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TOPIC: Why did you choose your Sewing Machine/s?

Dropping the feed dogs did not work for me... 29 Jul 2008 00:00 #23043

  • BethMI
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Pat, I tried that and it just plain did not work with my old machine. My instructor tried, as well, and neither one of us could get it to work. the thread kept breaking and I just didn't have enough "play" in the fabric to let it move freely.

So I HAD to buy a new machine!

BethMI
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28 Jul 2008 21:59 #23041

Thank you Pat! I tried the business card thing but that didn't work. I'll definitely will try what you suggested. If it works I can start my son on FMQ on the little postcards that we assembled for Christmas.
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28 Jul 2008 21:22 #23037

For those who have old machines that won't drop the feed dogs, I want to let you know that you can do free-motion work without dropping them. If you put a free-motion foot on your machine, and set the stitch length to 0, put a quilt sandwich under the foot and start running your machine, you can do free-motion without any problems. You don't have to cover the dogs. Women used to do lovely free-motion embroidery on their old treadles, long before there were dropping feed dogs.

Pat in Rockport, TX
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28 Jul 2008 19:26 #23026

  • LadyRags
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If we do not have all the bells and whistles that the new machines have we LEARN TO USE OUR BRAINS AND WE LEARN THE HAND EYE COORDINATION that is needed for quilting. Basically we need a straight stitch for piecing and drop feed dogs for FMQ. Maybe a walking foot for stitch in the ditch unless you cheat like me and do the serpentine stitch that my basic Kenmore has for all my utility quilting.
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I love my Pfaff! 28 Jul 2008 17:56 #23017

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I began sewing on my Mom's old Necchi and then got a VERY basic Singer as a high school graduation gift. I'll bet I was the only girl in my dorm who took a sewing machine to college!

That machine eventually tanked, and I bought myself a new Singer which worked pretty well while my kids were growing up. I made a LOT of Halloween costumes on that sucker. Toward the end, tho, I had to allow 2 weeks on all projects so I could take it in to get the inevitable breakdown repaired. Very frustrating!

The coup de grace on that Singer was in 1999, after I took up quilting, when I took my first machine-quilting class and realized that I could not drop those feed dogs. Nothing I did could compensate for that -- not a business card taped over the feed dogs, not ignoring the problem, etc. No free motion quilting for me! UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Luckily, my mom had just left me some money and I knew she would want me to buy something with it that would be special. Voila! I went shopping for my "ultimate machine." I fully intended it to be a Bernina, but none of the dealers I visited could ever get their machines to work right - tension, etc. It seemed like a lot of money to spend on a machine that was that persnickity.

Meanwhile, one dealer showed me the Pfaff, which I had barely even heard of before. It was love at first sight. That thing sewed like a dream. The stitch was beautiful, and the integrated dual feed made everything SO consistent and easy! Much to my surprise, after a month and a half of shopping, I walked out with my Pfaff 7530. To this day, 9 years later, it is a gem. Reliable, consistent stitch, versatile, sews through anything, pretty cheap to maintain, etc. Free motion quilting is a breeze.

Sure, I lust after the new options that have become more common: a stitch regulator for free motion quilting, automatic thread cutting, knee lift, etc. But I'm sure that my Pfaff willl be sewing great 20 years from now, and in the meantime, I can use all that $$$ for more fabric and quilting books (my personal downfall!).

Someday, I may hand my Pfaff down to my daughter and "trade up" to a newer model, but for now, I am satisfied.

BethMI
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28 Jul 2008 08:21 #22976

I started sewing in home ec and have loved it ever since. When we got married my mother-in-law gave me her old Singer - I would guess it was a model from the early 50's and all it did was a straight stitch, but I used it for years. Finally in the late 80's I really splurged and bought a Kenmore. I always dreamed of having a Bernina but thought I would never be able to spend that much on a machine. Then I discovered quilting and in 1995 my DH bought me my first Bernina as a Christmas gift. Once I sewed on it, I was hooked for life :D Then last year DH surprised me again and bought me the 730 for my birthday/Mother's Day present.
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Why did you choose your sewing machine 28 Jul 2008 06:52 #22974

I started sewing in home ec and loved it even though my garment was really yucky. I just like the process. I sewed on my mom's cast iron Kenmore in a cabinet. Worked fine but you just didn't notice machines or even change needles until they broke.

