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Old 06-22-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
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Default Sewing on cards ?

I have searched the forums for this title but the information I need isn't in the threads given.

I know that sewing on paper/cardstock is similar to fabric in regards to having to adjust the tensions (top and bottom). But what I need to know is what tensions do you use? (I have the same prob with fabric, which is why I don't sew)

Also can you explain what happens if the tension is wrong so that I know which one to adjust?

Thanks
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:53 AM   #2
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:58 AM   #3
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I'm afraid there isn't a single, simple answer to this. It depends on your machine and what you are sewing - a layer of DP onto cardstock might be slightly different than two layers of cardstock for example.

If you can say what machine you are using, somebody with the same make/model might be able to give you some pointers.

If the tension is wrong, you will get the threads lying on one side or other of the layers rather than meeting invisibly in the middle. Have a look at the diagram in this document and you'll see a good visual of the effects of tensions being out of balance. There's also information there about the usual ways of adjusting tension.

HTH!
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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I have a kenmore machine. The only reason I have it is because when my DH and I married many years ago, I had mentioned that I would like a sewing maching. What I wanted was something supper simple with limited stitches and features. What I got was a machine that has many features and does many stitches. At least he got me the machine.

Angel, Thanks for the document. I am sure I will refer to it often.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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What about needle size and do you use any sewing thread?
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:54 PM   #6
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I'm not sure whether UK and US needle sizes are the same (we use different scales for knitting needles and crochet hooks, for sure but I have no idea about sewing machine needles). I have a #80 in mine at the moment but I don't think it's crucial to be honest.

Different threads will give you different looks - I tend to use a heavier weight thread for sewing on paper as the stitches show with better definition. Look out for upholstery or buttonhole threads. Somebody on your side of the Pond might be able to recommend particular brands but if you look out for those descriptions, you'll get a heavier thread. Make sure you use the same thread in your bobbin as you have on top - it really will cause you tension headaches if you mix thread weights!

One thing to watch out for is stitch length. You want to set it fairly long for sewing on paper - if the holes are too close together, it tends to split apart a bit too easily.

I'd say your best bet is to just get out some scrap papers and have a play to get a feel for what your machine does. Once you feel more confident you can move on to a real project.

If you plan to sew on fabric too, it's a good idea to keep a separate needle for the work you do with paper. A bluntish needle will be no problem at all on paper but it might tend to snag on fabrics.

Have fun!
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:34 PM   #7
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Quote:

Originally Posted by tay0479View Post
I have searched the forums for this title but the information I need isn't in the threads given.

I know that sewing on paper/cardstock is similar to fabric in regards to having to adjust the tensions (top and bottom). But what I need to know is what tensions do you use? (I have the same prob with fabric, which is why I don't sew)

Also can you explain what happens if the tension is wrong so that I know which one to adjust?

Thanks
Here's a link from my blog to a great site with stitch info...

http://paperfriendly.blogspot.com/se...achine+needles
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:31 AM   #8
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I sew on my cards all the time now. I used to quilt and use my Pfaff machine for sewing on my cards. I had bought a Janome mini machine that everyone was raving about, but I could never get the tension right. I hated it to much it went into the trash.

I have found that for my machine, my tension has to be set between three and four to work on cardstock. I usually sew through two layers of cardstock. It seems (at least for me) the tension has to be a bit looser on cardstock then when you sew fabric.

I use Schmetz 80/12 needles. The same as I used for sewing fabric. I haven't had one break yet. I only use Guetermann thread. It's German....I got to support my home country.

I LOVE the look of sewing on cardstock and am a bit addicted to it right now. Just play around a bit with your machine until you find the perfect setting.

I hope this helps a bit. Have fun!
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:41 AM   #9
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I am another fan of sewing on cards, but I can't seem to get it right. I am using my MIL's old 1980's Industrial Juki sewing machine and I am having a doozy of a time trying to figure out the tention and even buying the threads. So I am greatful for the information found on this thread, Thank You
But I do have a quick question, I don't think my MIL's machine has any larger needles then any other machine out there, so why do the holes stitched on, seem so large? With the thread in there, the holes seem kinda large, or am I not using thick enough thread?
And I also seem to have an issue with my threads getting "loopy" on the back of my CD, I am having a hard time figuring out if I have too tight or too loose on my tention. Is it too loose?

Thank you Ladies for any help here!!!!
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:37 AM   #10
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Hi, ladies!

I do a lot of sewing . . . mostly clothes, but I also like to stitch on some of my cards.

