A friend put up a plea on Facebook last week for a seamstress. She is coaching two cheer leading squads, and needed someone to do a few alterations to the uniforms. It seems that parents no longer know how to sew, or no longer care to find someone who does.
Eh. It's often easier to do a whole bunch of similar mending/alteration tasks at once that to do just one (just take a look at the pile in my mending basket to understand the truth of that statement...it's time for me to buckle down and get it done). And again, part of the rationale for buying the 830 was to use my sewing skill to bless others...in whatever way, even though alteration is no seamstress's favorite past time.
If you haven't seen any up close in a while, cheer leading apparel is generally made of a heavy weight, minimal stretch knit fabric. These cute little skirts have set-in waistbands and pretty white trim an inch or so up from the bottom. All were being taken in; in this specific case, the side seams were not to be undone and resewn, but simply sewn deeper, the better to be let back out for the next crop of girls.
(Side note: this group seems to be of the physical type that once upon a time was referred to as "coltish" - long, long legs and almost too skinny for their height. I doubt any of the waist measurements of those skirts were more than twenty inches after the alterations.)
How would the new machine perform?
Polyester thread? Check.
Size 80 universal needle? Check.
Stitch #5, default length? Check
Height compensating plates to smooth the thickness differential between the waistband hem (four or more layers of fabric) and the sides of the skirt (two layers)? Um, maybe...
The machine performed flawlessly. I didn't need the plates (rectangular pieces of thick plastic slipped under the back of the presser foot to lift it up to help it glide over extra-thick seams or fabric) at all. The machine fed the fabric uniformly, with no skipped stitches. I broke no needles, nor did I have to take out any mis-sewn seams.
I'd call it a success.
The friend's husband also works at the university, so I brought the finished skirts to work. He's at the other end of campus, and sent a coworker who had to be over here anyway to pick them up. Heh. At least I had them in a repurposed, paper shopping bag from Panera. Still, I think he owes his friend a cup of coffee for making him walk across campus with a bag of little girls' skirts.