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Organising the sewing room…

…Love the new sewing machine so much, makes me wonder why it took me so long to spend money on a good machine, in fact I wonder why I would bother at all with a cheap machine!   Granted $500 isn’t exactly a huge outlay, but it is a wise outlay, basically,  I have historically only sewed when I needed something, or someone asked me to hem pants legs, make a dress,  etc. ,  or while at work, now I do something sewing related nearly everyday.  I have also started organising everything like never before, I am sorting the interfacing from the rest of the materials, finding ribbons amongst the sewing notions, finding garments already cut and ready to sew amongst more fabric!  It’s hectic, but fulfilling, seeing things organised.  I have prewashed tons of fabric in the last day or so, some of it still on the line, now I have alot of fabric ready to be fashioned into amazing garments hehe.  All this because I know when I get on the machine, it is going to work and work well am stoked!

Organising

Anyway, I love boxes tins and baskets for organising, I like finding pieces that can be used in a variety of ways, the plastic storage bins are great but sometimes get too bulky and unsightly.

Mini drawers and containers
Mini drawers and small plastic containers for things such as needles, pins, tape measures, etc.

 

Boxes from IKEA
Boxes from IKEA: handy for A4 papers/books

 

Baskets are great for smaller things that need to be easily accessed.

 

Large plastic bins full of fabric to be cut into.
These bins usually have handles, unfortunately our dog Bowzer seems to like plastic handles and has chewed off nearly every one she gets near!!

 

Even though the sewing room doubles as a school room (The room I’m using is quite large, it has our upstairs tv area in one 1/4, the computer area in the other 1/4, the sewing room in another 1/4 and the homeschool area in the last 1/4.)  I have separated my sewing area with bookcases and a separate table for the machines.

Before
Before:
During homeschooling

 

After
After:
Tables cleared and ready to go, I do want to get a large piece of plyboard to go over the top but have to wait til the husband is ready to come and help 🙂

 

Wire shelving: I do want a cabinet where I can close everything in but for now this works

 

This is the sewing area: Metal shelving on the right is from a hardware store, only $12.99AUD each, so very economical!

 

Sewing machine update

I was lucky enough to pickup a walking foot for my Bernina of Gumtree here in Australia (an online trading place) for only $5 plus postage, I felt a bit guilty, seeing as they are $60+ on Ebay, so gave an extra $5 for running around etc. lol

Bernina Walking Foot yay!

 

 

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Sewing Machine Update…The Bernina 1130

My “New” Bernina 1130

 I’m in love with a chunky little nugget, a toyboy really as he is nearly 20 years my junior!  Let me tell you my story 🙂

 The Backstory

I didn’t win the Bernina 1030 which went for $750 in the end, I was disappointed, but there were a few other similar models going  also so I just waited and Googled a few more reviews.  It appears absolutely no-one is willing to part with their 1008 so no luck there.  To tell you the truth, after watching all these auctions for 20+old machines, expecially the 830’s and 1030, etc., going for $350-1200 dollars a piece, I thought someone’s having a great laugh out there and just raking it in.  I have sort of been reading all the reviews with hesitation, you know when someone gushes about something and sometimes in your head your thinking, “yeah right, can’t be all good tell me the truth!”  (I’m a glass half empty kind of girl, hehe).

Well, I ended up winning a Bernina 1130 also on Ebay on Friday.  This morning the lovely man selling it emails at 6.40am, and lets me know that he was coming past my way so would be able to drop it off, I was awake and of course I accepted.  By 10.00am this morning I was the proud new owner of a 20+ year old Bernina 1130!  The man selling it was lovely, apparently he’s called the Sewing Doctor, or Dr. Sew, here in Sydney, which is lucky for me, because he has completely reconditioned the machine.  Plus he does house calls to service sewing machines, and sells industrial machines as well as domestic, so my future supply in good working sewing machines is safe.  I just wanted to get the machine upstairs, but he was determined that I was happy and understood the machine first, these salesmen, always trying to make the customer happy!

 

According to the Bernina entry in Wikipedia, the 1130 was manufactured between 1986-89, the “First computerized BERNINA with fully automatic one-step buttonholes and stitch memory.”  (reference: Bernina Wiki ).

The Big Reveal

Of course I went straight upstairs to where I had prepared a spot for my new chunky nugget, and got unpacking.  Honestly, I was like a kid opening her presents on Christmas day, I was so excited.  When I turned it on for the first time and all the lights came on I was ecstatic hehe!  I’ve never owned a sewing machine before with so many lights.

