Another question answered about my sewing machines…

Just a quick note… I did get yesterday’s comments answered but it was late. I guess my sisters and I are having too much fun. Tomorrow we are going to a Tea Room in Ozark, MO. I’ll be heading home on Thursday….

Last week I wrote a post where I asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” (HERE) I got quite a few questions about dolls and sewing and how I started my business and I’ve been trying to get some of the ones not answered directly under that post answered as another post. I got this question from Jeannie Brandon:

The questions I have is this: what type and brand of sewing machines do you use? and why did you choose those particular ones? Do you use alternate feet to make hems, bindings etc.
Your stitches are always so uniform and balanced. Do you make these adjustments or does your machine have a sensor for the fabric type?
I also am amazed at your energy level. You inspire me to lead a more productive life.
Are you just naturally a healthy person or do you take a magic vitamin each day and if so, what is the name of this supplement? !!!! I sure do need to order some of it.

Thanks for asking Jeannie.

I have 2 sewing machines, one serger and one blind hemmer. I got my first machine that was totally mine when I went away to Bible College. I knew as much as I sewed, I’d be lost without my mom’s machine, so I bought this super, heavy, old aqua Singer machine for $70.00. It served me well and was a gem to sew on. It had all metal parts and was a tank to move around. I used it clear up until Kristoffer was a young boy. When he turned 12 years old I gave it to him. He made kites and duffle bags and bean bags with it and did little projects with “his” machine. I decided to go for a newer machine. That’s when I bought my New Home My Excel 15S…

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It is a wonderful machine and I would HIGHLY recommend it if you can find one… It’s been so long ago, I can’t really tell you why I bought this particular machine, but probably it was one in my price range! I use it for most of my sewing. There are several different feet with it…but mainly the one I use is the rolled hem foot. It’s such an easy machine to use, I talked my mom into getting the same one! I’ve taught a few sewing classes at church and it was always the machine everyone wanted to use. It sews such good seams and the tension is always perfect on it. It does a few decorative stitches but not too many. You can see that it has yellowed on the front, but I don’t care…it sews like a dream!

After I had this machine, I got intrigued with the “embroidery” machines but they were WAY out of my price range 12 or 14 years ago. I had a dear friend who had a Baby Lock Esante 1 that had a 4″ hoop area that you could machine embroidery designs in. Whenever she would go away for a visit to her family in Texas, she would bring her machine over and let me borrow it till she returned…usually a week or more at a time. I embroidered non-stop the whole time she was gone. I’d cut out a piece of fabric large enough to use for a little girls bodice and embroider all kinds of things on them. Then I’d sew up the dress later. She loaned me her machine many many times and I enjoyed it every time I used it. One time she came over and her hubby carried it in the house and sat it on my dining room floor, like he always did, when they were leaving. I said, “Oh goody, how long do I get to use it this time?” And guess what he said? …FOREVER! They gave me her machine and he went out and bought her the next one up..the Baby Lock Esante 2. I couldn’t believe it but it was true. I was so blessed, I’ve never forgotten that. I did make some cornice boards and cover them and made some swags for her really fancy living room. I was a wreck doing them… but they turned out beautifully.

That was the start of my “embroidery” machines. I upgraded the one she gave me after a year or so to the Baby Lock 2. Then after I used it for a few years I upgraded again to the ESe 2…the one I have now.

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I used to use it a LOT when I was making machine embroidered baby bibs and selling them at Farmer’s Market. It does have two options, just as a regular sewing machine, or you can add the computer arm on it and turns into the embroidery machine. I do like it very much and it’s very easy to use, but I don’t use it like I used to. I use it occasionally now, embroidering names on shirts and jackets for Kristoffer, and a few other projects, but my main sewing machine is my New Home.

About 25 years ago I bought a serger from J.C. Penney because they were the only ones who would let me “try it out” for a week and decide if I wanted to keep it. Well, let me tell you, I didn’t need a week to decide… I didn’t need a day to decide, I knew within the hour of playing around on it that wanted to keep it. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of thousands of miles of thread I must have used, but it was a lot! It lasted for 14 years and my hubby kept having to replace the motor brushes in it. I cried when he said it was time to think about getting a new one. I found the one I have now for a good price as it was used only as a demo model for the Quilt Show in Kentucky. It’s a Janome My Lock.

