Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to trade that Vintage Model Sewing Machine In

The other day at the sewing center a customer was wondering if she should trade in her vintage model sewing machine. She was having issues with tension. Her bobbin thread was pooling underneath projects and she just wasn't quite happy with her results.

I could sympathize with her. A few years back I, too, had a vintage machine that had given me over 30 years of faithful service. It had become a member of the family. It had sewed curtains for my first home, a bathrobe for my first love, tiny dresses for my daughter, and a tiny suit coat for my son.

But one day it couldn't sew any longer. And the part was no longer made. We searched for a used part and lucked out finding one. But it was never really the same after that. It was time to move on.

What I learned is that today's machines have really changed; especially over the past 10 years. There's a learning curve, in fact, and it's better to purchase a new machine where you can get a free class so that you don't miss out on any of the new features and don't make the mistake of assuming that your new machine operates just like your old machine did. Even after reading the instruction booklet from beginning to end and watching all the instructional videos that came on the DVD, there was still bunches that I didn't know about my new machine. The changes that were made in the 30 years that I used my old machine were astronomical.

And after I learned how to use my new friend there are a few innovative features that I just can't believe I lived without like:

  1. Needle positioning: On your vintage machine there was only one position to your needle---in the middle straight down your needle plate. Today's machines offer multiple needle positions. What this means is that your fabric is always moved by both the feed dogs no matter what the size of the seam. And you don't need to use your tired old eyes to watch that fading 5/8 inch mark or 1/4 inch mark on your needle plate any longer. You simply move your needle over into position and your fabric always stays in the same position---allowing you to be so much more accurate.
  2. Presser foot sensing: Todays machines adjust the presser foot for the type of fabric you are using in your project. Moving slippery, silky knits through a vintage machine was a chore and results could be less than optimal---but not any more. Simply let the machine know that you have a special fabric and it adjusts the pressure for you.
  3. Automatic tension: Thread the machine correctly and tension is all but taken care of for you. Tweaking of the settings allows you to perform some creative work.
  4. Needle up and down: Many of today's models will stop with the needle in the down position making things like corners on collars and bindings accurate with hands free operation.
  5. Automatic thread cutting: Oh my! What a modern convenience this feature is.
  6. Presser foot lift: Many presser feet go up and down automatically when you step on the foot control. In addition, the presser feet have additional lift for getting thick projects underneath.
  7. Additional sewing surface: If you quilt or do big projects like slip covers, blankets, or even jackets, you'll appreciate the larger sewing surface of the modern machines. No need to cram big projects through between machine arm and needle.
  8. Accessories to make the day easier: The wide array of feet to solve any problem, special gadgets to add pizzazz and creativity to your projects help you make one of a kind masterpieces that you won't find anywhere else. Just stop by the sewing center during a class and you will see what I mean. There can be 10 different students with the same pattern but because of different accessories each project looks unique and original.
  9. A wide variety of stitches and stitch widths and lengths: You are no longer limited to just a straight stitch and a couple of zig zags to get you through. Today's machines do a pretty good job with special stitches for knits, overlocking seams, and decorative stitching including alphabet stitches too.
  10. Embroidery possibilities: Come in and take a look at the absolute magic that the embroidery  machines perform! You can even digitize your own designs with software that is available. Match a school or club logo, add a favorite flower or monogram to a store bought towel or tote and you have a one of a kind heirloom in no time at all.
Yes, I was so sad to see my trusty old vintage model go. But my new machine allows me to take my sewing to a new, more professional level. In addition, the new machine has nearly eliminated those old issues that used to frustrate me---like sewing those silky knits. And the new machine has those new features like the thread cutter that take care of those routine tasks, allowing me to concentrate on my creativity.

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