Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Toy For Bud

Well Bud got a new toy this week, the Singer Monogrammer for slant shank, zig zag machines.   It is one of those gadgets I see on eBay for $10 and I've just gotta have it.  (More about those later...some I've turned around and sold again after I satisfied my curiosity!)

Anyway, in my sewing room the Singer 503 is my most state of the art machine which goes to show just how into vintage I am.  I don't have a machine (other than my Babylock BL3-408 from the '80's) that is less than 50 years old!

First a few words about Bud and why you might or might not want a 503, then I'll get to the monogrammer.

1. This is a really cool machine!  I love the color and the style and I smile every time I look at it.  :)

2.  He has features I occasionally need such as zig zag, twin needle stitching, and of course the deco stitches.  Super easy drop in bobbin and elevated throat plate.  With the overcast foot I get a nice seam finish on fine fabrics and in tight spots when I don't want to use the serger.  And he sews on all my buttons.

3.  Well, I can't think of a number three except that this machine is kind of a classic and I just like having it (which goes back to number one, but that is the general idea.)

1.  He is BIG, a formidable presence next to the daintier black & gold Singers.  But since he is not a cabinet mounted model I can tuck him in his (large) case and set him out of the way if I need to use the table.

2.  His stitching isn't fast and smooth, he kind of chugs along like Thomas the Tank Engine.

3.  I find the slant needle a little temperamental.  It won't sew over pins - Bud coughs up a hairball (my term for a thread nest) every time I forget and go over one.   He doesn't handle well starting out on a very thick or thin edge - either one gets me another hairball.   He is a poor topstitcher because any deviation of fabric thickness throws him off and I end up with uneven stitches.

So the Singer Monogrammer.  It fits on the machine similar to the buttonholer and it works in a similar way except that it moves the needle itself rather than the fabric.
Theoretically, looking at the illustrations on the box, it makes a nice, dense satin stitched monogram.  In reality it doesn't make a satin stitch at all, but rather widely spaced zig zags which look kind of messy.  (Stitch length adjustments won't matter since the feed is disengaged.)  However, using a straight stitch it makes an acceptable, if not fantastic, monogram:
The letters are only 1/2" so it really isn't suitable for anything other than maybe collars, cuffs, handkerchiefs or an eyeglass case.  Oh well...curiosity satisfied!

But I did figure out one useful tip in this experiment.  Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I am late to the party and just figured out that common freezer paper (about $3.00 a box) makes great stabilizer for embroidery!
For anyone else who didn't know this, it is much cheaper than stabilizer and easier to use since it comes right off the roll.  You adhere it by ironing the plastic coated side to your fabric so there is no slipping or bunching and no basting required.  When you're done it peels right off.  (Apparently quilters already know this trick...I don't quilt so that explains it!)   And while you're at it, you can take your fabric ironed onto the freezer paper and put it right through your inkjet printer to print anything you want right on the fabric - no iron on transfers needed.  How cool is that?  :)

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