It did not come complete, which I already knew, for a collector like me that only means one thing, more looking.  The presser feet that did come with it were the 1, 2, 3, 3A, 4, 5, 6,8 and 9, see below, the only two that didn’t come with the machine, was the 0 for straight stitching/zigzag, (you know what?   I’m good with that, No. 1 does the job so will not need it at all) and the No. 7 the Tailor tacking foot, also not fussed but will pickup if I find one.

It does not have the accessory case (or any of the accessories except the brush) that attaches to the back of the baseplate or the container for all the feet.  It only had one bobbin, so purchase No. 2 will be to pick up more bobbins.  It did however come with the “My Bernina guide”, instruction book, plus the presser foot knee lifter lever, so yay!  After the auction last night, I bought a pdf of the user guide online, thinking that there was no instruction book with this auction, however I also found out that there are in fact two user manuals, Vol 1 which came with the machine, and Vol 2 which is with the pdf I bought, so win win.

9 Presser feet all in a row.

  Set Up and Sewing

It is alot different to a Janome, or Singer, or even a Brother, all of which I have had varying degrees of experience.   I was a bit worried because when I took the foot control out of the storage area, it only had one retractable cord (what the heck, bonus!) that plugs into the sewing machine and no power cord, until I realised that the power cord also retracts but into the machine, (double bonus!!).  The setup was very foreign to me, so it took a while, plus I read the instructions first (after not being able to find the power cord).   The front loading bobbin was familiar, but the bobbin filler was not, so had to work my way through the instructions for that one.  Threading was straight forward, nothing too difficult.

Then came the sewing, I wanted to see if a 2nd hand Bernina could still sew well, straight out of the box, and you know what it did!   I used a piece of poplin, which was probably a bit thin to use, without changing the tension, and it performed beautifully just a small amount of gathering, probably could be fixed by changing the tension.  When I tried the decorative stitches, I used a thicker material and they, also, were easy, as well as little works of computerized art.  Not sure how fast this thing sews, but it is a good speed, and QUIET, I know all those with newer, bigger, quieter computerised machines are skeptical.  However, this is a breakthrough for me and very welcomed as the 1130 will live upstairs, and to be able to sew at night without rocking the house and disturbing others is great.

 

 

A feature I thought was handy is the ability to sew at 1/2 speed instead of full speed.  Not sure if this is a common thing on newer machines, but is great as the girls are learning to sew and it will be much safer using it at a slower speed.

 

Cons

  • I suppose I will find out if there are any other downsides to the machine, so will update cons when necessary.
  • It doesn’t have all the bells n whistles the newer machines have, but as I’ve said before I really don’t need them, if I want a quilt I will find a beautiful one on Etsy or from a local quilter 🙂
  • Very limited embroidery range, and memory storage, but I’m not that interested in embroidery on my clothes, (I could change who knows).
  • When I say chunky little nugget, that’s exactly what he is, I’d say about 15kgs, so alot to lug around if I start going to classes.

 

My Conclusion

The Bernina 1130 is very easy to use, especially if reading the instructions first, it feels good to use, is very stable when sewing even at top speed. This is a beautiful piece of machinery, that will stay in my family and probably be passed down to my youngest, design orientated daughter, I know gushing again.  I will probably get another older Bernina if the price and condition is right, and very soon, probably the 830 or 1008, the thing I hate more than broken thread, or a machine jamming, is having to rethread for different projects one has running concurrently, all the time.

 

If you are just beginning and have only a certain amount to purchase a machine, I would definitely recommend an older Bernina, if in good condition, even an 830 which is even older than this one (early 80s), the reviews are not lying to you.  You really can’t go wrong.  I have not sewed anything significant yet, will let you know when I do, but to have a sewing machine that sews effortlessly, without any problems straight up, is the first step in continuing to sew all the time.

The cheap, not well made machines are sometimes not worth the hassle to even get out of the box, and really the other good machines I have tried have not stood the test of time.  I know there are other machines out there and others have their own dream machines, I am not by any stretch of the imagination, an expert, and have not used a lot of sewing machines, but this is really a dream machine for me.  May be one day I might invest in a top of the line embroidery/quilting type machine, but until I have a spare $5,000-13,000 lying around, I won’t even consider it.

 

Of to finish my daughter’s jersey.  Bye.

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Sewing Machines and Overlockers…

…Have been in the market for a new overlocker and sewing machine recently.  I have done some research online, read reviews and looked at what others have said on their blogs and have made a list of what I am looking for.

