Re: Looking for machine for better half.
- From: Kay Lancaster <kay@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 17 Jan 2008 03:42:04 GMT
On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 20:46:07 GMT, J.Lef <j.lef@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
She will not be sewing new clothing, (but mending I guess), but
looking to do other household projects. (slip covers, draperies, etc)
Now I asked her what she needs in a machine, and she said nothing too
fancy or expensive. I am looking to get away with less then seven hundred
You should be able to get a very nice Viking electronic for about that that
will do most of those things.
Some of her needs are(and sorry if they are meaningless)
zipperfoot, french seams, easy buttonholing, ability to work on heavy
fabric, such as adult denim(jeans), also light weight fabrics such as silk,
and spandex type materials.
Yup, my almost bottom-of-the-electronic-machines Viking can do all of
those easily and well.
What I want in a machine for her, is a machine thats easy to operate
and figure out.
She has always had problems with bobbin tensions, and always blames
it on machine. LOL
Here come the warning sirens!!
Unless those machines were rescued clunkers that hadn't been cleaned and
oiled in the last 40 years or so, or sold in boxes from the back of a
truck, I suspect an operator error problem. It's pretty rare for a
"regular user" to have to adjust bobbin tension unless you're switching
back and forth from running very thin or very thick threads in the bobbin.
However, there are a number of problems with other parts of a machine that
can make people think the bobbin tension's is out of whack, including
threads too heavy for the machine (home machines don't like heavy upholstery
thread!), wrong size or type of needles for a project, and a machine
in need of a thorough cleaning.
Other easy to screw up machine adjustments include threading with the
presser foot down so the thread doesn't enter the top tension and you get
loopies on the bottom of your seam, or the needle's in backwards (skipped
stitches if it'll sew at all), or the bobbin's in backwards, or the bobbin
thread isn't in the tension, or the tension is dirty (don't use linty thread!),
or you're sewing over lumps in the fabric (like jeans side seams) or..or..or...
All that said, I've never had someone who has used my machine swear at it
or have trouble with it that wasn't immediately attributable to major
The bobbins drop into the bobbin case and only go in one way (they're not
symmetrical). The stitches and stitch adjustments are clearly displayed
on the screen, and it tells you usual upper tension settings and what foot
to use with what stitch. The sewing hook is terribly hard to jam... I've
managed it once with a piece of chiffon, but that's my own foolishness.
The feet snap on easily and securely. It doesn't need oiling by the user.
It's pretty easy to clean out the bobbin area and under the needleplate.
It's happy with just about any thread, but the good stuff is better for
the machine. The new Vikings I've tried (mine's now
about 10 years old) are just about as bombproof. Nevertheless, you can
make it sew badly if you work at it (dull needle, really bad thread,
needle in wrong way, improper seam starting).
And I say that as someone who has sewn on some difficult machines over the
years... one that used to spit the bobbins into my lap, one that was made
of such poor metal it couldn't stay in time, one that went casters up
after a year (yes, it was a cheapie). I've also sewn on machines that
had to be coddled, cleaned every 10 minutes, and some that just plain
seemed possessed, like the one with faulty pedal contacts that sewed on its
own now and then. <g>
Suggested reading for you two, beyond the faq already posted:
Carol Ahles. Fine Machine Sewing. Taunton Press. Pay special attention to
the first few chapters on how choice of needle, thread and fabric all interact
with machine adjustments, and to the last chapter or two on selecting a
machine. (This book is commonly available in public libraries -- any
edition will do just fine for your purposes.)
Viking is a good brand, but there are others that are as good. If Viking's
don't "fit", keep looking. But a little user education beyond "this is
how you wind the bobbin", "this is how you thread the top", "this is how
you change the needle" sounds like it might be in order here.
Oh, most of the "better brands" with captive dealers do not advertise prices
nor can they tell you on the phone -- contractual issue with the manufacturer.
Nevertheless, it sounds like you're more likely to need dealer support, at
least at the beginning, and it's best to "buy a good dealer" as well as
http://preview.tinyurl.com/333j5z which is: http://sewing.about.com/od/sew
http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=17206792 (some photos I
took comparing various sizes of needles and point types, as well as
a fair look at the anatomy of sewing machine needles)-- useful for understanding
how needles affect sewing results.
Also try checking reviews places like
Kay, who's thinking about putting up a web page with photos of what happens
with maladjusted or misthreaded machines and what caused each problem.
- Looking for machine for better half.
- From: J.Lef
- Looking for machine for better half.
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