What do you know about Siruba sewing machines? The first I heard of them was fifteen or so years ago. I didn’t pay any attention because I thought these were exclusive to swimwear which is not my area. At SPESA, I learned Siruba (Kaulin Mfg) has been in business about 45 years, starting as a contract manufacturer of machines for Juki and Singer. If you’re anything like me and hear “contract manufacturer” and know they’re now competing in the same space, your antennae are raised. You have to wonder about the IP back story. At least I do.
Judging from the versatility of their machines, the technology is wholly their own (they’re ISO 9002 certified). Consider the BH790 buttonholer which does 30 different kinds for the unheard of price of $3,000. Or maybe the price was $2,000. My notes are horrible. Considering you’re lucky to buy a used machine from someone else that does only one kind of button hole for $3,000, I was sure I misheard the speaker. It has a built in indexer of sorts. Depending on the number of desired size button holes, it’ll do three in a row (spacing is configurable from the control panel). They had three machines I looked at. A coverstitch (awesome, $2,000), the button holer ($3,000) and the flatlock machine for $4,000. Yes, only 4K. Better known used flatlock machines run $4,500.
Siruba has greatly improved their website (entry amended, links updated 1/4/11) with a redesign and I haven’t put it through its paces but it should be easier to find what you’re looking for. If not, refer to the model numbers we saw at the SPESA show because the site may not reflect given machines numbers mentioned here. That you don’t know particular model numbers shouldn’t slow you down any. The subsidiaries page on their site lists the dealer (FL) you can contact by phone or email. Be mindful of using the protocol (include your address) to ensure reply so they can have the right sales rep contact you.
Eric shot a video of these machines in use which you can view at your leisure. Again, feedback on the reliability of this brand would be greatly appreciated.
Another interesting machine related vendor was Camatron. Their site isn’t gorgeous but it works just fine. Camatron is a machine converter. They’re literally machinists meaning they remodel or re-engineer sewing machines for unusual applications. Much of their work involves making jigs to fit machines of varying types. Camatron is the firm that Juki, Brother or Singer are likely to send you to if you need a specially needed part. They work on older mechanicals and newer electronic machines. They’re in NJ, how I’d love to visit their shop or machine graveyard. I’ll bet they have the best stories.
Another new to me machine company is Murata. I think Stu might write about these. They specialize in shirring and smocking machines. Their site is a mixed bag. The content on the home page is well written. After that, it’s a crap shoot. I figured out some of their style numbering system (but it is not consistent, let this be proof to you to issue good ones!) so that will help you navigate the video menu. The first number indicates the number of needles the machine has. Then you have a series of letters. The PT of “PTV” refers to pin tucking. However, P means something else in other series. To make matters worse, functions (indicated by letters) have reversed placement. For example, PQSM refers to a machine that does machine smocking (SM=smocking machine). The 16N PSM_PTV is a 16 needle smocking machine that does pin tucks. Go figure. The video is pretty cool but my download was slow and playback was choppy. Don’t know if it was their site or my connection. Again, I have no clue as to reliability, your feedback is appreciated.
Schap Specialty Machine sells test equipment. I don’t pretend these are appropriate for beginning firms but they have machines that will test seam strength, color stability (crocking) and pilling. Eric filmed a video if you want to see them in action. The first machine filmed repeatedly pulls at seams. The second flexes a corner and the third is the pilling tester plying abrasion mechanically. The exhibitor was friendly and personable. Contact them by phone to inquire about machines, I don’t see my favorite machines from the show on their site.
Of all the machine vendors, there was one sad little booth with a brand I’d also never heard of. They had three plastic home sewing machines on display. I can only think something was lost in translation (or show jurying) for them to have exhibited there. I have to give them credit for not packing it in on the first day. That takes guts.