Cruisers Forum
 


Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 30-04-2021, 13:53   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 211
Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

I'm starting to consider options for sewing soft furnishings for a trawler (no steady sail). Ideally I would like to buy a used Sailrite but they are unicorns in Australia. A new one is A$2500 delivered. Intended use is a full vessel refit of lounge toppers, curtains, custom mattress covers and exterior shade fabrics. Plus the 50 other jobs I find when I have a machine sitting there ready to go. I have zero experience sewing.

Option 1: Buy a new Sailrite and sell it once the main refit is finished. Resale is unlikely to happen as there will always be new work to do, so I'm down $2500 but have a very good machine.

Option 2: wait for a used machine to appear. Hopefully this century.

Option 3: Chineseium unit for $700 delivered. Zero resale value so just keep it. Tolerate any quality issues.

Has anyone used a AliExpress special? Is quality so-so or complete garbage?

Is a walking foot model a need to have or a nice to have? The thickest materials will be the couch toppers and shade sails.

Is there anything/other models that I have missed?

Thanks
GoneDiving is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 14:35   #2
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 21,562
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneDiving View Post
I'm starting to consider options for sewing soft furnishings for a trawler (no steady sail). Ideally I would like to buy a used Sailrite but they are unicorns in Australia. A new one is A$2500 delivered. Intended use is a full vessel refit of lounge toppers, curtains, custom mattress covers and exterior shade fabrics. Plus the 50 other jobs I find when I have a machine sitting there ready to go. I have zero experience sewing.

Option 1: Buy a new Sailrite and sell it once the main refit is finished. Resale is unlikely to happen as there will always be new work to do, so I'm down $2500 but have a very good machine.

Option 2: wait for a used machine to appear. Hopefully this century.

Option 3: Chineseium unit for $700 delivered. Zero resale value so just keep it. Tolerate any quality issues.

Has anyone used a AliExpress special? Is quality so-so or complete garbage?

Is a walking foot model a need to have or a nice to have? The thickest materials will be the couch toppers and shade sails.

Is there anything/other models that I have missed?

Thanks
Hi, GoneDiving,

I'll take a stab at at least part of this. I bought a used Sailrite a while back, and have been satisfied with it. I found that the Sailrite people were friendly, even though it was used, when I contacted them. I'll get back to this.

For years, I did all our canvas work on an old Pfaff 130 that had been my mother's, before me. Eventually, I sorta wore it out. I think that the walking foot is a great idea. It was a quieter machine, and it was easier to control than the Sailrite. With the Sailrite, it will be for heavy projects, no silk shirts. It is the ability to sew clothing, and sheets for the V berth is something I gave up with the Pfaff, unknowing, and it is a significant loss. I made simple wraparound skirts for people as gifts while we were out in the South Pacific Is.

I also think the throat on the Pfaff and the Sailrite were about the same size: a larger throat (area that you can put fabric through on the machine side of the sewing) is better. You have to research the dimensions.

We have some friends with one of the Chinese ones. He is an engineer, and chose it carefully, paid, iirc ~$800AUD. It is white. It is not noisier than my Sailrite, which sounds clunky in operation. It has a larger throat, and I'm sure that makes it easier to use when working on large projects where you can't have all the excess fabric off to the side. (Sewing in dodger windows comes to mind.) I do not know if it is set up for a binding attachment, but they are pretty simple, and one could drill and tap and install one for oneself, if one were handy. I like the binder for some edges, some of the time.

Sailrite has customer service going for it, and gadgets for the machines. They buy Chinese, too, but strip them down and re-assemble them to their own specs, so their product is pretty uniform. Their videos are educational, and even their written instructions for doing projects are helpful. I wished I'd had read the dinghy chaps suggestions before Jim and I got stuck into that project, for sure!

I do think that you could buy an old fashioned sewing machine with metal insides (not the plastics), and be well satisfied, for canvas work, but not have the capability for heavy sail repairs. Nor, will the Sailrite do. It is limited in its pressure foot height, so you can "layer out" with it on clews or tacks. (you'd have to hand finish.) Still, the walking foot is a big help.

Since you have not done a sewing project previously, I'd suggest starting with something simple. When I first started sewing, I found straight seams a bit of a challenge, but as you practice, you definitely will do better at it.

I said I'd get back to the Sailrite attitude. Part of their appeal is that they have very good customer service, and thought out recommendations for folks who want to take their products cruising where there are little or no services. Their reputation is good. I would not expect any service from the Chinese supplier, and the manual might be a little difficult, as well.

