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03-10-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukewarm View Post
For those of you that can offer a bit of advice, what brand/sort of sewing machine did you buy to begin with?
My first sewing machine is the Janome's Memory Craft 6000; and I still use it
It's an embroidery machine and the machine I got is used and was on sale
and it had a bunch of stitches I wanted to try --plus it comes with a bunch of different feet, like hemmer foot and zipper foot

I say get a machine that looks and feels sturdy
(like mine is so heavy and probably made completely of metal, not plastic!)
So it will last longer
Get a machine that will do what you want to do
For sewing clothing, I think all you need is running stitches, zig-zag stitch, and being able to alter the length and width of these stitches (ie. zig-zag in condense format creates a stitch to be used to finish edges for buttonholes)

I guess it's good to get a machine that's a little heavy
so when you deal with heavy fabrics or something, you won't run the risk of your machine toppling over while you sew and maybe smash your feet

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03-10-2007
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Check the warranties on the machines. A good one will have a 25 year warranty, which I couldn't believe at first. Pick a machine around your skill level. My Brother has a one step buttonholing thing that's a lifesaver. I also wanted an overlocker, which it has as well. It's good enough for what I know hoe to do, and I got it for about $125 or so at a Wal-Mart.

If you're taking a sewing class, get a lighter one, so you're not carrying a 30 pound machine around. Don't worry about feet, as you can buy new ones anyway. Stay away from plastic presser feet too.

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03-10-2007
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^One problem though, is that some machines don't come with certain feet
Like the manufacturer for my machine doesn't make a Felling Foot --at least that is what I was told when I had a shop call them

What's it mean when the buttonhole function is one-step? I always hear about easy steps ones... You just put your fabric in and it overcasts the rectangular buttonhole for you? What if you got irregular sized buttonholes.. custom-sized, etc.

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03-10-2007
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Thank you both so much. I did find another thread here in the diy forum where at some point you were all discussing your preferred machines so I've been looking at Singers, Janomes, Berninis etc, for the past few hours. I also found the thread where Fourboltmain listed the instructions of how to make a dress form. I never thought about that! I've always assumed that I'll just buy a dress form off of ebay or maybe in a shop around here if I can find one, but when I think about it, what's the benefit of having a generic dress form when it obviously can't have the correct proportions? I suppose that's why patterns and my measurements must be correct. Now I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed because I'm only now understanding how much studying this will take. I really appreciate your help on how to choose a machine. I will look for one with a warranty, and Gius I think that I really do want a heavier metal sewing machine, aside from the functionality of a sturdier frame I prefer the aesthetic! Okayy back to sleuthing! I need muslin, I am going to buy the pattern-making book, I feel obsessed.

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03-10-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
Get a machine that will do what you want to do
For sewing clothing, I think all you need is running stitches, zig-zag stitch, and being able to alter the length and width of these stitches (ie. zig-zag in condense format creates a stitch to be used to finish edges for buttonholes)
Thanks! This is so nice to have a direction.

Also, the overlocker and one-step buttonholing sounds helpful.

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03-10-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
^One problem though, is that some machines don't come with certain feet
Like the manufacturer for my machine doesn't make a Felling Foot...
You can buy aftermarket ones for specific applications that work better and fit better than generic plastic ones, like a Coats and Clark invisible zipper foot will be a lot better than trying to half *** it with the universal zipper foot that came with your machine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gius View Post
What's it mean when the buttonhole function is one-step? I always hear about easy steps ones... You just put your fabric in and it overcasts the rectangular buttonhole for you? What if you got irregular sized buttonholes.. custom-sized, etc.
The foot has a automatic measuring thing on it. I can put just about anything on the foot and the machine automatically figures out the needed length of the hole up to about an inch and a half or so. I might add it's a manual thing too, it's not a digital machine. It has a trigger stop thing that changes needle direction instead of me starting and stopping the buttonhole 4 times and messing with setting in between rotating and aligning the fabric. Doing a buttonhole old school style is a pain in the ***. But we buy machines to suit our needs, mine is very simple and built like a tank.

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04-10-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukewarm View Post
Also, the overlocker and one-step buttonholing sounds helpful.
FYI you'll most likely have to get a separate machine for overlocking (serging). if you're going to sew with a lot of knits then i highly recommend you look into it eventually... mine is a white and i love it to death.

i think the main thing is to look for a machine that has all metal parts inside and does just what you need it to do, without all of the bells and whistles. also i'd personally stay away from one that is computerized for a first machine, because i think it's important to learn on a regular one before you get into that...

i've been using my basic kenmore zig-zag machine for maybe 10yrs and it still runs like a champ. and since it's so basic, i can clean/service it myself, which is key

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04-10-2007
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Actually I'm nervous to say this, but I've just bought a really old Singer. Singer 328k to be specific, I'm worried I have made a mistake.

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08-10-2007
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i would actually say the older machines are more durable and trustworthy than any new ones. singer is a really good basic machine, and if you're just leanring, it's a great choice. honestly, i just have a basic singer....i want to get another machine soon, because i dont like the plastic machine or plastic bobbins, but it was a gift and it works for what i use it for.....even sews leather pretty well. i've used berninas, brothers, kenmore, singer, and a jukie (not sure if im spelling that right or now) overlock serger. i really loved the old brother, that was my moms....you could sew anything on that lil machine.

im super excited for you and i think you're going to have a ton of fun and learn a lot!

i've been doing a ton of dressmaking lately....finishing up my orange coat, and a red wool one too. i just bought a bunch of retro print cottons and am going to do some 1940's inspired dress styles....because i cant find what i like or want in stores. I also am going to make up some patterns for some flowy retro blouses too....'ve been buying tons of fabric on ebay lately

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08-10-2007
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Very cool, thank you! I've been buying fabric like crazy on ebay lately as well, how funny, perhaps we're bidding against each other at times. I have been collecting patterns, tearing apart old blazers, and scouring my fabric stores. It really is exciting! Your projects sound fabulous, I'd love to see what you do to the wool coat and also the vintage apparel, I hope you post pictures when you make progress

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09-10-2007
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i'll scan some fabric swatches and stuff to show you all what i've got myself buried in

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10-10-2007
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i'd love to see what you're working on jun!!

i have some patterns all but done, fabrics picked out, but have all of a sudden gotten crazy busy at work + so no time to sew lately. i really want to get a couple of tops done before it actually gets cold outside...

lukewarm, i love tearing apart old clothes to see how they were made! you must be having a ball!!!

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11-10-2007
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well, my scanner really sucks, as th colors of the fabrics are really off...but this is along the lines of some of the stuff im working on:




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01-11-2007
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totally missed this- i love the detail on that first coat! and that orangey woven in the 2nd is so great!

i've been slacking so much... i have fabrics picked out with vague patterns/notes pinned to them, but haven't had a chance to do any sewing for myself in forever. and now that i've decided to re-do my office/studio, i might as well start thinking spring already...

i think that freshening up the space will help motivate me to go in there and do stuff... i have an ambitious plan to put most of my fabric stash on bolts, add shelving, etc...

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01-11-2007
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dont feel bad...i have like 3 dresses cut out, four jackets almost finished and a bunch of random things....i really need a studio!

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