We would like to have a sewing machine for the Lab.
I have never done machine sewing, only hand sewing, so I know nothing about sewing machines.
Projects we would like it to be able to handle include window quilts, which involve wool thread and fabric and ~5-inch-thick wool batting (see pictures below). It would be great if it could handle the quilting, too.
Also we would eventually like to be able to upholster couches and chairs, make mattresses to stuff with natural materials, make quilts/duvets, etc.
Also we would like it to handle clothing repairs (including insulated coveralls, canvas jackets, etc. as well as lighter things like tee shirts).
Is there such a sewing machine? Preferably one that isn’t astronomically expensive? Repairability is also a plus.
Do not buy anything new nor anythin with plastic parts or gears.
Get any good old pre 80s heavy class 15 machine.
Old Pfaffs, Berninas singers , Janomes Dressmakers, etc.
Old Kenmores even up thru the 80s are awesome.
25 -50 bucks will buy a great machine that will out last you.
New machines are disposable.
I just bought a Janome from sewingmachinesplus.com, in January. I chose the HD3000 Heavy Duty Mechanical Sewing Machine, for its versatility, longevity, and lots of great reviews. Though I haven't had a ton of time to sew, the things I've done with it have honestly been the happiest machine sewing of my life! This machine is solid, sturdy, and runs smooth as silk. And, can take almost any fabric I can throw at it. If you go with it - and I would highly recommend it - do be due to read the instructions, add you learn it's neat little tricks. With this one, I am making buttonholes like a pro - and had never done them, before! The directions are clear, it comes with a bunch of different feet, with their own, protected, onboard storage. I'm even antsy to get back up to my crazy room, to play with it, some more. That's REALLY saying something, because I've always preferred hand sewing. Good luck with your search!
The only thing...more expensive than education is ignorance.~Ben Franklin
Another vote for a Janome (old or new!!). When I moved to Japan I went to a pawnshop and got one that had to be at least 25 years old. It was excellent- even without a manual it was intuitive and I used the heck out of it. I ended up selling it when I left and wish I hadn't.
(I later bought myself a "Domestic", which I think is a generic simple Chinese workhorse brand- I wanted a Husqvarna but couldn't afford it. Now it is also 25+ years old, it has served just fine and also gets heavy use. I'm glad I didn't pay Big Bucks for a fancy machine.)