June 23, 2017

Husqvarna Viking Designer I (1998)

OK not so vintage but I got this with a half dozen other machines from Darrin.

So on my continuing quest for the perfect machine I am drifting towards the 80s.
To me the perfect machine would combine the cast iron "goodness" from the 60s and the super cool functions from the 90s, maybe some one could make such a thing.

The Husqvarna Viking Designer I is one of the earliest touch screen machines made and has some amazing features which I like.

I have become partial to needle position (up / down), I like left - right - center, and a few good utility stitches.

The thing is very strong and has a lot of features that are with us today.
It does not seem to be phased by leather, I have gone off of Viking machines and won't buy one for any reason because they are kind of light duty and always seem to be touchy on leather.
This one is different so I'm going to give it a chance.

It does ask that you sew a little differently than you did with old Betsy but you don't have to.

Presser foot down with the foot pedal is pretty cool, thread cut-off is excellent, the "Fix" or mini back-tack is nice. All of these functions are at your service on the stitch head.

FYI the thread cut-off actually pulls the top thread down and leaves you with about 15mm of each thread to tie off Amazing!

I don't care for the bobbin winder so I use my off-machine bobbin winder for them too. The bobbins wound on the Designer I always look lumpy and uneven, not that they won't work but this is one of those "things" that I can't get past.

Had it serviced by Husqvarna Viking Technician at the Ultimate Sewing Place in Livonia. That was a great experience because he let me sit and watch and learn while he worked.
As I suspected this machine has a run time meter inside the software and so we discovered that it has a grand total of 2 hrs sewing time and 16 hrs of embroidery time on it.

The reverse switch was bad so the control board on the far left was replaced, he did a general service and software update too. It was great to see the machine internal structure considering the covers are hard to get off and I won't be going in there anytime soon; it's a giant die-cast aluminum truss.


June 19, 2017

Kenmore 385.1884180 (1980's)

The Kenmore 385.1884180 is a Janome made machine with their outstanding rotary hook system

It is a: durable, reliable, clean, quiet, smooth running low mileage machine with utility and decorative stitches






Comes with case and accessories

Cheap Sewing Machine Rant: what beginner sewers should consider

So it has become clearer to me that the unfortunate new-comer to sewing may get their 1st experience clouded by the "let's get cheap NEW machine" syndrome.

By cheap I mean anything under a $1000, it is shocking how bad some of these new machines are when compared to the Vintage choices.

Your basic $250 machine is so cheap it can hardly sew a shirt, and if it does youv'e worn it out.

My point is that for $50 $100 $150 $250 you can get a Vintage machine that will take you into the journey of sewing in a manner that allows you to focus on the work and not the machine.

Here is a documented reference: My Singer 99-24 came with the original sales receipt for $90, That machine cost Daddy the equivalent of $1010 in 2017 dollars. (I bought it for $12.50, $1.10 in 1947 dollars)

Now don't run out and buy a Craigslist  $20 machine, instead, look for someone who knows someone that has a machine cleaned and tuned and ready for use. It takes me 2 - 6 hours to get one ready to sell and I know a little bit about them.
I guess that means your local repair guy or many of the EBay honest brokers. And again don't go for the cheapest but go for what you think will best suit you and your needs.
Plan a month of searching minimum and catalog the options and style that interest you.

Beginning is better at your Grandmother's level of machine, all those bells and whistles are really appreciated when you have a couple of years and many projects under your belt.

I just love to sell someone their 1st machine, when I get em' cheap I sell em cheap.

Good luck and keep sewing!

Tom

June 5, 2017

Regency 8141 (1964)

Am refining my range of machines that I like to have on hand to sell to the newbies at a good price.

The Regency fits well; it is from that perfect period in the 60's before the MBAs took over and during a time when precision manufacturing was king.

Trying out my new background drape for photog.

Styling is an odd mix of straight edge and bulbous forms; a combination of 50's and 60's design vocabulary's.

A nice stitching machine, quiet, and easy to use.
Tried the button hole function; seems OK but you might need a lot of practice to make flawless.
She's in basically unused condition so was mostly locked up but hums along now!

Tan and beige, a familiar combo, shows up everywhere
She comes with a manual
And the original paperwork


$168 in 1964 equals $1,312.64 in 2017, hmmm always had to spend real money to a get a good machine.
Bought at our beloved Hudson's downtown. Complete with lesson coupons!