- Oct 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm #3558399Paul SBPL Member
For the past few years I have wanted to learn to sew, so that I can do some mods on our gear (tents), and make some stuff from scratch that we can’t find on the market.
Considering all the $$ I’ve spent on tents, clothing, sleeping bag, boots, etc, the cost of the sewing machine seems small. Been looking at this one (below), what do you folks think?Oct 4, 2018 at 11:43 pm #3558441John DallasBPL Member
This may be a good machine. What I would recommend is going to a sewing machine repair shop that sells used sewing machines. You can get a equal or better quality machine for half the price. They often will do sewing machine lessons at the shop as part of the sell price or for a reasonable amount. You now have someone you can ask or consult with on projects.Oct 5, 2018 at 10:46 am #3558493
I think this is a free-arm machine? If you take the end cover off you can slide a sleeve over the frame? I would always aim for a free-arm machine rather than a flat-bed one.
But the option of a good second-hand machine should be explored. Many people buy expensive machines and then never use them.
CheersOct 5, 2018 at 11:26 am #3558495James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
It looks like a good basic machine. I believe we have a Husqvarna. I would echo Rogers statements. My wife does most of my actual sewing, I just do the design, lay out and cutting. (She also does quilting.) If you make even three tarps, that machine pays for itself. Of course, you can also make packs, tents, bags, etc…and, do general sewing repairs on your gear. UL gear always needs something…Oct 9, 2018 at 3:42 am #3559057Patrick PBPL Member
Call a local high school. Sewing is no longer taught and the teachers have them collecting dust on a store room. That’s how I got my main machine. I think it’s a viking and it’s a tank.Oct 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm #3560127Taylor LBPL Member
Having tried most of the models from the leading manufacturers, my pick is this one, hands down:
I have semi-abused it for years and it has been great.
If you go to a sewing store you can try some out. However, the ones in my area don’t seem to carry Brother machines.Oct 23, 2018 at 11:45 am #3561016Bill CBPL Member
My son is learning to use a sewing machine in school this week. They’re making pillows. We will be making him a new pack at home as he learns to sew in school. Public school, 7th grade.
I have a 1970ish Kenmore that is rock solid and works great. Inherited it from my grandmother but you can find them for less than a $100 if you look around. A good used one will save some cash and be completely reliable and functional but there is something to be said for a new one with a warranty.Nov 6, 2018 at 1:22 pm #3562872Hoosier TBPL Member
My first two years of gear making were done on a Singer Sewmate from WalMart. It was an excellent machine for everything I threw at it. It actually handled the super light 10D materials better thanmy Juki 8700. I even made my first pack with it and it had no trouble with layers of webbing or the thicker materials. I can’t recommend that machine enough for getting started.Nov 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm #3563176Jeffrey PetersBPL Member
Find a used machine that is older. The quality of the internal parts will be better. I have a new machine that I was gifted that can’t sew heavy fabric. I tried to re-sew the hem on my daughters karate uniform and it struggled at best. I ended up using my old school treadled power machine to complete the job.Dec 4, 2018 at 5:48 am #3567322William NBPL Member
I found this really helpful video from Tac Blades. He suggested getting an older used machine. Seemed like good advice. I got a Janome, probably paid more than I should (from Amazon) it was like it didn’t pass final inspection, the stitches indicator is off by one. Janome denies that they sell via Amazon… It’s okay, but I don’t recommend it. The Singer looks good. I’m sure you know to avoid computerized machines. And just about any good machine will sew everything from bug mesh to webbing.
Following this video I did a quick search on eBay and Craigs list and found machines exactly like what he talks about.Dec 4, 2018 at 12:15 pm #3567343Ruth GBPL Member
I found mine on Craigslist, a Brother 5130 and I think I paid about $50 for it. Virtually brand new. An older woman bought it, but she had been using an older machine forEVER, and just didn’t like the newer one. It has all the bells and whistles you could need. Something like 23 stitches, a needle threader, option to go free-arm, etc. Plus, she gave me an old, old one that she also no longer used…actually I had forgotten about that one until now, and need to bring it out, just to see what it is!Dec 8, 2018 at 3:22 am #3568033Daniel KielyBPL Member
Paff 1222E best machine hands down:)
Or the Bernina 830 (old version). Both are awesome and should be able to be found second hand.
The Paff has a walking foot. Trust me, you will thank me later.
DanDec 8, 2018 at 3:41 am #3568035
CheersDec 8, 2018 at 7:58 am #3568047Hetty GBPL Member
Go to a local sewingstore, take some fabric with you (thin UL nylon, thick insulation, strong canvas) and try. Probably you can buy there a much better and stronger secondhand machine for the same amount of money. Brother, Pfaff, Bernina, all great machines but expensive when bought new. Secondhand still great, especially the machines from the 70’s and 80’s, no plastic or complex electronics inside. The sewingstores over here don’t fix the ‘supermarket-singer’, so if there s a problem with it you have to fix it yourself, or buy a new one.
