Sunday, July 01, 2007

Normally, I am not an impluse buyer.

(and I am about to tell one of my long, drawn out stories. Sorry.)

Anyone who has gone shopping with me knows this, and is often frustrated by it. Shopping for fun? I am perfectly willing to walk out of most stores without buying anything. My mom will point out something in a store, and I'll look, and then put it back. I'll think about buying it, but most of the time, unless I absolutely love it, and have been waiting to buy it for awhile, I'll pass on buying.

Last night, after dinner, I needed to go to JoAnn Fabrics to buy a couple of yards of cotton drill for a corset and bodice lining, and 10 yards of white muslin, for another shirt for my son, and a second smock for myself. I was also going to look at trim for the red velvet and damask gown I am working on next.

I walked out with the drill, but left everything else behind. I also walked out with something else that I hadn't planned on buying...

Here's a little backstory.

Last summer, I nearly killed my old sewing machine. I nursed it back to health, and was able to get it running again, but it still skips bobbin stitches from time to time, and has been sounding worse and worse, despite oiling and loving care, over the last couple of months. It's a Brother VX-1120, and it is nearly nine years old. I have tons of presser feet for it, thanks to my mom's sharp eye at a garage sale quite a few years ago. I love this machine, but it can only do straight and zig-zag stiches, and is really meant to be a beginner's machine. And I can't afford to have it break down on me.

So, I have been hitting Goodwill and the Salvation Army stores for a second-hand machine for the last year, finding nothing but overpriced crap at the Salvation Army Store ($25 for a broken, 20 year old sewing machine???), and only one, flimsy machine at Goodwill (which usually sells them for about $15, sometimes with a sewing cabinet). So, nothing suitable. I couldn't see spending $25 on a machine, only to have to take it in for repairs which could end up tripling the price.

Now, about six weeks ago, as I was in the ER waiting, I leafed through my JoAnn Fabrics flyer. They were having a half price sale on selected sewing machines. I was somewhat excited, except for the fact that I was in an ER, which meant medical bills. I was bummed, because they had some decent machines on sale.

So, I forgot about it.

Until last night.

When I walked by an aisle cap, and saw a few machines, and actually stopped to read the prices (I had walked past this aisle no less than four times in the past couple of weeks). I agonized over the three machines they had out. One was clearly out of my range at $175, and was mainly for quilting. One was cheap at $63.97. One was in the middle at $87.95. I had the cheap and the middle one in my cart at alternate times, and then I walked past another stack of machines that were on sale for $68, and $101.

As I was pondering which one would be best for me, one of the ladies who works there told me that most of the machines had just had the prices lowered again, but hadn't been tagged yet! So, she helped me by checking the prices again, and then steered me away from one that her brother had purchased, and that had not worked well with heavy fabrics. I ended up getting the middle priced one that I had wanted, a White 2380.

Original price, according to Amazon, was $299!!!! This was on sale on the JoAnn Fabrics site for $130. I got it for $62, after my $5 off coupon!!!

So, last night, I read through the very complicated manual, and familiarized myself with the different controls and adjustment areas. This is not a beginner machine, and offers a great deal of control in terms of adjusting tension on both upper and lower threads (the lower tension on my old machine has to be adjusted by a repair person). It has a variable pressure foot, which should help tremendously when I am trying to get through seven layers of fabric and encounter a bulky seam line. It also has an automatic button hole maker, with a special foot that holds the button so that it makes the button hole the right size. Not that I make button holes for anything now (mostly because I hate making button holes, because I always screw up, and can't stand the thought of ruining garb at the button hole stage).

The fact that this machine offers so many points of adjustment is a little intimidating. I could see where it could be very easy to mess up, and end up with crap stitches. I am anxious to try it out now that I finished reading the manual. I think a little "blackwork embroidery" on the edge of my handkerchief might be a good test of how the different stiches work.

I'm off to play with my new toy. We'll see if this impulse buy ended up being a good choice...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was directed to this entry by google, as I have been searching and searching for parts for the Brother VX-1120. It's my first machine, bought and used once by my mother a few years ago and now acquired by me ;) However, it seems to be missing a few things, including the extension table it came with. I suppose my question for you is, do you have any clue where I might find parts for this machine? I've had no luck with eBay or anything else. Or possibly, would you be willing to sell your beloved Brother for parts? If you have any ideas, I'd be ever so gracious. Hope the new machine is lovely!