Saturday, October 17, 2009

HAL is Vanquished

I returned HAL to the store today.  He can no longer terrorize my projects.

I finished what I have named my "Test Dress" using New Look 6195, even though HAL threw fits. Things were pretty hairy at the end, and using decorative stitches was a nightmare. I complained so much that even my DH tried sewing with HAL. He is much more interested in the inner-workings of the machine than that of sewing itself, so in order to ascertain whether my problems with the machine were due to user error or were HAL's fault, he challenged me to a sew-off with the decorative stitches. Of course, he ran the machine at the highest speed possible, so HAL skipped a lot of stitches:

However, my results were just as poor, even at a moderate speed. The feed dogs didn't advance the fabric evenly so in some places the stitches came out weirdly spaced and looked like this:

It may seem that my report of the needle becoming unthreaded without breaking was simply the work of an inexpert sewist, so check out this report about the Brother CE-5000, older sister to HAL:

Q.  Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

A.  If I don't have like thirty thousand feet of thread hanging out of the needle, it comes unthreaded. (Okay, not that much. Maybe three inches. But enough to be really annoying.)

I learned that the hard way! 

I shared all of this with you for those who may be considering buying an economical, lower-end Brother sewing machine.  Don't make the same mistake I did!  I think Brother makes some wonderful electronic products (we have a great Brother printer and scanner), but  I just don't think that they do sewing machines well.  Brother produces some higher-end machines in their line, and now manufactures the Baby Lock brand. Perhaps more care is put into those machines.  Certainly many economical machines on the market are no longer made with the solid construction of years past when mechanical gears, stitch plates, and bobbins were made of metal instead of plastic.

So I started doing my homework. Some of you have shared your thoughts with me here and on FaceBook fan page, and I very much appreciate your opinions.  I read reviews at PatternReview.comConsumer Reports reviewed sewing machines in January 2005 and earlier this yearSew, Mama, Sew began a sewing machine meme this summer, and I was able to read about many different machines.  I consulted my sewing instructor and classmates too.

Sweet relief: I bought a new machine today. I will share more about her tomorrow!


  1. OMG I cannot wait to hear about your new machine, excitement of excitement! Well, I tagged you as having an Over the Top Blog! yay! So of course, it comes with a questionarre, if you feel like joining in the fun, here is the "thread" (all ten thousand feet of it! lol)

  2. WOW StarsandRobots! THANK YOU!!!! My first award!


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