If your machine is a newer model with a built-in computer, try shutting down the power and "rebooting it," so to speak. That will often take care of the problem.

Completely rethread it, both the top and the bottom. Sometimes when my tension goes out of whack, that's the problem.

Another common reason is the needle. If your needle is even slightly bent, it will really mess up your tension. So even if you've got a needle that you've dedicated just to cardstock (and you really don't want to use the same needle for fabric and cardstock), you may need to replace it; they can become bent just through use.

It's recommended that, when you're sewing a fabric project, you replace the needle before each new project. While I don't always do that, I've discovered that if I'm making something more involved with a lot of stitching to do, such as a lined child's dress with lots of gathers, that if I don't replace the needle for the project, I will have a problem at some point with skipped stitches, messed-up tension, breaking thread, etc. And when you're sewing on cardstock, especially if you sew through more than one layer, like I like to do, you will really wear your needles down even more quickly than you would with fabric, even if you don't put as many actual stitches into the item.

The quality of your thread can also be an source of stitching problems. Cheaper generic thread that you might buy from a discount or big box store is not as good as some of the more expensive name brands; if you look closely at the thread, there are often inconsistencies in the thickness, little bumps or burrs, or other defects that will affect the performance of your sewing machine.

I hope this helps!
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:44 AM   #11
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WOW! You guys just may have saved my sewing machine - I did not know that I could even deal with tensions on the spiece itself - as in the document shown - I will check and see if that is the case.

My machine is a very very old Singer - given to me when I was 16 - 31 yrs ago and the tension is the only thing keeping me from using it.

thanks for all the input!
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Old 06-30-2010, 07:57 AM   #12
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On an older machine, set the tension to the center setting, and then try all of the other remedies before you mess with the tension again. As I mentioned, it could be an issue with the needle or the quality of the thread. You should also doublecheck to make certain that you've threaded your machine properly, both top and bottom. Sometimes removing the bobbin case and then reinserting it and rethreading it will fix the problem.

And havenfamily, regarding the size of the holes on cardstock . . . that's just done with a regular size needle and thread. When you sew on fabric, the hole that's created with the needle tends to close somewhat due to the weave of the fabric. With cardstock, there's nothing to "come together" to fill in that hole, and you will see a bigger looking hole when you punch it with a regular needle. (Speaking of which, some cards just show the holes without thread . . . that's easy to do with a machine that isn't threaded . . . )
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:46 AM   #13
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Quote:

Originally Posted by havonfamilyView Post
I am another fan of sewing on cards, but I can't seem to get it right. I am using my MIL's old 1980's Industrial Juki sewing machine and I am having a doozy of a time trying to figure out the tention and even buying the threads. So I am greatful for the information found on this thread, Thank You
But I do have a quick question, I don't think my MIL's machine has any larger needles then any other machine out there, so why do the holes stitched on, seem so large? With the thread in there, the holes seem kinda large, or am I not using thick enough thread?
And I also seem to have an issue with my threads getting "loopy" on the back of my CD, I am having a hard time figuring out if I have too tight or too loose on my tention. Is it too loose?

Thank you Ladies for any help here!!!!
Industrial sewing machine are a whole different breed of cat than a home sewing machine. Check to make sure it's correctly threaded (YouTube has several videos for industrial machines, including Juki).

Don't ever, ever use cheap thread in any machine...that stuff is guranteed to cause more problems than you can imagine.
And never, ever stitch over pins...regardless of what your manual says.

Check your Yellow Pages...if there's a Juki dealer in your area, they may be able to offer some advice.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:35 PM   #14
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I have a Pfaff which I use extensively for sewing clothes. I use only Gutetermann thread, but have used a heavier style on CS. When I want to stitch on CS, I just use my dedicated Schmetz needle. It is not old or bent, just one I only use for paper. I don't change the tension from fabric to paper and it all works great--even if I do a zig zag stitch, so I guess I'm very lucky. Testing out the look can be helpful, as a slightly finer or heavier needle may be necessary.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:56 PM   #15
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Thank you for this thread! I didn't even have sewing on my mind at the moment, but I have had problems with stitching on cardstock. Probably due to all of the above...possibly not the right needle, cheap thread, tension, name it!! I think I will investigate more as I really like the look of stitching. Thank you ladies for the information.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:24 AM   #16
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Sometimes our thread is just toooooooooooooo old and causes loads of problems--if it looks slightly 'frayed'--toss it out....it is just TROUBLE. Have fun everyone
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:37 PM   #17
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Quote:

