My sewing machines

June 19, 2024

Last month I bought a new sewing machine, and judging from the comments I got on Instagram, it’s quite confusing why I would need more than one. So I thought I’d just write a bit about my machines, what kinds I have and what is the difference.

I’ll start with the most normal one, and the first one I bought:
Husqvarna Viking Victoria sewing machine.

Almost all my cosplays were sewn on this machine! I bought it used in 2013 (I think). The machine itself is probably from 2002 or 2003, so it’s already more than 20 years old, but it’s so good, I hope it will last me a long time still! I accidentally broke one of the thingies that hold the cover in place, though, but it doesn’t affect how it works. This machine is one of the last models still made in Sweden. It’s very simple and doesn’t have many electronics that can break – but it still has a kind of “modern” feel with the digital display. The motor is very powerful for a hobby-machine and this thing handles fairly thick leather, several mms of foam and any fabric I have tried so far. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features – I have to thread the needle and cut the threads myself, but I still love it. The pedal broke earlier this year, but luckily there’s enough of these around to still find spare parts.

My next purchase was my first serger. I also bought this one used:
Husqvarna Viking Huskylock 910 serger/overlocker

 

I’m not sure how old this one is, but old enough to have instruction VHS tapes published 😀 This one is a serger or overlocker, and it uses 3- 4 threads at a time 2 upper threads and 2 loopers underneath. This cuts while you’re sewing and makes stretchy seams. It’s good for fixing edges of fabric, so it doesn’t fray, and for stitching together stretchy clothes. It also has decorative rolled hem seams, which are nice for finishing edges on e.g. circle skirts.

I had some issues with this – mostly my own fault. Once I accidentally forgot to remove a needle, and the knives got ruined from that. When I subsequently replaced them, they were misaligned, and I couldn’t get it to work right. I took it in for service, but even after that it never worked quite as it had before, and after it had ruined enough projects, I decided to upgrade it. But I didn’t have the heart to give up on my old faithful machine, so I kept it, and later actually repaired it myself (I made a separate post about that here). I still kept it, because I have some specialty feet that allows me to do things I can’t on the new machine I bought to replace this one.

That replacement was this one:
Bernina L450 serger/overlocker

This Bernina was my 2nd serger/overlocker and actually the first (and only) brand new machine I have bought. It works quite good and it’s a bit less noisy than my old one, which is great. One thing I miss from my old machine: It doesn’t have free arm capabilities. I don’t follow rules when I sew, so I like to overlock on my sleeves when I’m making clothes, which is harder when you can’t fit the fabric around the machine, especially when making mistakes and accidentally stitching through wrong layers will ruin the whole project, because the machine cuts while sewing. But it’s a minor thing that I work around, and overall, I’m really pleased with the performance!

My next machine was a very fancy christmas gift from my dad:

Pfaff Creative Vision sewing /embroidery machine

I have wanted an embroidery machine for years, but they are both quite expensive (though, more and more affordable models are being released) and also I had no idea what to look for. I thought each machine had their own software, and so I thought it was also a thing to consider. But it turns out it’s not. And while embroidery software (to make your own designs) is a whole topic of it’s own, it turns out the machines are quite “simple”. This one functions both as a sewing machine and an embroidery machine, and I have used it for sewing a little bit, but for that purpose, my old one still does better – it has a more powerful engine. This machine struggles with e.g. webbing. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s a bit of a chore to convert it between sewing and embroidery (the attachment + foot + needle needs to be replaced, and different types of threads on upper-and lower thread), so I just use it as embroidery machine. And for that, it works great. It supports quite large hoops – up to 360 x 350 mm. (though biggest I have is 360 x 200 mm). The standard hoops that were included were plastic ones that work by squeezing fabric between inner and outer hoop and tightening it. But I fairly quickly upgraded to metal hoops with magnets, because I find it easier to align designs like that. It’s a preference thing. It’s a single colour machine, so you have to replace the thread after each colour. But I think it’s fine. Some projects require you to babysit it, while others you can just leave it alone. It depends both on the file, the fabric and the thread. There’s a lot to learn when embroidering, but it’s quite fun. I haven’t used it for cosplay yet, but most things that sit still long enough in our house gets embroidered.

The latest machine I bought is this one:
Brother Coverstitch CV3550 coverlock machine

 

This machine is quite limited in it’s use. It’s something inbetween an overlocker and a regular machine. It has one bottom looper, and up to 3 upper threads. And this version also has an extra thread that is kind of like an over-looper. If you have a t-shirt on, I’m pretty sure there’s an edge of folded fabric that is stitched with a coverlock. On the visible side, it’s usually 2 straight, parallel seam-lines and on the underside, it’ll be kind of looping around. That’s a coverstitch. I got this, because I enjoy making clothes for myself and my family, and it makes that a lot easier. But it’s overkill for most people and probably not that relevant for cosplay. I just felt like splurging a bit and buying myself something nice. I did buy it used, though, because I figured I would get one that had all the possible features (including free arm for easier sleeve stitching).

So that’s basically all the machines I have! I would like to add one honorable mention, though:

 Husqvarna 5710 sewing machine

 

This was my very first sewing machine! My grandmother had it before me, and it’s from somewhere between 1976-1982 (I don’t know exactly when) It was actually a nice machine, but when I first got into cosplay and realized it was something I wanted to do a lot, I wanted something a bit more quiet with more features. But this machine isn’t gone. My mother-in-law didn’t have a sewing machine, so I brought it to Lithuania and now she uses it for little repairs and such. It makes me happy to know that after all this time, it still has a purpose and it still works just fine. Those old Husqvarna machines are work horses, and if your budget is small, go look for this kind of machine. The machines that were made back then were so simple that they don’t break that easy, and they were made with quality materials, so they last forever. They may not have lots of fancy seams, but my first Druid cosplay was made mostly with this red machine.

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