this is not a toy

Lookit my new sewing machine!  It’s a JUKI DDL-8700, straight stitch only.  It’s the machine often used in tailor shops and garment factories.

My friend Cory of Leif Labs has been on my case to get an industrial sewing machine to make me a faster, more powerful project bag maker.  Cory is a masterful maker of messenger bags and once in awhile he’ll make you a backpack if you ask reeeeeal nice and promise to cook him a few meals — if you scroll down on the post linked above, you’ll see me on a bike with that backpack.

Cory’s been doing lots of research because he can’t help himself, and finally talked me into getting the machine.  He already has a handful of sewing machines, so I’d figured I better let him direct his energies toward my production.  He facilitated the ordering and delivery and setup of the machine too, so how could I resist.  Really.

We ordered this machine from Keystone Sewing Machine Company in Philadelphia, and they were so helpful and knowledgeable.  Cory reports that this was the smoothest, best experience he’s had yet when it comes to ordering large mechanical objects from distant places.  They assembled the machine, mounted the motor on its own table, and literally wrapped it up on a shipping palette for delivery.  If you have a commercial address, you can get free shipping (no, I don’t have a commercial address, but someone’s well-connected in CoMo).

Obviously, there’s no turning back.  I managed to oil and thread it all by myself, spent longer than I care to admit trying to install the bobbin, then decided to give it a test drive.  HELLO.  This mama is fast.  I honestly can’t believe how quiet it is, and zipzipzip I can sew a pile of seams in probably one-third the time it took before (Singer Featherweight II is getting a serious vacation).

I didn’t know this, but industrial sewing machines rest on a table, hovering above a pool of oil.  A little pump sits in the oil to keep the machine evenly lubricated.  See how the machine head tips back so you can fill the reservoir?

Here’s a cool timesaver: that weird black circular thing in front of the motor is a knee-lift for the presser foot.  I never realized it was tedious to need a hand for that!


Here’s the new machine in its natural habitat, the messy dining room:

One more neat timesaver: I can load an empty bobbin onto this winder, tilt a lever to engage the motor belt (bottom left), and it winds the bobbin while I sew!  When it’s full, it automatically disengages (bottom right).

Go look at Cory’s blog right now.  He’s amazing.  He made my Dad a tres cool belt pack a few years ago, and every time I see him, Dad tells me to make sure I tell Cory that the pack is still going strong.  Dad never did realize that fanny packs weren’t cool until they came back as “hip/belt packs.”  Sigh.


3 thoughts on “this is not a toy

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