Sewing machine for a weaver recommendation?

I've never really sewn, but as I get into doing more weaving on my rigid heddle loom, I find I have the need for a sewing machine to finish ends and do hems. I was thinking of just going out and getting a small, inexpensive machine, but thought I'd see if anyone here would recommend a certain brand or that I should look for a specific function/feature. I know I need a zig-zag stitch and I think it would be helpful to look a machine that'll accomodate very thick fabrics (as my rigid heddle stuff tends to be bulky) - anything else I should consider?

Thank you!


Posted on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 13:15

Hi DreamHope, I'm not sure what brand to recommend but as a starter the zig-zag feature is important and maybe as you progress in the future you might consider investing in an overlock sewing machine (I think also called a serger) that is a dream for a weaver because it cuts and sews up the edge at the same time.


Posted on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 04:30

If you are working on a rigid heddle loom, your fabrics tend to be a bit on the heavy side and also are not terribly firm.

Believe it or not, one or two rows of straight stitching work better at binding off an edge than zigzag or serging.

What you need in a sewing machine is the ability to work with heavier fabrics, and do a line of stitching that doesn't distort your fabric. I had one of the inexpensive machines and found it didn't work that well with thick seams. I now use a Husqvarna Viking machine that still runs on cams rather than electronic controls, and it works very well with handwoven items of all thicknesses.

Posted on Mon, 07/20/2009 - 17:35

 I'm going to have to say that I found that my older machines (pre-1940) work very well on thicker handwoven fabrics than my second machine did (an inexpensive 1980's era brother that I wore out, It was given to me when I was very mad that my first machine had been given away without warning-  it was a pre 1940 kenmore)  I was amazed the first time I made something with handspun fabric and my 1938 featherweight.  Such a little machine, but it handled the heavier fabric better than my brother ever had.

The one issue with them is that they don't do zig-zag without a special attachment, which is still kind of tricky to work with.  The buttonhole attachments are wonderful.   I also have a serger that has worked well on items woven with as thick of yarn as worsted, not just fine yarn.