Sunday, 25 October 2015

The buttonhole Trials...

How do you know if your sewing machine will do the job you want?
This came up when someone I know was thinking about buying their first sewing machine.

Of course, we all have different ideas about these things, and about what we want a sewing machine to do, I make clothing, costumes, and I do patchwork and quilting, and I also make bags and 'stuff'. I am thinking of attempting a bra one day... Don't hold your breath.

I am also quite lucky, in that I have used a variety of machines at one time or another. I started on my Mum's old black and gold Singer. Straight stitch only. Forwards only. No fancy bits. She got that part exchanged for a Pfaff, way back in the 1970s. Nice machine.
I was given a Singer by a Scottish Dancer, I used my MiL's New Home, and I part exchanged the Singer I had been given for a more modern Singer. That was in the 1980s. It was a Singer Serenade, I believe, ( can't be bothered to run upstairs and check- it is still there) and when the tension on that went dodgy I got my beloved Bernina.
Add to that list, the Husqvarna I used on a visit to Amsterdam, ( gorgeous zip function, to die for...drool, Kathinca... best zip insertion I have ever met) and my friend's Brother, and her later Bernina, and I think you can say I have met a few.

So, what advice did I give?

Try the buttonhole function, and the zip insertion, and check what feet are available!

This inevitably led to my having to do sample buttonholes on the three machines currently residing in my house.

Want a look?
 I think you can see, the balance is out. I have one wider spaced line of stitches, at the top, and a narrower spacing under that. There is room for some adjustment on these, with the stitch regulator on it, but you still end up with uneven lines of stitches. Also the gap between the lines is a bit wider than I would prefer, and you end up with a fray-ey bit in the middle. This is the only buttonhole style built in to the Singer.

 The Bernina does a much more acceptable standard buttonhole, and a choice of styles. It also has the lovely feature, that it memorises the first buttonhole, and then reproduces the same buttonhole for multiple times.
I found the keyhole buttonhole slightly less good than I liked, but a second one done over the first gave me a result I would be very happy to use.
 Now, I think, this Brother gives a very good buttonhole result. It has the function to put the button you are using into a bit at the top of the buttonhole foot, and it measures the length required for you. and all three buttonholes are acceptable just as they are.
The only downside for this one is, that there is a little lever to put down when doing the buttonhole which is what actually sets the length, and it will not work without this. This means you cannot really do a buttonhole outwith its pre-determined range. The range is good enough for most purposes though!

Overall though, with all their different features, I still love my Bernina the best....

What do you look at, or would you look at if you were looking for a new machine?


Caroline said...

See now that is practical, when I went to buy my machine I wanted all the bells and whistles. . .10 months in and I hadn't tried more than three fancy stitches 😁 I have played with more stitches since then 😜

Janene Spencer said...

My hubby bought me a fancy all singing Brother but the computerised embroidery bit wasn't compatible with Mac which I use. So that fancy feature never gets used. When I eventually finish my quilt I'm sure the quilting options will be very handy though. I love my Brother. The buttonhole lever does get annoying when I forget to put it down... there's no warning. But there is a warning when you forget to push it back up. With all the computerised bits you'd think that action wouldnt be so manual! If I were to be looking for another the only feature I would be interested in is a less noisy option as I sew at night when everyone is asleep. I wasn't aware it was noisy until I used a Bernina at a pattern making class. Quiet as a mouse it was!

Diane-crewe said...

my choice is always ... the least number of buttons that can go wrong!!!!lol x Im not very technical !!

Archie the wonder dog said...

I think the buttonhole test is a great one! I like to test how the machine copes with multiple layers of fabric but if I ever get another machine I'll be testing the buttonhole features too!

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