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Thread: Looking for a GREAT machine!!

  1. #1
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    Question Looking for a GREAT machine!!

    I'm looking for a machine that could sew through a THICK quilt about 5 or 6 layers of dense fabric. I want to make a REALLY thick heavy quilt...

    Any suggestions??

    Thanks much!!

  2. #2
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Lots of the old machines easily sew leather, canvas, etc, so I would think a thick quilt would be no problem. My Singer 185 or 503 would probably both be good candidates.

    Darren

  3. #3
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    My New Home 556 strolls through, lets see, that one seam was........ 10 layers plus the batting. I was expecting trouble with that middle seam connecting the two halves of the quilt but realized she had already gone over with no complaint. Sorry, too much bragging.
    Life is made up of bits and pieces. You won't know how it'll turn out till its done.

  4. #4
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I would think the Singer66 would go through anything.. Put a new needle in, and she should be good to go..

  5. #5
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I've done seams of 4 layers of heavyweight denim and of upholstery velvet on my Featherweight...She did have a bit of difficulty with the banner that was painted heavy canvas, plastic, and velvet however.
    legendarycandles.com
    Just discovered I qualify for FABLE (Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy)

  6. #6
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    My 401A is definitely a work horse, one of the reasons I love it so! 6 layers of denim, no problems!

  7. #7
    Junior Member Brynn's Avatar
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    I never get tired of this video, but here's a video my SMG did about my FW after he rebuilt her motor--proof that even the littlest machines can power through that stuff!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eY44I1rfe8

  8. #8
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    My husband is a black powder renactor and makes a lot of stuff with heavy canvas. The go-to machine is a 1970 Viking 6020 with its low gear. Of course most any older all-metal machine would be a good choice. Choosing the right needle for the job will make the difference.

  9. #9
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Definately need a strong motor and the RIGHT needle to go through heavy stuff. Probably a Jeans needle would do it....16 or 18 to be sure.

  10. #10
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Try a Japanese 15 clone - sturdy machine and inexpensive
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  11. #11
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    I would say a Singer 15-91, but I'd be referring to one I'd refurbished to make sure everything was up to snuff. While a well-tuned all-metal, vintage machine would surely be equal to the task, the problem in recommending a specific model is that it all depends on the condition it's in. I've received several 15-91s that, straight after the purchase, were in terrible shape and barely sewed. Another powered through everything like a tank with almost no adjustments.

    Everything from the condition of the machine, the condition of its motor and even how its foot pedal is tuned will affect how the machine performs. My advice would be to buy a machine in person, not online, and test it out before buying to be sure it can do what you want it to do.
    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Senior Member greywuuf's Avatar
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    Also coming into play is what else you want it to do? Heavy quilts? Will you want dropping feed dogs for fmq? Do you want it to handle heavy thread? Does it need to have decorative stitches ? Do you need Zig Zag? Does it have to have reverse ? I can think of numerous machines that fit one or more of those, very fit have all. What feed type? Needle, drop, walking foot, combination.
    Make a list of the features you want, or have to have and we can suggest more closely.

    Dan

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vintage.Singers.NYC View Post
    I would say a Singer 15-91, but I'd be referring to one I'd refurbished to make sure everything was up to snuff. While a well-tuned all-metal, vintage machine would surely be equal to the task, the problem in recommending a specific model is that it all depends on the condition it's in. I've received several 15-91s that, straight after the purchase, were in terrible shape and barely sewed. Another powered through everything like a tank with almost no adjustments.

    Everything from the condition of the machine, the condition of its motor and even how its foot pedal is tuned will affect how the machine performs. My advice would be to buy a machine in person, not online, and test it out before buying to be sure it can do what you want it to do.
    Really good advice, Rain. I have a whole bunch of them in various condition. I wouldn't want to turn loose on a couple of them - I will be spending a lot of time on your blog just to get the wiring right.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  14. #14
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    THANK YOU for all the responses!!!

