In the workrooms where I take my patternmaking classes, there are lines of industrial machines, and provided that I bring along my bobbin and sewing machine foot, they are mine for the using.
This might seem like a very cool thing to some of you, because industrial machines can ring in at several thousand dollars, and not many of us sewists are lucky enough to own one.
But for me, not so much. I was weaned on the queen of home sewing machines: I cut my seamstress teeth on a Singer Featherweight, and I love the control that a well-made home sewing machine can offer. When I sit down at the industrial and hit the gas, it's like I'm in the Indy 500. That thing takes off and I can barely hold on to the wheel. My fear of sewing my own hands is very real.
I have been in these workrooms for years, and I have never managed to develop more than a nodding acquaintance with these wondrous, fabulously fast machines. Yet I watch year after year of fresh-faced undergrad design students take to them as naturally as a fish to water.
I don't know if I will ever make the leap to the industrial wonders, but to my relief, I know a very accomplished professor who wheels in his Bernina for every class he teaches, without even a glance at the industry machinery. That does my home sewing heart good.
For lots of seriously great tips on sewing machines, check out Sewing Machine Secrets by Nicole Vassbinder.