I figured a good place to start would be to highlight the machines. I own four sewing machines, and I love each of them very much. I joke that if there were a house fire, the machines would be one of the first items I’d try and save (after the wife and dog). The sewing machine is such an excellent piece of machinery, a true tool in my mind, with fascinating history and incredible engineering.
The first machine I bought was this Janome. I purchased it in the winter of 2015 (I think), from Shingleton’s here in Salt Lake. Being a fierce proponent of local business, there was no better option in my mind since his shop, at the time, was just a few blocks down the road. I’m sure I could have paid a bit less for this machine somewhere on the internet, but that’s not worth the experience spent in Shingleton’s. If you haven’t visited, I suggest you do.
Anyways, this machine was the beginning, and has always done a very good job. I don’t use any of the fancy or heirloom stitches, but I love the 1 step buttonhole function and zig zag, which are missing from my industrials.
I gravitated to apparel making early on, and quickly decided it was time for a serger. My wife beat me to the punch, and surprised me on a birthday. This machine requires very little from its user, and has yet to lose its timing.
These two machines worked perfectly well for quite a while, and still do. Had I not decided that I was interested in industrial sewing machines, I could have made do perfectly with just these.
While working with some medium weight canvas, I got frustrated with material thickness limitations, and a lack of thread diameter choices. After some research, I found a good deal on a used Juki DDL 8700-H up in Idaho. My wife and I made the trek up during the winter, and brought home this:
(My wife is very gracious to accompany me in these, sometimes ridiculous, excursions.)
I honestly didn’t know exactly what I was getting into with this machine, but got lucky. This is an industry standard, straight-stitch only, workhorse of a sewing machine. It came with a servo motor, making it very easy to use, and is incredibly versatile when it comes to various material and thread weights. With minor alterations it can sew lightweight nylons, all the way up to heavy weight canvas. This is the most useful machine I own, and close to 90% of my projects are completed on it. For serious sewers who have not tried an industrial, I would highly recommend taking a test run on one.
The most recent machine purchase occurred in early 2017, when I found an excellent deal in the local classifieds. Much to my wife’s chagrin, another large and heavy tool made it’s way into the house.
This is the Consew 206 RB-1, a walking foot / needle fed machine that excels in heavy-weight materials. It is not a daily driver for me, but I couldn’t resist the deal. This machine was the breadwinner for a local family who’s father was a high-end upholsterer. It is over 30 years old, and runs extremely well. I did replace the old clutch motor with a servo, and spent a few days de-greasing the internal components and re-lubricating all the moving parts. This is a fantastic machine for making bags, dog-booties, and leather items.
Here are a couple pictures detailing the differences in the oiling mechanisms between the two industrial machines. The Juki is self lubricating, and contains an oil reservoir and pump. The Consew needs to be manually lubed through various ports along the head. Both head covers are cast iron, and you can see the massive amount of steel used in these machines.
Next, I’ll be working through a new pattern from Sewaholics, and making a button up shirt for my wife out of some elegant Cone Mills selvedge denim.