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Old 21-04-2018, 11:41   #16
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

I'd suggest finding a commercial sewing repair shop and ask them the questions you posted. Most sewing machine repairers wont touch commercial machines, but they can generally refer you to someone who does. Because of the weight and size most commercial repairers work from their vans and go to the machine's location. Those people are always a good source of what's available, especially second hand, and which might be suitable for what you want to do. Very important too, to know that whatever you buy you can get repaired. They can also give a machine a bit of a once over before you hand over any cash.

I use a second hand Adler, I think it was about $500. It's about 40 years old and just goes and goes. To date it has never had an issue with any thickness. It was originally designed and made for sewing leather.

I also use a very basic home Singer. Because there are still jobs that use conventional clothing type thickness. For example I made a set of signal flags. Comparatively light materials and lots of fiddly bits.

Suggest too to always compare the prices of materials at the local sail loft. They're often cheaper than the likes of Sailright and you can buy just what you need. After a while you'll get to know them and they're also a good source of answering how to questions
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Old 21-04-2018, 11:41   #17
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Have had PFAFF 130 for years.
A) Needles are a Non problem plenty available as they are standard industrial grades all sizes.
B) Singer 302 great machine BUT needles impossible to find, don't ask why I know
C) PFAFFS can be very expensive on ebay but if you find an unrefurbished one, all you need is a manual and sometime. They need to be tuned but once done mine at lest stays fine. Some people complain they are constantly retuning but nit my experience
D) I did buy a parts machine (Parts, guts, no r=frame) It has some in handy
E) All PFAFF 130 straight and zigzag stitch ans that is all you need.
F) Motor easy to find as are parts usually
G) Got mine as "barn fresh" 2003 for $75 on ebay, keep bidding and don't pay $500!
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Old 21-04-2018, 11:42   #18
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Hello,
I'am using Sailrite, but since I bought it, I saw thé Barracuda from Reliable Corp for about 500$. It's loocking like à Sailrite in a different coloris.
Have good sewing days.
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Old 21-04-2018, 11:49   #19
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

PS PFAFF 130 will do 6 layers canvas easy! and 8 layers (Corners) with hand crank.
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Old 21-04-2018, 12:05   #20
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

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Reliable barracuda, same exact machine as the Sailrite. $500 to $700 cheaper. Good luck
NOT the same.


Maybe it LOOKS the same.
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Old 21-04-2018, 12:08   #21
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

I can see plenty of Pfaff 130 available for good prices. Just not sure what model year to aim for.
The oldest ones are from 1930.

Many of them are installed into a cupboard and are driven by foot pedal.
I am not sure I have the space for the foot drive mechanics on board.

Can those be converted to be driven by hand or 12v or 220v motor?
Can 220v machines be sensibly driven by a 12v motor instead?
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Old 21-04-2018, 12:09   #22
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

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@Foufou

You got a model number on the Singer by any chance?
Does it have Zigzag and a moving leg?

Thanks Fran
That Singer is nothing more than an all plastic cheapie with hammertone silver paint and a stainless steel plate over the plastic free arm.
No metal chassis at all.
Oh, and a "Commercial" name on it.
The first time I serviced one, I laughed.
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Old 21-04-2018, 12:12   #23
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Brother 1500, very similar to SailRite. Sailrite originally used a Brother machine for their first model with the bearings changed and a few other modifications. I use the Brother 1500 for some sail repair as well as upholstery. It handles just about anything and multiple layers with no problems. I have sewn five layers of marinetex. Only draw back with the 1500 is it is a straight line sticher. I do have an old Sailrite which has adjustable zig zag, essential for sail work.

JoAnne Fabric stores usually feature sales with large discounts and handle Brother machines.
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Old 21-04-2018, 12:12   #24
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Hey seniormechanico, thanks!
Could you please shed some light on my question regarding the Pfaff 130 above too?
Would be awesome!
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Old 21-04-2018, 14:00   #25
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

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I can see plenty of Pfaff 130 available for good prices. Just not sure what model year to aim for.
The oldest ones are from 1930.

Many of them are installed into a cupboard and are driven by foot pedal.
I am not sure I have the space for the foot drive mechanics on board.