Good luck with it all, and please feel free to PM me with questions. One way to look at it is that your first big project, like a boom bag, will pay for the sewing machine, maybe more than once. Use ptfe thread for everything out of doors. It's a little fussy to work with, and expensive, but it means you only sew it once. The #92 dacron thread only lasts 4 yrs. in UV exposure. Most of the fabrics you use will last ~10 yrs., except for your inside stuff.

Ann
__________________
Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:10   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Diego, CA
Boat: 1987 Pearson 39-2
Posts: 111
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

I used a Husqvarna machine for several years and was able to make cushions and covers and repairs with that. I am now trading it in for a Sailrite mostly to get the longer stitch: worried that the shorter stitches just create a perforation line for projects that will be put under stress, like attaching solar panels to the dodger and bimini.

For the projects you mention, it seems like most heavy duty machines would be sufficient.
SeaStory is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:13   #4
Registered User
 
Simi 60's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Australia
Boat: Milkraft 60 ex trawler
Posts: 3,341
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Go and visit a couple of upholsterers and see what they use.
I doubt sailrite will be seen.

My uncle is an upholsterer
I remember back when he started out he used a singer industrial model like this one available for $150



https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/devo...ial/1273219237
Simi 60 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:31   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: SoCal
Boat: Formosa 30 ketch
Posts: 790
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

I have used a Chinese WALKING FOOT machine for years, upholstering my hotrod roadster, making a heavy canvas cover for it, cockpit enclosure and sail covers for our ketch. The 9" throat makes larger projects much easier. The Sailrite monster wheel would probably help, but not $500 worth of help. If you have the buck$, go with Sailrite, otherwise check out the Chinese 9" throat model. no matter what you get, use seamstick tape, available from Sailmakers Supply.
Bill Seal is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:47   #6
Registered User
 
Spot's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Minnesota, USA
Boat: 21' trailer sailor & 8' sailing dinghy
Posts: 1,051
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

That 2500 AUD is like 1925 USD right now. Sounds like quite a premium for shipping and and tariffs for 900-1300 USD machines. Are Japanese machines like Juki available with less shipping?

I just did my cushion covers with a Viking Emerald 116 but it seemed to be slipping around a bit with the synthetic fabrics. My next step is to try the Seamstick* basting tape and see if that helps the layers stay together and feed in with just the lower feed dog without slipping.

* just saw above post about Seamstick, thanks Bill!
__________________
Big dreams, small boats...
Spot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:51   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Boat: McCurdy & Rhodes Custom 46
Posts: 1,138
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Iíve just finished a steaming cone, a cover for the propane tank box with a padded top and concealed zipper opening, and am wrapping up an anchor rode and chain bag.
6 layers of sunbrella is not a big deal, 8 is work. Iím using tenara v92 thread. That makes everything more interesting.
A walking foot would be nice but the machine will handle lighter thread and fabric nicely.
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_7097.jpg
Views:	101
Size:	91.0 KB
ID:	237572
1950s Necchi BU Nova. Does zig zag too.
Has the same throat depth as the Sailrite.
Sailrite is where I buy supplies and look at videos for ideas. Their customer service seems through the roof. Really good.
When Iím not ashore the machine lives strapped down aboard.
Itís cast iron, and weighs about 35-40 pounds.
Service manuals are available online. Thatís essential.
Any machine you use hard will need service. Better if you can do it yourself.

Btw, Iím a beginner at boat canvas. But I grew up watching my mom sew my sistersí clothes and all our fancy Halloween costumes.
dfelsent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 16:58   #8
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Boat: Farr 43`
Posts: 266
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Took me 18 months to find a used Sailrite in Oz.

Missed several by being too slow to respond.
Asking prices were in the $650 -$1200 range.
Picked up a 10 year old unused machine with accessories for $699.00

Machine is confidence inspiring to work with and feels robust.
Handles luff tapes, leather, piping, large zippers and flat seams in heavy canvas well.

The walking foot feeds so well I can concentrate on stitching straight and keeping bulk material arranged ready to feed.

To set it up for light duty - sheets, curtains, clothing repairs etc - it's easier to use the Elna.