Got a little Brother portable when I graduated HS and loved it. It had its' limitations, but then so did my sewing. When I married, I started sewing for my DSD and newborn son. I then decided I wanted to sew and sew well. Every Christmas, birthday and anniversary gift was designated for sewing classes from Eunice Farmer Fabrics. As I learned to tailor, my trusty little Brother was showing that it couldn't keep up. DH told me to go shopping for a machine. I ended up with a New Home TOL and used it until I walked into a quilt shop that sold Berninas. I thought, "quilting will be a cheap hobby, I can use my scraps". After working at the shop a short time, I ended up with the 1530 and it's been Bernina ever since. I now have a 200 updated to 730 along with the HQ machine with sit down setup for large quilts.

Quilting certainly hasn't been "cheap" but it is by far the most creative thing I have done. There is always something new to learn...techniques, design, embellishment and, of course, technology. I guess, depending on your sewing, everyone may have a slightly different dream machine.
Last Edit: by kmouse.
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27 Jul 2008 20:56 #22962

I flunked out of Home Ec, hated sewing with a passion, and had no desire to go anywhere near a sewing machine.

When I started dating my husband in my 30's, we passed by a quilt shop one day, popped in to take a look, and they happened to be a Bernina dealer. DH became so entranced with the Artista 170 and 180 machines, that we we walked out with a 170, complete with embroidery unit. He played around with it for a week or 2, and then it simply sat there.

It sat, untouched, for nearly 4 years, when it was MY turn to decided I wanted to make a quilt. Anyway, that's where I got my first machine, I "inherited" it from my hubby. I've never sewn on anything else. I have no desire to try another brand... it was a long hard struggle for me to learn to sew! Now, that's all I do. :lol:

Have you "Tinkled" today?
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27 Jul 2008 20:54 #22961

I have a Walmart Singer I bought ($80) when I started quilting. Still works great. I have an "accidental" 1968 Pfaff...bought an antique cabinet with a surprise inside-the machine, original owner's manual, lay-away reciept, and accesories. Had it serviced and cleaned and it runs like a dream. Latest machine is a 1948 Singer Featherweight from e-bay. It also runs like a dream. I use all three of my machines and wouldn't part with any of them!
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27 Jul 2008 18:00 #22953

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I started sewing with my grandmother when I was in grade school. I still have my pouch that I made for my jacks.(I don't know what machine she used.) I sewed clothes at home on my mother's Singer. Then went off to college with my own Kenmore. I got a Brother ZA350 when I had my first baby, no longer making clothes, I was now in to home decor. Then I discovered piecing and quilting in 1995 and got my first Bernina 1530 because the dealer had a great reputation along with the machine. I got a Virtuosa 153 several years ago when it got to be too much to try to take a machine back and forth to our cabin in Colorado(1530 now lives in CO). And in June I got an Artista 640E because I wanted the BSR. The bernina dealer is great. The son is now in charge, but they still give excellent service. I plan to give my Brother to my dd when she asks for one. It still runs great too! Elizabeth :)
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27 Jul 2008 16:30 #22942

I started sewing in the late 70's when my mother decided she was semi retired from dressmaking...for her daughters, she was outnumbered with 12 daughters to sew for! That meant that if any of us wanted a dress, skirt or a blouse then we had to make it, with her help. She let us use her old kenmore it set in its own table. She taught us the fundamentals of mending and every summer we spent it mending our uniforms for school, we all attended the parochial school. And then the girls high school.

I didn't get a machine until 2001. It was a Brother machine from Wal mart and it is still a work horse. It does the basics and was good for the Home Dec sewing that I started off with. then I discovered SQ and off I went on a new journey. My second machine is also a walmart special 'cept that I can drop the feed dogs for FMQ! Woohoo! In 2004 my dear DH bought me my Brother PQ1500 and whoo did my quilting take off! Last year he became interested in embroidery and purchased a discounted brother embroidery machine. He says "my" sewing studio is complete. He enjoys FMQ and prgramming the embroidery.