Originally Posted by havonfamilyView Post
I am another fan of sewing on cards, but I can't seem to get it right. I am using my MIL's old 1980's Industrial Juki sewing machine and I am having a doozy of a time trying to figure out the tention and even buying the threads. So I am greatful for the information found on this thread, Thank You
But I do have a quick question, I don't think my MIL's machine has any larger needles then any other machine out there, so why do the holes stitched on, seem so large? With the thread in there, the holes seem kinda large, or am I not using thick enough thread?
And I also seem to have an issue with my threads getting "loopy" on the back of my CD, I am having a hard time figuring out if I have too tight or too loose on my tention. Is it too loose?

Thank you Ladies for any help here!!!!
My dh works on industrial sewing machines so I know a bit about these types of machines. Actually the needles are larger and they are shaped differently than normal home machine needles. They have a much wider body than normal needles to help push through the industrial type material (drapery fabric, denim, vinyl, leather, etc.).

The loopy on the back could be caused by a couple things...a) check to make sure it is threaded correctly. This is his number 1 problem when he goes on calls. It has to be threaded through each area correctly or it won't sew right. b)the top thread tension is too loose. As far as adjusting it ~ it's just trial and error. I usually just mess with it till it works and if I screw it up too bad I have him fix it
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:18 AM   #18
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Ok, thank you for all of your help, Ladies!! I just sat down and played all day with the Juki and figured it out! Because it's an industrial, it would "tie off" the bobbin thread with the top thread. (* I'm not a person who sews - at all, so forgive the primitive language Anyway, I think I have the tention figured out! Yeay!

But I was wondering, how do you keep the same say 1/8 distance around your card with out coming out uneven? What I mean is, I tried using an 1/8 distance from the outside edge to the thread but when I got down to the end of my card to turn it, I either would have a 1/16 or an 1/4 of space left, not an 1/8 inch. I couldn't get it to work for me to sew it evenly... Does this make sense?? Can anyone help me or have ant tips I could use?
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Old 07-06-2010, 10:29 AM   #19
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Quote:

Originally Posted by havonfamilyView Post
Ok, thank you for all of your help, Ladies!! I just sat down and played all day with the Juki and figured it out! Because it's an industrial, it would "tie off" the bobbin thread with the top thread. (* I'm not a person who sews - at all, so forgive the primitive language Anyway, I think I have the tention figured out! Yeay!

But I was wondering, how do you keep the same say 1/8 distance around your card with out coming out uneven? What I mean is, I tried using an 1/8 distance from the outside edge to the thread but when I got down to the end of my card to turn it, I either would have a 1/16 or an 1/4 of space left, not an 1/8 inch. I couldn't get it to work for me to sew it evenly... Does this make sense?? Can anyone help me or have ant tips I could use?
That happens to me all the time--rarely does it come out evenly. There are a couple ways to fix this. You can adjust the stitch length a bit to see if that helps, but what I do most often is push the back-stitch button/leaver for the very last stitch and just "hand" move the wheel until the needle goes in at the right spot. This will make my last stitch in the corner just slightly smaller, but since I don't usually use a very large stitch, it doesn't even show. HTH
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Old 07-07-2010, 05:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by BeateView Post
I LOVE the look of sewing on cardstock and am a bit addicted to it right now. Just play around a bit with your machine until you find the perfect setting.
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Beate, my (and everyone's) lovely source of information and inspiration, have you pictures of cards that you've stitched in your gallery somewhere? We'd love to see firsthand.

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Old 07-07-2010, 06:10 PM   #21
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Default sewing on cards

I am in the process of writing a sewing tutorial- for about three months now....LOL

Here are a few tips:
-Use the same thread in the bobbin that you use on the top-very important!
-Never, never sew over tape or glue
-Do not pull the thread or the cardstock when you are sewing- center your body in front of the needle and keep your eye on where it is stitching. If you start out at 1/4 inch from the edge, you can tape a coffee stirrer at the edge of your card on the sewing machine- this will keep the sewing straight.
-When you get to the end of a row- use the needle down to turn and start again
-Clean out the bobbin area- get the lint out- my machine tension always acts up when there is any lint there- never blow canned air into the machine.......
Rethread if you have a problem....Rethread if you have a problem......Rethread.......! It is like rebooting your computer!
Once you get the tension correct, make samples and write on your cardstock the length or width settings- make the samples using straight stitch and zig zag.......
Practice sewing S's and circles- a circle is a straight line...curved..... take a stitch and use needle down to make subtle adjustments- remember to watch the needle when stitching!
Different threads and needles are like different markers and papers- you need to get to know what works with what- use the correct size needle for the thread you are using, etc..... there are alot of options.

