Know Thy Machine

Thanks to Shruti for putting on this little blog tour of sewing machines. It’s been quite fun following along to see all the variety of machines and, especially for me, what makes them special for the owner. Thanks to Shruti for inviting me and thank YOU for coming along!

Now to the questions…

What machine(s) do you have? Brand and Model.
I sew on a lovely old machine: a 1954 Pfaff 130. I have one at home and one in the sewing studio. I also own one of the little IKEA machines and I dream of having a new Bernina like the ones I have used at Modern Domestic.

20121109-103349.jpgWhen and where did you buy it? 

I bought the first Pfaff 130 about 10 years ago at a Montavilla Sewing Center. Or rather my mom bought it for me to help me with the little apron business I had. The fellow at the shop said it would outlast me and he may be right. I’ve sewn for hundreds of hours and haven’t yet had to make any repairs.

What was its approximate cost?
It was $700. I bought another for $400 and spend $70 on the IKEA machine.

What do you like about your machine?
I love that it’s a little speed demon and never breaks down. It’s a semi-industrial, so there are no bells or whistles. Just straight and zig-zag stitching. I don’t mind because I can sew a straight seam faster than anyone I know on that machine. 🙂

Have you named it?
I don’t name things. I’m terrible at coming up with nicknames and machines never really “look like a <name>” to me.

Have you made a cover for it?
I didn’t make a cover for my home machine, but Kate at SewPo made a cute hexie cover using Kate Spain fabrics (who just happens to be one of my faves!)

Does your machine give you any problems? Could you tell us a few?
Besides the fact that buttonholes are a real pain in the arse with it? Nope, not a single problem.

What do you sew on it mainly?
I sew a little bit of everything–coats, quilts, bags, dresses, pillows and potholders. If if can be sewn, I’ll do it.

How much time do you spend sewing on it?
Not enough! With a full-time job and a teenage daughter, I don’t have nearly the time I’d like to sit in front of my machine. It makes me happy in my core to sew, so I really do wish I could do it more. But I fit it in when I can.

What are the features of the machine that help you improve your work?
Speed! Otherwise, it’s really the feet that I adore. I finally got a walking foot, which I love! I also use 1/4″ foot, walking foot, rolled hem foot and zipper foot a lot and they make a lot of tasks easier.

What advice would you give others when deciding about which machine to buy?
Really consider what you’ll be sewing on your machine. I like sewing bags and coats that require a bit more oomph in the machine to get through all those layers and I don’t care if I can make fancy stitches, so my machine is great for me. But if you’re going to be doing a lot of little girl dresses, you might want those fancy stitches. If you’re new to sewing, buy the best machine you can afford. A lousy machine that jams or breaks threads or whatever makes it difficult to enjoy the act of sewing. Nothing will end your foray into sewing and quilting like a frustrating machine.

Will you share with us a special memory associated with your machine?
There’s nothing in particular, but that machine is near and dear to my heart. It’s been through a dozen moves with me and hundreds of projects and just keeps on going.

If you had unlimited resources in the world, which machine would you choose to buy and why?
I would love to get one of the Bernina machines because I’ve sewn on them and liked some of the features (the up/down needle thing, the exact stitch length, all those feet!), but I haven’t yet got into looking too closely at which model. When I win the lottery, I’ll put some time into researching which one is best for me!

Until then you can find me seated at one of my machines, stitching the weekend away.

xo! t



1 thought on “Know Thy Machine”

  1. I’ve never seen the ikea machine! So cute! Do u like it? I was looking for something simple for my girls…this just might be it! Thanks for sharing.

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