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Sewing machine article

Barbaran8 | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I thought the sewing machine review article in the latest issue was great, but you didn’t address the one criteria that I now check on any machine I consider… Which is whether I can define whether the needle stops up or down at the end of a line of stitching. This is such a necessary feature for much of the sewing being done today… Any possibility of getting a list of which machines in the article had that feature?


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Barb, let me check. I think we did take that information down when we were trying out all the machines. I'll try to remember to look in my notes when I get into the office on Monday and see if I have that on an earlier version of the comparison chart. Needless to say, we collected quite a bit more info. than actually ended up in the published comparison chart, but for reasons of space (anyone notice how well our layout artist Linda managed to fit so much into the 8 pp.? we love her!) we couldn't include everything. I just got my first machine that has needle up/down button, and I love it!


    1. cottonbets | | #2

      Carol, the sewing machine article was great! What a great photo of you two with all of the machines! My machine does have a needle down option, and I find that it's a pretty helpful feature.

      Aside from sewing machines, can you tell me how to get a plea for washable velvets to show up on the "fabrics and trims" forum? I tried to post it there, but it doesn't come up on the side bar with that heading. Sorry to poach on this front, but I thought that you might be able to help. It has been a very frustrating week here, our computer keeps crashing, so everything takes extra long to do. Oh yes, I have another question about softening scratchy fabris that I'd also like to get posted on the "Fabric" forum. Thanks, to anyone who can help with posting info.!  Betsy

      1. carolfresia | | #4

        Betsy,when I looked under fabric and trim, I saw two postings by you about washable velvet. Are you not finding that? You have to click on the "829 messages" (or whatever the number is!) to see the listing of what's there.

        Are you looking for woven velvet, or stretch knit? I don't know if I"ve ever seen microfiber woven velvet fabric for sale, though I think I've seen RTW made of it. Good luck!


        1. cottonbets | | #8

          Carol, I'm not sure whether your note was written before or after I replied to you elsewhere. I am looking for woven, washable velvet. I used it to back my son's quilt, and it  has withstood two years of college wear and tear and looks brand new. I have ordered flannel to use for this quilt, but am still looking for velvet.

          About machines, I have a PFAFF 2040, and love its needle down option.It also has a needle threading feature which is extremely easy to use, as well as an integrated dual feed (built in walking foot) which is great. Any other questions about this machine, I'd be happy to answer. Oh, it is beautifully quiet! 

          1. carolfresia | | #9

            Betsy, I've never tried the Pfaff 2040, but I did get to test the 2030 for the recent review in the magazine, and was very impressed by it. The integrated dual feed system is a wonderful feature. In fact, the 2030 was one of my "editor's picks" for that reason, and for its neat and convenient buttonhole.


          2. cottonbets | | #10

            My first sewing machine was a PFAFF 1222E, and is a gem of a machine. Mine was purchased in 1975, and had the built in walking foot, even then! I don't know what the market for used machines is, but would recommend this to anyone looking for the dual feed option. It also drops the feed dogs, helpful for free motion machine stitching. Five star rating from me; I wouldn't give up mine for anything!

          3. ANDERS122 | | #11

            HI Carol! I have always had probs w/ acrobat reader on my pc and can't access that wonderful list! I wonder if you might be able to share here which machines floated to the top? I am wanting a GREAT easy, perfect buttonhole and one that will free-motion well. This will fill in the gaps on my "primary" machine. Maybe the 2030 is worth a look. It could then maybe share feet w/ my other machine. What fun you must've testing all those machines!

          4. carolfresia | | #12

            Hi! I'm sorry you can't access the list online. It's published in the latest issue of Threads as well (NO. 102, Aug-Sept, which is on the newsstands now), along with information on choosing a machine.

            If you have a Pfaff and a lot of feet that fit a Pfaff, then the 2030 or 2040 would probably be a really nice addition to your sewing room. There were other machines that made very nice, easy one-step buttonholes as well, including the Brother PC 2800 and the Baby Lock 7800 (these two are identical twins), and the Viking Lily 535. And others! There were lots of good machines in the review, in all price ranges, and you're right, it was fantastic fun to test them all.

            What I learned above all doing it was that everyone has her own idea of what a "good" machine feels like. So it's important to test-drive if you can--what looks great on paper or online might just not feel right to you, and one that looks uninspiring in the brochure could knock your socks off when you sit down to sew on it.


          5. ANDERS122 | | #13

            Well, Carol, you are right there is no one-size fits all. I just underwent a similar testing of low-to-mid priced machines and chose the Huskystar 224. Now that definitely qualifies as a surprise even for me. Definitely overlooked and/or under-rated by most but passed all my tests w/ flying colors for a back-up/travel machine. Not many in the under $500 price range have needle up/down, one-step buttonhole, adjustable foot pressure, handle, drop feed, top-loading bobbin, needle-threader (that works the first time), variable speed control, and good stitch quality. This machine is made by Janome to Viking's specs and uses all the Janome feet. AND it is VERY quiet! worth a look but then i guess you've been-there-done-that!

          6. carolfresia | | #15

            I did get to test the Huskystar, and in fact I listed it as one of my personal favorites in its price category. It's a great starter machine, and would be good for pretty much anyone who didn't have specialized sewing needs (i.e. things like stitch memory and mirror-imaging). Glad you found your dream machine!


          7. snivsl | | #14

            I haven't yet purchased this issue although I purchase regulary.  However, I'm assuming you didn't write about the TOL machines such as the D1, the Ult-2002, the Pfaff 2140 etc.  I'm trying to decide on a new machine and I'm finding everyone is reviewing but not TOL (i.e. Consumer reports etc.)

            I've been trying to decide between the D1 and the Ult-2002.  I'm hearing the D1 is better for sewing and the Brother, which I'm beginning to see for myself is better at embroidery (also more convenient onscreen editing etc.)  I can only purchase one machine and I'm having trouble deciding which one.  Each day I change my mind.  I have a 30+ yrs. Elna Super which has served me faithfully and which I will just pass down and never sell.  When I purchased that machine in 1972 it was indeed the best money could buy.  Wish the decision was as easy today.  Also I  just purchased a serger and that decision was also quite easy in the form of the BL Evolve.

            Hope you can help give me tips on pluses and minuses of the two aforementioned machines.  I would really appreciate which would be the best if I had to purchase only one machine.  I would spend the money if I know it's the best I can get.

  2. carolfresia | | #3

    Barb, I have found needle up/down information for the following machines:

    BabyLock BL 7800, Brother PC 2800, Brother PS 2500 (stops needle down), Husqvarna Viking Freesia 415 (tap on foot control takes half-stitch), Elna 3007, Elna 6003

    Haven't yet tracked down the others. However, from what I remember, only electronic and computerized models included this feature. Will fill in more as I can (Judy and I have our notes in separate files, and I can't get into hers just now!).


    1. BYDEZINE | | #5

      The brother PC 6000 stops needle down and a tap on a button changes it half a stitch. I love that feature too.

      My other favorites are the automatic backstitch and the automatic thread cutting.

    2. Barbaran8 | | #6

      Thank you Carol!

      And didn't the article say that the Elna was the exceptionally smooth running one??? Since I sew in the living room while watching TV that would be lovely to have a *really* quiet running machine.


      1. carolfresia | | #7

        The Elnas were quite smooth, but if noise level is a real issue, I'd definitely test-drive first--perferably with anyone else who might be bothered by it around!  Compared to our Fine Woodworking pals down the row here, though, we feel lucky to work with such relatively quiet equipment--pretty  much any home sewing machine purrs quietly next to a radial arm saw.


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