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New inherited sewing machine.. what to look for.

 
pollinator
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I don't own a sowing machine so everything is sown by hand,



Well how things change, now I do. Mr Skandi's gran has just moved into sheltered accommodation and we were asked if we wanted to come and look round her house and take anything we wanted. So we got a lot of garden tools a wheelbarrow some kitchen stuff including a steam juicer, and the prize pieces were a Singer 1425 and some huge hand crochet blankets.

So here I am with a used Singer which apparently works perfectly although the stitch length selector slips so needs to be taped when you use it. and I've used a sowing machine once (Mr Skandi's mums) once since I left school many years ago. What should I be looking out for? I can find the manual online along with videos on how to thread it, but I really know nothing about sowingmachines at all. It has it's case with it but it comes from a very heavy smokers house and everything is a bit sticky with tar.
 
steward & bricolagier
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Congratulations on a new machine! If you know nothing about them, I'd recommend having someone who does (sewing machine tech, friend with a clue) clean it well to get the tar off and oil it, as the tar will ruin the machine once it heats up as you are using it and gets sticky. The parts you'd think to clean are probably not the important ones, needs someone who knows where to clean, and how to oil it after that cleaning. It's something that will only have to be done once, but it DOES need to be done to keep it running for years.  

Machine sewing is the same as hand sewing, just instead of making the seams by hand, you let the machine do it. The basic skills are the same as hand sewing, and driving(if you drive.) The actual machine use is not complex. Get a chunk of scrap cloth, and sew randomly on it, and I bet you'll say "Oh hey, this isn't hard at all!" the hard part to sewing is knowing how to see in your head what you are making, and know where you want it sewn, and how to pay attention, and if you hand sew, you already have a lot of that.

Yay! Nice machine I looked it up :)
 
master gardener
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Although my wife sews, I am not a machine user myself.  To complicate things, she is not a very patient teacher.  I have found there are a number of You Tube videos for beginners learning how to sew.  So far, I have not sewed my fingers together.
 
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Definitely take it to get cleaned and tuned up if it wasn't used regularly. If there was humidity and the machine wasn't used, it might need to be lubricated (I left my machine alone for two years in a very humid house and had to get professional help....). It's good to do every so often anyway, and then you know where to take it in case you have a problem in the future.
Also, maybe obvious but have a look at the wiring and make sure nothing is frayed or cracked or otherwise dangerous.

Sewing machines are fun. I learned power tools first and think of it the same way-- you can do anything with your hands, the machine just makes things go faster. Some small jobs, it might not even be worth your time to thread the machine. If you need to do a lot of straight-line sewing (curtains) or reinforce a seam for heavy duty use, a machine is a godsend (particularly if it has a zig-zag).
Once it's in working order, get some scrap fabric and play with it! Just to see what it does. Also, make sure you have the right bobbins, some seem to be better than others.
 
Skandi Rogers
pollinator
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I made 5 pairs of lined curtains with the one I borrowed last year, but making something with a new (ish) machine that came ready to use and with instructions on how to thread/wind it and no need to do any maintenance is quite a different beast from this one.
I had a look on Google and I see there is a shop that is called "Klaus's Symaskiner og stovsugere" which translates as sowing machines and (literally) dust suckers. How did he come to only sell those two items? But it's only about 40 minutes away I will go get him to look at the insides.
 
pollinator
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I've wondered why sewing machine sales and repair shops also tend to be vacuum cleaner sales and repair shops, because that is true here in the U.S., too. I just talked to my partner about it, and he suggests that it's because they are household appliances of a similar scale that both have electric motors and may be belt-driven or have some other similar transmission components. But why wouldn't they also sell and repair electric stand mixers (like KitchenAid makes), for example?
 
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