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Thread: Question about sewing machines

  1. #1
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    Question about sewing machines

    My 30 year old machine is being serviced, and there's the possibility I might have to replace it. It got me thinking that I don't really understand what is meant by 'computerized' vs. 'mechanical' in reference to sewing machines. I like hand work and am not really interested in embroidering or appliqueing by machine, so I don't need that type of capability.

    Obviously computerized machines still have the same kinds of moving parts (I assume), so what is it that is computerized in the newer machines? Do they still make strictly mechanical machines without electronics? My old machine has been very reliable as far as tension and stitching, and I'm wondering if more tends to go wrong with computerized machines.
    Lisa

  2. #2
    Power Poster Boston1954's Avatar
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    I have a Brother SQ9000. When I turn it on there is a display on the right that lets me pick stitch type, length, and the seam allowance. I love it. This machine was only $199.00 before tax. There are some that will even tell you when the bobbin is running low.

    As far as finding an older machine, I am sure they can be found. If you research them, you may find something you like.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  3. #3
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    As far as I know -

    "mechanical" - all the adjustments are made manually. If one wants to change the stitch length, for example, one either turns a knob or moves a lever to change the length.

  4. #4
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    Essentially what bearisgray has said pretty much covers it. As I understand it, most of the 'computerized' machines have what you could think of as a 'hard drive' much like your computer where all the basics are stored such as stitch length; decorative stitches and the like.

    I have both types - a couple of vintage mechanical machines and a computerized Viking. The thing I love about the Viking (and others of it's type) is you have the ability to easily have needle up/down settings; some with auto tension features; auto cutting features; needle position adjustment; etc. It's not just about embroidery or applique. Mine does have a plethora of decorative stitches but I rarely use them. I bought the machine because of some of the other 'auto' features. It is my go to piecing machine because it's so easy to use.

    I hand quilt; don't do art quilts; etc.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    For a basic computerized quality machine I would look at the new Sparrow Machines. Many in my guild have them and they have nothing but good things to say about all the different Sparrow models.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
    For a basic computerized quality machine I would look at the new Sparrow Machines. Many in my guild have them and they have nothing but good things to say about all the different Sparrow models.
    I second this. Eversewn has 7 different models out now and some are mechanical, some are computerized.

    Cari

  7. #7
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    I have never heard of Sparrow machines.. I will have to investigate

    I only have Janome machines, but I love them. My Janome Magnolia 7330 is just great. Its a little smaller so I can take with me to classes and sewing groups. Not sure if its classified as mechanical or computerized - but I don't care as long as it works when I turn in on

  8. #8
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Computerized has electronics inside: chips, boards, etc. Mechanical has gears. In my humble opinion, mechanical has an advantage because it's much easier for the owner to perform some basic troubleshooting and servicing of the machine.

    My Brother 1500 is mechanical and has a needle threader, thread cutter, needle up/down, and a knee lift. I also have a service manual and when something's not working right, I hand it to my 22 year old son and he makes my machine purr again.

  9. #9
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    There are still plenty of mechanical machines for sale, HUGELY cheaper than the ones with all the bells and whistles, and much cheaper to repair when needed. Just look around a bit.

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    Janome is one of my favorite, they have a good machine for nearly any budget. I like the 7330 and the mechanical cousin the 7318 is great. I have an HD3000 and I love it! Also like the 2222 and 2212 very good basic machines, I'm getting one as a backup just need to figure out which one I want.

  11. #11
    Super Member Daylesewblessed's Avatar
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    When computerized parts, such as the motherboard, have to be replaced, the cost can be very pricey.

  12. #12
    Super Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    The stitches in a mechanical machine are made by a tracer that follows a cam, that moves the needle. On some mechanical machines, you can put it in the "stretch" mode, which makes the feed dogs move forward and backward.

