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Topic: Basic requirements for a simple sewing machine  (Read 982 times)
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distimica
« on: February 24, 2006 06:55:19 PM »

I have for years wanted to buy a sewing machine.

One of these days I saw one on Ebay (ok, its not Ebay, since I live in Brazil, but something very similar) that was going cheap, looked somewhat old but did not seem to be crumbling away.

Today I went to see it and it was an old Elgin, that was having some problem with the tension (thead from the top being gathered in a mess with the lower thread), I took a friend who knows something about sewing machines with me and she said the machine just looked like it needed a cleaning and tuning.

But this machine does only straight stich, no zig zag (is it zig zag in english?) to do buttonholes with or to fake a serger trim on raw edges.

Here is the question: for a begginer like me, who knows how to sew by hand but has hardly ever touched a sewing machine, what are the basic needs. Is zig zag important? I don't want anything fancy, just to do some rather simple projects, not going to sew leather (or my fingers, if I can avoid it), no embroidering, quilting or other harder stuff. My plans for the first months are to make a few bed sheets and hopefully learn to stich a line that goes straight and not everywhere.

I was thinking that sewing straight and zig zag are the basic functions of a machine, and less than that might be too little, no matter how little I pay for it. 
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Mikaiyawa
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2006 07:15:21 PM »

a lot of basic sewing can be done with straight stitch.  (and buttonholes can be done by hand)

I consider zig zag critical, but I do sewing with knits (where it's vital) and zig zag satin stitch embroidery by machine.  If it's a good enough price just straight sewing may be plenty.  If nothing else it will let you know if you *want* to machine sew.

I've considered getting an 1890's era Singer, where straight was it, and our great grand-mothers did some stellar stuff with them.

Mieka
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distimica
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006 07:31:14 PM »

Also I was a bit scared of buying a sewing machine that does something like sewing just to find that the bill to fix it might be more than the price I paid for it.

My friend told me to look in repair shops, because at least it should be already clean and serviced. I think I'll do that, Ebay for anything higher than $10 just scares me. Higher than $10 and used scares me even more.
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Mikaiyawa
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« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2006 06:36:55 AM »

I'm not sure of the conversion rate, but $10 in a shop you may not find anything (you wouldn't here for under about $70) but in a shop they will be in working order and the folks there can show you how to thread, clean and oil the machine.

Not really sure what to tell you.

Mieka
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distimica
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2006 07:43:02 AM »

The price of the machine went down to about $45, since it was not working. The rate is around $2xR$1, nowadays. The real worry was to spend this much money on something that might never work well.

I've read a lot around here and have heard stories about getting sewing machines that work well from Salvation Army for $10. Ten dollars I could also bet, but betting more  than that gets me scared. I am stingy, and I know it.

I'll have to wait now, because we are in the begining of the longest holliday here, when it's done I'll go for the repair shops.

Thanks for the attention, even though I am only trying to make up my mind.  Grin
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Mikaiyawa
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2006 02:45:29 PM »

I can understand stingy and the fear of spending money only spend more, and more and still have things not work.

As long as I was some small help...

Good luck though on finding something working that you can afford.

Mieka
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fleacircus
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2006 09:10:16 PM »

What's the price of this sewing machine (in reais)?

Well, most of the time you'll be using just the straight stitch and would not need the zigzag at a first glance, but the zigzag 's a pretty good way to even sew buttons faster (I prefer to do in this way than sewing by hand). And also to make button holes, yeah...
For a first sewing machine maybe it's better to buy one with the zigzag point.

I wouldn't buy a machine if the seller can not fix it before trying to sell.. the problem can be worst than seems to be and the seller could hide the truth from you  just not telling about it (who knows?).

I'm seriously thinking to do a course of sewing machine fixing (I have two very old machines to fix). And you know, the Singer guy will cover you R$60,00 (about U$ 28) just to visit you and take a look at your sewing machine and put some oil in its holes.

Take a look at "primeira mo" (brazilian newspaper) to see some offers. You can find even good industrial machines for a good price. Wink
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distimica
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2006 07:14:50 AM »

Thanks a lot.

The machine was selling for 150 reais, but the guy lowered it to 90 when I showed him it was making a mess of the bobin thread.

I'll take a look at Primeria Mo.
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