Tough cheap machine???

I know this type of discussion usually starts a war, but just looking at
possible options. I had to take my Janome 5124 in for adjustment today.
I was sewing a backpack and going through thick fabric layers.
The machine has not been adjusted in 5 years, so it might not have been
the fabric throwing it off. It has served me well with my shirts
though. But its supposed to be able to handle heavy duty work too.
I'm looking for an inexpensive (
Reply to
duh
at that price you want to look at used machines. An old Singer 401 or 500 would be great tough machines. Taria
Reply to
Taria
Huskys are not exactly the best built machines. And mediocre sewing machine salespeople will always try to show you more machine than you need.
A used Singer 401 is one model that meets every last one of your requirements, unless you need a free arm. Look at the bottom picture here:
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(no affiliations with this site, but the guy has a good reputation) You might be able to find one in a thrift store for $20 or so, too. Most people don't want them because they think newer is better.
Reply to
Melinda Meahan - take out TRAS
Thanks. Your name looks familiar from a few years ago when I used to frequent this list. You live in the Bay Area?
Dwight
Reply to
duh
I bought my Janome out in Walnut Creek, but can't remember the name of the store. I seem to remember you live in that direction. I live in Newark now, but I'm wondering if I shouldn't take my machine in to them to take a look at, instead of going through this service at JoAnn's.
The name was something like "The Sewing Machine Place" or something orignal like that.
It hasn't been adjusted since I got it, about 4-5 years ago.
Reply to
duh
Oh, yes, The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek (it's about 6 or 7 miles from where I live), where I bought a wonderful 80s New Home with 30 stitches just a few short years back!
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Well, I know they are reputable, and they definitely are older-machine-friendly. Whether the store that holds the contract for the Joann's nearest you is a good store or not is beyond my knowledge. Some are and some aren't.
Reply to
Melinda Meahan - take out TRAS
I got a 130 at a second hand shop for $40 just last month. IMHO the thrift and second hand shops are the first place to look for the tough old machines.
I am a firm believer in all (or mostly anyway) metal, all mechanical machines. Also IMHO if you are sewing heavy or tough fabrics you won't do much better than such a machine. If you don't want anything fancier than maybe a zig zag, and you need rugged you may want to look into an old machine.
You may have to do some serious cleaning and oiling of a vintage machine, you may also have to do minor parts replacement (belts and such), but in the long run they usually provide a very good value.
NightMist
Reply to
NightMist
I heard back from Jim in Chico. He doesn't have any machines that will do zigzag right now.
Is there some trick with straight stitches that will emulate bar tacks, like maybe multiple parallel lines close together. Do these old 401s stitch in reverse?
THanks.
Dwight
Reply to
Taunto
Well, you can hand-guide a bar tack: stitch in one hole, raise the presser foot just enough to slide the other hole under the needle, lower the needle by turning the handwheel so that you can make a last-minute tweak to hit the hole exactly.
Or if the reverse stitch is on a lever that also controls the stitch length, you can adjust the stops so that the forward and reverse stitches are exactly the same length and bar tack by flipping the lever up and down.
But I make all my bar tacks by hand -- except when making machine-worked buttonholes. Hand tacks look neater, hold better, and mess up the fabric less -- and most of the time it's easier to make a few stitches by hand than to position the garment in the machine.
Oh, there's another exception: when I'm sewing on a patch pocket with zig-zag, I'll make a few zero-length stitches to begin and end the stitching. But if I sew a pocket on with straight stitch, and if for some reason I don't want to make a little loop to begin and end -- for me, at least, the loop always works out badly when I'm sewing knits -- I'll make a hand bar tack to finish the ends.
Joy Beeson
Reply to
Joy Beeson
Why not go top of the line used...a Singer 401 would certainly fit the bill. =20
-Irene
-------------- You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.=20 --Mae West=20 --------------
Reply to
IMS
I had a great time. Very relaxing, *and* I got some sewing done (an alteration for a customer - yes, I know! I don't do alterations! But this was an emergency); a customer skirt and top cut, and the major seams sewn on the fabric and linings, and some quilty things! :)
As for sewing machines: tough doesn't come cheap, but it does come inexpensive and pre-loved. You want new, try the Bernina 1008 at about £400 (I've usually seen it at £450 ish, but also as low as £379), or go for a slightly used commercial (NOT for a new sewist, though!). If you want domestic but tough, the 1008 or a well cared for pre loved older machine.
Reply to
Kate Dicey
I'm thinking along those lines. 401 or 500, but money is an issue. I got my Janome back Friday, will see how it does me. I'm running it a bit slower through the thick stuff now.
Boy, you think clothing patterns don't fill in all the details in the pattern instructions, try backpacks. After I get the first one done, perhaps I'll know a whole bunch more.
Hopefully I'll do better than the pair of pants I tried to sew once. Got all the way done except for the waistband, realized I cut something out upside down on the band, and then just lost all momentum. Still in a bag around here somewhere.
Besides, I can find pants to fit me. Shirts I can't.
Reply to
Taunto

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