View Full Version : Sewing Machine Advice
November 26th, 2003, 12:21am
I've decided that I want to reupholster our furniture.I don't have any sewing experience at all. My questions is this, what is a good sewing machine for doing general sewing and reupholstery work? I know that Singer makes really good sewing machines. I also remember my mother telling me once that if you are going to get a sewing machine, you should get one that is made from metal (not much plastic if any at all). My mother has a Kenmore that she has used since I was a kid (20 years or more I would guess), it seems to have held up well.
Anyway, hope some of you fellow sweepers have some good advice.
November 26th, 2003, 12:35am
Wow another guy that wants to sew, I am not alone. Anyways have you checked out the sewing machine sweeps here? I would start there and see what the good ones are. Here is a cool site i found the other day that has a bunch of stuff that might help.
this one may be better good luck
P.S. I want to learn so I can do custom car interiors.
November 26th, 2003, 12:36am
An old Singer is fine, or Kenmore, among others. I would suggest go to a sewing machine repair place that sells used machines. Get a good refurbished machine with metal parts. The price will be reasonable. You dont need "bells and whistles". Tell the person what you need it for, and they should be able to help you.
November 26th, 2003, 9:57am
Upholsterers and car interiors are going to require heavier commercial machines. If you are going to handle the heavier upholsteries and/or vinyl, you may also require an industrial weight machine with a walking foot.
Look for a dealer who sells used commercial equipment, probably in cities with a population large enough to support a business like that.
If you are just getting started, and not using the heavy materials, almost any used machine in working order, garage sale, estate sale stuff would work. A tune-up, cleaning and adjustment usually costs around $75. Plus a handful of new needles.
November 26th, 2003, 6:23pm
I bought a Singer in 1971. It had plastic parts and was never a reliable machine. My mother's old Singer from the 1940s would have been much better!
Anyway, I then bought a Bernette (a cheaper Bernina) which only cost me about $250. It's been a great machine and given me no problems. But it's a basic machine. I wanted fancier. So I bought a Viking, which I love. Her name is Lily. She's not an embroidery machine, but she does all kinds of fancy things.
Now, tell me about your upholstery. Are you making slipcovers from upholstery fabric? When I watch the shows on HGTV where they upholster, they cut fabric to fit and use a staple gun. If you're making a slipcover, you'd use a sewing machine.
Judith's given you some good advice, which I'd second. Especially the part about new needles. A dull needle will never sew well. I'd also suggest that you see if your county or extension service has ideas about upholstery classes. Around here, you can get a class and take your chair with you each week.
November 30th, 2003, 4:01pm
For practice, cut up some old jeans you don't want and try the techniques shown in the how to book. You can learn how to sew on free fabric.
December 9th, 2003, 11:18am
Last year, after years of struggling with hand me down and used sewing machines, I finally went out and bought a Bernina. It's a step or so above the entry level machine (not an embroidery machine) and was pricey even at that, but it is SO worth it! It is such a joy to have a machine that works, one that doesn't cause endless frustration like having the thread bunching up because the tension is out of wack, etc., etc., etc! About the heaviest fabric I've used on it is medium weight decorator fabric. The heaviest and thickest upholstery fabrics would probably not work on it, but I won't be trying them anyway, because I like the slipcover look, which is usually medium weight fabric like canvas duck, denim, velvet or brocade.
Several years ago, I thought that I was going to go into the upholstery biz and bought a used "Conso" industrial machine for around $300, out of the "Recycler" newspaper-don't know if you have that where you are located. This machine was a beast-all metal with a roomy table top and metal legs-it weighed a ton, but was fast as heck, and could sew just about any weight of fabric, like leather and vinyl. It didn't have a walking foot-those cost closer to a $1000 used-but this machine worked great on thick fabrics anyway. I liked it, and while it was always reliable, it could only sew a straight stitch in forward and reverse, forget about button holes, or zig zag, etc! Dh and I moved it 1000 miles 3 times (!) before I eventually sold it to a used/new sewing machine store which may be a good place to look for one like it. :)
Hope this helps and Good Luck!