Sew Mama Sew's blog is hosting a Sewing Machine Month, with all kinds of information on sewing machines, interviews, etc. As part of the kick off, they have requested that we blog about our sewing machines, providing reviews for others looking to purchase a new machine. They have a list of questions to answer to that end. Here are my responses:
What brand and model do you have? A Sears Kenmore Model 1960180 and a White Super Lock 503
How long have you had it? The Kenmore was purchased new somewhere around 1991 or 1992, so about 17 or 18 years. The White was also purchsed new, sometime in the late 70's or early 80's. Both are old but have served me well.
How much does that machine cost? New, they each cost about $800.
What types of things do you sew (i.e., quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)? LOL, all of the above. Lately it has been quilted handbags and accessories. I have used both in the construction of quilts, clothing, and home decor projects.
How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I take my crafting in spurts....I will go gung-ho, all out on one particular craft for a year or so, then I guess you could say I get burnt out. Sewing is no different. This year, so far, I have started and finished over 200 projects with my sewing machine, and I haven't even started on Christmas gifts yet. I lost my job in January, and have not been able to find work, so I have been getting by making handbags and accessories and selling them locally. I don't make a whole lot, and the time is also a factor, but most of the supplies I already had on hand. I, also, do a lot of upcycling of old clothing and home items like sheets and drapes, donated by friends and family, and make them into handbags and accessories. I really get a thrill out of seeing how many items I can make from an old pair of jeans or a shirt.
Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name? I guess you could say I am ambivalent toward my machines, each have different qualities that I like, some I hate and some I love. The Kenmore has 100 decorative stitches that I use a lot. The White is a three thread serger and is easy to use. One thing I really, really hate about the Kenmore is the fact that there is not much clearance between the presser foot and the throat plate. It makes it a little tough when sewing some of the thick seams that are characteristic of handbags and accessories, but works fine for machine quilting. The only thing I hate about the White is that it is a three-thread serger, which means I can only overcast stitch with it. I then have to go back and add a row of straight stitches for security measures on my seams. Do they have names? LOL, no, but I often refer to my sewing as "Driving Miss Daisy."
What features does your machine have that work well for you? See answer above....I kind of got ahead of myself. In addition, the Kenmore has adjustable feeddogs, a lot of standard accessories and feet that came with it, and the decorative stitches can be sewn in mirror image. The built in alphabet can be sewn in two sizes. It also has a button to move the needle up or down.
Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine? No.
Do you have a great story to tell about your machine? We want to hear it! Both of my machines have been used to teach my grandchildren to sew. As they become interested in sewing, Grandma makes sure they have the equipment and supplies they need. My daughter sews, but my daughter-in-law does not.
Would you recommend the machine to others? If so, why? If the machines were still in production, yes, I would definitely recommend both. Both are workhorses. If all you can afford is a used machine, definitely check Ebay or your local Goodwill or yard sales for these models. I have seen both on Ebay at one time or another.
What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine? I would suggest sitting down and listing all of the things you plan to make with your machine. Do you need one that will sew thick seams or that you can use for quilting? Or are you planning to use it for clothing and need embroidery features or special stitches like a stretch stitch? Will you be using it daily, occasionally, or once a year? Do you trust the brand you are buying? Also, consider the cost. Go with the machine that provides the most features you are looking for at a cost within your budget. Another thing, if you have your heart set on getting a machine that you know is not within your budget, watch the newspaper classifieds, sometimes you can find great deals on exactly what you are looking for in a machine at a greatly reduced price.
Do you have a dream machine? YES! I would love to have a Gammil Longarm and all the bells and whistles with it.