As mentioned in another post, a walking foot is really the best for making tarps or other long seams. Without walking foot one layer of fabric will stretch a little bit, at the end of a long seam that layer of fabric will be longer than the other. Pfaff has a builtin walking foot, the other machines need a special foot.Feb 18, 2019 at 3:16 pm #3579147PaulWBPL Member
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
I know I’m a bit late to this party, but this might help.
Call, or stop by, a local sewing machine repair shop that you might frequent in the future and talk to them. My local guy recommended (if you want affordable and new) any of the Singer Heavy Duty machines in the 44xx series, and the Babylock BL9. For used, he recommended older fully mechanical machines, but suggested I call him first and let him know what I was thinking of buying and he could give me some tips. Another warning he gave me was that many small shops won’t, or can’t, fix many of the newer fully computerized machines and they would have to go back to the dealer for service.Feb 21, 2019 at 5:42 am #3579696Sam CBPL Member
The Singer Classic has been my daily driver for about three years; it is a solid machine but is hit-or-miss with foam padding. I typically hand-crank with the foam.
I also have an early 80s Singer that I had inherited. It’s nice and I cannot decide which machine I like more. This older Singer can certainly handle foam with more ease, then again it has a higher shank.
As to buying used; research what you are looking to get. I once had purchased a used, and once again a Singer, off Craigslist for $20. It appeared to be a solid machine but for the life of me I could not figure out/learn how to properly thread the bobbin so I gave it up.Feb 24, 2019 at 1:17 pm #3580181JasonBPL Member
This is the machine that I first got. I made 3 backpacks and 2 sleeping bags with it, then broke it on the 4th pack. The metal bent because I was going through 1/8″ of nylon webbing and I pulled at the wrong time. People will say you need a walking-foot machine while I would suggest you start with a machine that you need to learn to pull thick fabrics while you sew.
In the end, you will save a lot of time and money if you start by putting in a little extra time and money into finding a reputable sew machine repair/retail shop. They will sell you a machine that will last, and when you mess it up, they will make it work again.
Final, final note: welcome to the world of awesome!!!!Feb 24, 2019 at 1:20 pm #3580182JasonBPL Member
Daniel is 100% correct.
If you get into this DIY stuff, you will eventually end up on the 1222E.
“Paff 1222E best machine hands down:)”
-quote of the centuryFeb 28, 2019 at 2:54 am #3580930Sam FarringtonBPL Member
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Re: I have a 1970ish Kenmore that is rock solid and works great. Inherited it from my grandmother but you can find them for less than a $100 if you look around. A good used one will save some cash and be completely reliable and functional but there is something to be said for a new one with a warranty.
Bill, I did find a Kenmore Zig-Zag in Maine on Craigs List. In new condition, and identical to my old one which is also 1970ish.
But the Pfaff 1222E sounds interesting. They can still be found for sale on Google.
Saw sewing machines in a Vietnamese factory in a news report about the US-N Korea summit. They were called Juki, or something like that. Our local sewing shop doesn’t have these classics, but will talk to the owner and see what he knows about the Pfaff and the Juki.Feb 28, 2019 at 7:01 am #3580949
Juki is an industrial heavy-duty brand. Not sure, but they may be clutch-driven.
CheersFeb 28, 2019 at 3:24 pm #3580977nunatak down gearBPL Member
A few notes re my experience with industrial sewing machines:
Cumbersome, noisy, energy intensive clutch motors on industrial machines have been going away for years, being replaced by compact lightweight servo motors.
Juki is the brand you see in most of the cottage shops, except zPacks lol.
Basic industrial feed mechanisms are roughly divided into three categories. Zig-zag function is rare and usually takes a dedicated machine.
1. Single needle lockstitch. Simple and inexpensive. For everything from 10d to webbing. Juki 8700 is ubiquitous here.
2. Needle feed. Complex dual feed makes puckering and dissimilar feed rates a non issue. If you can afford one of these do it. 10d to webbing. Juki 5410.
3. Walking foot. Brutish machines specialized for leather, harnesses, etc. Used by pack shops for the heaviest of tasks. A skilled operator can do finer work too with a marketable look. Not suitable for quilts, tarps, garments. Juki 1541.Feb 28, 2019 at 5:28 pm #3580997Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
That’s and excellent summary of the basic feed mechanisms on industrial machines and useful Juki models! The 8700 is even on Craigslist from time to time around here.
What are your thoughts on the 1541 versus the 1181N? Both machines are in the same price range, the 1541 appears to have BOTH needle feed and walking foot, but the 1181 can take smaller needles down to size 90/14 – a useful size for sewing UL backpacks made with 210D and lighter materials.Feb 28, 2019 at 8:45 pm #3581028nunatak down gearBPL Member
Thanks, Lester! Pack looks great!
The three machines I use as examples are here at the shop. The 1181 I do not know, but I suspect it is less refined than the tried and true 1541.
If, as you suggest, the 1181 does not have the needle feed aspect I would see no reason to purchase it.
For someone setting up a one person pack shop from scratch with a healthy budget I would get a 5410 NH (H for heavy duty), a post bed walking foot machine from a budget brand like Consew, and then save up the $5K for a quality bartacker once things take off.
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