Monday, January 16, 2012

Sewing Machine Love


I have more than one sewing machine – oh the shock!  LOL

I think most serious sewer nowadays have multiple machines.  It’s like cameras to a professional photographer – no one camera does everything perfectly.  It’s the same with my sewing machines.  They each have their own area of expertise.  Here’s the breakdown:

My Janome 6600P

She is my workhorse.  She’s big, she’s beautiful and can handle any kind of hard task I throw at her.  Along with lots of extras like a knee lifter, automatic thread cutter and built in walking foot, she is a substantial and heavy machine that’s best left in one place.  I’ve taken her to quilt group meetings and to retreats but she’s very weighty and not a machine you would take on a whim.  Her only drawback to me is that there’s no sleeve arm.  The bed of the 6600 is solid with no slide out that enables you to put a sleeve or pant leg under the needle more easily.  This is a real pain when clothes sewing.  Though I’ve been able to work around it, I would prefer a sleeve arm.

My Singer Egyptian Decal 1923 Hand Crank

Believe it or not but I use her.  I’ve made two quilts using this beauty.  Her abilities are limited in that she sews one style stitch and one style only – straight.  But she sews that stitch extremely well.  When I first purchased her I thought I wouldn’t actually use the machine.  It would just be a novelty to have displayed in my sewing room.  But she was (and is...) in such good condition I oiled her up and away I went.  I have a few interchangeable feet for her but mostly I leave the plain old one on and when needing to sew a perfect ¼ inch seam, I use a magnetic attachment that I can place on the faceplate that stays put and works wonderfully.  I’ve used this machine for piecing mostly.  I don’t think I would want to quilt on her as there’s no adjustment available for the foot pressure and it would be too cumbersome to push the full quilt under the needle and still have one hand free to rotate the crank.  And I just love her silence.  It’s a very Zen experience to listen to nothing but the low ton rotation of the crank.

My Singer 206K in Beige

If you want to talk about work horse, this machine is it.  She’s from the late 1950’s and has an unbelievable amount of grunt.  When you press on her foot pedal (which is very unique as it’s actually a heal pedal – very confusing at first) you get this huge electrical hum long before the needle even begins moving.  It’s like having a generator sitting in front of you.  I got her about 2 years ago and must admit I haven’t used her much but I intend on digging her out soon and having a go at piecing and quilting to see how she performs.  If for nothing else I think she’s beautiful and plan to keep her a long time.

My newest baby – The Singer 160 Anniversary Edition 

Talk about beautiful!  She has style, elegance and is just wonderful to look at.  I did a review of her a few posts back so I won’t repeat myself here.  You can check it out if you’re interested.  Now that I’ve been using her for a few weeks I can say I haven’t been disappointed in her performance.  Hands down I think her stitches are the most uniform of all my machines.  She doesn’t have many of the extra’s we modern sewers have come to take for granted (needle down position, auto thread cutter....) but even lacking these, I think she’s a wonderful basic machine that I intend to use for a long time.  She’s absolutely perfect for sewing clothes as she has a sleeve arm and a quick panel to chose basic, utilitarian stitches needed in clothes construction.  As I mentioned in my review post, I think the anniversary model is very much in keeping with the spirit of a retro machine as she’s to the point and basic.  I love her.  And she’s the only machine I’ve felt compelled to name (I know – how crazy is that!).  I’ve christened her Granny.

I wonder what my grandmother would think about having so many machines?  She got by for years with a tread and then took the big leap to an electric only after being hassled by her family to jump into the 20th century.  In a way I suppose less is more.  If you have one machine only you become very intimate in its quirks and abilities.  You get to really KNOW your machine.  I admit when I sit down to sew at any one of the above listed; it takes me a moment to orient myself to its abilities.  But I love each and every one of them and sorry Gram, I don’t think I could be so loyal as to have one alone.    

And if we’re being brutally honest here I still dream of having a Singer 221 Feather Weight.  Where IS that big lottery win?  I’m sure my turn must be coming!

Isn't this the most awesome color you've ever seen!  The owner stripped it and used car paint.


Happy Sewing,


2 comments:

  1. I have a Janome 6600P also. In fact two. I found one on Craigslist for a steal and couldn't let anyone else have it! Are you like that? I do have a Featherweight, but don't use it. I would love to have a bright yellow one, or a read one. Loved seeing your machines!

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