    In a computerized machine, there are stepping motors that make the stitches. One moves the needle and the other moves the feed dogs, and together, you get some amazing decorative stitches.
    Annette in Utah

  13. #13
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    Thank you all for the info, it is very helpful!
    Lisa

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    I have 2 Janomes and I love them both. One is a Jem, which is small enough that I can take it to classes, etc. It has several stiches, 20 different, I think. It weighs 12 pounds, which I can manage. I also have the 11000 which weighs 48 pounds. It has all the bells and whistles I do take it to retreats, but someone has to load and unload it. My back won't let me lift that much any more. I love the start/stop button, thread cutter, automatic threader, and the various stitches, but only use a small percent of them.
    Alice the quilter

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    Check out the Janome Sewist 500, it has presser foot pressure adjustment, which many machines do not have nowadays. The cheapest Eversewn machine has it, but I'm not sure if it is full size or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by meyert View Post
    I have never heard of Sparrow machines.. I will have to investigate

    I only have Janome machines, but I love them. My Janome Magnolia 7330 is just great. Its a little smaller so I can take with me to classes and sewing groups. Not sure if its classified as mechanical or computerized - but I don't care as long as it works when I turn in on
    generally, if a computer has a small window for viewing data such as stitch length/width, etc it's an electronic machine - mechanical machines don't need such windows.
    Kate

  17. #17
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    Generally speaking if you have to turn it on it's computerized.
    Maria
    Always be true to yourself!

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    joe's mom, what kind of machine do you have? Maybe your guy can't find a replacement part but maybe there is a similar machine on the net. Check there. Or possibly look for an older and better. You maybe very pleasantly surprised. check estate sales that may be coming up in your area or maybe a quilt guild has a member who is wanting to downsize on his or her number of machines. I adore my 401. I was looking for a second to use as a back up but my 2662 (Singer) is my back up. My 401 is my go to.

  19. #19
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    I have a 30-yr. old Singer with a drop-in bobbin. It's been virtually problem-free. I think I would want something mechanical, and definitely with a drop-in bobbin, if I have to replace my current machine. Going by the noises it's been making, I'm wondering if the motor is going.
    Lisa

  20. #20
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    I have a couple of computerized machines....very nice....but I recently purchased a Janome HD3000 mechanical. I love it!!! no computerized anything in it so no pricey motherboards to be replaced! I wouldn't want to N O T have a computerized machine, as they have lots of bells and whistles (wish mine had more...lol) but my Janome HD3000 is the one I use most of the time now. From what you've described about your sewing needs it sounds like a mechanical will do you just fine.

  21. #21
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    In a perfect world, it's nice to have one computerized and once mechanical machine. IMHO there is no workhorse like a mechanical machine and no pleasure like having so much fancy potential at your fingertips! If I could have only one, it might be mechanical. With today's models, almost anyone can have both.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  22. #22
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    I think that most machines today are in some way 'computerized'. This allows for you to simply put in a number to get a stitch design all the way up to having a machine do everything for you. I have several very old machines that I love - very mechanical, very metal and sturdy. I bought a new machine a couple years ago because of the buttonhole feature (the presser foot that does it all!). It also comes with 90 stitch designs and while I thought I would mainly use it for clothing, I find it is my go to machine. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that some machines have, but the needle down, the detachable table, the stitch designs and the assortment of feet are wonderful. It was supposed to be about $450, but I waited for a sale and got it for $250. It is well worth the full price. I have now set the tensions on one of the old ones strictly for heavy denim and canvas and another just for the vinyl work I do. No more messing around changing things.

  23. #23
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    I've been reading about the Eversewn Sparrow, and I recently got to see one of the mechanical models at a Quilt Show. The vendor told me there is supposed to be a new model coming out that is supposed to have the scissor feature. I asked what the price will be for the new model, but she didn't have any more info.

  24. #24
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    I still love my 1957 Singer 401A. I has a multitude of stitches (manual) but it is a work horse and sews like a tank over thick materials. That was the last year for all metal parts,l so if you can find one of those, you will be lucky indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carolynjo View Post
    I still love my 1957 Singer 401A. I has a multitude of stitches (manual) but it is a work horse and sews like a tank over thick materials. That was the last year for all metal parts,l so if you can find one of those, you will be lucky indeed.
    YESSSS! I have one too.

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