My Sewing Machines

One of the blogs I follow, Chickpea Sewing Studio, posted about another blog called Sew, Mama, Sew. Sew, Mama, Sew is celebrating June as Sewing Machine Month. SMS is asking their readers to blog about their personal sewing machines. The idea is to have an easily accessible resource of people's opinions of various sewing machines. SMS will compile a list of everyone's reviews and post it on their blog. I thought this was a great idea and so here I go (take a deep breath because I own 5 machines).

1. What brand and model do you have? Singer 6105 How long have you had it? It was purchased in about 1981.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? I think it was about $150.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? Mostly garments with a few curtains and quilt tops. Actually I quilted a couple of whole cloth quilts on this machine without a walking foot, they were disasters, but still loved and used.
How much wear and tear does the machine get? This machine is currently sitting in storage for a bit since I have other machines I like better, however she may come out of retirement this summer for my girls.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? This machine works well and we used to be best friends until a new love came along, poor neglected thing.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? I like the drop in bobbin and the easy to remove table so that I could get at sleeves and pants legs easier.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! My grandmother bought this machine for my mother, who didn't sew much but liked to be able to hem up pants or make a few curtains. When I got married a few years later I asked if I could borrow the seldom used machine and Mom agreed as long as I promised to give it back. I used it regularly for about 8 years until I found a machine of my own and then gave this one back to Mom. When Mom passed away 7 years ago I inherited the machine once again.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? It has been a very reliable machine but I really think you can purchase better machines for less.

2. What brand and model do you have? Singer 600

How long have you had it? Since 1992.
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? Free! (explanation below)
How much wear and tear does the machine get? I have sewn clothing, home decor, crafts and quilts with this machine.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? I love this machine. When everything goes wrong on all my other machines, she is my back-up. She is solid metal and works like a charm most of the time. I love the way I can wind the bobbin without having to remove it from the shuttle. I don't like doing button holes with this machine however or trying to sew things like sleeves.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! I found this machine sitting by the dumpster at my apartment complex. I picked it up and brought it inside. It just so happen that I had a sewing machine tech come to my house the next week to work on my Mom's machine I was borrowing. He took a look at her and found that all she needed was a new bobbin shuttle. I ended up spending $35 to get her up and working. She has sewn many hours with me. She isn't the easiest machine to carry around but she sews beautifully.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? This is a great starter machine and the tech who put this machine in working order said that he often recommends new sewers go to a thrift store and find one of these machines and then have it serviced.

3. What brand and model do you have? Juki Pearl Line Serger
How long have you had it? 2003
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? I think it was about 500.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I use my serger for clothing mostly - also handbags and some craft projects.
How much wear and tear does the machine get? I don't use it very often.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? What features does your machine have that work well for you? Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? I really like my serger and I'm very happy I bought it when I have something that needs to be serged. I hate thinking about the days when I made swimsuits and leotards without a serger but I did it! I was able to make a shrug for my daughter with $3 worth of fabric and some wooly nylon and she loved it because it looked so professional.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! I spent many years making clothing for my children when they were young - everything from polo shirts and swimsuits to dresses and slips - using my singer and a zig zag to finish the edge. I always wished I had a serger to make these items look as professional inside as they did outside and so when my Mom passed away and left me a little money the first thing I did was buy a serger. I haven't used it as much as I thought I would but I love that I have it for those times when I need it.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? I would recommend this machine. I haven't had any problems with it and it is easy to thread. If you buy a serger I would recommend buying it from a shop that offers at least one class with the purchase because the information I learned in the one class has made a world of difference. I refer back to my notes from the class almost every time I use my serger!