I looked for alternate machines both new and used.
The cheap good condition old industrial sewing machine also seems to be a unicorn.
Rucksta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 19:10   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Boat: McCurdy & Rhodes Custom 46
Posts: 1,138
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

So the Necchi was sold as a home machine, along with certain Pfaff and Singers 60 years ago.
They are cult machines these days though. Mine was a Christmas gift from my wife three years ago. One of her friends is into the scene.
From what I understand there are plenty around, but it is not a huge community.
My Necchi was probably 150 USD or so. I canít ask my wife!
dfelsent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 20:33   #10
rbk
Registered User
 
rbk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Canada
Boat: T37
Posts: 2,092
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Was in the same situation and ended up getting a REX for around $300usd. Very pleased with the price and performance. Best part is you can throw out the instructions that come with it and use the sail rite ones instead along with every single maintenance video they have online. It starts to get a bit much around 14 layers of sunbrella but will do it, along with all the accessories and Tenara thread. Biggest issue I have is the foot pedal was stiff at first and was Ďall or noneí but with time and practice you can get it to go slow. Bought a binding feeder off of Amazon for $10 and it works awesome, only had to thread the two holes to accept the machine screws that came with it. I did screw up though and ordered the straight version instead of the zigzag.
rbk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 21:04   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 101
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneDiving View Post
I'm starting to consider options for sewing soft furnishings for a trawler (no steady sail). Ideally I would like to buy a used Sailrite but they are unicorns in Australia. A new one is A$2500 delivered. Intended use is a full vessel refit of lounge toppers, curtains, custom mattress covers and exterior shade fabrics. Plus the 50 other jobs I find when I have a machine sitting there ready to go. I have zero experience sewing.

Option 1: Buy a new Sailrite and sell it once the main refit is finished. Resale is unlikely to happen as there will always be new work to do, so I'm down $2500 but have a very good machine.

Option 2: wait for a used machine to appear. Hopefully this century.

Option 3: Chineseium unit for $700 delivered. Zero resale value so just keep it. Tolerate any quality issues.

Has anyone used a AliExpress special? Is quality so-so or complete garbage?

Is a walking foot model a need to have or a nice to have? The thickest materials will be the couch toppers and shade sails.

Is there anything/other models that I have missed?

Thanks

Many of use would like a Sailrite, but the Chinese ones, on which the Sailrite machine are based are a good alternative. The Sailrite' have been altered to run smoother and quieter but the the other ones can come close. I have an Omega, to which i added a Monster Wheel. I wish i could get the Posi Pin kit for it but Sailrite no longer sells the whole kit. I have also used the Sailrite manuals to learn how to adjust and set up the machine when it goes out of adjustment. I use sailrite for some of the extras needed for the machine as well.

Its not the best machine for light stuff, like curtains or table cloths but I use my Pfaff 1222E for that. I have made a dodger, sailcover and hatch cover with the Omega and this year i intend to make a winter cockpit cover.
I would go ahead and buy one of the Chinese one sold under a number of names such as Rex, Omega, Reliable etc.
paralog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-04-2021, 21:19   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Victoria BC
Boat: Shark 24
Posts: 1,040
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

If you don't need to sew sailcloth, I'd probably just pick up a second-hand sewing machine from a thrift store or car boot sale for like 50 bucks. Get one of the older ones with metal parts in and you are golden. Especially as you are just starting out.

Way cheaper, and again, not having to sew sailcloth means you don't need a super expensive machine.
__________________
www.saildivefish.ca
alctel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2021, 03:15   #13
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Little Compton, RI
Boat: Cape George 31
Posts: 1,842
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

In my experience, sailcloth is the big dividing line: a brand-new machine that easily did six plies of denim wouldn't sew a 4-oz dacron sailcloth seam!
If you're not doing sailcloth, your machine options are wide open--the trouble is that there's so many different machines out there it's really hard to sort out which one is actually "heavy duty" and which one just says it is.
I'd try really hard to find a used machine on whatever passes for Craigslist in your hemisphere.
__________________
Ben
zartmancruising.com
Benz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2021, 10:56   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 64
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

"I have zero experience sewing."
"Picked up a 10 year old unused machine with accessories for $699.00"

GoneDiving,
The above should be a clue as to what could happen to you. I would buy a 100$ machine, use it to learn on 5 easy jobs; then if you still think its a good idea to invest a lot of money in your career as a DIY tailor sell it for 100$ and buy what you want.
Best of luck,
M
MartinF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2021, 11:19   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
zengirl's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Florida
Boat: Freedom 32'
Posts: 519
Re: Chinese Vs Sailrite walking foot sewing machines

There are lots of good used old machines. ebay, etsy, craigslist. Necchi (Italian) Pfaff (German) 50's Kenmore.
__________________
Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's courage.
Anais Nin
zengirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sail, sailrite, sewing machine

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
For Sale: New SAILRITE Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Walking Foot Sewing Machine Deluxe PKG W/ Case UltraStitch Classifieds Archive 11 12-06-2013 08:41
For Sale: Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 Walking Foot Sewing Machine ajkh Classifieds Archive 0 17-04-2013 09:59
For Sale: Sailrite LS-1 Walking Foot Sewing Machine mattyc Classifieds Archive 27 23-02-2011 18:06

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:52.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.