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My first Industrial Sewing Machine = Disaster

Saturday, March 8, 2014
I cried today over a sewing machine.  Yes, it's true!  I'm thankful I can laugh at myself right now though!

It can be a gamble to buy used sewing machines, but most times it's not.  I've never had a bad experience from all my purchases (which is many) and I guess you could say I was too comfortable and didn't stress enough about being thorough in my inspection of the machine.  I had just driven 1-1/2 hours with all 3 kids in the van and they were going bonkers, the machine was in a dimly-lit garage, I was freezing and the machine was laying down on it's back on a wobbly table.  When I first laid eyes on it I was surprised and excited (kind of like seeing your baby for the first time?)!  It was massive and beautiful - pictures don't do it justice!  I had never seen an industrial machine in person.  Since most people don't get butterflies in their stomach from sewing machines it would be comparable to a boy who has grown up looking at hot rod magazines for years and finally being able to see one in person.  The guy selling it tried to help me prop the machine upright on the wobbly table (that was teetering on a hand dolly) so I could try and turn the hand wheel and make sure it was functioning smoothly.  We couldn't keep the machine upright and hold the table at the same time so I didn't worry about it so much even though it seemed a little off to me.  I knew that I was taking a bit of a chance to begin with because I wouldn't be able to fully test it out since it wasn't hooked up to the motor.


I decided on an industrial cylinder arm machine because it would allow for me to maneuver bulky items around the needle, it does leatherwork and takes very thick needles and thread.  I've been considering starting to make more of my 'mommy purses' that people request me to make more of and thought the thick stitching this machine could do would give my purses an awesome looking top-stitch and make them ore durable, plus I could maneuver the purses better around the machine. More importantly, I could buy a right-angle binder to help sew binding to the inside curves of the bags (which I dread doing with my regular machines).

I am also scheduled to teach a sewing class on how to make leather baby shoes.  What better time than now to have this machine in my possession to allow the girls a chance to try one out for themselves and have the experience (kind of like a car lover being able to test drive a Lamborghini, right?)!

To be honest, I never paid too much attention to industrial machines I've seen for sale before.  I thought I'd never have a use for them.  Upon further thought I decided to look into them.  I checked out all my local for-sale listings, watched some YouTube videos, read some forums, looked at company websites and realized that I may have been cheating myself out on some awesome machinery.  Up until recently I thought I had the best-of-the-best machines.  Well, pretty much yes (for the average user).  Since I work in quantity and many of my projects push the limit of my strongest machines, I figured now is a good time to try one out for myself... if it makes my work easier, cleaner and faster, why not!?

So, the guy selling the machine was nice and helped me load everything in my van and even let me dig through all his leather to find some pieces I could use for my baby shoe class - it was perfect!

The drive back home was not fun.  The kids wanted to get back home (typical) and were fussy even though I packed toys, books and snacks to keep them entertained.  All I wanted to do was think about my awesome "new" machine and how I'd get it home and all set-up for a test-drive!  I even thought of a nickname for it - "MOTHER" (meaning, mother of all my machines).  My excitement was going to make me explode.


My husband helped me carry everything to the basement and we got the machine head bolted to the table and that's when I knew something was wrong.  Oh, it was so wrong and I was mad because I should have noticed the minute I first looked at it!


The shaft that holds the bobbin hook was wobbly (that's why I couldn't turn the handwheel earlier) and I actually pulled it out to see that it was broken!!  The outside part around that area was deformed which indicated to me it had been dropped and that's how the shaft broke.


Then I noticed the whole tension assembly was missing (later found it behind the machine dangling from the thread) which must have broken when it was dropped as well.

My heart sank, it felt like my hopes and dreams were crushed (don't laugh).  I knew I could very well be out a bunch of money and only have a broken (very heavy) machine in my possession.  I was mad.  I drove all that way with a van full of kids, loaded it in my van, drove it to my house and dragged it inside.  I couldn't reach the guy on the phone to explain everything so I sent him an e-mail with pictures about all the issues.  He e-mailed back and that's when I cried tears of relief!  He said he was sorry and knew it had been dropped but didn't know of all the damages.  He offered to take the machine back and that I could keep the leather to pay for gas.  I will be loading everything back in my van and driving it back up to him.  It sucks, but I'm just glad he's being nice about taking it back.

I will definitely be more thorough and cautious in the future!  I'm still going to look for another industrial machine though.  Once I have a machine in my mind I have to have it even if it's just to mess with it for a few weeks and resell.  Wow, I must be crazy.  HA!


Here's a YouTube video of the machine in action:
That walking foot is awesome, right?  And the speed?  Fast!
1 comment on "My first Industrial Sewing Machine = Disaster"
  1. I'm glad that it has a somewhat happy ending! At least you'll get your money back!!! Too bad about your wasted time though! :(

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