    I have found the following for sale on Craigslist and would like to know if anyone can give me feedback on any of these specific machines. I plan to make several thick quilts, just because I like them thick and heavy... I will also like to make upholstery items, curtains, couch cover and canvas curtains for the patio...

    I don't have a work horse machine, but have always wanted one... I am finally ready to take the plunge and get one that I can use for years and years...

    Empire precision

    Necchi Jolson YM-7

    White 764


    Singer 285

    Singer 301A

    Singer 327A

    Singer 348

    Singer Stylist 413

    Singer 417

    Thank you VERY, VERY much!!!

  15. #15
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    Heavy quilts - yes
    dripping feed dogs for fmq - don't know what this is...
    heavy thread - probably for canvas curtains
    decorative stitches - not needed
    Zig Zag - helpful
    Reverse - VERY helpful


    Thanks!!

  16. #16
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    Thank you Rain!
    I am in California and not planning a NY trip...

  17. #17
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    Thank you for the reply redmadder. I'm not familiar with New Home 556..

    It's ok, if you have a good thing, brag about it!!!

  18. #18
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  19. #19
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    http://www.singer301.com/
    Singer 301 information
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  20. #20
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    Thanks Miriam!!! Very interesting...

  21. #21
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    Oh--you misunderstand, I'm not trying to sell you a machine! I was trying to warn you that someone could recommend a specific model for you, you could find that model, but then discover the machine you bought was not in peak condition and thus not up to the task. While you're on the right track by soliciting specific models to check out, I'm basically trying to make the point that you oughtn't buy a machine sight unseen, but should instead test it first with the actual fabrics you'd like to sew. Even with the models we recommend here, I think you'll find at least a few of the actual machines you'll look at will choke on the work because the previous owner did not keep it ship-shape.

    I'm only familiar with Singers--obsessed might be a better word--and out of the models you've listed:

    The Singer 285 is widely considered to be junk. It's a 3/4-sized machine that's noisy and poorly designed & built compared to what Singer produced in their prime.

    The 301 is popular, but it's a slant-needle machine. That means the needle doesn't go straight into the material, but comes in at a slight angle. So with very heavy work, you may get some deflection, which could prove problematic.

    I don't have any experience with the other Singers you listed, as they're outside of the range of Singers I collect and fix; I only go after the well-designed, sturdy and all-metal models. For domestics, I'd recommend that you look at a 15-91 and/or a 237 or 239. You may find the latter two are noisy, but they're solid.

    If you're looking to buy something new that will definitely do the task, I'd recommend looking into a Sailrite machine. They're an American company that makes machines (in America!) the old-fashioned way in that they use cast-iron bodies. Best of all, they deliver a walking foot feeding system in a domestic-sized machine:

    http://www.sailrite.com/Ultrafeed-LS...h-Walking-Foot

    hope that helps,
    - Rain

    Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Blog
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/

  22. #22
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Singer sewing machine 327A can be treadled - don't know what size needles it takes

    Singer sewing machine 348 - it is belt driven - don't know much else

    Singer Stylist 413 - look to see that the plastic gears are ok or you can replace

    Singer 417 - may have plastic hook gear and other plastic gears
    I look for all metal. The plastic gears some times can be repaired.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  23. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Rain has a wonderful blog (beware you can spend hours) about the old black sewing machines and you can sign up to be a follower!!! He is one of Ray White's students. (Ray said so and was bragging on Rain)
    http://vssmb.blogspot.com/ (link to Rain's blog)
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  24. #24
    Senior Member quiltbuddy's Avatar
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    I have had and have all kinds of Singers and the older ones (pre 1970 or so) are mostly great. I have been sewing for 40+ years with industrial style machines and working with couture design houses so I have used them all over the years. I like the slow and precise stitching older Berninas have to offer and they will go thru thick fabric but I recently acquired a Pfaff 1222E. This machine has more power than any home style machine I have ever used. You will get many personal opinions on this subject.

  25. #25
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Do be aware that ALL machines with plastic parts will go for about 5 years and then break.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

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