What I want in an Overlocker and Sewing Machine:

  • need something semi industrial or at least very reliable and fast.
  • Not 100% sure what a walking foot is but I’m sure I need it!
  • With the sewing machine I don’t need all the fancy stitches, and I probably won’t be embroidering or quilting anytime soon.
  • Do need a good button hole, onestep if possible.
  • differential feed on the over locker, at least 4 thread.
  • Rolled hem option also with the overlocker.
  • Tension is always a problem with me so need machines that keep fairly easy tension or at least are easy to get good tension.
  • Both machines need to be able to sew all types of material.
  • And I can get lessons, phone support and servicing for both machines.

I don’t know how much sewing I will be actually doing, whether just as a domestic/sample sewing, or whether I will sew more than just a few pieces of clothing a week.  I decided however to go for the non industrial versions and upgrade later on if necessary.

The machines that kept cropping up the most in forums, blogs, etc., was Bernina, they said things such as ‘reliable’, ‘workhorse’, ‘wouldn’t part with it’ etc.

I narrowed my selections down to the following:

Sewing machines:

Bernina 1008 $1200-1599 or the 1031 (an older model similar to the 1008 I think(??) but slightly faster @ 1100 stitches/minute.) $600+ on Ebay

This is listed as a  semi industrial machine on the Bernina site.  I first read about the 1008 on Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing, an emotive, well written review, especially from someone who loves their machine, gets me every time.  It does help, however that it:

  • sews a 1050 stitches per minute, (an average household sewing machine has approx700-900 stitches per minute),  it is robust, and reliable, and does not tangle up, which is good enough for me.
  • It is a mechanical machine, as opposed to a computerized one, this appeals because I am not 100% comfortable with computerized anything let alone what will become my dearest friend:)
  • It has only the basic set of 17 stitches, which includes 1 button hole,
  • Is made out of metal and not plastic.

The woman at Craft Depot today, let me know that the 1008 is used in schools, and rather a few reviews, said that it was an entry level machine, and good for beginners, having all the basics for fuss free sewing, is easy to use, and  is reliable and hardy.   However at $1200+ here in Australia, it may be out of reach of the average beginners.

Found a great review here at Patternreview.com for the 1031, not sure if you need to log in or not to read the review.

PROS

I like the fact that it is fuss free.

Can sew really fast.

Is reliable and will last hopefully a lifetime!

It is not plastic!!

CONS

Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, (but I won’t use them anyway, it would just be a waste of money for me.)

Have read a couple of reviews that state, that they have had a few tension problems with the 1008.  But if buying new I would take classes to familiarise myself with all the machines quirks.

It is heavy.

Bernina 950 (second hand) $450+ of Ebay

This is an industrial machine, but as it is listed as only $450 am not worried that it will cost too much.  I do have concerns that it will not be up to scratch and that I would need to have it at least serviced before I use it. But I think for the speed I can get out of it (2000 stitches per minute) then it would be worth consideration.

Bernina 350 $1299+

This is brand new from a local dealer, it was recommended when I bought my overlocker of her, and it does sound great on the website although it only has 900 stitches per minute.  (I know I keep on going on about speed, you might think that speed may not be an important part of this equation, but coming from a clothing factory background, with all the work done on industrial machines, ruins you for the run of the mill home machine hehe.)

Off the Bernina Website

Modern LCD Display

Threader

Stitch Length / Stitch Width

Direct Stitch Selection

Automatic Buttonhole

Quick Reverse Button

Start/Stop Button

Speed Control

Thread Tension

Two Spool Holders

Thread Cutter

LED Sewing Light

Extension Table

Bernina 830 Record (second hand) $350+ off Ebay also.

Also with great reviews, I like the idea that I can get a reliable machine for hopefully under $500.  This is a very old model, manufactured between 1975-1983 I think.  The one I had my eye on was a bit worse for wear, cosmetically.   Have found another listing, same price, but in much better condition.  The stitches per minute is a nice 1100 so no slow mo here.  Everyone makes it sound almost like a dream machine without the extras which I would never need.

The Decision

I’m just not sure, I have two 2nd hand ones at the moment, a really cheap brand and a Singer, exactly like my mum used to have.  Unfortunately both are very disappointing, so another 2nd hand machine is not my top priority, but those reviews on all the above models!!

 

Overlocker

The overlocker was not too had a decision to make.  I only wanted something that was reliable, not too expensive, differential feed, four thread’s+, those are all things that come pretty standard these days.  I decided on the Bernina 700D, which was not in stock, but got delivered earlier this week.  Overlocks beautifully straight out of the box, I am a very happpy chappy!