General Upholstery Questions and Comments > General Discussion



Bought a PFAFF 238 zig-zag machine from a local sailmaker.  Intentions to use it for binding, sailcovers, bags, nothing to serious.  Used mostly on Sunbrella or nylon.  My first experience with it was on a mainsail cover.  It doesn't seem to be able to handle the work.  It misses the odd stitch and where hems meet it has a tough time sewing through the end sections where hems meet.  I have a few things to check, needle size, possibly the thread needs to be lubricated.  Not a lot of information on this machine.  My question is this.  Did I buy a machine that is equivalent to a home makers sewing machine?  The sailmaker said he had it dedicated to bag making.  I struggles making nylon bags with it.  Does anyone have any experience with this machine or advice?
Thank you

I'm not an sewing machine expert and I don't do sails. But I saw this on youtube.

He's sewing through 4 layers of heavy cloth. I would think it could do what you want. May just need a tune up.


The Pfaff 238 is a true industrial machine, not a family machine and should handle the jobs you are talking about. I have one but do not use it on the really heavy stuff because it doesn't have a walking foot. If, after you experiment with threads and needles, it still skips stitches, you might want to look at mechanical issues, such as timing, bent needle bar, burr on the hook, etc. You have a good machine and once you get it sewing the way it should, I think you'll be happy with it.

I once heard a comedian say, "No one ever sold a used car because it runs too well." I think that probably applies to sewing machines and other mechanical items as well.


Gregg @ Keystone Sewing:
Pfaff 238 is a very good machine for light to medium seaming on sails, and should be capable of sewing about six to eight layers of sail cloth before real problems show up.

Like said, this old machine may be in need of service. 


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