A Small Sewing Machine With Big-Machine Features
|March 15, 2004||in Product Reviews|
A review of
from White Sewing Machine Company
The White Quilter’s Machine Model 1740 sewing machine proves once again that good things can come in small packages. The Quilter’s Machine is in the same “featherweight” category as the Janome Jem Gold as far as size, weight, and price ($299 MSRP) are concerned. But for such a small sewing machine, it certainly has a lot of big-machine features.
Read my review of the Janome Jem Gold
Small sewing machines like the Quilter’s Machine have a smaller harp — the opening under the arm — than a full-size machine. The Quilter’s Machine’s measures just over four inches in width and height. Packed up and ready to go, the machine weighs only 13 pounds — light enough for almost any quilter to carry.
The Quilter’s Machine’s carrying case is one of my favorite features. It has a front and back instead of a top and bottom. The front swings open from left to right and disconnects from the machine at a hinge.
The front of the case has plenty of storage — spindles for thread and bobbins, and an accessory box with room for over a dozen feet, extra bobbins, an extra spool spindle, screwdrivers, and other small items.
The back of the case snaps off and becomes an extension of the machine bed for easier sewing. Even with this extension in place, the Quilter’s Machine measures only 22-1/2 inches end to end. Without the extension table, it measures 13-1/2. This is a very small footprint for a machine with so many features.
Stitch Length And Width
For example, The Quilter’s Machine gives you complete control over stitch length and width. You’re not limited to the one-size-fits-all stitches that are all that some small sewing machines offer. You can even adjust the stitch balance to make the stitches look perfect on any material or create some variety in stitch appearance.
The Quilter’s Machine includes 16 stitches and one four-part manual buttonhole. But with the ability to control the stitches in every way, you get many functions from each stitch. For example, you can adjust the zigzag to a large or small size, or you can use the buttonhole to make a satin stitch.
There are also two feather stitches, a blind hem stitch, and a couple of stretch stitches that can be used for machine applique.
In my testing, I used the blind hem stitch with monofilament thread on top and regular sewing thread in the bottom. I sewed a piece of leather to a cotton background. The blind hem stitch did a great job.
I tested the 1/4″ piecing foot and found that the edge of the fabric must be completely hidden under the foot to get the right seam size. But it only took a couple of tries before I could get a good 1/4″ seam allowance consistently.
The walking foot has deep, sprocket-like teeth that really grab the fabric as it feeds through the machine.
The Quilter’s Machine also has an embroidery foot for free-motion quilting. I had a little trouble getting the embroidery foot on and off at first. I’ve since figured out how to do it more easily, and it only cost me one hole in my thumb.
The feed dogs don’t drop, but the feed dog cover works fine without any drag on the fabric when doing free-motion quilting.
Testing Fabric And Thread
I tested many kinds of fabrics and threads on the Quilter’s Machine. It handled mixed thread (top and bottom) with mixed fabric (like leather and cotton) easily. Mixed thread in particular can create problems for other sewing machines.
I also tried rayon, quilting, polyester, cotton-wrapped polyester, metallic, and cone threads. I tested two threads on two spindles, first going through one needle, and then through a double needle. Because the Quilter’s Machine has two tension disks, it handled the twin-needle work just fine.
With all the thread testing I did, I really appreciate the Quilter’s Machine’s needle threader!
Controlling The Speed
The Quilter’s Machine has a Start/Stop button and a speed adjustment like many expensive sewing machines do. I used these features with all kinds of sewing and found them easy to control.
The Quilter’s Machine also has a one-stitch button and a needle up/down button, too. I like both those features.
The overall performance of the Quilter’s Machine was very good. It doesn’t have quite as much power as my bigger sewing machine, of course, so on thick combinations of fabrics I had to help it feed a little. But for standard piecing, machine applique, and three-layer machine quilting, the Quilter’s Machine should be just fine.
Unfortunately, the machine’s thread cutter is barely visible and hard to use. I found it easier to use scissors to snip my threads. There is a thread cutter available in sewing catalogs that you stick to the side of your sewing machine that I would get to mount on the Quilter’s Machine. For a couple of bucks, this cutter would save a lot of time.
A Great Second Machine
If you own a top-of-the-line sewing machine, you’ve probably decided that it’s too heavy and too valuable to drag around to classes and retreats. Or maybe you have an expensive sewing/embroidery machine and wish you could still sew while your big machine is busy stitching an embroidery design.
Or maybe you are on a tight budget but would really like to have some of the new features available on expensive sewing machines today. Any of these are good reasons to consider a White Quilter’s Machine Model 1740.
I think this little machine, with its big-machine features, is a winner. It’s handy for quilting on the go. It’s inexpensive enough to be a second machine. But it can still do some serious work on a small scale. Just don’t expect to machine quilt bed-sized quilts on it.
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Where To Buy: Quilter’s Machine