Monday, March 9, 2015

Quilter's Tool Chest-Sewing Machine

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

This post is part of our Quilter's Tool Chest where we share our favorite quilting notions, tools and gadgets.

Today we're talking about one of the basic items that every new quilter or sewer needs in a tool chest: a reliable sewing machine. Let me start by saying that a sewing machine is definitely not a required tool to sew or quilt. Much of the work done in our book is with hand sewing based on an English paper-piecing technique. That being said, I still use my sewing machine and love its fast, even, and reliable stitches.

Both Mom and I use Bernina sewing machines. Mom started out with a Bernina 930 and then gave that machine to me for Christmas when I was a junior in college (Dad conveniently gave her a new Bernina that year as well). The Bernina 930 is the perfect workhorse machine. It has all of the basics that I need to sew and quilt (including free motion quilting), but none of the extras that I probably wouldn't make use of. Mom actually missed her 930 so much that she went onto Ebay to buy herself a replacement for the one she gave to me!

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine


For a new quilter or sewer a machine needs to be reliable (meaning it doesn't constantly jam or need repair) and can sew two basic stitch types: straight line and zig-zag. The top dial selects the stitch type on my machine.

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine


Straight line stitching is definitely what I use the most and my machine also allows me to change the stitch length to adjust for the fabric, thread and desired result. Zig-zag stitching is not only a great supportive stitch (like on the edge of a knit fabric to keep from it unraveling), but also useful for attaching applique pieces and serving as a basic decorative stitch. My machine allows me to adjust the width of the zig-zag (in addition to the stitch length) so that I can choose exactly the right stitch for the project I'm working on.

Although the 930 isn't computerized, it does have a great selection of decorative stitches that I can use. I don't use these a ton (it's something I should probably work on using more), but they are great for adding that little something extra to whatever you're working on. They also can be a fun way to make your machine quilting look fancy and complicated even when it's easy.

Bernina 930 Sewing Machine

There are lots of great sewing machines out there. I've sewn on some of the computerized and fancier machines and they're lots of fun, but not what I need with where I am in my everyday sewing. Right now the ability straight stitch and zig-zag statch on a machine that I trust is the most important thing to me. Perhaps some day I'll start collecting other machines to do different things, as so many advanced quilters and sewers do.

All product links are Amazon affiliate links which help support Prairie Sewn Studios. No additional compensation was provided for this post, just sharing some products we love to use to sew, craft and quilt! 

9 comments:

  1. I have a few sewing machines because not every machine does what I want it to do. I got hooked on needle down and it's hard to sew without that now. I have a computerized machine that I love the few decorative stitches, although I don't use them often. My favorite machine is a semi-industrial that only straight stitches, but is powerful enough to sew thick seams like in the bags I make. If I could find everything I wanted, needed and would use in one machine I would have one, instead of 4 machines,lol. Although I would keep an extra machine as a backup because recently my favorite was in the shop for 3 weeks. My wish is that we could pick and choose the stitches and functions that we really want in a sewing machine and pay for it based on what we chose. So many higher priced machines have too many bells and whistles that I will never use. I don't even use most of what my machines have now.

    You have a wonderful machine. I wish I had known about Bernina machines when I bought my first machine years and years ago, because I might have purchased one and never had the want or need to find another machine. Those older ones are worth hanging on to.

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  2. My wife is a quilting enthusiast. She had a Bernina that was giving her fits and apparently it has finally bit the dust after several years. I want to surprise her with a new machine because she is right in the middle of a Christmas quilt for her sister. I'm trying to cleverly ask my wife what kinds of features a great sewing machine should possess.
    http://www.discoversewing.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. My wife is a quilting enthusiast. She had a Bernina that was giving her fits and apparently it has finally bit the dust after several years. I want to surprise her with a new machine because she is right in the middle of a Christmas quilt for her sister. I'm trying to cleverly ask my wife what kinds of features a great sewing machine should possess.
    http://www.discoversewing.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Let me start by saying that a sewing machine is definitely not a required tool to sew or quilt. Much of the work done in our book is with hand sewing based on an English paper-piecing technique. That being said, I still use my sewing machine and love its fast, even, and reliable stitches. Lisa W. Degregorio

    ReplyDelete
  5. The main thing that I would add to Guy's post is to ensure that you get the right size as there are a couple of diverse sizes for singer machines. singer 7258 stylist award sewing machine review

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  6. I use many kinds of sewing machine and it is great that you get one good one, do many of your requests.

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  7. Center the presser foot over the floss/yarn and check the width of the zigzag to make sure it won’t catch the floss. Then, simply zigzag over the floss/yard from one side seam to the other, being careful not to catch the floss in the stitches. Gently slide the fabric along the floss to gather the fabric and create beautiful ruffles. The Best Wireless Router Reviews

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  8. Thanks for this all information about sewing machines.thanks..singer sylist

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