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It has been a great serger and I’d buy it again in a heart beat. It’s not a fancy one that has “air threading” but it is easy to operate and does just what I tell it to do! :o)

When I was in the middle of making all those ruffled little girls dresses, I thought I could really use a blind hemmer to hem all the lengths of fabric. It was my biggest purchase on Ebay…but my hubby was standing over my shoulder telling me to bid higher…so what could I do? I bid and won it and it’s been a great little machine too..

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So those are my 4 machines that I use…some more than others, but it’s nice to have them when you need a specialty machine. Here’s what they look like set up on my sewing table…custom built by my hubby… :o)

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My Esante machine faces south and this is the view I have out my window… I can keep an eye on those hens of ours!

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Now your second question Jeannie…
Do I take a vitamin supplement and what is the name of it?

This is sad, but I forget to even take my vitamin half the time. I’m not taking anything Jeannie… I walk at least 10,000 steps a day and compete with my brothers and sisters, using our fitbit activity bracelets to see who can get the most steps in. I’m at 10,540 right now… I guess I’m just very blessed to not be sick very often. Other than being tired…(and I know why that is…) I can’t really complain about much!

Thanks for asking Jeannie,
Blessings, Jeanne

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Comments

  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, so you are still hob-nobbing around with your mom and sisters!! What beautiful weather you must be having!

    Well, I must say your machines sitting there together make a very nice little set-up! It looks a bit intimidating to me, since I have just one machine and it is way older than any of yours! But it works for me, and until it dies, it’s mine. I’ve made quite a few things with it, and while isn’t fancy, it’s a nice machine. All the machines I see at Jo-Ann’s are white, is that the main color now? Mine has a pretty pink panel on the front, while the machine itself is a very light gray. Don’t see that anymore!

    I love your view out the window! I can’t stand sewing and looking at a blank wall, it is just too confining, so I sew on my kitchen table and look out at the yard too!

    • Hi Linda.
      Yes we are still finding things to do. Today we are heading to the Tea room in Ozark…then a huge book sale that Deb knows about…then to see some missionary friends…and who knows what else!
      Sometimes the older machines are the best! A machine that sews well is worth its weight in gold.
      Gotta run…we’re off.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Jeanne thank you for sharing your machines with us. Always so interesting. In regards to energy I would like to share what has helped me. I have suffered from chronic fatigue for years. This year I have discovered two things that are really helping me: I changed my thyroid medication from synthetic Snythroid and Cytomel to WP Thyroid which is natural. You can read about it at: getrealthyroid.com. I have also started getting B12 shots. A blood test showed I was deficient in B12. There are 2 kinds of B12: Cyanocobalamin and Methylcobalamin. I get Methylcobalamin because I need methyl support. The regular Dr. only carries the Cyano B12. The Methyl one has to be me made at a compounding pharmacy. If anyone would like more information you are welcome to email me at:
    trda98@hotmail.com
    I also recommend walking. I need to walk more and can tell a difference when I do.
    God Bless
    Marsha

    • Thanks for sharing Marsha,
      I was interested I what you had to say about your health issues. I do know I need to take better care of my health and after reading your thoughts, I think I am going to start trying the B-12 that my hubby is always trying to get me to take. You sound like it has made a huge difference with you….
      Thanks Marsha,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Jeannie Brandon says:

    Jeanne, thank you for your answers to all my questions. I can see that you have given careful thought when you have bought a sewing machine/device. There are so many brands and each time I go in for a demonstration I hear lots of negative talk about other brands. I just do not like that! I have seen the Esante 2 by Baby Lock as well as others in the Baby Lock line. I also have a New Home serger that is quite old but it is a work horse. I have no plans on changing that one. I find the blind hemmer interesting but don’t know too much about their use. Need to look into that one. It is clear to me that having a new “high dollar” sewing/embroidery combo machine is not what makes the seamstress outstanding. It is the skill and creative talent you possess that produces all those lovely creations.
    I will admit that I was hoping you would tell us that you take “brand AAA” type of vitamin on a daily basis. I certainly do need it !!
    {on that note: the doctors are always telling us, “it’s all about genetics”. Strong family genes!!}

