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Old 12-27-2008, 12:54 AM
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Which sewing machine should I buy?

My wife informed me tonight that she wants a new sewing machine. Since I've been doing some light upholstery work on a couple cars I had already just browsed eBay and a few other places looking at the prices and different models but realized it probably didn't make much sense economically to purchase a machine I may use a few times. However, if the wife "needs" a new sewing machine, I would like to purchase one that I could do some light upholstery work on when I needed to. But most of the machines that I've seen are not designed to handle both light fabric and heavier materials like canvas and leather. I've looked at the Juki, Singer, Pfaff, Tac-sew and several other brands but I am really not sure what to buy. I don't mind buying something used, and I would really like to keep it under $500. Maybe I need to post this in a sewing forum, but I've gotten a lot of good help here and thought maybe someone could guide me in the right direction.

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Old 12-27-2008, 09:32 AM
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I know you want to keep it under $500 But I would say pay the little extra,And buy the Tacsew T111-155 It's a very very nice machine...I just sold one I bought a year ago,Because I didn't have the time to put into it right now,But when I'm ready I will by another one just like it..
The nice thing about this machine,Is the needle feed. You will not be sorry if you buy this machine. And if you do buy this one,Make sure you get the Servo motor.. Alan Can tell you even more about this machine then I can,He helpped me.. http://www.hotrodders.com/forum/members/horvath.html



http://www.sewinggold.com/TT111-155.html

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Old 12-27-2008, 11:47 AM
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I don't know of any sewing machine that will perform well on both light and heavy fabrics, my suggestion would be to buy your wife a new Janome (or Kenmore - they are made by Janome) for her sewing and when you are ready to sew upholstery weight materials, get yourself a used industrial machine like the Tacsew mentioned above.

The only domestic machines I think might handle light and occasional heavy fabrics would be a Pfaff with Integrated Dual Feed or the Janome 6600 with built-in walking foot. New, either of these will cost over $1000.

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Old 12-27-2008, 08:17 PM
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I just bought New Interiors sewing machine (tacsew T111-155 ) and i love it.
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Old 12-28-2008, 02:24 PM
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What do you mean by "light" upholstery work? First of all, a home sewing machine will sew together 4 or 5 layers of fabric with no problem. It will also sew together 3 or 4 layers of leather or canvas, as long as the thickness is not too great. All you have to do is put in the heaviest needle the machine can handle and use #69 nylon thread. For real heavy jobs, you would need someone to help feed the fabric through the machine because most home machines would be needle feed only, or drop feed only. I did this at home for a few years before I got an industrial machine. You also don't need a servo motor on a home machine. Home machines go infinitely slower than any industrial machine, and have variable speed motors through the foot pedal. What you can't do with a home machine is sew together seat bottoms or seat backs with 1/2" sew foam. The only reason for this is that the machine simply can't handle the thickness under the foot.

An industrial machine is made to be run at high speeds by experienced production line sewers working on piece work. You won't find a used industrial compound walking foot ( this means the machine uses a combination of drop feed and needle feed at the same time. Drop feed means the fabric is pushed through with feed dogs, and needle feed means fabric is fed with a downward/forward motion of the needle. ) machine that is any good for $500, at least not from a knowledgeable seller. My Consew 226R is well over 30 years old, and it would sell used for $800 to $1000 depending on condition. The Consew 255RB-3 I bought 3 years ago cost me $1800 new. Consew and Singer are Chevies. If you go with Juki or Pfaff, which are close to the Cadillac range, you're talking even more money. An industrial machine, even with a light needle, is overkill for any home sewing projects your wife wants to do, and won't be able to buttonhole, embroider, zig-zag, or do any other fancy stitches. So, if you want to keep peace in the family, go with a good home machine. It will do the light duty upholstery work easily.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:46 PM
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nicely put Mr.Dan
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Old 12-29-2008, 01:17 AM
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That really answers my question. My concern was that the light duty machine wouldn't have the power to go through several layers of thick fabric or leather. Or that it would wear it out quickly. I didn't want to buy her a new sewing machine and it be worn out in a month from doing pleats in leather and other similar things. Thanks
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:55 AM
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Just go slow with the home machine, don't try to force anything through it, and you will do just fine with it. Even home machines are quite powerful. The old home machine I used 100 years ago would sew through 1/8" paneling. I had to use the hand wheel one stitch at a time, but it would sew through it. My industrial machines will sew through 1/4" plywood with no problem.
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Old 01-01-2009, 11:52 AM
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Look, there is NO WAY that you can do leather seats and door panels on a home sewing machine. NO WAY, cant be done. Dont even try!


Opps! I take that back. Here are my home sewing machine seats and door panel.

Never mind!




Dan, good buddy, I just read about your Lost Weekend of Hell. Every one goes thorough those every once in a while. I just want to know...

1. What were you drinking.
2. How do I get some.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:00 PM
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1) Canadian Club and water.
2) any good liquor store.
3) don't bother, it doesn't help.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pope
Look, there is NO WAY that you can do leather seats and door panels on a home sewing machine. NO WAY, cant be done. Dont even try!
I didn't say the machine couldn't sew it, only that it probably wouldn't go under the foot. Obviously your home machine has enough lift to do the work.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:25 PM
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I was just trying to be funny about the seats, Dan. You are so right about sewing with 1/2 sew foam is definitely too much for a home machine, but 1/4 works very well.
If at all possible, definitely use a commercial walking foot machine. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:01 PM
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For what it's worth as a rookie sewer, my wife wanted a sewing machine last year also. We convinced ourselves that a sewing/embroidering machine was the way to go. I tell you it was worth it. I just finished the door panels on my 80 ss El Camino and they came out NICE. I used the embroidering part to sew bowties on each of the panels material just above the arm rest. It is easily done on a computer via USB cable and comes with some slick software. You can basically import any .jpg and it will sew it up for you on material. I used marine grade upholstery vinyl. I don't have pics yet but if you look here http://www.networxcomputer.net/Elky/Elky.html
the 6th pic down is some work I did this past summer on the rear curtain.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:33 AM
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When I got out of college I took the first job I can get, with a sewing machine manufacturer. I worked for a company called Kansai SPecial, complete junk. I went to Juki's North American Headquarters and worked there a few years. They have the best machine on the market. The R&D guys were fantastic and the tech support team unbelievable.

I'll throw my hat in for Juki.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:49 AM
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Juki makes a great machine, as does Pfaff, but the star of the show is Adler. ( I'm sure there are other great machines as well) They make a machine that automatically backstitches when it starts and stops, and cuts the thread for you when you tip the foot pedal back. It also has 1/2" shafts throughout instead of 3/8". The machine actually backstitched into the same holes made by forward stitching. It was a dream to sew on, but they cost $4000 back in the early '80's, so I'd hate to think what they cost now.
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