The Wrong Tool

Unfortunately I tried to use my Singer 9960 sewing machine to sew a spa cover with vinyl. I didn’t stop the first time the machine jammed. Just cleared the jamb and continued. Then it jammed again and I could not continue. The needle and foot stopped moving. So it had to go in for repair and I’m pretty sure it will be expensive.
At first the stitching went fine.

Singer 9960 computerized machine

I used clips instead of pins and a size 18 needle with Coats and Clark outdoor thread.

Beginning to stitch

I also used a walking foot which is an attachment that has feed teeth above the material to help pull heavy and slick material through the needle.

Holding the vinyl flat

I was able to sew the long flat seams but the boxed end was too much for the machine. After it went in for repair I tried to find a machine that was up to the job. The Sailrite machines were given the best reviews. There are competitors like the TuffSew and the Barracuda. Some of these cost much less but among successes were many negative experiences. So I scoured eBay for options. I looked at the competition and at the Sailrite machines. I bid on an old Ultrafeed LS-1 and won it but found the listing didn’t include information about missing parts. I was fortunate the seller refunded the money.

The machine was missing the bobbin plate and although the seller tested that the foot worked it was hard to tell if other parts were missing too.

Ebay auction Ultrafeed LS-1 original 2000-2006
Ebay auction Ultrafeed LS-1 original 2000-2006

This ancient machine with shipping would cost half of a new one! The history of Sailrite machines explains that the tooling of the metal case was rough so they switched to a new company in 2007. I could tell this machine was that first version by the label.

Old Sailrite casting
Old Sailrite casting

After this experience I bid on a newer LSZ-1 (zigzag) Premium model with several included notions like thread and basting tape.

Ebay auction LSZ-1 Premium package w/notions
Ebay auction LSZ-1 Premium package w/notions

My bid was quickly surpassed and it currently stands at $1315 plus $60 shipping with 3 1/2 days to go. Granted the thread is expensive at about $140 a spool for the Tenara brand. But this premium package is $1395 brand new with a 5 year warranty.
So I decided to purchase the Basic package of the Ultrafeed LSZ-1 which is the blue zigzag capable machine. The red machine is straight stitch only. I opted not to pay extra for a case or heavy duty wheel because this machine itself is very powerful. The basic version comes with a wooden base.

New Sailrite portable sewing machines
New Sailrite portable sewing machines

Although the website indicated that machines were being built and might be delayed, my machine shipped right away and is due In a couple of days. How exciting.

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