April 8 – Sewing Machines, Past and Present

Today while I was stalking blogs and I came across a great post by Carolyn over at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. She was talking about sewing machine maintenance. What a great topic. One thing I learned was that when cleaning your machine you should not use ‘Canned’ Air. Hmm… I haven’t used it but always thought that it was a great idea, until now. Make sure and check out her post for other great maintenance information.

I sat down and began to think about the sewing machines that I have had in my life.
My mother’s sewing machine was a Brother, that poor machine, i turned every dial and handle on as a small child, until I am sure it became unusable. I have often wondered what became of that machine. I never once thought I would wish that I had it. My first sewing machine was a used one, I think it was a Kenmore and it worked. But I would always steer clear of buttons because I could never make a buttonhole that fit my choice of buttons or make consistent sized buttonholes. After using it for a couple of years I just finally gave up on creating any garments at all. Someone ask me about it and I gave it to them.

Several years past but after the birth of my son I felt the urge to create again (Some may call this nesting ) so I went out and bought my first new sewing machine, it was a Brother XL2022 that I bought at our KMart in 1988. I chose it because it was a sewing machine that offered one step buttonholes and it was an inexpensive machine. I was excited, it had a buttonhole foot that attached with a place to set your button in and it always made buttonholes to fit the button that I had selected. I was also so excited about the free arm that made sewing on sleeves so easy. Sheer Heaven. I have loved it through the years. I always took care of it and it never gave me problems.

Brother XL-2022

Brother XL-2022

In the late nineties I divorced and somehow got separated from my machine. Finally once things were settled down I got it back, minus the free arm attachment and about 90% of my sewing notions, feet, patterns and fabric that I had accumulated. I was discouraged and lost interest. But I still have her and when I decided in 2010 that perhaps I should get back to my love of sewing she still worked. The task of replacing most of the feet that I needed was daunting. That is when I decided to own a new machine.


I currently use a Brother LB6800PRW, which it really a Brother SE400, with Project Runway Decals and a cute little case on wheels that you can carry around. I have had it for a couple of years now. I remember the day I took it out of the box, I pulled that baby out and unwrapped it like it was one of my children coming from my womb. I set it up on the table and admired it while I looked at all of the gadgets that came with my machine. It sat there for two days while I admired it. Everyone in the house would ask had a used it yet and I stared at them, using my ‘Are you crazy’ look. I just wanted to enjoy the moment for as long as I could. I bought it because I wanted some embroidery capabilities but I knew that I wouldn’t really ever use them. I like that you can download designs on to it, either by cable attached to your PC or by a card. I loved that you don’t have to use the foot pedal but can control it by button on the machine with a speed control. It is my first drop in bobbin, which I really love. So easy to set up and use. It has been relatively trouble free but I did purchase a service manual just in case I have problems.

Brother LB-6800PRW

Brother LB-6800PRW




12 thoughts on “April 8 – Sewing Machines, Past and Present

  1. Annette says:

    I feel like a sewing machine can be like a family member. We get very attached, even when we aren’t using them. I’ve had several and have mourned their deaths. I loved my various Brothers. I still have one as a back up that I have taught my boys to use. I now have a Viking with embroidery. I love it. No one is allowed to touch it. I like to spend a little time with her every day.

  2. Siri says:

    I have a cheap little machine my mom gave me a couple of years ago. At the time, I didn’t sew and she got it for me cause I bought my first house and she figured I needed something to hem curtains with. Last year I suddenly discovered sewing clothes and my machine has served me very well. It is however very basic, and I am trying to make up some excuse to buy a new one 🙂 As a side note, my mother still has the Husquarna machine she got for her wedding and it’s over 40 years old. Still going strong! So that one definitely is a part of the family!

    • ksgentry says:

      I was amazed at the things my machine can do but I am sure that it will never last as long as a real vintage beauty like your Mom’s. Those are classic machines and built to last.

  3. Mads (lifeinamadshouse) says:

    Your machine looks pretty badass! =) I’m definitely jealous of the downloadable embroidery feature; I don’t embroider as yet, but I feel like I’d like to try it someday (on collars, sleeve cuffs, etc.). And the case for your machine sounds AMAZING. I can see why you love it!

  4. Aya in Couturgatory says:

    I am so impressed by all of the stitch patterns on there! I have a Toyota machine that I’ve used since 1998. My mother got it as a prize in a golf tournament years earlier and handed it off to me as she’s about the least domestic person out there. 😀

  5. Maria Carballo says:

    I have a question about the Brother XL2022. I have an opportunity to buy a used one in good condition. Can this machine handle hemming up jeans? Does it have strong needle penetration without hesitation (using a thick needle, of course)?
    Thank you,

    • ksgentry says:

      I have the XL2022 and it has been a work horse. While you should not have any problem with needle penetration you might need a notion called a Jean A Ma Jib. This goes under your pressure foot as you approach the thick seam. You can buy it at your local Joanns: I have attached a link here: http://www.joann.com/dritz-jean-a-ma-jig/2719813.html?mkwid=90XvnvBD|dc&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Shopping+-+Sewing&CS_003=10131488&CS_010=[ProductId]&gclid=CNSkpb3DocICFQmtaQodmp4A9A

      Be aware though that you can not buy any hard parts for this machine. Mine is missing the bed attachment and they have discontinued it several years ago, but all the feet, needles, bobbins are still readily available. Not sure how much they are asking for the machine but I would not pay more than $25 for it. Recently a person tried to sell one on ebay but never got one bid. Good luck with your machine.

      • Maria Carballo says:

        Thank you so much for the quick response and all the info!  I know what you mean about the price.  I am able to find them cheap on ebay but I have to pay shipping :/   I think I will wait until I can find one locally and go pick it up.  Thanks again. Maria From: Sew Much 2 Learn To: mcarballo13@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2014 8:56 PM Subject: [New comment] April 8 – Sewing Machines, Past and Present #yiv4386258288 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv4386258288 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv4386258288 a.yiv4386258288primaryactionlink:link, #yiv4386258288 a.yiv4386258288primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv4386258288 a.yiv4386258288primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv4386258288 a.yiv4386258288primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv4386258288 WordPress.com ksgentry commented: “I have the XL2022 and it has been a work horse. While you should not have any problem with needle penetration you might need a notion called a Jean A Ma Jib. This goes under your pressure foot as you approach the thick seam. You can buy it at your local J” | |

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