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Best Sewing Machine for DIY Modifications
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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Aug 14, 2012
Future Goal

I've found various discussions on how to sew specific things but I'm trying to figure out if there is one reliable sewing machine that works for most fairly basic do-it-yourself gear modifications. Is there a machine (that doesn't cost a fortune) that can hem a pair of shorts as well as it can sew through a couple layers of flat webbing on a backpack? I realize there are considerations on needle sizes and thread when sewing different things so thoughts on that are welcome too.


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By darin
Aug 14, 2012

I've been using a cheap Brother sewing ( www.walmart.com/ip/Brother-10-Portable-Sewing-Machine/476472>>> ) for years now. Its works fine for occasional use hemming pants, repairing gear, or even box stitching and zig zags on two layers of climbing webbing.

As you mentioned, spend the money to pick up several different needles sizes and points, and some heavy upholstery thread or "E" nylon thread for gear repairs.

Good Luck!


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By Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Aug 14, 2012

Jason Himick wrote:
I've found various discussions on how to sew specific things but I'm trying to figure out if there is one reliable sewing machine that works for most fairly basic do-it-yourself gear modifications. Is there a machine (that doesn't cost a fortune) that can hem a pair of shorts as well as it can sew through a couple layers of flat webbing on a backpack? I realize there are considerations on needle sizes and thread when sewing different things so thoughts on that are welcome too.



You want a used old singer/brother/pfaff/bernina/viking

If the case of it is metal, you are good to go.
Preferably less that $100

New sewing machines are junk.


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By MattB
Aug 14, 2012

+1 for an older good brand. Easily found for $0- $100. I use an old 60's singer, made in japan, has zig zag and reverse, and a dropping foot for freehand work. A little oil can work wonders, making a dead relic a working machine. An older household model will work easily with flat webbing, like on packs, and tube webbing should be do-able. For extra heavy stuff (haulbags or shoes) I use a $10 speedy stitch hand awl.


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By Linnaeus
From New England/ Baltimore
Aug 14, 2012

I have a Singer 301a and I use it for everything you have listed. My mother has had the same one for many years (30+), I used that when I was younger, and she found me the same model (they're very common) at a sewing shop that was tuned and lubed for $65. They are really great machines.


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By Auto-X Fil
From NEPA and Upper Jay, NY
Aug 15, 2012

I have an old machine my mother-in-law was getting rid of. I forget what brand it is, but it's a quality thing which is now almost worthless due to being out-dated. It works well for sewing UL backpacking gear from the lightest fabrics, and I also sew full-strength climbing gear with it, using #92 DB poly thread.


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By jnowis
From Laramie, Wyoming
Aug 15, 2012

Great info here:
Ray Jardine's Sewing Tips


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By Chris Vinson
Aug 20, 2012

Juke!


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By btustison
From Tacoma, Washington
Aug 26, 2012

My girlfriend has been through a few Brother sewing machines for her business and now we have two of
THESE

Steel internal construction, super reliable. Runs through my heavy Duck Cloth, webbing, neoprene, denim, and vinyl without any problems.


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By jc5462
Nov 2, 2012

Juki LU-562


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By Jayne4567
Jun 2, 2013

The Singer 9960 quantum is really good. It has a lot of features and was relatively low priced. Here is a review

Singer 9960 Quantum


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