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Topic: Not sure if I need a better machine or just service?  (Read 1522 times)
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« on: February 14, 2014 11:42:11 PM »

This question should be a no-brainer, but it's not. Here is my problem... I've just started my own business and I'm working from home (in the living room). I have a Bernina 830 record (the one made in the 70s, not the later model) and received it about 6 years ago as a gift. It was in amazing condition, but shame on me.. I never had it serviced. So I know the machine needs to be serviced, but I've also been considering buying a different machine. I'm not sure if I should go ahead and get my machine serviced and work with it until I'm making more money (enough to buy industrial) or try to find something in my price range that might be a little stronger. My machine has a hard time with more than 2 layers of denim, such as where the hem and side seams meet. Even if I use the hand wheel, my needle just stops and won't go through.
I've been reading reviews of a few other machines and feels like my head is gonna explode from reading so many different viewpoints... some say "It's the best ever" and some say "Worst machine ever"
Should I take my machine to a shop and ask what they think, or are they just going to try to sell me an expensive machine I don't really need? I love my machine... but I don't want to ruin it by being too hard on it.
Starting to wish they had covered "Selecting a sewing machine" in fashion design school!!!
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014 01:35:10 PM »

Get your current machine serviced, for sure.  I'm not sure one way or the other about sewing through multiple layers of fabric; some machines need tuning up and they work fine again, some were never designed for heavy duty use. 
You might find the people at the shop to be helpful, just make sure you know exactly what you are looking for in a machine when you go in.  If you see a machine in a review that you want to check out in person, you might be able to test it at the store and decide for yourself. 
I'm not going to throw more personal opinion at you about a specific machine, since I think everyone here will say something slightly different.  Besides, it sounds like you've got more info than you know what to  do with!  Good luck!

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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014 10:38:59 PM »

I can see that if you end up buying a new machine, you'll be cheesed off that you spent money getting the old one serviced. On the other hand, you may be so happy with the servicing, that you love your machine. And that's kind of what you're saying, right?

Also some people learn to service their own machines. I don't know if you want to go there. Personally, I just make durn good and sure to keep the lint trap zone under the needle clean! I burned out the motor on my first machine by not doing that.

I'd be really direct with the people who service the machine. Tell them your situation. Ask them to demo any machines (used or new) you might be interested in. A sturdy used machine might not cost a whole lot more than one or two  servicing appointments.

Bring in the kind of thing you need to be able to sew - especially heavy denim, etc. Try out the new machine. Then remind them - I need to be able to sew these fabric on my machine. Ask their opinion as to whether or not servicing will do the job. Tell them, perhaps, that new machine is not yet in your budget.

You mentioned you'd been in a fashion program. Are you in that area still? Can you talk to teachers in the program? Or can you email teachers from your program? They probably deal with care on the machines they have there (my teachers crew service the machines themselves), and might have good ideas. Also they want you to succeed in your sewing business.

I think you can probably develop a sense of whether or not a dealer is selling you or being straight with you. I agree about industrial machines. If you know for sure you want one and/or get a super good deal on one, it may be worth it. I tried using an industrial machine at school, and found there was a lot I'd probably have to learn about fixing on my own. Don't know if that's generally the case, but i made me steer clear.

Buena suerte/Good luck. I'm very curious to hear about your experiences. Will you email me and let me know? I'm at EnchantedBySewing AT gmail.


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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2014 01:21:09 PM »

So the good news is you have a machine made in the 1970s, which means it has all metal gears and is intended for home maintenance.  Are you cleaning and oiling it regularly?  You can probably download a cleaning and oiling guide if you don't have one.

My favorite machine is from 1974 (I got it new), and I've only taken it to somebody else once.  I used to sew for a living on it, and frequently stitched leather and denim.

One thing that's gone wrong on my machine a couple of times is the foot controller (pedal).  The machine loses power and won't stitch over thick fabrics.  Sound familiar? 

Open up your foot controller.  It's probably full of lint and stuff, so clean it out.  Check the metal strip that is the contact point.  If it's gunky or corroded, clean and very lightly sand it with an emory board.   Put the controller back together and test sew. 

I actually had to solder a new bit of metal onto the contact point once; the second time, I bought a new-to-me controller online.


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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014 08:38:27 PM »

Sorry I haven't checked back here in a while. Thanks for everyone's help. I ended up taking my machine in to be serviced, and I'm so glad I did. I jokingly told the guy "don't scold me for not having it serviced" and he laughed and said he'd had ones that hadn't been serviced in 20 years lol. I also mentioned that I was thinking of getting an industrial machine. He said "hehe-why?" He seemed to think my machine was great. After I got my machine home and tested it, I actually called the guy to thank him.
I'd still like to get an industrial machine eventually, but for now I am happy!
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