This is a great 'thread' .....I love the look fo sewing on cards!
Shelly

PS- by the way, I do not think any sewing machine manufacturers would ever recommend sewing on cardstock- the little holes that are punched out by the needle can get into the bottom and mess up a machine (they do go somewhere....). That said- I have an embroidery machine and I sew cards on it all of the time- just remember do not blow air in to get gunk out (like canned air)...I have an attachment for my vacuum that sucks out the lint- or the machine usually comes with a brush....
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:16 PM   #22
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mcschmidtyView Post
I am in the process of writing a sewing tutorial- for about three months now....LOL

Here are a few tips:
-Use the same thread in the bobbin that you use on the top-very important!
-Never, never sew over tape or glue
-Do not pull the thread or the cardstock when you are sewing- center your body in front of the needle and keep your eye on where it is stitching. If you start out at 1/4 inch from the edge, you can tape a coffee stirrer at the edge of your card on the sewing machine- this will keep the sewing straight.
-When you get to the end of a row- use the needle down to turn and start again
-Clean out the bobbin area- get the lint out- my machine tension always acts up when there is any lint there- never blow canned air into the machine.......
Rethread if you have a problem....Rethread if you have a problem......Rethread.......! It is like rebooting your computer!
Once you get the tension correct, make samples and write on your cardstock the length or width settings- make the samples using straight stitch and zig zag.......
Practice sewing S's and circles- a circle is a straight line...curved..... take a stitch and use needle down to make subtle adjustments- remember to watch the needle when stitching!
Different threads and needles are like different markers and papers- you need to get to know what works with what- use the correct size needle for the thread you are using, etc..... there are alot of options.

This is a great 'thread' .....I love the look fo sewing on cards!
Shelly

PS- by the way, I do not think any sewing machine manufacturers would ever recommend sewing on cardstock- the little holes that are punched out by the needle can get into the bottom and mess up a machine (they do go somewhere....). That said- I have an embroidery machine and I sew cards on it all of the time- just remember do not blow air in to get gunk out (like canned air)...I have an attachment for my vacuum that sucks out the lint- or the machine usually comes with a brush....

thanks for the great tips. why can't you use canned air??
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:23 PM   #23
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Default sewing

If you think about it, it is forceably blowing the lint somewhere....into the motor and all of your machine- you do not want lint in the machine- you want to get it out of the machine.......it will 'gunk up' the insides of the machine......... so you would either use a brush to try to loosen it up and remove it manually, or suck it out with a little sewing machine attachment..... especially if it is a computerized/embroidery machine- call your local reputable dealer -see if they have a recommendation.
Does that make sense?
Shelly
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:32 PM   #24
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I just googled it:
Bernina USA, their American headquarters, has an on-line article (BerninaUSA.com) entitled "10 Ways to Love Your Machine", and this statement is contained in it..."Do not used "canned air" to clean your machine as this may push debris further into the machine." Ron Anderson, a repair specialist, says compressed air is not the same as "canned air". Further research told me that many of the canned air products have a water-based propellant, certainly not a good thing to put into a sewing machine. An article from HGTV by Nina Kay Milenius, sewing expert for Viking/Husqvarna says "Don't blow into your [computerized] sewing machine. For more thorough clenaing, use a mini-vacuum attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner to pull lint and debris out of the needle area." I called a local Viking dealer and asked the manager if they recommended "canned air" to clean sewing machines, and she emphatically said, "Absolutely NOT!" So for me, I'd rather err on the side of caution. I was, however, told that sergers are not as "fussy" because the computerized area in them is enclosed and therefore not affected by lint build-up.

Again, Hope this helps
Shelly
(I think industrial machines are more 'open'- I hear people say in factories they use canned air- but ask you local dealer- they should know about YOUR machine- my dealer has pictures of machines that people used canned air in and it looked like someone had stuffed cotton balls in the back casing....... )
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:34 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by mcschmidtyView Post
If you think about it, it is forceably blowing the lint somewhere....into the motor and all of your machine- you do not want lint in the machine- you want to get it out of the machine.......it will 'gunk up' the insides of the machine......... so you would either use a brush to try to loosen it up and remove it manually, or suck it out with a little sewing machine attachment..... especially if it is a computerized/embroidery machine- call your local reputable dealer -see if they have a recommendation.
Does that make sense?
Shelly
yes, that makes perfect sense. that's why i never understood the feather duster. aren't you just flinging the dust "off" the surface and into the air? it has to fall back somewhere.

what kind of sewing do you do the most? like clothing, quilts, etc.