4. What brand and model do you have? Baby Lock Designers Choice
How long have you had it? 2004
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? $650.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I use this machine for almost all of my sewing - clothing, crafts, and quilting.
How much wear and tear does the machine get? Almost daily
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? What features does your machine have that work well for you? Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? At this moment I have a love/hate relationship with this machine. I love using it but the other day it seized up and I haven't been able to get it to work again! I will have to take it in for repairs and I really don't want to spend the money to repair it so I'm back to my Singer 600 for now. I miss being able to quilt with this machine. I do wish it had a larger arm clearance. I like the button holes it makes but the button hole foot is difficult to figure out and I have to take out the manual every time I make a buttonhole so that I can remember how to use it. I love the fact that it has a self threader. I don't use many of the fancy stitches but they are fun to play around with at times. I like the fact that I can sew without the foot if I want to and that I can adjust the speed of the machine. This has been very helpful when I do free motion quilting as well as when I teach my daughters how to sew. I also like the automatic thread cutter.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! A couple of years after I bought my serger I decided I deserved a new sewing machine. I spent some time looking at various machines but really wasn't sure what I wanted in a new machine. Unfortunately this was before I started quilting in earnest and so the features I ended up with are much different from what I would buy now. Ultimately the thing that sold me on this machine was it's price, it's automatic buttonholer, the automatic threader and the sales person. She took more time with me than any of the other sales people at other dealerships.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? While this machine has worked well for the most part I don't know that I can recommend it to others. I know this is the low end of the scale to pay for a good machine these days but I don't feel I got my moneys worth, and maybe I'm just feeling that way because it isn't working right now, and because my sewing needs have changed since I made the purchase. I don't need all the fancy stitches this machine offers and I have found I really prefer a heavier machine without lots of plastic parts. I just think the plastic parts break too easily.


And last but not least
5. What brand and model do you have? Singer (cannot recall model number - I will have to look for it later)How long have you had it? About two years
How much does that machine cost (approximately)? I purchased this baby from a woman for $50.
What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? I purchased this machine because of it's longer arm for quilting. Since purchasing it I have found that it works really well with elastic in the bobbin for shirring.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I haven't used it as much as I thought I would because I had to buy a new foot for it and then I dropped the pedal at an odd angle and now the pedal overheats if used too much. I need to purchase a new pedal, fortunately they are only about $15, it's just a matter of actually doing it.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I do like this machine a lot. I love the old fashioned look and she did quilt nicely before I broke the pedal.
What features does your machine have that work well for you? This is a straight stitch only machine. Nice and simple and to the point.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? The bobbin winder is broken, but I bought one of the new Side-winders for winding bobbins and I don't have a problem anymore.
Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it! I was wandering the Internet looking at websites opinions on their recommendations for regular sewing machines to machine quilt with and came across a strong recommendation for this type of machine. I looked on eBay, Craigslist and KSL classifieds for many weeks before I finally found this machine.
Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? If you can find a machine like this that is in good shape and inexpensive I would recommend this machine for quilting. Not to mention it looks good in the living room. I was lucky enough to find one with it's original case which is still in beautiful condition. This machine has been refurbished but the pedal went out within the first few uses. Through some research on the Internet I found that my machine uses the same pedal as a Singer featherweight and so I was able to order a brand new pedal through a website called 221parts.com.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? I think you should order from a dealer you can work with. I've heard of some terrible experiences friends have had after getting a lemon of a machine. Even though she had spent considerable money on a well known brand of machine she had a difficult time getting the machine repaired. I really think customer service is an important factor to consider. Talk to friends about the customer service they have received from local shops. It is also important to make a list of what you want most in a machine and decide if you really need all the extras they will try to sell you. There are many features you won't have a choice in, but decide before you go what you can and can't live without. I have seen some amazing quilts made by quilters who own simple, store brand machines.
Do you have a dream machine? Of course! Right now I am coveting a middle arm machine. I don't have a desire to have a long arm or a machine on a large rack, but would love a sit down machine like the HQ Sixteen for my quilting, and as long as I'm dreaming lets add a stitch regulator to the mix!

Congratulations if you read through to the end of this post! *wipes sweat from brow* That was a long one, but it was fun for me to really think about the machines I have and what I like or dislike about each one. Now maybe you would like to go to Sew, Mama, Sew and add your own two cents about your sewing machine(s).

Comments

Anonymous said…
Great post! Found it while looking up the singer 6105, nice to get an opinion before you buy 2nd hand! Thanks! X
Connie said…
Love your old black Singer! Looks like a 15 and I use a 15-91 for all my free motion quilting. Beautiful case!
Mary Ann said…
Great reviews thank u!

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