I started my Menswear Sewing class homework today.
I spent about an hour and a half over at FIT practicing on a Juki industrial. This is what a typical classroom looks like. Nice and bright.
The machine I used -- I'm not sure if they're all this model -- is the Juki DDL-5550N. It's a straight-stitch industrial machine and it's super-powerful. Professor B said (if I remember correctly) that they're built to run 24/7 for 14 years -- or something like that.
This is the pedal.
This is the knee lever that lifts the presser foot. (You push to the right)
This knob controls stitch length.
I supplied my own presser foot, screw, bobbin, and bobbin case.
I found I was able to control the speed better when I had both feet on the pedal -- my right foot toward the top right and my left foot toward the lower left: a bit like my old treadle. Yes, it will race if you're not careful, but it's not that hard to control the speed; it just takes practice.
My assignment was to fill three lined pages with perfectly stitched straight lines. I think I did a pretty good job. (I threw away a fair number of pages too, don't get me wrong.)
I made a little movie so you can hear how it sounds. (Forgive the sucky quality; I'm still using an old camera.)
Since I was there already and had brought along my newly purchased bobbin, bobbin case, and presser foot -- and had thread in my bag -- I decided to see if I could figure out how to wind a bobbin, load it, and start sewing. I did!
The bobbin winder is totally intuitive.
The bobbin loads into the bobbin case exactly the way a Class 15 bobbin does on my Singer 15-91. I had to ask someone else in the room to help me thread the needle as my eyes were tired. Good thing I did: I had been trying to thread the needle right to left instead of left to right!
The stitches looked great. (Better than my Bernina 930 or Singer 201? Not really. But SO STRONG.)
I really like this machine. A lot.
Poking around online, I see that it goes for less than $1000, table included. Here's one on eBay
with the Servo motor which, as I understand it, is much quieter than
the regular (cheaper) motor. On Craigslist, I found someone selling a different model,
the DDL=8700, which Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics reviewed here. It also sounds awfully nice.
I must confess that my apartment is closer to FIT than my freshman dorm was
to my college eating hall, so it's not a big deal getting over there to
sew. Still, wouldn't it be nice to have my own? What do you think?
(And where would I put it?)
Is an industrial worth the cost?
For garment sewing, I think they're ideal, but it should be said that with this model, you can't even reinforce a jeans pocket with a satin stitch -- it's strictly a straight-stitch machine.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!