Sunday, July 9, 2017

Revised Opinion

If you have been reading my past blog entries you know I have no love for Singer sewing machines made after about 1968. I have bought a few, sold a few, and had to junk too many so I don't go down that road anymore. If you have one and love it that's great but for As it turns out when I have a prejudice like this, something comes along to change my mind and that's what happened this past week.

So there I was on a long holiday weekend, checking out the Craigslist ads, posting ads for a few of my sewing machines when I find a Singer Quantum XL-6000 for sale. This is not just a 2004 sewing machine for sale, but a complete embroidery attachment with all the bells and whistles. It's hardly even for sale because at this price it's being given away. A quick email and then a text and I'm in the car because I was told it would be sold to the first one who gets there. So has anyone else said they were on the road yet I ask? Nope, I am the first so it's pedal to the metal and I'm there in 15 minutes. There was a brief statement in the ad about it needing service so I asked how it was performing and the older gentleman selling it said it made a clunking noise when sewing something heavy. He offered to plug it in but I said no, I would take it as is, hoping he wouldn't find out the might not be anything wrong after all. Here's the sewing machine set up for sewing only:
Singer Quantum XL-6000
It came with manuals, embroidery unit in it's own carrying case, software, converter box, thread exchanger, hoops, knee lever, and other parts I can only gaze at and wonder where they go and what they might do. I do a quick test because I'm needed elsewhere and it does sew but it's loud. Hummm. What's up with that? I get back to it a few days later only to find it has a honking big needle, size 18, so it runs like a tank with that big needle on two layers of cotton. I size the needle down and she sounds and runs just fine. I need to have the manual out because there's a touch screen with icons I'm not familiar with yet but things move right along. I'm ready to sew some aprons for a friend of mine and I start to think maybe I should see if I could add some of this fancy embroidery the machine is capable of. I talk myself into getting it all out and practice making one of the floral motifs but it's harder than I thought. I check out information online and decide to join a Yahoo group for this model to see what might be found for free. I'm all about free! After being accepted into the group I get a very nice email from the moderator who sends along a manual (already have) and a workbook along with encouragement. The workbook did the trick and I got it running. Here's my test:
First shot using the embroidery unit
Okay, I need to learn about color changing but I dive in, add iron-on interfacing to the back of the area I'm planning to add this to, and get stitching. It comes out much better this time with appropriate colors but still not as flat as I would like:
Second try with better colors and firmer fabric

Here's the apron all finished (the buttons and buttonholes are waiting until I have more to make).
Apron done with embroidery (buttons just for show at this point)
I text my friend and post it on Facebook and it's a GO on making another one in a larger size. Here's the fabric I've cut out to make the next one and while I'm at it I might as well make two more to sell.
Fabric for next aprons: the middle green print is a Waverly
There's a variety of ways I can finish these with piping or rick-rack but for now I'm just glad I got them cut out and ready to sew: sometimes that's the hardest part. What is my evaluation of the Singer Quantum XL-6000? So far it has been nice, performing more than adequately, but I've only made one item and haven't really put it to the test. There's much potential there so stay tuned as I continue to learn about it and see if I can get it to embroider without puckering (I know that's a skill I need to learn about stablizers and interfacing).  My revised opinion of later Singer models stands revised: if you buy a high end model (the XL-6000 was $3000 when new) you are probably getting a higher quality sewing machine. If you are buying used for way less, it's a GO!


Jonathan said...

Beautiful apron!
I have a question about local sewing machine repair guy says I need to use Singer needles in my Singer sewing machines. I told him I've used Schmetz with no problems. He said some part of the needle is different and that Singer needles are better for Singers. What are your thoughts.

Karen said...

I have also heard that new Singers should use Singer needles. And I have also heard new Singer needles should not be used in vintage sewing machines because their quality is not as good as others. I think you can be the judge about what works best by experimentation.