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Old 14-10-2015, 18:54   #1
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Sailrite Alternative

Hey anyone have any sewing machines they like to use that aren't sailrites? I've seen a couple of old industrial singers online but I'm not sure what to look for.


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Old 14-10-2015, 19:18   #2
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Try Reliable brand, Barracuda model. A knock-off of the Sailrite. We have one and works great, but the quality is not precisely on par with the Sailrite.

We had an old heavy Pfaff 130, which was OK and could handle pretty thick materials, but did not have a walking foot which is something you really need to handle heavy materials. Again, look for "WALKING FOOT" feed if you want to get things done.
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Old 14-10-2015, 19:21   #3
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re: Sailrite Alternative

IIRC, CF poster 'Srmechanico' or such is a sewing machine mechanic and has posted on this subject in the past. Lots of suggestions, i think...

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Old 14-10-2015, 19:24   #4
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Craigslist... Look for old Singers (1960s) or Pfaffs.. Got my machine for $20!

I disagree about the walking foot. I sewed everything on my boat and barely used the walking foot. I sewed 7 layers plus webbing without it!

A proper walking foot can make it easier, but its definitely not necessary.
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Old 14-10-2015, 19:30   #5
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re: Sailrite Alternative

For a straight stitch machine a Singer 201 is very heavy duty. It is also considered one of the best Singer ever made.

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Old 14-10-2015, 19:38   #6
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re: Sailrite Alternative

I've done interior cushions and am soon to do cockpit cushions with a Janome HD1000. Brand new it was $300 and so far its been up to the task. I've ran 8 layers of Sunbrella through it as a test with no issues.

Something that I think is key with a lot of machines if you think you are overtaxing them is to use the right size needles and threads and to change out the needle often. A new fresh sharp needle is the thing to do first if you're running into issues.
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Old 14-10-2015, 19:38   #7
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
A proper walking foot can make it easier, but its definitely not necessary.
Agree, as long as evenly spaced stitches are not considered necessary.
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Old 14-10-2015, 20:05   #8
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Agree, as long as evenly spaced stitches are not considered necessary.
Hhmm I will post pics of my stitches that were done without the walking foot. Its all about technique.
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Old 14-10-2015, 20:18   #9
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Pfaff & Reed, are good makes, although many of them are older. But they work great, especially as many were purpose built to make sails. And some can be operated via handcrank.
I've seen LOTS of (other brands of) sewing machine candidates on Craig's List, for CHEAP. Just call ahead, & ask if they'll sew leather, webbing, etc. & if it's okay to bring some along to try, prior to purchasing one. That, or even take the tack or clew of an old sail, & some sail cloth & repair materials.

Also, do a bit of searching online/live to check out what features modern & high end machines have, so that you can decide which ones are; essential, & which are just nice to have. As some of the machines now will let you do what only full on professional machines could do a decade ago.
The catch being, that some have built in computers, so you have to watch what type of power you feed them. Meaning what wave form, etc. From which type of source.

If you do a search on here, you'll find a sewing subsection. And Ann T. Cate, Jim Cate's other half knows a good bit about it. There are a whole slew of useful project types covered in there.
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Old 14-10-2015, 21:49   #10
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Many years ago, I did canvas for a part time job while on active duty. We had the luxury of being able to use commercial Phaff with plenty of room to set them up.
Now, I have limited space but wanted to do my own canvas on my boat. I did a lot of research on machines that were portable and didn't require a hugh table. A good heavy duty machine that can sew multiple layers of material and portable are very hard to find. Yes you can sew without a walking foot, but why?
So I purchased a new Sailrite LSZ-1, it has the walking foot, it sews straight and zig zag and you can move the needle bar right,left or center. This allows you to set up seams without having to change pressure feet. This really helps when using the taping attachment or sewing zippers. The only drawback with the Sailrite for me is the pressure foot doesn't raise up far enough when trying to get multiple layers or over a zipper chain.
Best of all it fits in a nice portable box and if I decide not to keep it after the canvas work is finished, I can sell it for almost as much as I paid for it. They have great resale.
So far I've done a large Bimini , dingy cover, aft enclosure, hatch covers and several smaller covers. Also, while doing all my canvas at my Marina, it became apparent that almost everyone else here needs repairs or want some simple canvas made, hmmmm, might keep me supplied with adult beverage or a few boat bucks.
Hope you find a machine that works for you, the Sailrite worked for me.
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Old 16-10-2015, 20:09   #11
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re: Sailrite Alternative

I have seen Juki industrial machines in pawn shops for a couple of hundred dollars, looked dirty and very used but the pawn owner said, "try it and if you don't like it bring it back, full refund."
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Old 24-10-2015, 19:32   #12
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re: Sailrite Alternative

I have a Pfaff 130. It gets the job done foe what I need and I found it on EBay cheap.


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Old 24-10-2015, 22:17   #13
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re: Sailrite Alternative

I have an old kenmore from about the early 60s. Works great on several layers of marine vynil with no problem. The advice about the right size needle and a fresh needle are right on. Waking foot is nice but not need with some practice unless you are going to do it for a living and want perfect consistency. Make sure everything is metal, gears, casing, everything. If not it will break. Bought mine for 75 bucks on craigslist from a lady who rebuilds them in her dining room.

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Old 25-10-2015, 11:26   #14
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re: Sailrite Alternative



Whatever you do, don't bother with anything that looks like this.
They are cheapo Chinese versions of the regular line made to look "tough" with hammer tone paint and bits of stainless trim.
They're not tough at all. They're like a cat puffing up its fur when seeing a threat.

You want something like this which is actually "tough" if you have room for it.

If you need a straight stitch machine in a small case, but reasonably cheap and dependable, you can't go wrong with a Singer 301.
They are built like a brick, have a rotary hook system,and sew smooth and fast when you want to go fast.



I like Pfaff's too, especially the semi electronic ones with needle up/down and bobbin sensors that alarm when the bobbin runs out.
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Old 28-10-2015, 17:14   #15
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re: Sailrite Alternative

Turn whatever machine your thinking about using and look at the inside. If you see any plastic pass it up. Metal gears and linkages only otherwise they will strip and break.

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