During Episode 66 of Ripstop on the Record , Heath Jackson from 77 Gear Co reviewed the Sewing Machine Scoring Criteria, which outlines seven criteria to assess your sewing machine. Heath Jackson spent the past six years developing this tool.
Like many makers, he had a dream of making a project to enable his outdoor pursuits. What started as just a tool became his infatuation. Since then he has bought and restored over 30 machines. While working with these machines Heath, kept careful notes on seven distinctive features. With the help of friendly internet compatriots the homemade spreadsheet has become fairly extensive. Now you can see how the machines ranked and stacked up against each other.
In this blog, we'll take a closer look at the scoring system's seven criteria to help you choose the best (new) antique sewing machine for your needs: Power, Strength, Finesse, Durability, Ease, Features, and Cost.
Before we hop into the scoring system, there are a few disclaimers of what types of antique domestic machines are included in the scoring system. In order to be considered for rating the sewing machines we reviewed must have the following:
A sewing machine's power is essential because it determines how efficiently it can handle various fabrics. In this category, we want to consider the strength of the motor, the pull of the belt, and the whole system that makes the machine go.
You'll want to find a machine that can handle everything from lightweight cotton to heavier fabrics like denim. If you're not working with heavy fabrics, you don't need an industrial machine, but you'll still want a machine with a motor that can keep up with your projects.
The strength of a sewing machine refers to its punching power which is not to be confused with the previous category. This has to do with the internal components and how well it can penetrate thick fabrics or several layers of fabric without jamming or breaking needles. Look for machines that have a high punching power to handle heavy duty fabrics with ease.
Other things to look at here are how strong are the feed dogs and how wide are the feed dogs?
There are a lot of resources to finding used machines. Check out your local thrift store, garage sale, or online marketplace. The lower the rating, the more cost-effective.
1 = Under $50
2 = Below $200
10 = Above $3,000
Here is the most recent version of the scoring system. Please keep in mind that there are some requirements listed above and this model is focused on a new maker deciding on a first Vintage (and some not so Vintage) machine.
Even better, request a change to a current machine or add a machine that's not on the list through this form.
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