Case Study in Buying a Sewing Machine

In the previous post, I shared my experience with machines that got the job done, and machines that were meant for much more than I would ever uses them for.  The purchases were made in haste, and without much focused intention.  Those experiences had made me wise in the desire I had for a simple, more efficient and economical machine.  

This next sewing machine procurement would be different.  It came along quite some time after the Rocket Launcher.  I was interested in Pfaff, but this time I was shopping on a budget.  A used machine looked like the way to go.  This is a mini case study in how I found the newest resident of my sewing room. 

Testing, Testing

When I decided to begin a sewing based business, I had a home sewing machine and a home serger.  With the project I was trying to make, it ended up a no-go through either of them.  I quickly realized that I needed an industrial sewing machine to handle the tasks of the thicker and heavier weight fabrics I was using in my project.

I did a lot of research online to figure out what kind of sewing machine I needed to use that would perform the required tasks.  I needed a single needle lockstitch machine.  All this machine does is what you probably understand as a straight stitch.  Only straight.  Single operation is what makes these industrial sewing machines so powerful, and sewing becomes almost effortless.

After hunting and scouring through eBay and Craig’s List, I found a few machines for sale in my area.  I spotted one in a neighboring city and headed over to check it out.  Determined to make a sound decision, I brought my dad, an avid tool connoisseur, and various heavy duty materials to run tests.  The seller surprised me by stacking all of the materials together and running them through all at once.  It did not struggle, no needle broke, it fed through quietly, and it was so fast!

I tested out the machine, too.  The dense and heavy fabrics fed through like butter.  There was no extra effort on my part.  I was in love!

The seller was citing a different price than was listed on Craigslist, but after some negotiation, we agreed on the posted price.  Having my father present, and a notation of the listed price handy was a big help.

Because this sewing machine was in such good condition, I did not need to test out any others.  After reviewing options for new machines (which exceeded my allotted funds), and weighing its performance, I knew it was the right machine.  It was a great price, and I do believe that I was blessed with finding what I needed nearby.

The machine was mine a few days later.

Practice Makes Perfect

It took a lot of practice to become accustomed to this machine’s quirky ways.  I approached her humbly because I knew I had a lot to learn, but to this day I have no regrets about buying her.  I am amazed every time I sit and sew with her.  She has some idiosyncrasies, she is old, but I am willing to be patient.

This was a different experience than the one I had with the machine my husband nicknamed the Rocket Launcher.  I was at peace after buying my industrial single needle lockstitch machine, and I still am. We’ve had fun figuring out how to sew together.

It has taken practical experience to learn how to buy a sewing machine, and it continually takes more practice to perfect how to sew on one.

Do you have tips you’d like to share about buying a good sewing machine?  Leave a comment below!

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