Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sewing machine meme

Sew mama Sew is collecting information on the machines people use and what they think of them as a resource for those looking to get a new machine which sounds like a plan. Problem is I have several machines. In total I have a Brother Mark three industrial machine, a Janome general purpose one (366), the janome 300E (dedicated embroidery only), a four thread differential feed overlocker (serger) again by Janome and some battered old machine I lend out who's make I can't currently remember and it isn't on hand at the moment, I have been considering getting a kit to convert that one to a needle felting machine as I'm not allowed to buy a new dedicated one !

The reason for the number of Janome machines is I worked for them for a while which means I know them better than most makes plus they are one of the few to do dedicated embroidery machines.

Anyway they want a bunch of questions answered for your machine so i thought I'd do that for at least some of them. As they didn't mention overlockers I will not do that one or the one who's make and model I can't remember the rest I think I'll combine together and answer.

1)What brand and model do you have?

Brother Mark III Industrial, Janome 366 (UK version), Janome 300E - dedicated embroidery

2) How long have you had it?

The Mark three at least ten years, it was second hand then. The 366 a bit less time and the 300E 3 or 4 years I guess

3) How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

The Mark three was a hundred or so pounds I think. The 366 is a low to mid range basic machine but I don't remember how much.. I know I couldn't quite afford one with the dedicated buttonhole foot which I really wanted but it does a really good satin stitch. The 366 was 6-700 pounds.

4)What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

Yes all of those plus tents, padded armour etc If it's made of fabric or leather I have probably tried it at some point. The reason for the Mark III is alot of the things I make would break a domestic machine such as tent canvas, medium weight leather and so on.

5) How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

It varies, not a huge amount currently but in the past I have worked full time making costumes, tents etc.

6) Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I am very fond of all these three for different reasons.

The Mark III is called the Beast.. you need very good clutch control or she will try and eat you but once you get used to the speed a domestic feels SO slow.

The 366 doens't have a name but is a great generic machine.

The 300E is a great embrodery machine and I like having it separate to my normal sewing machine.

7) What features does your machine have that work well for you?

Mark III only does straight stitch, forwards and backwards.. which is fine as I have other machines.

The 300E is a dedicated embroidery machine it ONLY does that, no normal sewing at all. However it does that very well and is not really cut down features wise from the all singing all dancing one it was based on but was a lot cheaper.

The 366 is a good generic machine and has a very good satin stitch which is the main thing I use it for. I rarely use many other stitches.

8) Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

Not really, though I do wish I'd found the money to get a machine with the buttonhole foot you put the button in and it makes the hole for you cos I hate doing buttonholes.

9) Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

The Mark III scares people ! It has a fly wheel so your turn in on and it sits there whirring at you till you put your foot down and then the fabric (and your hands if you aren't careful) jumps forward at a rate of knots. !! Once you get past the FEAR though it's fantastic to sew that fast for big items.

10)Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

Yes all three are good for the jobs they do.. obviously two of them are fairly specalised but if you want that they do the jobs very well.

11) What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Knowing what features are important to you and which are not. Consider the weight of fabrics you are likely to want to sew, no point going for a featherweight for you want to sew lots of winter coats it will die. how much room do you have? If you want lots of features and have the space consider getting more than one machine that specialise but if you are short on space you need one that is a good all rounder.

12) Do you have a dream machine?

I have a list of features I'd like but not a specific machine and I'm not sure I'd want only one however good it was.. Currently I want a needle felting machine.


Dianna said...

Hi there,
Congratulations! You were the winner of my fabric giveaway over at

If you could drop me an e-mail then I'll pop it in the post for you asap.

Thanks, Dianna

Diane said...

Have you converted an old machine to a felting machine yet? I collect old workhorse machines so I could easily convert one but am wondering if the end product would be nearly as good as the say the Babylock 7 needle embellisher.

I'm not concerned about the lint or removing the race but rather the foam that is used instead of a throat plate.

I'm wondering if I could drill holes in the plate for the needles. I've read that breakage is an issue with the foam.

Anyway, I'd love to hear of your experience if you've converted a machine.

Oh yeah, dedicated machines are a must!

I have a Pfaff industrial, a Union blindhem a Merrow and a Brother buttonholer that I've yet to use.

On the domestic side, a Bernina 830, Singer Quantum C250 for embroidery and various old Japanese machines that only do a straight stitch but do it VERY well. Kinda like a featherweight but much heavier.

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