Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sew, I Made the Decision

Last week I was pondering my options about  my suddenly-faulty sewing machine. The problem was that I coudln't get it to pick up the bobbin thread, and there was a slight knocking sound. At that time,  I thought I had three options (repair and keep, buy a refurb, or buy a new machine). But really  I had five options, as it turns out:

Option 1 (which I hadn't considered, but hubby threw out there): do nothing. 

Option 2:   have my machine repaired (an 18 year old Kenmore 385)  for $85.  For $20 the repairman had diagnosed that there was a small part broken off in the bobbin compartment, and the timing needed an adjustment, and the whole thing needed a good oiling and cleaning. He noted the slight knocking noise and said it wasn't worth pursuing (too minor). If I were to have him fix it, he'd apply the $20 to the bill.  This repairman/dealer is very reputable in the county.

Option 3:  Buy a refurbished  New Home by Janome, 15 years old which, after trading in my machine for $50, would cost $99.  But that machine was harder to read than my own, not much quieter, and looked boring to me.  It had the good name, though,  which says a lot.

Option 4: Buy a new Necchi, which was in my price range.  Cool features and warranty.  But it was pretty basic and on the loud side.

Option 5:  Buy a  new Janome MyStyle 100, a bit above my price point (not much), and I probably would adore it.    The cool factor was all over it. Very quiet, ultra smooth, brand new and easy to understand, drop-in bobbin, 25 year warranty from the manufacturer, and 1 year warranty from the dealer.

What to do? What to do?  Well, I wasn't going to make a decision on the spot, that's for "darn" sure.

I brought my old  machine home after the diagnosis.  The next thing I did was read my manual cover-to-cover to see just what all I might have been missing all these years with regard to features. Lo and behold, I could do everything short of fancy embroidery on a regular basis.   An overlock stitch could be used to make a nice hem; I don't need a serger or professional tailor on my pants and jeans!

My husband listened to my options and paid attention when I showed him the pictures online of my favorites. He asked me which was my preference. Was he really entertaining the thought of buying me a new one for Christmas? I said my preference was the new Janome for $229 (my cost after trade-in).

He also reminded me that there's a lot of life left on the motor of my Kenmore.  He's right.

Research, on top of personal experience,  showed me how well my Kenmore mechanical machine is made.  This is the first repair in 18 years? Not too shabby! To paraphrase one source, "Sewing machines made in the 60's, 70's, and 80's , and earlier, were not made to last for years or even to last for decades. They were made to last for generations."

Many of today's machines have fancy shmantzy technology, but they are renowned for breaking. A motherboard going kaput on an electronic sewing machine  might make this mother jump overboard!

As for justifying the "cool" factor, could I?.  It's  cool to have drop-off, snap-on feet , drop-in bobbin, a quieter, smoother run, and a 25 year warranty on a new Janome, but  I had to advise myself as if I were advising someone else. My husband is so good about that. "What would tell someone else who wanted the advice you want?"  he always asked when I am having a hard time making a decision.  I would ask someone, "Which one would you be content with? Which decision would be easiest on your conscience?"

In the end, what did I decide?

The option to do nothing was not an option for the creator in me. When I get a yen to sew, it's very rewarding and often economical.

The option to get an older Janome had too many unknowns.

The Necchi was simply too noisy.  I can put up with visible clutter a lot longer than I can stand audible clutter.  Especially repetitive noise.

The new Janome wowed me, but I had gone into the shop saying, "I will not be seduced. I will be wise."   Looking at all those shiny, new, do-everything-you-can-imagine-and-then-some machines would call for brakes on my greed. ( However, if I saw one that would silence my dogs and the neighbors' dogs  on command, I would make haste to slap serious Benjamins down on the table.  I saw no such thing.)

The option to keep my old friend Kenny Moore (Kenmore?)  was the one I chose.  I put him back in the shop on Thursday for the repair and tune-up,  and he is already finished. I can pick him up Monday. For a treat, I will buy him a couple new feet so I can do zipper and buttonholes when the "notion" strikes.

I am content to keep the machine I have.   We've stayed up many a night together.  We know each other pretty well. We've gotten on each other's nerves and  kept each other in stitches.  (Well, that's Kenny's job.)   We've made shorts for the kids, curtains for the kitchen, quilts for charity, gifts for family and friends. We've communicated and miscommunicated. We've said we ought to get together more often.   We've agreed that our friendship is worth 85 bucks.  And so we will be reunited next week and ready to start in on the next project I've been mulling over for a month, and which I hope to complete before Christmas Eve.


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