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Old 07-08-2010, 08:21 AM   #26
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Thank you so very much for all the tips and points to remember while sewing on CS. I am now kind of concerned to sew on my In-Laws 1980's $2,000 Industrial sewing machine, and leave bits of paper in there. I can't afford to get another good sewing machine now, but what is a good one to save up for? I am thinking an older sewing machine with metal components from about the 1960's, but what is a good brand to buy?
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:11 AM   #27
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Thank you so very much for all the tips and points to remember while sewing on CS. I am now kind of concerned to sew on my In-Laws 1980's $2,000 Industrial sewing machine, and leave bits of paper in there. I can't afford to get another good sewing machine now, but what is a good one to save up for? I am thinking an older sewing machine with metal components from about the 1960's, but what is a good brand to buy?
If you can find a mechanical Viking, grab it! Be sure it has received loving care through the years (no stitching over pins, regular maintance and cleaning, etc.). It may need to go into a repair shop to adjust the timing...one stitch over a pin, and the timing is affected.

I have an electronic Viking, but still pull out my mechanical Viking when I want an absolutly perfect straight stitch (mechanical machines produce a perfect straight stitch when the tension are correct). I swear I could stitch through cement with that machine...it's tough as nails!

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Old 07-08-2010, 12:49 PM   #28
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Thank you so very much for all the tips and points to remember while sewing on CS. I am now kind of concerned to sew on my In-Laws 1980's $2,000 Industrial sewing machine, and leave bits of paper in there. I can't afford to get another good sewing machine now, but what is a good one to save up for? I am thinking an older sewing machine with metal components from about the 1960's, but what is a good brand to buy?
I absolutely love my Pfaff. Bought one for my daughter for her birthday for $500, but it had to have the dual feed otherwise I could have gotten one for lots cheaper.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:40 AM   #29
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Thank you for the help on a good sewing machine, I really appreciate it

So where would I get a good machine (Viking or Pfaff)? Ebay? I would get a good deal, but I almost can't trust anyone on there. And I don't want a refurbished machine (had a lemon once). So an estate sale or "junk" shop?? Any tips or ideas as to where I can find an older machine that might work?
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:43 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by havonfamilyView Post
Thank you so very much for all the tips and points to remember while sewing on CS. I am now kind of concerned to sew on my In-Laws 1980's $2,000 Industrial sewing machine, and leave bits of paper in there. I can't afford to get another good sewing machine now, but what is a good one to save up for? I am thinking an older sewing machine with metal components from about the 1960's, but what is a good brand to buy?
I wouldn't be worried...industrial machines are built to handle heavy duty materials. Paper is nothing compared to what they are meant to sew. I say use it all you like! Just be sure to clean the needle (if you happen to sew through adhesive) when you're done.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:44 AM   #31
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Thank you for the help on a good sewing machine, I really appreciate it

So where would I get a good machine (Viking or Pfaff)? Ebay? I would get a good deal, but I almost can't trust anyone on there. And I don't want a refurbished machine (had a lemon once). So an estate sale or "junk" shop?? Any tips or ideas as to where I can find an older machine that might work?

I would suggest garage sales ~ usually people are more than happy to let you try it out before you buy it...after all they want the sale They may also be able to give you helpful hints on it's use since all machines have their own quirks.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:14 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by havonfamilyView Post
Thank you for the help on a good sewing machine, I really appreciate it

So where would I get a good machine (Viking or Pfaff)? Ebay? I would get a good deal, but I almost can't trust anyone on there. And I don't want a refurbished machine (had a lemon once). So an estate sale or "junk" shop?? Any tips or ideas as to where I can find an older machine that might work?
Do you have a local sewing machine/vacuum store? Know that sounds like a funny combo, but around here they always seem to go together. That's where I got my Pfaff. Sometimes you can get a good deal on a floor model. It has been used for demos, so you know it works and all the "bugs" are out. Perhaps an estate sale, or the want ads in the paper. Some people are down sizing, clearing out a departed loved one's possessions, or perhaps upgrading to a fancier machine. Good luck.
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