Thursday, 6 August 2009

My Sewing Machine

Well, I still think of this blog as a little notebook for me - and I love it for that! It is the first notebook I have ever had that I am not able to misplace, lose, tuck into a drawer somewhere and spend hours looking for.... etc etc.

I have noticed though, that a few people have come here looking for information about Lervia sewing machines, so I want to give them some information. I'm not an expert, or professional, but I did learn to sew on my Mum's machine a little before I started school and so before I learnt to read and write. Thirty years ago - eek, how did that happen?

I've had this machine, I think, for about two years, and she has got a fair bit of use in the last year and a half. For the price, I think it is a pretty solid mechanical machine. To me, the weight of the machine indicates that it has more metal than plastic parts, which I take as a good sign.

The biggest problem I have had is with tension, partly my fault. I have only recently learnt that you should only adjust the upper tension when the foot is down. This has made so much difference! I don't remember having been taught this by my Mum, or at school, or reading it anywhere - and now I want to pass on this information to everyone, it's logical, when the foot is down the machine is "in action". Perhaps I knew and had forgotten, I spent five or six years travelling and working, without a machine...

Of course, using decent thread and needles is very important. Not just because of the project you are sewing, but using thread that is weak and frays, or bent, blunt needles can damage the machine, foot plate and bobbins. I generally use gutermann 100% polyester thread, or the 100% cotton thread from Ikea. I have also used special machine quilting thread and some special shiny metalic and embroidery threads with success.

I have just started buying schmetz needles online from Jaycotts, I invested in a box of 100 size 14/90 needles so that I would not be tempted to use old needles, it also works out a lot cheaper. This is the size I use most frequently for medium-weight cotton (like the solid colours from Ikea) and for quilting. I use size 12/80 for light weight cotton (quilting/dress weight) and a size 16/100 needle for some of the thicker furnishing and canvas weight fabrics (again, mostly from Ikea) and with lighter fabrics if there are a lot of seams/layers to sew through - for instance when attaching a strap to a bag.

This machine came with a zigzag, buttonhole, zipper, button and blind hem foot. I have bought a few universal feet to use with it. This Lervia is a low-shank model. I use the walking-foot a lot (universal from Jaycotts - but comes in Janome packaging), not just for quilting, but to make sure patterns are aligned, seams stay even and I find it prevents ribbons and trims from slipping around. I am also just beginning to learn free-motion quilting and have been using a metal darning foot, as it broke this week I have temporarily fixed it, but have a new one ordered. I also have a generic invisible zip foot, pintuck foot and have a 1/4" patchwork foot ordered. From my old singer machine (I miss it's solidness - she's in England) I find that the feet I have for her also fit on this machine - this may not always be the case - I know some Singers are slant-shanked machines, so their feet would not fit onto a low-shank machine.

Well, this is a long post! I am so grateful to the people that have put all the information on the internet, I hope this is paying just a little back. Living far away from a library has made the internet the first place I turn to for help. If there is anyone out there that would like more information on the sewing machine, feet, techniques or help with something, please leave a comment, and if I can help I will!


Rita said...

Thank you very much! This is really great information!
I was about to buy a jaycotts walking foot like yours, when I tried a walking foot from Bernettre machine (from Bernina) that was cheaper, and it works like a charm!

Soja said...

Great! Glad you found a solution. Sounds like a great walking foot, Bernina is good make. I just got the foot from Jaycotts because it was the only one I could find with decent shipping at the time I was looking. It's good to know that the Bernettre feet will fit!

Nicola said...

Thank you for your blog post! I'm looking to get a walking foot for my Lervia machine and it's good to know what type I need from someone who's used it in the same make. Great tips!