Can those be converted to be driven by hand or 12v or 220v motor?
Can 220v machines be sensibly driven by a 12v motor instead?
I brought a Paff 130 about year ago. They are very common in Western Europe, so avoid the ones installed in a table or similar.

In Belgium/Netherlands you should be able to find one in a portable case with a built in motor for 50-150 Eur. You could convert it to a 12V motor (e.g. a car wind scream wiper motor) but the stock motors are 150-200W so you can run them fine off an inverter (thats my plan anyway).

I've found it works well with V69 thread, and will work with V92 (using heavy duty (110?) "jeans" needles) , but thats probably the upper limit. Also 4-5 layers of ~8 oz cloth is about as much as it can manage,this is probably fine for most work on a boat your size, but you might have to hand-sew a few bits around the clew/leach/head...

If you need something cheap and heavier duty maybe look at the Paff 138?
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Old 21-04-2018, 14:03   #26
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

+1 for the Brother 1500. Made by Juki. Strong, metal, easy to service as well.
There are other iterations of that machine which do zigzag.

I still fail to understand the almost cult following for the Pfaff 130...
It's an ok machine, but imho no better than a ton of others.
The motor power is nothing special, nor is the throat size.
I just don't get it.

I really like my Bernina 930.
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Old 21-04-2018, 14:38   #27
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Guess the Pfaff 130 are so popular because they (according to info like in this thread) seem to tend to do what's needed at a very reasonable price.

Lots of them available in good old Europe.

Still they range from antique to modern so I am not clear what model year is good on a boat.
Seems like old is good due to metal gears.
Attached two pictures of very different Pfaff 130.

Seniormechanico, you seem the person with the most experience.

For a budget of around +-100€ what would you suggest?
Should sew sails and covers, not clothes.
Has to to have Zigzag and walking foot I guess, can be aged.

Thanks so much for some advice.
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Old 21-04-2018, 14:41   #28
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

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Old 21-04-2018, 15:05   #29
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Well, my mom bought a Pfaff 130 and made a skirt for me on it in 1950, so I can speak to that year. It was both zig and straight, fwd and reverse. I think what people like about them was the engineering: it was all metal inside, no plastics, and the manual showed you how to oil it, the process was easy. So were the "dialing in" of learning to thread it and adjust tensions. Parts availability, well, I found a spare bobbin case tension screw for it, and sold it with the machine, having lost one to the bilge along the way.

It did not like going through many thicknesses of Sunbrella, and over 4, I had to help it feed through to keep the stitch length equal. I used a #18 needle for acrylic canvas (110), and it didn't like to reverse back over that thickness either, actually had to go by hand, and help the fabric through.

On a large grassy area, in a foreign country, I once restitched the cover on a friend's genoa, with Jim turning the hand crank for me, and it did okay on that. It did all our canvas for years, and other odd bits and pieces, and, as well, innumerable wrap around skirts for gifts, and my own use. If you're going out into the Pacific, they are convenient "decency makers" for places that prefer women's thighs covered.

I had the machine from 1960 until 2 yrs. ago, when I bought a used SailRite. The SR's walking foot works well through many thicknesses, but its throat is not much bigger than the Pfaff's, with consequent similar difficulties with big rolls of fabric. It is really clunky for adjusting stitch length. It is very noisy compared to the Pfaff. It is difficult to oil properly. So far, it has done all that I have asked of it.

We have some friends who bought a cheap Chinese copy of it, and who are satisfied with that, but he's an engineer, and would have been careful about which copy he bought, and I don't know the brand.

Franziska, I would think if used 130's are easily available, as long as you stay with an all metal one, anything from the 50's on till they got renumbered or turned plastic would do most of what you need, plus it is quiet, and you can do clothing. Although, Sapient Sue on this forum, told me she made a pair of silk slacks on her SailRite, so I guess you could do clothing with it, too. This said, I do not think they are suitable for sail repair, and we used sticky-backed sail cloth to repair holes, and replaced sails rather than trying to eke each last mile out of them.

Ann
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Old 21-04-2018, 15:15   #30
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Re: Advice needed for a sewing machine

Awesome answers Ann & Munoz! Really.

I'll see if I can find an older all metal one which is already electric.

Thanks,

Franziska
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