Monday, March 21, 2011

A new sewing machine? And what sewing is like for me these days....

I've had my sewing machine for five or six years now.  It is a former top-of-the line machine that I've been fairly happy with overall.  It seems like I've had problems with the embroidery portion of the machine from the get-go, and it did need an adjustment when I first got it to make the decorative stitches line up properly.  The repair man at the place I bought it from grudgingly adjusted it while I was in a class only because the instructor insisted he do it.  I CANNOT SAY THIS ENOUGH:  A GOOD REPAIR PERSON IS IMPERATIVE FOR SEWING MACHINES.  When you go to try out machines, if the staff and the repair person SEEM INDIFFERENT OR UNKNOWLEDGEABLE, GO ELSEWHERE.  It really is that important.  I should have gone elsewhere to purchase my machine. 

If you are considering buying a sewing machine, it is really important to go try out the machine with the types of fabrics you usually sew.  Try several brands and models. You may surprise yourself and end up with something much different than you thought you wanted.  And beware, machine dealers are pretty much always going to try to get you to buy the top-of-the line machine even if you don't need that much machine.

Anyway, lately I've been having more trouble with the embroidery unit and my automatic buttonhole foot is not making a nice buttonhole either.  My machine is computerized and most of the buttonhole stitches are not manual.  I have one stitch left I've been using until I can get my machine in to be cleaned and looked at, but it's definitely not ideal.  My sewing lately is like this:  sew a few seams, look at them, see how bad they look, rip them out, repeat.  Sometimes several times.  Talk about frustration.

So this weekend we went to the AQS (American Quilter's Society) show in Lancaster, PA.  I needed a part for my serger (a home repair gone wrong, necessitating a new upper looper converter), so we headed to the Bernina booth.  There a nice man was most eager to show me several sewing machines, so feeling somewhat obligated to be polite, I sat through several demonstrations even though I was not thinking I needed a new machine.  As we continued to walk through the show, my husband commented on how he wasn't really impressed with how my Viking is holding up and that it seems like I've had a lot of problems with it that haven't been resolved, and maybe I should look at some other options. 

As a result, we sat through demonstrations of a few Janomes, which I didn't like nearly as much as I thought I would, and another Bernina.  Neither of them have all the features I like best about my current machine, such as a drop in bobbin, foot up/down & needle up/down buttons easily accessible on the front of the machine, clear feet, my favorite 1/4" clear piecing foot, etc.  I did not look at the Babylocks because I just do not like them for whatever reason, and I didn't look at Pfaff either.  In the end, I went over to the Viking booth, talked to the Viking educator, and also a repair guy (who was surprisingly young) from a shop somewhere in PA.  They were both quite helpful.

So I'm going to take my machine in to a local place to be cleaned and serviced.  If that doesn't resolve my problems, I have the Viking educator's contact information along with the repair guy's contact information if my local place doesn't get things straightened out for me.  Looking at the other machines reminded me how much I actually like mine when it's working right.

I did manage to get a new upper looper converter to put on my Bernina and hopefully that will resolve my (minor) issue with my two-thread rolled stitch.  I'm having a hard time being able to find time away to take my Viking in for the cleaning though.  The only back-up machine I have is a Featherweight that's been sitting in the closet for years.  It is a great straight-stitch machine--yes, straight stitch only, which means no buttonholes, zig-zag, etc.  It's been sitting so long I'm worried it won't work right.  That machine is pretty basic though, so my husband can try to work on it if necessary.

Okay, I must get back to my sew a few seams, rip them out, resew, repeat so that I can finish off the project I've been working on.  And then a trip to the repair man is definitely in order.

Happy sewing!