Which sewing machine

Discussion in 'DIY & MYOG' started by Nevis, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Morning all :)
    Looking st buy a second hand cheapish sewing machine to potter around with and make a few wee things with a roll of Tyvek i have. Also looking to advance my skills if i enjoy it.
    Any recommendations on what kind of machine to look for?
    Cheers
    Kit
  2. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Ultralighter

    I think pretty much any type would do for what you want. I would suggest go for something cheap and simple. I've got a 2nd hand Japanese thing, looks hideous, but does about 15 different stitch types, adjustable stitch length, easy to use even without a manual. I wouldn't want to make a wedding dress with it, but for repairs, making uncomplicated stuff and alterations it's fine, and cost next to nothing so even if it does blow up one day I've had my money's worth.
  3. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Try gumtree for a secondhand one. Listings are a bit low ATM but you might be lucky.
  4. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Gumtree in ireland is pants!! but we Adverts, similar thing apart from you advertise something for say 200 and in no time you get takes of messages saying i’ll give you 75 and can pick up today!!! Or what’s your best price.... that’ll be the price advertised then!!! There appears to be a run on machines at the mo, anything cheap goes in a day or so and everything else is over 200 euro :(
  5. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Ah - I'm in Scotland and have used Gumtree sucessfully but even here there isn't much being listed ATM - not surprising really :(

    An old black singer will do to learn on - put the word out around your family, friends and neighbours and see if that results in anything.
  6. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    My 'old black Singer' (201K) does about 99.5% of my sewing.
    I've also a Janome & a Brother which only come out of the closet when I want to occasionally zigzag stitch something.
    Getting hold of a 2nd hand machine off eBay/ Gumtree may be difficult at the moment with the travel restrictions etc as generally few people folk want to post them.
    If you want to start to play during the 'lockdown' you could probably do worse than buying an £80 Brother L14S, a basic starters machine.
  7. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I'd definitely recommend a machine with zigzag/stretch stitch.
    My 201(?) Is a joy to use, untill I have some stretch fabric to sew.
    Dave V likes this.
  8. Michael_x

    Michael_x Ultralighter

  9. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Best of British but, honestly, Swiss and German engineering also have some decent claims to very high quality machines. ;)
  10. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    That's the only time my other machines get used...…...jig zagging for a strong bar tack or on stretchy jersey fabrics
    Dave V likes this.
  11. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I have a German Pfaff 130 for zigzag.
    Feels pretty crude compared to the 201. I think part of that is the wider foot needed for zigzag. Apparently when in good fettle they are really good machines, capable of sewing leather. One day I'll get it looked at.
    cathyjc likes this.
  12. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    A 1970's free arm machine can be a great buy. They often have all metal gears and parts and consequently last better than modern cheap plastic ones.

    Elna Super, Bernina 830. Whilst a dedicated straight stitcher like a lovely 201 etc will do 95%, having a zig zag function is a really handy thing to have for our uses. The old Elna super is a cracking machine; it's got proper stretch stitches and will do everything. Metal carrying case too, so you can have it posted without it getting smashed.
    All Berninas from this period were very good and whilst the Elna is the best, you won't go far wrong with a second hand Bernina.
    cathyjc and Balagan like this.
  13. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    I second this opinion. :D

    Supermatic.jpg

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    Dave V, cathyjc, edh and 1 other person like this.
  14. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Is that Edith's machine?
    Charlie83, JKM and Balagan like this.
  15. tja

    tja Backpacker

    Yes, won’t quit.
  16. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    I don't know but I have no regrets. ;)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  17. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    The future mother in law donated her singer 457 zig zag :) Busy watching youtube videos now. Managed to get it set up ok but for the love of sweet baby jaysus threading the needle is like a krypton factor test for me!!!! think i might need new glasses, either that or a **** off magnifying glass :eek:
  18. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    I don't have a sewing machine so forgive me if this is ignorant: can't you get a needle threader for it?
  19. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Now there’s an idea :) hadn’t thought of that... it’ll certainly stop the swear jar filling up :D
  20. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Cranston likes this.
  21. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    A simple tip from the OH......always cut the thread at 45deg using sharp scissors & use a piece of white card/ paper behind the needle make the hole more visible.
    Cranston, Balagan and cathyjc like this.
  22. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    I always 'suck' the tip of the thread so all the fibers stick together and form a sharp, pointy head and then push it through.

    I actually have a diploma in tailoring, did a 3 year school almost 30 years ago but never worked as one. I'm hoping to get back into doing some hiking clothes once we've found a house and settled in.
  23. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    Lip salve or furniture polish is another good 'binding agent' I've used when trying to get thicker thread through the eye.
    Lempo likes this.
  24. Nevis

    Nevis Section Hiker

    Thanks for all the help and advice folks, much appreciated :) Just another wee question, what thread should i be using? The stuff i got with it just says it’s 100% polyester but it seems a bit thin and seems to snap easy! Of course that could be down to me just starting out and still learning!
  25. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Run-of-the-mill polyester thread is often just as fragile as cotton thread. I use Guterman, originally sew-all from the local shop and now mostly Mara and Tera ordered from Adventurexpert. Other will be along to recommend other good brands (Coats, etc).

    Your 457 is an updated 237 which is the machine I started on. It's basically built like a tank (which is a good thing) but it does have a couple of plastic gears that need watching. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: May 26, 2020

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