My Industrial Sewing Machine

By ari - May 08, 2012

About two and a half years ago I bought this industrial sewing machine second hand for a VERY good price. It had just been serviced, but it was so heavy and Tim didn't want it squishing the carpet in the house we were renting.

For the last two years it has been sitting in my studio in the backyard {One half of a garage my dad converted into a room and sound-proofed when I temporarily moved back home at 20 ^_^} {We live in their old house now}. We never set it up, it just sat there as an extra table for me to just pile old boxes of old patterns on. Even when it flooded here it stayed there, luckily it didn't get damaged at all.

So now with the absence of a working sewing machine, the last week has been really difficult. I have so many things I want to sew, I've resorted to just making patterns and cutting them out of fabric but I can't even sew stuff up to test them! I've been crocheting some things, badly, but that's for another post.

Tim yesterday decides we should have a look at the big machine and see if it even works. So we cleared off the table, heaved it open and poured the oil in it. My dad had put the belt back onto it a few days ago when we'd been talking about it, but Tim was so scared it was going to snap and fly off.

I carefully threaded it, happy that my skills from fashion school didn't fail me there. Everything looked ready to go and then I discovered there was a drawer in the bench with LOADS of brand new needles and bobbins and a photocopied manual. HURRAY!

I've used industrial machines before, while studying my Diploma in fashion, but they had speed dials so you could control how fast or how slow the machine could go. This thing doesn't. And it only straight stitches, which is totally fine because at the moment I don't think I could handle it doing anything else.

This machine TERRIFIES me. Sometimes it will go as slow as I want it, then sometimes it just goes nuts and doesn't stop when I take my foot off the pedal. Last night I sewed up a shirt for Vince, using nothing but straight stitch ahah, but luckily I hadn't checked my tension so even though it's a bit loose, the long stitch length I had it on means the shirt stretches.

Bobbin tension is too loose, Easily fixed
As I've mentioned before, I'm still on this quest for the perfect t-shirt pattern for Vince, so I decided to just use the industrial machine to try and stitch this shirt together. It was hard and scary and I got very cross with myself afterward. I hated the pattern I had made, but I know it needs tweaking, and I hated how terrified I had been sewing it. Doing the sleeves and attaching the neckband was INSANE. I felt like I couldn't sew.

These photos I took last night, I didn't think I would blog about it but I figure I would.

I thought the armholes were wayy too curved, the sleeves need a bit of altering too because I hated how much they bunch in the armpits. The neckline looks stupid too. I was so mad at myself. I feel like I should just give up trying to do EVERYTHING myself and just use some damn patterns. I will definitely be buying the Flashback Skinny Tee by Rae but I really wanted to try and just perfect this darn pattern myself without being influenced by anyone else's perfect patterns! Almost there, almost there, I keep telling myself.

I had another look at the tee this morning, Vince had worn it to bed so please excuse the weetbix on the front.

It doesn't seem so bad when it's on him. The shoulder seams need to come in about a cm and the neckband is too thick. The actual neck hole was a really good size for getting his big head through but I feel if I make the neckband smaller it will make the hole gape bigger and look like... not a boy's t-shirt.

I am determined to master this pattern though!

And get used to this crazy monster of a machine! I'm going to just work on the speed bit first, just sew a whole lot of straight seams! The last few days I've been scouring the internet for free pants patterns for babies and boys, and I think today I will at least sew up the leg seams of however many pairs of pants it takes to master this! THEN we might talk about the hems haha.

P.s. I'm making tim take my machines to the shop to get fixed today. Early last year my sewing machine of about 8 years literally fell apart while I was sewing bridesmaid dresses for my friend's wedding. That was SO SCARY AND STRESSFUL. Anyway after that, Tim bought me a beautiful new sewing machine and overlocker. And then within the first few days of Kids Clothing Week Challenge my overlocker dies then my sewing machine dies. Tim decided that while he's getting my new machine and my overlocker fixed, we'll get my old machine fixed too and have it as a backup. So SOON. HOPEFULLY. I will be surrounded in many working sewing machines!

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  1. I know how frustrating that is. around Christmas I was doing a custom dress for someone and all 4 of my machines were broken..all different causes. So mad!

  2. my mum sews and knits and all that fun stuff and she has one of these machines. it really is heavy!!!

  3. Too bad that you worked so hard and you were so frustrated with the result!
    I think that the t shirt is lovely and it seems flawless!
    I love the elephant print and my daughters will kill to have it because they love both yellow and animals!!
    Thank you!


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