The affordability of these machines made my decision easy. Especially when the lqs services Brother machines beautifully. I tend to be loyal to a brand, regardless of where I made the purchase. I haven't had any problems with any of my machines.
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27 Jul 2008 16:18 #22940

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The first sewing machine I sewed on was a trendle machine that a babysitter had, she taught me to make doll clothes, I must have been 10. When I got married, we were really poor, my husband bought me the cheapest Kenmore they had because I wasn't sure I would like sewing. I sewed everything from baby clothes to men's suits, prom dresses and wedding dress, church drapery and Roman soilder costumes on that machine. The dog even knocked it off the table and it still kept working. I used that machine for about 20 years and now my mom uses it. It is a great machine. Then, I got a used Viking 1+. We made payments on it and I thought $1000 for a used machine was incredible. I have used this machine for the last 12 years and love it. And, I told you about my friend, who's machine lives at my house--440QE--love it. I will never own one of those(money is just not there) but being able to use one is wonderful!
Blessing from Northwest Indiana, USA
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27 Jul 2008 14:29 #22936

I learned machine sewing on my mom's Kenmore (sometime in the early 70's).
My first machine was my grandmother's 1968 Singer 404 slant needle machine. It sews a great straight stitch but unless you have the attachments (and know how to use them :oops: ) that all you get.
My second machine was purchased for $40 at a swap meet. It is a slightly older 99K Singer, small but HEAVY.
No one else wanted my husband's great-grandmother's last sewing machine, that was so well used all the lettering has rubbed off. She used to help her husband who was a tailor. We think the machine is form the early 1920's. Unfortunately, it is missing a part, so it doesn't run, yet!
My NEW machine is a Bernina Aurora 440QE from this century! Imagine that, a sewing machine younger than me! :lol:
I mostly use the Bernina, but the other ones get pulled out once in while, if i need to do something and the NEW machine is set up for something else.

Jean in Windsor, Ontario where it is hot and humid

Windsor, Ontario, Canada
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Singer Treadle, Singer 603, Bernina 830, Janome 6600, - - - 27 Jul 2008 12:03 #22921

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Gosh, this has been a fun thread to read. Many of us have walked the same path! Wouldn't be surprised to learn if we could get this history on all of our machines that we have even sewn on some of the exact same machines! :)

I learned to sew from my Mom on her Singer Treadle in the early 50's I think, because I have sewn since I can remember 'being.' I made all my own clothes after that, - even got out of trouble once when accused of being in on the Halloween Prank crew that tipped over outhouses in our small town - and I had been at home sewing that night! :lol: :lol:

When I married in 1965, my parents came to visit 6 months later and my mother took my husband aside and said, "You need to buy that wife of yours a sewing machine!"

Being the dutifuly and loving DH that he is, he did just that. It was I belive, a Singer 603 which I used for about 8 years, did much, much sewing, but never did fall in love with the machine and had alot of trouble with the tension.

When expecting my 2nd child, DH knew I was frustrated with the Singer and after much research (he's an engineer) he purchased my Bernina Record 830. I have LOVED THIS machine and have done lots of stitching on it.

Then, in 1989 I went back to school, rec'd my NUrsing degree in 1994, while my girls were also in COLLEGE, and then after some years of working, got my Master's and NP credentialing in 1999. A couple of years ago I went from working full-time to part-time, and decided I needed a machine with more bells and whistles. Don't really know if this is true or not, but, in a moment of pure emotion and in celebration of semi-retirement, I purchased my Janome MC6600! I do love this machine, and haven't yet found all of it's attributes. But it is too heavy to take to classes. And late in my life I have discovered the 'community' part of quilting. It's always been a 'solitary' activity for me! I enjoy the comradarie around a table of sewing/quilting/sharing and I always learn something!

So my last (and FINAL :?: ) purchase was a Janome Heart Truth machine this spring. It's lightweight, has a few special stitches, and since I'm a heart by-pass survivor, I thought it was a good way for ME to have a graphic illustration (the red front of the machine) to remind me of my HEART-SISTERS and my thankfullness for being alive and able to enjoy this season of my life. And I can easily transport this HEART machine to classes.

So, I now have 2 machines out on my table in my 'studio' (if you call it a sewing room you have to clean it, I hear!) and both are running at different times of the day or week. One is set for machine applique, one is set for FMQ, which I'm learning. I don't currently have my Bernina set up, but I may soon. The Singer 603 is in my daughter's garage or maybe she sold it, I don't know.

And when my youngest daughter asked me in high school, "Who gets your NEW (Bernina 830) sewing machine when you die?" it was an easy answer. Now I don't have a clue. It's THEIR problem when the time comes! :D :lol:

I'm SEW HAPPY! :D :D :D
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