Key sewing machine properties

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Emilis, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Haven't gotten an answer in other threads, so I'll try my luck here!

    Hello TFL,

    A question about sewing machines...

    I started to look for one for sewing together liners and for doing the zigzag for the sweatband. With so many brands out there, I started to question, which options and properties I need...

    Can anyone point out the key features I should be looking for?

    Thank you in advance!

    P.S. I found a professional sewer that pointed out quite a few features, but just do not know which is important for hatters:
    • Changing needles. How easy is this? How long does it take?
    • How does the machine cope with multiple layers?
    • Stitching ability on heavy materials. Watch out for problems with drop feed and bunching
    • Tension control. Without this feature, some tasks can become tricky
    • Creating a buttonhole. How simple is it and what system is used? 1 step is easier and more accurate; 4 step can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Pay special attention to the accuracy of a finished buttonhole
    • Does a bound seam remain true? Quality counts
    • Ease of threading and how long it takes. If you have poor coordination, then look out for automatic threading feature
    • Changing a presser foot. Is this a Snap-On adjustment or does it need screws?
    • Feed dog control. This is paramount with bulkier fabrics
    • Versatility with different projects (quilting, straight sewing, free arm…)
    • Built-in stitches. Go for a good range of basics rather than overkill with decorative alternatives
    • Adaptability for different skill levels
    • Speed. Is it being a priority for you? Remember, though: if the machine cannot comfortably operate at high speed then certain projects may turn out ineffective.
     
  2. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    i havent been on the digest for months, but sitting down for breakfast i perchance came across this post, i have been in the sewing machine business for 39 years, and counting. i have built a machine or two for sewing the bands on, i took a free arm and modified the base and the customer fixed it to a table and hung the free arm out. i presume you wish a machine to do many things and probably wont do that. Most machines today are made in asia , the few that arent are pricey, i am fond of mechanicals, but there are advantages to electronics but a limited shelf life. Note i am fixing machine 50 plus years old, so my idea of a shelf life limited is 20yrs. The things that i am fixated on, our like rotary hook dont bother with osicalating hooks, not for beginner. drop in bobbin style. i recommend buying from a small family shop, check the reviews, i am 4.75 of 5 in my shop, metal body or frame, some brothers dont have frames. make sure that the shop takes the machines out of the box and goes over them, if they say not necessary, full of shit. I find too tight motor belts and timing belts and no oil and grease in machines regulary , and its a good brand. feel free to ask more questions will check this post 59 lark
     
    Emilis and Just Jim like this.
  3. ChicagoWayVito

    ChicagoWayVito Practically Family

    Messages:
    562
    Regarding sewing sweatband...because you mention doing the zigzag, I am concluding that you are referring to making your own reeded sweatbands and not sewing the sweatband into the hat itself. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    There are vintage machines that are specialized for sewing leather sweatbands together with the reeding tape, some will sew with an "I" pattern and others will sew with a "V" pattern that looks like a zigzag. If I can find model numbers I will post them at another time. These machines are only intended to build the reeded sweatband. To install the sweatband in a hat then you need another machine, for this purpose you want to look at the Singer 107-1 or the clone ASM 1107 (I think is no longer manufactured but available); these are running at least $2,400. Now if you want to install unreeded sweatbands then you need an entirely different machine. You can always sew the sweatband in by hand, you need to learn to do a lockstitch by hand.

    For sewing liners together, you can do that with nearly any sewing machine depending on your skillset with sewing. Unless you want to make ruffled liners then you need a specialized attachment for it.
     
    Emilis likes this.
  4. ChicagoWayVito

    ChicagoWayVito Practically Family

    Messages:
    562
    Sewing unreeded sweatbands into soft felt hats: The Singer 46-100
    46-100a.jpg

    46-100b.jpg
     
    Emilis, AbbaDatDeHat and BobHufford like this.
  5. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,209
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I think he was just referring to sewing the ends of the sweat together after sizing them.
     
  6. ChicagoWayVito

    ChicagoWayVito Practically Family

    Messages:
    562
    You may very well be right.

    In that case @Emilis my recommendation is a any flatbed sewing machine that can do the zigzag stitch. Also ensure that it has adjustable stitch width and adjustable stitch length. Both those will be important.
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.
  7. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    a free arm would help, the ones that i made i took the base off so the free arm hung out from the table and the operater could stand next to it and sew around the hat. 59lark
     
  8. 59Lark

    59Lark A-List Customer

    Messages:
    487
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    loungers; i have been in the business for 40 yrs and have not seen surplus hat sewing machine lying around, i was told when biltmore left Canada all the good stuff went with them , the rest to the dump. home sewing machines good ones will 8 layrs of canvas, the free arm out and the room that needs to be different. for the odd one anyway. there are always people who want the right machine but reality bites. 59lark
     
  9. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,233
    Please tell us you have one of these Vito!!
    I have some hats that need this love.
    B
     
  10. ChicagoWayVito

    ChicagoWayVito Practically Family

    Messages:
    562
    Sadly no, I dont have one. Art has/had one but never got it running right or the hang of it and gave up on it. I think many refurbished hats will end up with new reeded sweats.
     
    AbbaDatDeHat likes this.
  11. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,233
    Thanks V.
    It was just a shot but if you don’t ask.
    I don’t know but i would imagine an original unreeded sweat could be converted to a reeded one. I’ve never heard of such, you??
    B
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.

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