|My first machine. A Kenmore 12 Stitch.|
I'm really excited about my new (and new to me, but old) machines, and they are all very snazzy and cool, but after a comment about a Kenmore yesterday (thanks, Thread Headed Snippet!), I thought I should devote a little time and love to my first machine, Kendra the Kenmore.
Haha cheesy, I know.
I really started sewing in High School. Before that, I was always interested, but it was really just dabbling and hand stuff. My mom has had this Kenmore since she bought it new in about '79 or '80. It is crazzzzyyyy heavy and it was probably pretty sweet when it was new. Look at all those stitches!
|Oooo fancy stitches...|
This machine supplying my only "vintage" sewing experience (by default - just had an old machine, not on purpose) until now, I can at least say that new machines, though shiny and full of stitch options, come no where near. This machine faced the boiling summers of Vegas, below zero temps in Colorado, multiple moves and probably a fall or two, since it was so darn heavy! I know I dropped it as a kid...
Finally, two years ago, after 30 years of chugging along, it finally gave out on me one day and I had to take it to the shop. It just wouldn't turn on. It was probably the first time it had been cleaned, oiled, or even opened up since it came off the assembly line!
While it was in the shop, I couldn't stand the thought of being without a sewing machine, so I thought I'd treat myself to a new one. I bought a Babylock. Nothing crazy, but definitely a decent machine. I must admit, I was pretty stoked about the automatic button hole...
|The Kenmore and the Babylock. |
Same size, but the Kenmore weighs twice as much.
Metal versus plastic, hmmm...
When I got the Kenmore back, I finally gave my mom back her machine, thinking I had the better end of the deal. Bah! Barely two years went by when the Babylock conked out (a day before I needed to finish the brown wool gown, no less). I took it in and called up mom to get back the Kenmore.
I forgot how amazing this thing stitches! The presser foot really holds down the fabric, where the new machine just didn't have the weight to keep yards and yards of fabric in line, even when I held it up (think how many yards you wrangle for a mid 19th century skirt!). The Babylock also skips stitches like it's going out of style.
So, basically, I know I just bought a new Singer, but I think that might be my last new machine. I think I will use it for crafty things, and light, not precise work. The fancy stitches are fun for that, whereas they rarely ever have a place on historical costumes. The Babylock, I've kept for taking to workshops and traveling... though a Featherweight would be great for that... I need something light. My new singer is a bit of a monster.
|Testing out the singer on yards and yards of |
sheer cotton - yes, folks, there is a sheer 1860's dress
on the horizon. So far, so good, by the way.
For costumes, however, I think I'm going to mostly stitch vintage. The old machines just do such an amazing job of stitching. They handle the fabric so well, and compared to my new machines, the stitches are so precise. Yes, if there's a problem, it might be hard to locate a part, but I've been trolling Ebay most of the day, for "research" (wink wink), and you can find soooo much! All kinds of parts: original and new replacements. Not to mention, the older machines have a bit of style ;)
I am trying out the new Singer with some light cotton, for a sheer dress. So far, so good. But I'm only on the first tuck. I'm curious to see how it will handle silk satin (hopefully soon up will be a satin Victorian corset). One thing I can say, so far, it's better than the Babylock...
An opinions on new machines versus old? What do you all prefer to sew with?