing all dancing electric Toyota fixed, & can't see why I would want to...


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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by budburst12 on 8th October 2010, 10:40 am

Ooh thankyou guys! Wood Troll especially, for that tip about the fabric shop in Oswestry! Sounds very very nice, so I shall have to go take a look. Are you from round here then, or does that place just have a broad reputation?!

Gosh, still not sure whether to go for an oldie or an electric.. I've used both in my childhood - my mum had a hand cranked singer (looked just like yours Sparhawk!) and at school we had electric ones. I liked the subtle control of the singer and its weight, although would have preferred a foot pedal one so you have both hands free - that was the main thing I liked about the electric. Although I guess the handcrank is easier to store..

Thanks for your offer of trying yours out CW! Don't think I've got the time to come all the way down to yours though sadly. There is a little sewing machine shop nearby in shrewsbury, so I'm going to take any tips you guys can give me along there and perhaps they'll let me have a go.

So thanks Zoe - some very useful sounding stuff there about what to look out for when I get to the shop.

Dandelion - hmm, computerised models sound far too scary to me too! Definitely won't be going there!

I think I'm going to ask them at the shop too if they know how to fix singers. Perhaps they could fix up my mum's old singer and I could give that a go before/instead of getting my own...

Sparhawk - how do you find it without a foot pedal?
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Sparhawk on 8th October 2010, 12:50 pm

budburst12 wrote: Sparhawk - how do you find it without a foot pedal?

Although I have only tried the electric type of foot pedal, not a treadle, & the hand cranked one, I find the hand crank bliss, it seems that you can "feel" through the machine...

................................................................................................................................
"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by budburst12 on 11th October 2010, 11:09 am

ha ha - good old microsoft! Well it's nice to meet a fellow salopian on here. I'm from a little further south - between Shrews and Montgomery. It's a lovely part of the world.. although I think you've made a good move weather-wise - getting a bit chilly here now. Where abouts are you guys in france?
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by MrsC on 13th October 2010, 9:07 am

Finally catching up with this. When I was a child I used a hand cranked old Singer that belonged to a friend's grand mother. Today I use a Brother, but for a while had my Mum's old electric Singer which she got when she was 21. I have to say that the modern electric one is the easiest to use, but the thing I would recommend is to go and have a play on some at somewhere like JL. I then actually bought mine in Argos as it was nice and cheap there, but I know that lots of places like JL do have basic ones very cheap now. Have a think about just how much you're going to use it and what for. If it's likely that you'll be using lots of heavy upholstery material then you may want one with a fair bit of grunt as some of that can be quite thick to sew especially when you get to hems etc and double layers of fabric.

Hope this helps.

Mrs C x

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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Dandelion on 15th August 2012, 9:43 am

Well, I've finally caught up with the 21st century and bought a new sewing machine (thanks to some extra teaching last year, so some extra pay!). Before this, my newest machine (given to me by an elderly neighbour) was about 50 years old, and my oldest machine over a hundred. It's lovely to be able to zigzag, and for the tension to be right, In fact...what am I doing here on the computer? Off to zigzag for a bit!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by kazaddress on 5th February 2013, 8:07 am

Another novice here. I am about to throw out my sewing machine... I have tried all the different tensions, However it constantly bunches up the thread on the back of the fabric (only on stretches of sewing that will be visible, if i am doing an inside hem then it runs along perfectly) fire

help (pretty please)
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by freebird on 5th February 2013, 2:22 pm

kazaddress wrote:Another novice here. I am about to throw out my sewing machine... I have tried all the different tensions, However it constantly bunches up the thread on the back of the fabric (only on stretches of sewing that will be visible, if i am doing an inside hem then it runs along perfectly) fire

help (pretty please)

Check that you have the bobbin threaded the right way round, and it is inserted correctly - and while you are there, check the whole area around the bobbin in case there is any loose thread or dust that is causing it to malfunction.

Have you tried other types of thread on the same fabric, and does the same happen?
Or, have you tried that thread on other types of fabric, and does the same happen?
If it happens with any thread on any fabric, then it is either a machine or an operator problem.

When you start sewing, do you leave long enough tails of upper and lower thread, so that you can hold onto them to prevent them getting caught.

If all the above fails, you may need to take your machine for servicing/repair.
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default Re: sewing machine newbie - help needed

Post by Dandelion on 5th February 2013, 10:14 pm

Completely agree with all that FB says - with my new machine, it started doing exactly what you have described, K, and it was because (in my case) I was trying to be clever by not using the instruction book! Talk about running before I could walk...I had put the bobbin the wrong way round in the bobbin case

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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