Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Sewing Machine of the Future?

 

 Normally, anything that could be termed as 'an innovation' will remain unknown to me until it has blown up big enough for it to be visible from space. However, today is different. Today a friend of mine who has a digit firmly pressed on 'the pulse' sent me a link to this new product. Check this video for an explanation, and be prepared to feel 'want-y' my friends....

 

British designer Sarah Dickins created this product in response to the problems she witnessed beginners have using sewing machines. By simplifying the threading process, eliminating the need for a foot pedal, creating more space to the right of the needle for the garment being sewn and generally sexing up the whole look considerably, I'm sure this would improve the sewing experience for those of us who have been 'at it' for a while too. With its leather finish and super sleek silhouette, I can imagine far fewer arguments about 'does that thing have to be on the dining table all the time?'!

The cleverest bit has to be the touch sensitive mechanism that allows you to start and stop sewing as well as adjust the speed with your hands as you guide the fabric through. The lack of foot pedal would have certainly helped me out all those times in student housing I tried to use my sewing machine on a coffee table or even on the floor!



With the marketing predictably being based on the rise in media interest of the make-do-and-mend 'trend', Dickins and her design are currently in the running for the James Dyson award. Prototype tests have apparently proved very positive so we'll have to see if this particular design gets put into production. Either way, I think it has given us a peak through the window into our sewing future! Let's face it, ours is a world that doesn't feel the breeze of innovation flow through it continuously.

What do you think? Could you be persuaded to swap your sewing machine for the Alto?

29 comments:

the dizzle said...

All in all, I think this is great!! My thoughts: the design was almost too mid centurymodernish for me but the arch gives it a nice little art deco elegant touch which I like. I'd worry about my wrists getting tired from using hands as the "foot pedal" and it'd be cool if there were a foot pedal option. On the other hand controlling the speed was/is one of the hardest things for me to learn, as was threading. The extra room on the right as far as width and height go is excellent. Now, how do you change the stitches, tension, stitch length and wind the bobbin... I'm so glad you posted this though, I just took a break from sewing and now I'm inspired to go back to it :)

K said...

I would LOVE it. I currently have a messy setup and a big bulky early 80s machine. I would feel zero guilt about leaving that sexy machine out on my table 24/7/365.

xo!

http://sewingismyboyfriend.blogspot.com/

frk.bustad said...

It's such a beauty... I don't know if i'd swap, but I'd love to have this in my house, just because of the looks. It looks modern, but yet exclusive and shows somehow respect to the history.

neighbourhood.gal said...

I wonder how you push down on the base to make the machine go, while not dragging the fabric. Or are you supposed to sew in short bursts as your hands follow the fabric across the base, then stop and start again when you have to move your hands?

I have never had trouble with a foot pedal as it's just like driving, I think this would be more problematic.

The machine is a lovely thing, but if it only does a straight stitch and there's not option to change length even, then it really is only suitable for someone in their first month (?) of sewing.

thetialys said...

Gorgeous. It would have to be fairly reasonably priced as I am guessing a beginner might want to move on to something else after a fairly short time. Still, as you say, it's good to see some innovation and design in the sewing world.

Joanne said...

It's absolutely stunning but I can't see the stop/start mechanism of the left side working very well. Surely one needs both hands to guide the fabric through? I'd love to try it out though.

Juliette said...

I think I agree with Joanne on the fact that both hands are needed to guide the fabric, and with the dizzle on how to change stistches, tension and so on. I have personnally gotten used to my machine, even though it is a big old thing...but it sure is a beautiful machine and, if given a chance, I sure would give it a try!

Jilly Be said...

That is one incredibly gorgeous machine!

I agree with everyone about the awkwardness of of controlling the speed with your hand though - my hands are both busy manipulating fabric, and my feet (or knee) would have nothing to do, so that concept is something of a fail for me.

Catherine said...

Pretty but useless....until they develop it so that it so that it will produce more than one type of stitch. Although industrial machines only do straight stitch, in a domestic setting most people prefer having one machine to do many jobs.

However I can see that the inovation will be incorporated into future machines (the curved drive shaft for greater sewing area would be great)

Once the idea is there it will not take long to develop it into a model which can do buttonholes etc

I don't like the pressure sensitive table aspect, but I can see that some areas will be developed.

