I do quite a bit of sewing for Larry, which involves carting my machine or machines upstairs and downstairs, one shoe off and one sock on. So he called me up this morning and asked what machine I recommended, saying he wanted to keep one at his studio for me to use.
After calling around about options and immediate availability, we picked this baby from Thomas Sewing Center in Mesquite:
This is how ridiculously fabulous this machine is: it has a pre-tension thingy that prevents your thread from twisting BEFORE it gets to the tension knob. It also has the increasingly popular scissors button that takes the top thread to the bottom and snips them both in the back. It winds a bobbin WHILE YOU’RE SEWING.
The foot pressure dial on the far left, above the sewing instruction diagram allows you to switch quickly back and forth between normal with a lot of control to 0, which allows you to swing the fabric around willy nilly–I was doing loop-de-loops on a fabric-batting-fabric sandwich without bunching anything up. Also, there’s a knee-press foot-lifter.
My machine has to be dismantled and cleaned with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing at least twice per velcro job, and the needles have to be peeled twice per strip of velcro due to the velcro’s glue backing. The machines I’ve been using have front-facing needles and top-loading bobbins. This one has a side-facing needle and a side-loading bobbin, so we’re expecting that to handle the tough job better than my poor Princess and Idiot machines I’ve been switching out when one gets tired (not their official product names).
This machine is the mule love-child of an industrial machine and a home machine: fast and relatively lightweight. It does straight-stitch only, at high speeds–notice the speed dial has a picture of a turtle, a tired rabbit, and a flying rabbit, as opposed to the usual home-sewing range sweeping from dead turtle to mourning rabbit.
This machine will make the Chinese New Year panels as close to a breeze as a project this awkward can get. And I’m looking forward to finding out how it handles getting coated in glue.