I think I'm not the only sewist here who loves to receive mail...most of all mail that includes fabric of course, and who also likes sewing machines.
Actually, I always thought that owning one sewing machine would be enough, but then I started blogging and I realised how many of you out there own more than one sewing machine, because you have one for all the fancy stuff and one that just needs to work, work, work and maybe a third one for something else, or even more than that.
Up until last December, I've been working on my mum's sewing machine. Since she doesn't use it often, that never was a problem, but her machine doesn't like to sew anything even remotely thicker and the harp space is rather tiny, too. So I was on the look-out for my very first machine that could just be used by myself.
I had a few Singer machines that I had laid my eyes on, purely because I loved all the stitches on them, but they were far too expensive for my paycheck. But then I received a nice gratification for a 10-year-anniversary at the job, that I could spend on any articles sold on our platform.
Now you're probably wondering where exactly I work. Well, I work in retail, more precisely in an outlet store that sells remnants from a catalogue based retailer, which belongs to a huge, worldwide operating Group. And that means we can buy from a lot of the businesses that belong to said Group. So I had a look around several of these businesses and shops and then decided to get my hands on a Singer Confidence 7467, which up until then had been way out of my price range, but now was more or less for free, thanks to my gratification.
So since just after Christmas, I can call this baby mine...
It's a great machine, with lots of fancy extras, lots of awesome stitches and it works great with extremely thick stuff. I also love the zipper foot and the way you can position the needle with this one, I prefer doing zippers with this one over my mum's machine, but anything with satin stitch, I would still use my mum's machine for. I don't like the look of the satin stitches on my Singer machine and what has also been a big adjustment, is that it doesn't have a 1/4" foot. The feet are a lot wider and buying a specific Singer 1/4" foot is getting really expensive. So I bought a set of feet, 15 in a box for about 30 Euro that fit on any machine with this kinda shank, just to find out that, sadly, my Singer machine doesn't like any of these feet, because it doesn't transport the fabric with them at all...bummer.
I sew a lot, several times a week is a lot for me anyway, that's also the reason for being a bit scared when at some point the machine started to make a scratchy noise, coming from behind the programming keys, every time when I used the gas pedal. Sometimes it really squeaked when stopping and starting and had me a bit alarmed. So I called the Singer hotline when the noise got worse, they told me to send it in, which I did.
For the following 3 weeks then, I went back to sewing on my mum's machine, which is a Privileg machine, back then sold via the now bankrupt Quelle catalogue retailer. Privileg is usually a cover up for Bernina or Victoria machines, just sold under a different name and cheaper and looking different, but the insides are the same. My mum has always had Privileg machines for as long as I can remember, and they've always lasted for years, this one must be well over ten years old by now, but anyway...
After 3 weeks I finally received my Singer back, just to find out that the attached note said that they had tested it thoroughly, but couldn't find anything faulty with it. Major grumble moment for me there.
I unpacked it, started sewing with it again and realised that the noise was completely gone and the machine sounded exactly like the day I unpacked it when it was brand new!
That is the moment when you ask yourself, if you've done something wrong in the way you handled it?
At least that's how I felt, when after 5 hours of non-stop sewing on paper-piecing, which I do in slow-sewing mode to get everything precise, it started making that noise again! Call me stupid, but it does. It sounds a bit different now, but it's that noise again, just not as bad as the first time. At least not for now.
So I googled, to see if anyone else had that problem with a Singer before, but nope, seems to only be me...
And that's where my mum comes in again.
She told me I should've just went with an old machine from the start, then looked on Ebay, for fun I might add. And then she dug up all these old Privileg machines, some definitely over the 30 and 40 year mark and then...I fell in love...simple as that.
So since yesterday I am the proud owner of a Privileg 300.
It cost me 54,50 Euro with shipping included. Judging from the manufacture number on the back we reckon it was made in 1968, unfortunately I haven't yet found out anything more about that. It took a lot of cleaning, because the machine was covered in dust, there are several broken pieces on the bottom part that the machine stands on, as it's made of hard plastic and all those years took their toll. So I added plastic parts here and there to stabilise the bottom and taped it too. Same goes for the hard cover case. But the most important part is that this baby sews like a champion! It was used in an industrial way to sew leather, boat covers and sail canvas and it shows. The stitch accuracy is amazing, I've never seen a stitch more even, not even on the Singer! And you'd think all these expensive, new computer machines would be amazing, right?!
This baby only sews straight and Zick-Zack, but if you adjust the little level for the stitch width while sewing, you can also make a few fancy patterns with it. I haven't tried that out yet, but I've got a test swatch from the guy who sold it to me and it surely does look good. Plus, unlike my Singer, who sounds like a loud tractor, this one hums like a little, busy bee.
Also, turning the fabric under the foot while sewing with the feed dogs up is extremely easy, so I suppose free motion is going to be a piece of cake on this one. All my spools fit, thanks to my mum's Privileg machine, which has the same bobbins, that also fit into my Singer, there's a 1/4" foot already snapped on and the most awesome part is, that I can reduce the stitch length down to zero. Perfect for paper piecing. I usually do that on 1 or 1.5, at least with mum's machine, which makes ripping the paper off so much easier, but I can't go lower than 2 on my Singer machine and that makes paper piecing hell on it lol!
So, you see, I'm extremely excited about this buy ;)
Oooooh, and since this blog post as already turned into a never-ending story, I'll add in one of the newest additions to my stash.
A few fatquarters of Architexture from The Village Haberdashery in London, UK. Beautifully packed and arriving in less than a week after ordering, and there was a weekend in between!
I'm currently trying out a few European fabric stores, so I won't have to always pay customs when ordering, since that became a problem with bigger orders from overseas, and The Village Haberdashery is surely on my list of stores to order from again. Go check them out :)
Happy sewing everyone!