I think people will grown out of it very quickly so it would have to be very cheap - which means it would not look as good.

House of Pinheiro said...

To sew , no.. But I applaud innovation and design and I hope it wins... I think this look beautiful as decoration

angelosam123 said...

It's awesome and creative design, this accessories looking a great.Thanks for sharing.

Sew little time said...

i also don't think i'd want it to sew - i have enough problems getting the fabric through with 2 hands, never mind having to use one to stop and start. but it is beautifully designed - i love the wooden base!

Phyllis said...

It looks under powered to me and I question whether it can sew any fabric other than simple quilting cottons. Also her premise for this design is that trading a machine is *difficult* - that's sounds like a pretty first world problem to me.

ZoSews said...

Looks very cool! The lack of foot pedal didn't really appeal to me UNTIL you mentioned sewing on coffee table / floor - that would be a nice option to have :)

Rachel-Lou said...

This came up on one of the boards on ravelry a couple of weeks ago, I'll say here what I said there - why doesn't the promo video actually show the machine in action? this makes me a bit doubtful about the quality of stitch. I think it is a beautiful looking machine, and maybe it will influence other manufacturers to think outside the box a bit more when it comes to design, but I can't se it being used by anyone who sews more than occasionally.

Madalynne said...

I've seen this machine and have wondered how it would actually sew. Would it be good with heavy weight fabrics such as jeans? What about different types of stitches? I'll just have to wait and see! Looks neat though

marthaeliza said...

For the last 40 years I have said that innovations in sewing machines will come when women design them. Vindicated at last! There's more to come, I am sure.

Joni said...

It's pretty but I would really only use it as a mending machine. I've seen other radical redesigns of sewing machines which aim to simplify, and I question whether they can be used for anything more complex than a simple straight seam or a mend which can easily be done with needle and thread. I sew 4 or 6 hours a day, sometimes more, and I need my 'beast' of a machine!

...But, it sure is pretty.

Andi said...

Wow! It's so sleek and pretty! I don't think I'd trade up my trusty machine for this, but I'd definitely want to have one of these around as a second machine. This one doesn't appear to be capable of anything more than a straight stitch, but I say that having not looked into it and its capabilities at all.

woolcat said...

I love it and think it is beautiful - and sewing machines could really use a makeover. I like the idea of having more space to the right of the needle, too.

Mind you I don't know that threading the machine or using a foot pedal are so difficult really, especially since the real skill involved in any serious sewing has not much to do with actual everyday machine use. I think the foot pedal would actually be easier to use than the press-down mechanism, clever though it is.

I would love to see this developed though. I love how sleek and elegant it is.

meg said...

As a part-time milliner desperate to get her hands on an old fashioned hatter's sewing machine this little machine looks as if it has amazing potential. I only really need the straight stitch but a large arch between needle and spool. If the engine is powerful enough it might just be the new generation of milliner's sewing machines! Meg

Claire said...

All I can say is ... that's awesome and amazing. And the most awesome thing is that all it took was someone with common sense and imagination to challenge the conventional machines we are used to. I'm not saying this is better, not having tried it, but her invention really is amazing.

Jessica said...

I love the idea of approaching something like a sewing machine from a completely different direction, rather than just trying to build on the existing mechanism. That said, I'm not sure how user-friendly this would be in practice. It would be interesting to see what this is like to actually sew with!

Camelia Crinoline said...

I really love the idea of more room for the fabric because it can get quite difficult when you're sewing bulky things to maneuver them. That said, I like the control that a foot (or knee) pedal offers me. Like someone else commented, it's like driving. Having both hands free to guide the fabric is a must in my opinion. It is a very pretty machine though.

Rochelle New said...

That is one of the most ingenious things I've ever seen!!!

Faye said...

It looks brilliant! And I agree it WOULD look much better on the dining room table, an option for a foot pedal would make it perfect!

superheidi said...

Who knows what the future may bring. I like the thinking proces behind the beautiful design. Form follows function. Probably still a prototype, but what a promising one.

Diane said...

Hmmm looks interesting. I'm not sure how I feel about the touch sewing. I usually use the knee lifter to lift the presser foot, too. It keeps my hands free. It would be fun to try sewing on though.

Tors Grantham said...

That is amazing! Such a lovely design too. Will be interesting to see if it goes on the market and how people cope with it.

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