    • Hi Jeannie,
      There are so many sewing machines out there and I think you just have to figure out what is best for you. Back when I was doing baby bibs, I wanted a fancier embroidery machine than the one I had, but there was just no way I could get one. I just had to tell myself to be content with what I had.
      When you ask a question like, “what machine should I get?” youll get a million different answers. I think you just sort of have to go with your gut and what your friends have gotten and hope you make the best decision. It was pretty scary to think of paying for a machine that was pretty expensive and wondering if you picked the right one. Fortunately I have never regretted the machines that I bought.
      After seeing Marsha’s comment, I am going to start taking some B-12 when I get home…plus my vitamin..plus get to bed a little earlier.
      Thanks Jeannie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Anita Hayes says:

    Jeanne – I have three machines too! New Home 8000 Memory Craft Embroidery Machine, a Brother XL and my White Speedylock Serger – all getting up there in years but they still do the job. When I opened “Wil-An’s, my Seamstress Salon back in 1990 I purchased the New Home as I did alot of formal dresses and Bridal gowns. (I love that machine) I then lived in Central Nevada and was the only seamstress for 200 miles “sew” I was busy with deadlines. But retired now living in the woods of WNY with no deadlines to meet with a much smaller sewing room. Today I only sew and design doll clothes to sell at Doll Shows and of course for my granddaughters. Yesterday the old machines were busy on a quilt top for my great-grandson who will arrive into this world within a month. “Sew” the old machines are still sewing and I hope they will still continue to do so until this “old” lady totally retires. Enjoy your time with your sisters and Mom ….nothing like spending time with family.

    • Hi Anita,
      It sounds you used to be one busy alterations lady…. Me too…and I really didn’t care for it much at all. I like the creative side of sewing and it sounds like you do to.
      We are having a very good time running around… Today it was non stop!
      Now we are getting ready to go over and see my niece’s new kitty.
      Thanks so much Anita,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Hi Jeanne! Glad you have this time with your mom and sisters. It will be one of many memorable times all you gals will remember! I love being with my family- it strengthens me so much!
    It was interesting to hear about your sewing machines….oh my, that was so confusing though…this foot that keeps getting mentioned…I thought that was something on the floor to get the machine going. My sister taught me just enough to know where the thread goes and she helped me make two costumes…but the machines and me are not good friends…I am grateful you and others know how to sew so we can enjoy the wonderful things you make us.
    It’s a blessing to be healthy as we would all agree. Sometimes when we need a little help from doctors or medicines, that is a blessing too. I wish you, Jeanne, your family, your bloggers, the best of health always.

    • Hi Paula,
      We went to the Spring Creek Tea Room in Ozark, MO and then we went antique shopping in the little town….after we looked till we couldn’t look any more, we went tot the HUGE Springfield Book Sale. You have never seen so many books in one room in your life. They were Ll sorted by category and on top of. Zillion tables. We had lots of fun looking for things that interested us. I only found two, but we have already decided to hold back tomorrow…maybe…
      It’s good that we all don’t know how to sew, cause then there wouldn’t be anyone to sell our things to, and that would make me sad…
      Thank you for the wish of health on all of us! I’ll take it!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    I want pictures of the tea room and of the tea. This sounds wonderful — a lovely way to spend part of an afternoon. When I was looking for a wig to wear during chemo, we stopped at the Swan House in Loveland, Colorado. If any of your fans are close to Loveland, I recommend it. The tea room and the hostess made a bad day good.

    I bought a small Bernina on sale when I was in college. Recently someone suggested that I trade it in on something newer. I might buy something newer, but my Bernina is mine for life.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      Well, you’re going to be disappointed as I didn’t take a single picture. We got there and got right in… The food came so quick, we started eating right away. But I can tell you, Deb got a piece of Devils Food Chocolate Mounds cake that was outstanding and Cindy and I each got a piece of Pumpkin Coconut Pecan cake. It was so delicious I am going to have to try and find a recipe for one. It was beyond delicious.
      After we ate we looked around in the shops nearby and then drove to a few more. You should have seen the wheels turning in all our heads thinking of how we could do this and how we could make that. It was fun.
      I think everyone just has to find their own machine…. I’m glad you found yours….
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Kathie Welsh says:

    When you find a machine that is dependable and you can just sit down and sew without “fixing” it all the time it is worth it. My first one was a Bernina 830 and I did sewing for a accessory company to pay for it. Took out a loan in my own name so I’d have a credit rating myself ( on hubby’s advice) and it is still alive and well…my daughter has it.
    Then I got a 930 and it is still my everything machine. Then I wanted one that had the buttonhole quilting stitch on it so bought an Alex Anderson Quilting model Bernina but my sister has it now trying to decide if she wants to quilt or not. When my daughter was married we wanted colored topper tablecloths for the reception…at 9.00 each ( to rent) that was crazy…a lady gave me fabric from a fund raiser…I used the napkin hemmer stitch on a Bernina Serger and paid for the serger twice just hemming those tablecloths! It still is just fine. So we all have our machine stories don’t we!
    So glad you are having this vacation with your sisters…how fun! Enjoy!

