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Bought a mechanical

Bernie1 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I just bought a second machine, a Pfaff 1540, as a back-up to my Designer 1 and for travel. Didn’t want to invest in another pricey computerized model since my Designer does everything I need in the way of fancy stitches and excellent sewing, but my dealer was trying to push me toward a computerized Pfaff because she said I wouldn’t be happy with a mechanical. But I love the 1540 so far and wonder if anyone out there has had a similar experience, buying a mechanical as a second machine and what your experience has been with it. I’ve dubbed my 1540 Retro Betty ’cause it’s such a pretty machine and I feel so retro sewing with it. Thanks.

Replies

  1. Merryll | | #1

    Bernie, I would say the same thing to you that I did to another poster in another thread who inquired about the best machine for them.  Not all new computerized machines are for everyone--it depends upon the sewing you do and your personal interests.  I'm not pooh-poohing any of the new models, I'm only saying there are some terrific workhorse models out there that willl run forever with good maintenance.  They offer great basic stitches, automatic tension and superb quality, and are perfect for the needs of many. They're also wonderful backup models.

    I used to have a good sewing buddy who was an extremely gifted seamstress and worked at the Burda pattern headquarters in the US. She preferred a Bernina electronic, since it served her sewing needs to a tee. There are some perfectly wonderful used machines out there if you can find them, and experienced sewers know which ones they are. It sounds as though you may have found one.

    Merryll

    1. Bernie1 | | #2

      As the proud owner of a mechanical Pfaff 1540, I certainly agree with you. I do think that for most folks just starting out, a good basic computerized or mechanical model without the bells and whistles makes a very nice, smooth sewing first machine. Some of the older ones, while very sturdy, are also clunky compared to what's on the market nowadays and you don't need to spend a fortune. I actually think the more experienced sewers enjoy the feel of the older machines more than the newbies. It's sort of like driving a standard/vs. automatic. I love to drive, so I drive a standard. I can't stand automatics - they take over all the fun parts imho.

      1. callie1 | | #3

        I sewed on an old mechanical machine for almost 25 years and was able to do almost anything I wanted with it.  It was a Bernina 707 that my mother bought used.  It weighs a ton but can sew through anything.  I would still pull it out if I neede to sew anything really heavy duty like heavy denim, canvas or leather.  I have all possible attachments and feet for it. 

        The only things I prefer on my new Bernina Artista 175 are the needle down, the knee bar, and the automatic button holes.  The fancy stitches are nice but I don't really use them, it's not to my taste.  And I have yet to embroider one single thing with the embroidery attachment.  I prefer to use free motion embroidery which you can do on any machine as long as you can lower the feed dogs.  I sort of feel that I wasted a lot of money on such an expensive machine ($3800) that I don't use the capabilities of.  If I can ever afford the software to do customized machine embroidery I may use it, but I don't have much interest in using other people's embroidery patterns. 

        Mechanicals are great and I made some amazing stuff on mine. 

        1. Merryll | | #4

          I'm enjoying this discussion, because it's the one thing the magazines won't mention when they give their bi-annual machine overviews with all the new features: used machines offer wonderful value to many seamstresses, and for pennies compared to the new ones.  The key is a good repair service so, like purchasing a used car, you can have it cleaned and properly diagnosed at point of sale. Because of my own experience, I firmly believe there are marvelous used machines available for pennies, and many of us simply don't use all the features of the new ones. Yet it's very easy to get seduced by those features, thinking 'one day I may need that.' When I bought my first new Bernina years ago, I figured it was an investment for a lifetime.  I've since realized it was not, and I've had three in the interim. 

          And just another thought for this discussion:  Twenty or so years ago when garment sewing was trending downward, manufacturers had to find a way to make themselves relevant to potential buyers.  The craft and quilting markets were exploding, so that's the direction they went.  Just this morning I saw a quote from the president of the home sewers association (or some such organization--I'm too lazy to go downstairs and search it out) that garment sewing and home sewing--window treaments, etc.--are on the upswing.  If this holds, at some point, we'll probably see this reflected in new machine models.

          Another point this article made was that new sewers are entering the field as a form of relaxation; knitting is first, garment sewing next. This also follows a point made more than 15 years ago during a discussion I was having with Sandra Betzina:  the greatest growth in the garment sewing market was in career women over 40 who sewed for relaxation.  I've always sewed, but I fit that demo and did it for just that reason.

          Merryll

          1. Bernie1 | | #5

            Amen to that. When I sew time just goes by, I feel so relaxed and I forget to eat. I should be thin!!! Maybe I need to sew more.

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