Monday, March 9, 2009

New Sewing Machine

In the middle of working on my husband's Civil War Civilian outfit, consisting on a pair of pants, shirt, and vest, my sewing machine (or more-so, my mother-in-law's sewing machine as mine went out on me in the middle of my last Regency Dress) decided that it no longer wanted to work as well.

I really liked this White machine as it was an older one from 1983 and was made with all metal parts. It was really quiet and very smooth as it sewed. It started to make similar motor noises like my other one, a Brother machine, so I started to get concerned that maybe I had done something wrong as it seemed unlikely that two machines would just go out on in within a few months of each other.

The White machine had not been serviced ever, I believe, and it had not been oiled in a really long time. So after buying some machine oil (you want to make sure to use machine oil and not a different type of oil as that can ruin your machine) and lubricating the different parts according to the manual, the machine seemed to work just fine.

I worked with it for a bit and then stopped around the time of our annual business meeting weekend. After that weekend was over, I started sewing again but the machine started to have the same problems all over again.

So I tried to oil it once more but to no avail. I decided to also oil my Brother as I had not oiled it in a long time and I was hopeful that maybe that would fix it since it seemed to work, for a while at least, on the White. But there was no luck with my Brother.

I then bit the bullet and took both machines in to a local Sewing Machine Repair shop. There was no easy fix to either machine and both would need to go in for repairs with their mechanic in order to get fixed. On the White, the needle arm had been bent, which then causes other connected parts to get damaged and throw off the timing of the whole machine. On the Brother, there was a piece that was disconnected from the Balance Wheel that was making the machine think that it was constantly on bobbin-winding mode so it would never move the needle up and down like it's supposed to when it's not on bobbin-winding mode.

To have them repaired, it would take 1 to 1 1/2 weeks to get an estimate on the costs and then another couple of weeks before they would be fixed. Well, that would just not do as I had a 3 week deadline to get this outfit done before the next event (it wouldn't have come to this in the first place if I hand't procrastinated so long in getting started, but that's life for ya).

So, I asked for a recommendation on a good brand for sewing machines. The shop owner recommended Elna, a Swiss-made machine, which they also sell in the shop. I took down the information and went home to do some research of my own. After reading a lot of reviews online and making a few phone calls, the Elna brand seemed like a good choice.

I went back later that evening, dropped off the White to have an estimate done on it, and bought my new machine.

This machine is a bare basics type of machine with minimal options for stitches, but that's exactly what I need as I dont' do embroidery work and I don't mind doing manual button-holes with the machine. (By keeping it to just the basics, I was able to purchase a more inexpensive machine and not break the bank, even though I had not been anticipating buying a new machine right now.)

So far, the machine has done all that I've needed it to do and it works well. It is made with all metal parts, expect the outter casing and has a good warranty from both the Repair shop and from the manufacturer (which shows that it must be a good machine that lasts for a while as they would not want to put a long warranty on something that they will have to fix constantly).

My biggest tip for you when shopping for a new machine is to do your research. Find reviews online from people who have not only bought their machine but who have also used it for a period of time and talk to local Sewing Machine Repair shops for their advice - it's their business to know all about sewing machines, so pick their brain for their knowledge.

What's your #1 tip when picking out a new machine?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I always question: Well, what are you going to use it for? What kind of stitches are you looking to use? Can you get by with simply straight and zig-zag stitches? Or do you want decorative ones?

Ask others who do the sewing you want to do about their machines - their likes and dislikes about certain brands and the quirks about their own.