Posts Tagged ‘best sewing machine’


What’s the Best Sewing Machine to Sew Leather?

Posted under best sewing machine, sewing machine 4 Comments

Singer 20-U: One of the best sewing machine for leatherLeather can be interesting to work with - many patterns call for it, but if you’ve never used it before some problems can arise.

To determine the best sewing machine for this use, it depends on what kind of leather you’ll be using.

For thin or medium leather, the best sewing machine is probably what you have :) So long as you keep in mind the points below you should be okay. Modern machines are powerful for simple leather projects.

For thick or tough leather, things get a little more complicated. At this class of fabric it can be like sewing 4 or more layers of denim!

The best sewing machine will be one that can:

  • Take the heavy thread you’ll need. Many experts recommend against cotton thread, and prefer polyester thread.
  • Use the heaviest needle size possible. A 11, 14, or 16 would be good.
  • Make as wide a stitch as possible. 5 to 5-1/2 is a good idea. If your machine can’t go above 3-1/2, don’t use it - it might rip the leather.
  • Take a teflon or walker foot.

The most important consideration is using the best sewing machine needles for leather. Because leather will rip if the stitches are not wide enough apart you can get special needles. These are called knife edged needles made just for sewing leather, or a double needle.

For specific examples, many experts believe the best sewing machine for leather to be a Singer 20-U, Bernina 950, or an industrial class Pfaff or Brother. These are all good sewing machines for leather. If funds are tight, don’t overlook what you already have.

Happy Sewing - I’m sure it will turn out great!

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Best Sewing Machine for Free-motion Quilting

Posted under best quilting sewing machine, best sewing machine 1 Comment

Free-motion quilting can be very taxing on your sewing machine. Sometimes the work is just too large to fit, or the sewing machine’s arm can’t quite make it through.

The Bernina Activa series has some good quilters in it, but they can be unwieldy at larger size work. Look at the Bernina Activa 145S or Bernina Activa 125. Bernina also makes the Artista 730E or 630 which have a stitch regulator for free motion use. They are complex machines, but will do the job.

The Singer 301 is also a good choice. It has lots of adjustments and a powerful action so it can sew through multiple layers at a time. It could be the

The Viking Sapphire 870Q has some good and bad. It was made for free motion quilting, but some people don’t like it for quality reasons. I’ve had mixed feelings about some of Viking’s machines, but some people swear by them. Try them out before buying.

There are a couple of other machines made just for quilting. Pfaff makes a Quilt Expression series that let you ratchet down the arm speed for free motion quilting.

All in all, the best sewing machine to do free-motion quilting would be a specific model built just for quilting. If you like the Bernina’s I would recommend them - many people have had great experiences with the brand, and the Activa series are very feature packed.

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What’s the Best Sewing Machine for Making Leotards or Working with Stretchy Fabric?

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You might think that stretchy fabric - like Lycra or similar material used in a leotard or costume - would handle the same on any sewing machine, right? Unfortunately, this type of material does some things that make it difficult to work with.

If you’ve ever tried to sew stretchy fabric you probably noticed that the edges bunched up when cut. This makes straight lines hard to sew.

The best sewing machine for stretchy fabric is an overlocker or serger. Because of their unique stitching mechanisms, many of the problems you will encounter on normal machines don’t happen. While more costly, if you are serious about sewing Lycra, swimsuits, or costumes, this class is the best sewing machine for you.

If you cannot use a serger don’t fret. Look at what type of stitches you do have available. For many people, a quality zigzag will be the best. Don’t use the overlock style stitch on a non-overlocker - these stitches aren’t the same, and will not work well.

The best sewing machine needles to use are called stretch needles. They will penetrate the stretch the easiest, and prevent runs because they have a special tip and scarf. Many people prefer these after a general needle messed up too many times.

Some experts say to trace, pin, and cut after you’ve sewn. This is good advice, and allows for the most safety. You could even tape together and wash the fabric tape off later.

This fabric can be unforgiving at first, but after a while I am sure you’ll get the hang of it! And remember, even if you can’t use the best sewing machine for this type of fabric, it IS possible to work these patterns - just be gentle and good luck!

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Best Sewing Machine for Drapes

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Making drapes can be an exciting hobby or a profitable business. Creating the best designs to go in a room is one thing - making sure you can sew them is another! There’s a few things to consider when making drapes. What is the best sewing machine for making drapes?

Drapes are heavy duty items if constructed well. Going from just that I would say, in general, an industrial or commercial grade machine would be good. If you don’t need or can’t find an industrial machine don’t worry! Many good commercial sewing machines will do just as well.

One feature you might easily overlook is making sure the gears inside are metal. This is where the heavy duty drape fabric will tax your machine. Metal gearing here will provide the right pull and make sure the stitching goes well. Also, metal gears are less likely than plastic gears to break. The best sewing machine you have isn’t very useful if it’s in for repairs when a new drape order comes in!

If you’re looking to also put on decorative stitching on your new drapes, make sure your machine has selectable patterns. A recommendation on the best sewing machine here is tough to make. Some industrial models will not have the decorative stitches you’re in-visioning, while some of the “200 stitches included” sewing machines are not sturdy enough for this heavy duty use.

For specific machines, I would say something like a Juki would be good. If it provides too much pull or is too hard to control, consider an older Kenmore or Benina. Many of their models are built extremely well, can sew through most heavy duty textiles, and are a joy to use. They both make what I would consider to be the best sewing machine well suited for drapery.

Happy sewing!

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Best Sewing Machine for Making Underwear, Lingerie, and Sleepwear

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Sewing your own underwear and lingerie is a great idea. I’ve even made my own bras to avoid the ill-fitting and overprices department store ones.

Because this is a general type of sewing project your sewing machine will need to have adjustments for the stitch width, stitch length, and foot pressure. The foot pressure adjustments will help with sewing lingerie fabric.

In my experience I would recommend an electronic instead of a mechanical sewing machine. For this type of project needing fine control on stretchy fabric, they are the best sewing machine. If you’re lucky enough to have a serger it can help you add covered up seams and the elastic bands into the waist. It’s not required though - you can do without.

Some other hints - don’t use nylon tricut, think outside the box for your fabric choice. If you really like frills you can put beads or embroidery along the edges. It can look quite nice, and feel good on you!

The best sewing machine for lingerie needs to have:

  1. Lots of adjustments (special attention should be given to foot pressure adjustment)
  2. use of 8/60 needles
  3. preferably electronic controls
  4. a high quality straight stitch
  5. stretch blindhem would be nice to have too

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