Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sailrite LSZ-1 Upholstery Sewing Machine Review


Recently it became obvious to me that I needed to upgrade my sewing machine.  Actually I've known it for years and I think I've mentioned it like five times on the blog.  The problems with my old hand me down machine was that it wasn't heavy duty enough to sew through several layers of upholstery fabric.  Also when sewing cushion covers the regular presser foot pulls on the top fabric and cushions can end up tweaked.  In the last year my business has shifted to mainly upholstery work and it's time to upgrade my sewing machine.   I started asking around and the one thing I heard from everyone is that at the very least I needed a machine with a walking foot.   Upholstery machines are pricey.   Even though I am using it for my business at this point I still can't justify spending several thousand dollars.  My choice was to either find a used Industrial machine, and hope I could figure out how to use it, or a new Portable Walking Foot Machine.  I tried a few local places that sell Industrial machines and once they heard my budget they didn't want to talk to me.  While doing on line research I read some reviews on different Portable machines and found some great things about the Sailrite LSZ-1 Walking foot machine.  I did a web search on them and found a video about the machine by Sailrite on you tube.  From that I could tell their machine is exactly the machine I needed.  One that could mow through thick layers of upholstery fabric and also had a walking foot that would help with the issue I was having with sewing larger cushions.!Ultrafeed-Sewing-Machine
I've had the machine now for over a month and here's my experience with the machine so far.  First thing I did when I received the machine was to pop in the set up video that came with it.  I'm usually one of those people that hates to read a manual and thinks they can just figure everything out because I'm creative.  That's why I love that they provide videos.  This time I didn't expect to just be able to plug it in and go, this is an industrial machine.  I sat back with a cup of coffee and watched.  Following along on my machine.  There is some minor set up involved when you receive it.  The first portion of the video walks you through that.  Next they walk you through all the parts on the machine and how they work.  I have been sewing since I was a teenager and I learned several new thing from that portion of the video.  Like why sometimes you get a rats nest under your bottom fabric when you start sewing and why using the right needle can save you a lot of heartache.   Their machines can sew through the thickest stack of material you can throw at them as well as just regular old fabric.  By just changing your needle and adjusting the tension you can sew any fabric you desire.  There is also a section on maintenance for the machine.  That's another thing I rarely (never) did on my old machine but I am going to really try to do better on the new one.  The machine also comes with a color brochure for quick reference later if I need it. 
There are two different models that were within my budget the LS-1 and LSZ-1.  They start at $549 which for an Industrial sewing machines is not bad.  Both are built the same, the only difference is the LS-1 only sews a straight stitch while the LSZ-1 has a zig-zag feature as well as the ability to move the needle position from left to right.   That's why I chose the LSZ-1 and I'm glad, I've already used the needle position feature several times.  I've found that when sewing cushions using thinner fabrics it works better for me to have the needle to the left instead of center.
As with anything it takes a little practice to get the feel for it so the first thing I sewed was a pillow cover with a zipper.  I easily changed to my zipper foot and had no problems.  Note: It doesn't come with a zipper foot so you will need to purchase that separate. edited to add: I have since discovered that I don't need to switch to my zipper foot when installing larger zippers I can just use the regular foot and move the needle position over.   

The next thing I sewed was a cushion cover for a chair.  This was really the reason I needed this machine.  The walking foot worked like a dream.  If you don't know what I mean by a walking foot don't worry I didn't either.  What it means is the top foot moves back and forth with the bottom foot so that it helps the two fabrics move at the same pace.  On a regular machine the top foot does not move so it tends to pull and stretch the top fabric.  That can make you cushion come out crooked or even puckered if you keep having to pull to compensate for it. 
One of the coolest things about the machine is the presser foot comes with a cut out for piping.  Once you have you cushion layers all pinned together and ready to sew you just run it through with the basic foot.  The piping runs through the channel which helps to hold it in the correct place so that you can sew tightly up against the piping. 

One thing to note is that the machine is louder than a regular sewing machine.  Not so loud you new ear plugs or anything just louder than you may be used to.  It's to be expected since it's a heavy duty machine but I just want you to be aware so you are not surprised.   If you watch the videos you will get the idea.
Just like with any new machine there is a learning curve.  I wont pretend I just jumped on it and figured everything out first try.  It will take a little practice but so far I am loving it.  In the next month or so I will be posting some projects I have done with my machine and will share more feedback as I go.  If you'd like to see the video that sold me on the machine click here.

One last exciting thing I have to share is that Sailrite is now a sponsor here at Blue Roof Cabin.  Here's how it happened.  Once I decided to by the machine I started looking around their website.  I noticed they have tons of how-to videos available, from how to sew a box cushion cover to how to make a hammock.  They have videos to help you with any technical issue you might have with your machine. Basically they will teach you for free how to sew whether or not you even have their machine. They also have a customer service line you can call and they will walk you through whatever your issue may be on the phone.   Oh and they have a blog.  They knocked my socks off. Now I not only wanted to buy their machine, I wanted to work with this company.  So I did something totally new for me.  I contacted them and told them first, how impressed I was with them, second that I was buying their machine, and third I asked if they would like to be a sponsor on my Blog.  They said yes!  I'm pleased to introduce you to Blue Roof Cabin's newest sponsor Sailrite.   

P.S. Did you notice it's blue ;)

This post was sponsored by Sailrite but all opinions are 100% my own.
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Carla said...

Good for you approaching them! Love that it's blue.

Carla said...

Good for you approaching them! Love that it's blue.

Full Circle Creations said...

Congrats! I love the color! And I can't wait to see all the great things you make with it.

IOverflow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IOverflow said...

Wondering if based on the picture if the machine you purchased is the LSZ-1 Basic or the LSZ-1 Plus. I'm guessing it is the Plus because of the gray metal around the base. I'm hoping to recover our boat seats with vinyl; I'm just not sure that the Plus model is in my budget. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mimi,

I was happy to see your review because I am currently reviewing my options for an industrial strength machine for my sewing business. My regular machine is really struggling with all these raw and selvedge denim jeans the guys are buying these days. Have you used the Ultra on Jeans hems? Would you mind terribly trying it out and letting me know how it goes? I sew for a living but my budget is also not where i can be buying a $1500 Juki. Thank you so much. Margaret.

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