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Heavy Duty on a Budget


Once upon a time, when I was fairly young and impressionable, my sister Laurie and I received antique Cast Iron Singer Sewing Machines for Christmas. We had quite a lot of fun feeling grown up and making a general mess of things. Ultimately our mother arranged for a neighbor lady to give us sewing lessons because she felt that her sanity was worth more than the price of lessons. So we visited Phyllis weekly for a period of time. I did not find the experience pleasant but I did learn a few things. The actual theory behind grain lines, selvage, drape, hand, basic construction, set in sleeves, buttonholes and so on came over the course of many years and lots of failed projects. By the time my daughter Sarah was old enough to demand dressing as a princess each and every Halloween I had learned to craft garments with darts, pleats, set in sleeves, buttonholes, zippers, lining etc. etc. etc. I would say I have a moderate to advanced garment construction knowledge with the aid of a pattern. Without a pattern I have had mixed results haha.

That being said please be clear I am not an expert and probably never will be since sewing is not my very favorite thing and I have only invested the efforts made thus far because I like nice things but I am not a fan of paying big money for something that I could conceivably learn to do myself more economically. So, now that you know my history with sewing I will get to the point... I own three sewing machines and one serger. I use the three sewing machines on the regular and the serger very sporadically. The one recurring problem I have had with sewing machines has been

Breaking Needles....................................................

which takes us back to yearly Halloween Princess Dresses. Anyway, I am very artistic and I would just design a dress for Sarah each year and then construct it based on a regular dress pattern in her size using the pattern for the bodice and sleeve measurements. One dress I remember was made 100% of scraps of white fabric that measured a maximum of 8"x14" that my husband brought home to me from his work; at the time he worked at BeeHive Clothing (lots of fabric scraps). Sarah was still so little that I could make the bodice out of an 8x14 scrap for the front and one for the back. I pieced together an underskirt out of scraps and then I made these layers to go over the lining that were different lengths so she had this very full layered fairy skirt of long rectangular pieces. Well great, sounds good, just fine. I broke needle after needle after needle trying to go through all those layers of fabric (it was very light weight crepe fabric) and in the end I had to finish it by hand using a pair of pliers to drag the needle through all those layers. I've run into similar problems when piecing together a denim quilt, working with corduroy, velvet and so forth. Enter my Singer Heavy Duty machine.

I don't remember why I thought I would particularly need a heavy duty machine. I must have thought I was going to do lots of heavy sewing or maybe it was just the thought of trying to machine quilt with denim? I don't know. I bought the machine but I never put the denim quilt together and I no longer have any interest in that particular project. However, I am very glad to have the Heavy Duty Singer machine (which I felt was very affordably priced at only $125) as it cuts through all my sewing projects like butter. Just like butter. The only thing I don't like so far is the button hole function on this machine. Regardless of instruction manual, youtube video, or prayer I cannot get a decent buttonhole made on this machine. So I use my Brother for that. But I won't be talking about the Brother right now - maybe another day maybe not. Not today.

I will pause here to say that the sweet desk lamp is from Target ($39) and it's available in white and black too if I remember correctly but you may have to go to your local store for the other colors. The cute little box that I use for thread is from TJ Max (2 years ago). I love how I can fit the narrow spools of thread so nicely - like it was designed for this purpose - Love.

Back to the point... I love the Heavy Duty Singer and I love that is has some stretch knit stitches built right in. That is seriously cool. It's powerful, fast, has a good selection of stitches and is inexpensive. If you don't intend to make buttonholes (or if you're just smarter than I am) you could use this as your only machine. Great machine.

I'll tell you about my apocalypse treadle sewing machine and my apocalypse hair someday too... probably in a few months. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.