    • Hi Kathie,
      You are so right about the machine being dependable…if you have that, you can rest and know things are fine in the sewing department….I LOVE a dependable machine!!!!!!! ( uh….how many exclamation points should I use ladies?)

      I’m glad you have your dream machine, Kathie! That makes two of us…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Love your history on sewing machines. Can George fix them if needed? My husband participated in my search for machines a decade ago. We collected hemstitch machines when we had a large finished basement. If an auction had one, we would tend to buy it. Don worked hours getting a few to operate correctly. If one of them had been dependable, it was possible to earn a small income doing hemstitching for customers. Lovely decoration and good for crochet around baby blankets. I later bought a Pfaff that we could import a lovely hemstitch pattern and when we moved the machines all went into an auction. There was an electric hemstitcher, but we never found one. In the old days, many Singer sewing stores would do hemstitching for you. thank you for all the details on your machines.

    • Hi Jan,
      My hubby is very handy and can do almost anything but he never really works on my machines. I pretty well know how they work and it’s usually the tension that gets messed up. I clean out under the bobbin myself pretty often so the machine runs smoother.
      What a near collection….hemstitch machines…
      Thanks for your thoughts on today’s post…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. What a lovely sewing space! Love the peek hole to the other room. And your view, amazing. So kind of you to tell us about your machines. Wonderful to hear from everyone else also. I have a Babylock Sofia which is fine for me. It replaced my high school Singer Touch N Sew. I also have my grandmother’s featherweight machine, which I have never used and an old Singer treadle as well as an old singer workhorse of my mother’s. Think I need to downsize my machines.

    • Hi Joy, that peek hole into the living room was what I always said I wanted when I got a sewing room all of my own!
      I saw quite a few Featherweight Singer sewing machines today….they were app pretty pricey!
      Oh Joy….you can never have too many machines!!!!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. What an interesting treatise on the sewing machines. It will take some time to digest all of the info. It may inspire me to use more of the attachments and features on my machine. I, too, had to buy a machine when I left home, a Kenmore at Sears on credit.

    Surely if you are in the Ozarks, you’ll have to drive through St. Louis. I sure hope you’ll visit the American Girl Store while you’re there. The clothes you make are truly artistic treasures, but you’ll enjoy seeing the variety of accessories in the flesh, wood, cloth and plastic, the little furniture and clothes. Some of it is translated into full size items. Too much to absorb in one visit.

    So glad you are having a wonderful time and storing memories.

    • Hi Suzette,
      The thoughts on the sewing machines was just my side of things. There are a zillion other ladies who could tell you a different story about their machine.
      We are in Springfield MO and didn’t go through St. Louis…we go the south route and go through Poplar Bluff and Sikeston…so no American Girl stores for me this trip….
      We are having so much fun….
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. Charlotte Trayer says:

    It was fun to read about your machines, Jean! I have several, myself. I have my old Viking 6430, which we bought shortly after we got married in 1974; a small Babylock Quilt n Craft from about 25 years ago–handy to take to a class, as it doesn’t weigh much; a Viking #1+, which I got at Christmastime, 1999, and it is my main machine; one of the new versions of the Elna Lotus, bought a year or two ago–I like the little compartments and drawers, and how it all folds up to form a case, but I really fell in love with the buttonhole (it makes it in such a way that both legs are stitched in the same direction, and thus have the same number of stitches in them!), and a Viking Huskylock 930 (I think) serger! I don’t think you can have too many machines!!

    Note to Marsha: thanks for the link about thyroid; I’m going to check it out and talk to my doctor. I’ve taken thyroid since I was 9 (for 60 years), and in recent years I’ve been noticing a decline in energy too.

    Note to Linda: I think years ago sewing machines came in a variety of colors (my 1974 Viking is very pale creamy green), and some were SO pretty!! Now it does seem like just plain white, unless you get a specialty one. I think there’s a Hello Kitty version from Bernina, which has some pink or red on it, and a breast cancer awareness one with pink, also.

    Charlotte

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