The Sewing Place

I want a new machine but which?

Northern Lass

I want a new machine but which?
« on: November 07, 2017, 21:27:22 PM »
 :sew: I want to treat myself after nearly 40 yrs with the same one, a very solid but flat bed Novum. A couple of weeks ago yet again I needed a free arm machine and my daughter needed to do a button hole and I couldn’t remember how to do it. I might do more when I retire, I could fancy patchwork! At the moment it’s usually necessary tasks and furnishings. What worries me is swapping a solid workhorse that’s lasted 40 yrs for one that won’t last 10. I like quality, so I fancy Bernina 330 or Pfaff Ambition essential. But open to suggestions.  Comments please  >:) help me on the path to new sewing! Also is there a good supplier in West yorks? Thanks...
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 03:34:59 AM by Iminei »

Tamnymore

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2017, 21:54:20 PM »
You might like to think of visiting the Knitting and Stitching show which is on in Harrogate later this month. If you google it you will find the website and you can check which sewing machine suppliers are going. You might get some ideas there and it's a great day out anyway.  :D
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

Maximum

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2017, 21:58:39 PM »
Have fun choosing a new machine - you deserve it, but take your time. Take your own fabric and try out as many as you can. Don't be seduced by hundreds of stitches, most of them will never be used!
Above all don't be tempted to get rid of the old machine, you never know when old faithful will come in useful!

BrendaP

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2017, 22:22:12 PM »
I agree, don't get rid of the old machine  :vintage:

By all means get a more modern one to go with it.  Do your homework and work out what features you do want and which you are not bothered about and if at all possible go an test run the candidates, either at one of the shows or in a proper bricks and mortar shop.  It can be very personal; what one person loves another doesn't get on with.

For patchwork all you need is a straight stitch. 
For furnishings a solid workhorse is the main requirement. 
Excellent buttonholes can be made with a buttonhole attachment, I think you can use any machine, just drop the feed dogs and make sure the stitch width is 0.

The fancy stitches and the two forward one back stretch stitches are mostly for the stretchy fabrics, but possibly you would do better getting an overlocker to complement your Novum rather than a new regular machine.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Tamnymore

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 22:36:27 PM »
I've never used a buttonhole attachment but I do find a one step buttonhole stitch hugely useful and a lot better than the 4 step buttonhole on my 40 year old macbine (which I love in every other way). If you have a one step buttonhole stitch you are likely to get loads of other stitches you don't really need though!
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

arrow

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 00:51:37 AM »
You might want to hold on to the flatbed. I bought a Singer 201 in a small table a few years a go and it is still my favorite. It runs smoothly, it's very capable with every type of fabric, flatbed in a table makes it a joy to work on. Even though it's a standard domestic model, it's comes off as large with lots of space to maneuver bulky fabric pieces. The space on some models can feel a bit cramped, others come with a luxuriously long freearm. 

I agree on the freearm, I keep one with option for various stitch patters; though I mostly use the straight stitch, zigza, blind stitch, and the odd stretchy stitch. I think Bernina still have as narrow freearm on the new models and the older, it has been an advatage a couple of times. If you make clothes or mend clothes, attatching a piece to a round opening, cuffs, can be a bother on a flatbed however nice it is in every other respect. I like the buttonholer attachments for my 201, they work very well.

I have to say, there is no such thing as a one step buttonhole; it always involves quite a bit of test sewing and adjustment for thread fabric and size. I don't mind the four step too much, but when it's been a while I have to look it up to get the hang of it again too. Learning how to do it manually isn't bad either. That said, the one step buttonholes are nice, several shapes at a touch of a touch screen (in real life a lot of touches and a bit of test sewing, trying to get it to stitch over bumps and layers at the edge of a duffle jacket...).

I went for fixing up a couple of vintage machines, it turned out to be half the fun too. A Bernina 330 sounds perfect with a freearm and nice buttonhole selection. For buttonholes I have discovered very few handle top stitch thread, it can be nice on some fabrics. It shouldn't be any problem in general, at least for the models you mention.

A side for making clothes I sew a lot of odd things like cardboard, experimental plastic innerlining, leather, bike seat covers, and I would not dare to put a new Bernina 330 through struggles like that. That's when an old all metal cast iron machine is nice to have, and I have to admit I push my freearms to the limit too, but they seem to hault before they are overloaded.






Tamnymore

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 08:27:29 AM »
Arrow, I agree that there isn't a buttonhole stirch that will completely sew itself and you always have to test, but the one step buttonhole stitch on my new Singer machine produces excellent resullts and it automatically chooses stitch size etc - so far these defaults have done a good buttonhole. It's as near automatic as you can get. It always produces a much better buttonhole than my slightly older Janome's single step buttonhole stitch (and both are way better than the 4 step buttonhole on my old machine). However the Janome is better designed in a number of  other ways. So it's really a question of trying out several machines for the things that matter to you. If you are a 'dark sider' you may not be so bothered about buttonholes!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 08:32:58 AM by Tamnymore »
'One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.' Oscar Wilde

Ploshkin

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 09:18:16 AM »
On the subject of one step buttonholes, if buttonholes are going to be something you do a lot on a wide variety of fabrics I would advise that you have a machine that also has a manual option (unless your old machine can step in).  That is the one real downside of my Pfaff Ambition 1.0.  I've had trouble doing buttonholes on certain fabrics and there is no other option on that machine.   I now keep a second, old machine with a 4 step buttonhole as a back up.
Life's too short for ironing.

Bodgeitandscarper

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 09:27:37 AM »
I chose my Pfaff Expression 4.2 for it's ability to produce a perfect buttonhole on most fabrics - and I like that I can key in the length as I often found those buttonhole feet that you put the button in for size make them a little too big.

Northern Lass

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 10:04:02 AM »
Today I will check out Huddersfield for stockists, but there’s just not the choice in the flesh compared to online. I think there’s only 2 places. Thank you all for your comments.

Kenora

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 21:24:23 PM »
I agree with what's already been said. If you can get to test the machines it really is well worth it. When I was ready to buy a new machine a little over a year ago I wasn't sure if I would like the new (to me) 9mm feet that some of them have. I took mock-ups of the kind of work I do into the shop and played with top stitching around tiny necklines (I frequently make "angel wraps" for charity). I'm glad I did this because it confirmed that I wasn't comfortable with the 9mm foot (although they allow for amazing decorative stitch effects) and I ended up buying a machine with a 5.5mm foot which was actually smaller than what I was used to but felt "right" to me. I've also kept my previous machine as a back-up. In an ideal world I would have the machine with the 9mm foot as well but - apart from the fact that I haven't won the lottery yet - I don't have the room either. 0_0
Minding my P's & Q's in Portreath

Northern Lass

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 22:42:33 PM »
Bernina 350 bought, despite going to look at a 330!. It’s still in the box though, videos to watch first. The nearest Pfaff service is in Sheffield, so I was convinced a local dealer and servicer was important. I just have to justify the cost LOL

arrow

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 23:23:59 PM »
You have not bought an unreasoably expensive model. This is what a basic sewing machine cost these days. The buttonhole function are given very good feed back from owners. 

Maximum

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 07:57:39 AM »
Well done, I hope she gives you many happy and productive hours. Heirloom Creations have a series of videos on that machine (and others). Each video is short and deals with one topic so it is easy to find what you need.

Gernella

Re: I want a new machine but which?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2017, 10:00:39 AM »
. It’s still in the box though, videos to watch first.

Don't know how you managed that, I'm like a kid in a sweetie factory the minute a new sewing machine arrives, out of box on table and play.

Enjoy your new toy.