I'm loving this! · Sewing

The Right Tool for the Right Job

I’ve heard it my entire life. It’s the philosophy that led to the purchase of my Chi flat iron, and instigated my quest for a Dyson.  It’s more than marketing, it’s an irrefutable reality.  The right tool for the right job really does make a tremendous difference.

As I’ve stated previously, I’m in the middle of a Sewing “Do Over”.  I’ve been dedicated in my pursuit of basic sewing competency.  And truthfully, it’s been incredibly frustrating.  It’s like I’ve taken the whole concept of “do over” literally.  I’ve had to do the same tasks over and over.

Several years ago when I began my sewing quest, I purchased the best machine I felt I could afford.  I researched a little, and one Sunday night at 9pm, I went to Walmart and purchased a Singer Fashion Mate 7256.  It was packed with features and I paid $199.00 for it.

It seemed fine.  I’ve been so challenged as a seamstress that the equipment seemed like a superfluous concern.  Then one day, it broke.  I took it to the local sewing machine repairman and he fixed it quickly and cheaply.  He was a very nice man and explained the repair he had made on the machine.  As it turned out,  he had worked for Singer for thirty years and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Singer product history. He explained to me that the machines now have plastic internal components and that both their durability and functionality are not what they once were.  He had repaired my machine by replacing one of these plastic components-one with a track record of breaking with routine use.  Bummer.  My nearly new machine broke because I used it. From that day forward, the blush was off the rose.

Suddenly, I noticed that my machine would not cleanly back stitch.  Every seam would begin and end in a bit of a snarl. And sewing through multiple thicknesses?  Forget it. It would sputter and stall.  I began to wonder, what if I’m not the only problematic variable in this sewing equation?   What if the machine is making sewing harder than it has to be?

Before I knew it, I was casting surreptitious glances at other machines.  I would linger after my daughter’s sewing camp, asking questions of the staff at my local sewing machine dealer. I began to haunt craigslist and ebay, researching machines all the while. I decided that I had made a key error with my initial purchase.  I had gone for maximum “features” rather than maximum “function”.  I began to focus exclusively on the big three (Bernina, Pfaff, Viking Husquvarna) and exclusively on mechanical machines. By the time I was finished, I almost had myself convinced to go “new” and purchase a new mechanical sewing machine outright.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, though.  Until this sewing “do over” results in some sewing skills, paying retail is just not an option. So I returned to ebay, and with a little time and a little patience, successfully bid for and won a Pfaff in my cheap-o price range.

Ta-da! The Pfaff Hobby 1042.  The current generation equivalent is an 1142, but here’s the deal, I don’t care.  I purchased this machine, had it serviced, and bought half a dozen additional, special-function presser feet for about the same price I paid for my Singer.

Back stitching?…Fabulous, no problem….Multiple thicknesses of fabric?…Super.

Suddenly, sewing is a little a easier.  My “do over” is a little more do-able.

Seventy stitches?  Nope.  Not even close.

But it has a good assortment, including stretch stitches and a one-step buttonhole.  So let me sum up by re-stating…The Right Tool for the Right Job.  Sweet!

12 thoughts on “The Right Tool for the Right Job

  1. I have frustrations with both good and bad machines. I had a Viking that did exactly what you described with your singer, and I had it fixed almost every time I used it. Finally I bought a beautiful BabyLock, and I’m scared to death of it. It’s been sitting for at least two years. Time to get back into sewing!

  2. My machine (much older and a Brother) has about the same amount of stitches as your new one. I use quite a few of them but don’t really think I need anymore. I have good days and bad days with it. It probably needs servicing. I have discovered it really dislikes certain threads! What I REALLY covet is a newer model on which you can set your stitch speed. I find it incredibly hard on mine to keep it going nice and slow.

  3. Nice! I bought my PFAFF over 25 years ago just because I was stationed in Germany and that’s what you bought there. My friend and I would sew every weekend (to stay out of trouble and to be “girls” not just Airmen). I will never ever part with it and now sew for my kids with the same machine. I’m happy for you and wish you and right right tool a long happy future:)

  4. My first machine was a Shark from Target. I had to have it repaired a few time, mostly just to clean it, but when a part broke, it was not replaceable. The machine was discontinued! Grr! I’m glad you found a good machine. It does make all the difference in the world!

  5. I’ll tell you Amy I think you got a great deal and you will be very happy with your ‘less than 70 stitches’ I have a heavy duty Viking that “does it all” but what do I sew on when I need to? The singer student model my mama bought for my dd a couple years back….My mom is a quilter and has (to date) 6 different sewing machines from the ‘high end’ to an elderly and GORGEOUS antique singer in pale green. Se bought the student singer for dd b/c it was very simple and had metal innards as opposed to some she said she looked at which were plastic. Sometimes, less is more!

  6. While growing up, my mother’s machine was a Pfaff and she loved it! Of course, I wasn’t allowed to touch it and was given my own to sew on. Straight, simple stitches, but I loved it….even if it wasn’t fancy like my mom’s. I don’t know what happened to my sewing machine (mysteriously came up missing when I went off to college), but my mom still has and uses her Pfaff.

  7. Hi! Thank you for visiting and following my blog! I have read yours till here (now I’m off to work). I love your scarfs and that looks just perfect pattern for me now! I have missed crocheting and have even some yarn ready. I’m happy you got a new sewing machine! Important is that the main things work well, not to have lots of ‘flowery’ stitches. I have simple Singer – we can work together but it has lots of problems. For example I can’t change the feet even for the zipper because it’s so difficult to get the feet on it’s place. I’m looking forward to see what else you have made!
    Have a lovely day! x Teje

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