Stitch quality means different things to many people. I have had enough experience on different machines to appreciate the difference between a “good” straight stitch, and a “great” straight stitch. Thus, I have my on view of stitch quality, and it is a testament to the quality of manufacture in all of the metal vintage sewing machines I chose to acquire. For me, it is a laser straight stitch where the end of one stitch aligns perfectly straight to the beginning of the next stitch on the top and the bottom. The top thread locks with the bobbin thread in the middle of the fabric, and the stitch is tight without puckering on fine fabric like silk. I have seen different singer models achieve this, and seen good results on other machine manufacturers. Others will swear by the quality of their machine brand as well. There are many quality machines out there that are capable, but not “quite there”. So, I since I am convinced in the quality of different brands and models of these all metal vintage machines, I have determined that it all comes down to adjustments and tuning.
There are many factors that affect stitch quality. These include hook timing, needle bar adjustment, presser foot and feed dog alignment, presser foot pressure, needle selection, take up spring adjustment, bobbin case tension adjustment, and proper top tension adjustment, condition of the motor belt (if belt driven) and proper threading. Interestingly enough, I don’t see much difference in the bobbin case style. I have achieved great stitch quality in horizontal, vertical, and vibrating shuttle machines. Two machines my wife uses, a Singer model 27 vibrating shuttle machine made in 1874 and a Singer model 28 vibrating shuttle machine made in 1889 both produce a phenomenal stitch. What they lack in features, they make up for admirably in stitch quality. They didn’t come to me that way, but the ability to adjust and tune a true Victorian era sewing machine that can do that amazes me.
Information on how to make these adjustments on many different machine makes and models are available on line. The hardest part in getting this level of tuning is trial and error and making repetitive “fine”adjustments. If you are willing to take the time to do it, you will see just how well your machine can sew…
Now, heres the rub… Your perfect balanced stitch is matched to the top thread, the bottom thread, and the fabric combination you used for the adjustments! Good news is that your stitch quality will be greatly improved for all of your sewing conditions… These all metal vintage machines are very forgiving and when tuned properly will sew wonderfully for a variety of applications and projects.