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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-05-2012 11:27 PM
Originally Posted by altheapdx View Post
Still looking for the right machine. Patience, patience, patience....
TacSew 111-155 is a nice solid machine. Several reputable online vendors sell it. (Allbrands, SewingGold, and KeystoneSewing are all well-known dealers, though there are many others.)

I know you're looking for used, but driving all over to buy a Craiglist machine, maybe facing a service fee, and definitely having to buy a servo motor (if you've never used a clutch motor before) makes the approx. $900 delivered cost of this unit seem like a rather good deal.

You can probably turn right around and resell it for at least 75% of your cost at the end of the project -- though you'll find this is a handy tool to have around for all sorts of DIY stuff, not just auto upholstery.
08-26-2012 01:09 AM
old guy
Buying a sewing machine

My concern for a home work use is to be carful. Industrial sewing machines tend to use industrial power, so ask if it will work with house hold power. Clutch driven machines are much simpler by design and tend to be cheaper to buy. Now if this machine has all the features needed for upholstery(single needle,walking foot) but has an industrial power motor(208/3phase)a single phase (120volt)clutch motor is not a very expensive purchase and converting the power switch has to be changed also(domestic light switch). A electronically controlled motor sewing machine more often has industrial power and it can be converted to a clutch drive motor but both type of machine conversions are at extra cost.
One more note, a sewing machine with electronic motors have more features than clutch driven machines(nice to have features,,needle positioner,back tack,etc)but if you install a clutch driven motor all features will be lost so get this machine cheap.
The faster the machine the better, the clutch speed is contoled by your foot pressure and with time you will want speed(just like cars).
Pfaff 1245 is hard machine to beat and a 1425 Pfaff is the Audi of walking foot needle feed machines.
06-08-2012 12:53 PM
Originally Posted by DanTwoLakes
That model may be an industrial machine, but it does not have a walking foot. It may be more of a clothing machine.
You are supa-dupa cool. Thank you so much!!

Still looking for the right machine. Patience, patience, patience....
06-07-2012 07:43 PM
DanTwoLakes That model may be an industrial machine, but it does not have a walking foot. It may be more of a clothing machine.
06-07-2012 07:28 PM
altheapdx Hi. Thanks for the quick & helpful response. Have been doing more looking around and wonder if anyone has experience or knowledge of a Juki DDL-552. I have found one locally, but can't seem to locate much information online. Seems like it might be comparable to 554 or 555 but would really like more information.

06-06-2012 07:07 AM
DanTwoLakes Almost all industrial machines are copies, either all or in part, of the original Singer 111W series of machines. Look for a Singer 111W, Consew 225, 226, 206. Pfaff 45, 145, 245, 1245. Juki makes a nice machine, Brother, Artisan, Chandler, Tacsew all make copies of the Singer. Look on E-bay and Craig's list.
06-06-2012 06:42 AM
Any Recommendations?

Thanks for the response. Any recommendations on possible machines? Husband has finished most of the motor & tranny work and wants the seat covers done yesterday.
06-05-2012 10:32 PM
DanTwoLakes You answered your own question when you said you couldn't get your foot to lift high enough to do some of the sewing. You need a machine with at least 1/2" of lift to do most auto upholstery. None of the machines you mentioned will lift that high.

If you want to do it right, you need an industrial, single needle, lockstitch, compound feed, (combination of needle feed and drop feed which employs feed dogs) walking foot(alternating presser feet)sewing machine. You will fight to sew most auto upholstery with anything else. If you buy one, you will always get your money back out of it. That can't be said for the glorified home machines you're looking at.

No, you don't absolutely have to have reverse, but if you ever use a machine with reverse you won't want to go back, and it makes the machine more attractive to potential buyers.
06-05-2012 09:39 PM
Sewing machine comparison-long time seamstress, 1st time upholsterer - Singers


I'm new to this site, but have been a seamstress for decades (a girl never reveals her age). I have mostly done household items - clothing, quilts, handbags and other miscellaneous items. All of these items have been done on my Brother XR-65. A little household machine.

Recently we purchased a 1974 VW Bus. I am in the process of re-doing the seats & curtains. I'm using a medium weight vinyl for the seats, some foam backing. My Brother has blasted through the seams & did a good job of attaching cording to the edges, but once I hit piecing at the corners…uh, oh. It's a no go. My walking foot doesn't lift high enough to maneuver over them. The standard pressure foot is a no go, had a terrible time with it bunching the vinyl.

First, let me state that 'reverse' feature isn't necessary. I am totally capable of flipping the material to do the backstitching. I'm not planning on doing upholstery for a living, just this one time project. So I'm putting that low on the priority list. Of course it would be great, but it's not necessary.

Then walking foot: I've absolutely had to use the walking foot on my Brother to feed the material evenly. For the portion of this project I've done thus far with my Brother, I've been basting the edges of the vinyl prior to sewing it. Will continue to do so just to make doubly sure that the vinyl feeds evenly. But I'm thinking that with this upgrade and with beefer foot dogs with much more girth, I will probably be able to get by with either a nylon/teflon pressure foot or a roller foot. With all the expertise I'm finding on this site, do you think that's a logical assumption?

Here's the machines I'm looking at locally and my comments/questions. Any advice, guidance, suggestions or other would be much appreciated.

A Singer 241-12 for $150: The ad states it runs great but could use a tune up. When I talked with the seller she said there's nothing wrong with it, it just needs cleaned and lubed up. I'm pretty sure this machine would do what I need it to do. Do you agree? I think my biggest reservation with this machine is the speed. This puppy, according to what I've read, moves and it moves FAST. Like 5000 stitches per minute! I'm afraid the speed on such work is going to be too much. I've got to do some pretty tight corners and I happen to like the tips of my fingers. If I purchase this machine, could I put on a different motor to slow it down? It says it has a "foot operated clutch motor". A what?? Feel sort of like a dunce, but I'm not sure I know what that means. My educated guess after reading about 5.7 million webpages is that your foot engages the clutch. But isn't that how all machines engage? It also has a 1/3 horsepower motor, stronger than the other machine I'm thinking about. This machine is gear driven with minimum stitch of 5 1/2 per inch. It's also a drop feed machine, which I think for my purposes is good. The manual I found online says it has a 5/16" pressure foot lift. It also states it will accommodate needles from 8-21. I've been using a 90/14 on the Brother and haven't had issues with it.

The other is a Singer 31-15 for $250: The advantage over the 241-12 seems to be it will go slower, max of 2200 stitches per minute. But it only has a 1/4 horsepower motor versus the 1/3 horsepower of the 241-12. It's been recently serviced and I saw the receipt stating as much. The stitch length is slightly longer, 7 per inch. But I've measured the original seat covers and they are from about 4 - 7 stitches per inch. I can't seem to find information about the pressure foot lift on this machine, whether it's gear driven or not and what type of feed it has. It, per the manual I found, accommodates needles from 14-23, so good there.

So where am I at? Seems as though the 241-12 would be the better machine for my purpose. But I'm really worried about the speed. Like I said I really like the tips of my fingers and wish to keep them. I'm finding a lot more information about the 241-12 online-Gear driven, drop feed, lift of pressure foot.

Enough about sewing machines. I've literally been reading every blog, thread, post, eBay ad, you name it for days trying to whittle this down. I'm cross eyed from staring at the monitor and my head is swirling with details. Plus, my kids have only have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal for days. Ok, not really, but I've definitely not being putting out the 'normal' mommy dinners.

Like I said, any advice, suggestions or recommendations would be really appreciated.


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