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The Ultrafeed Sewing Machine is our baby. And as proud parents, we’d like to share with you the little known story of where the Ultafeed came from and how it’s evolved into the best portable, walking foot sewing machine around.

Sailrite began in 1969 as a place where amateur sailmakers could come for instruction and materials. Sailmaking, as you might expect, requires a heavy-duty sewing machine. By the mid-1970′s it was clear that a machine that could handle sailmaking was a natural tool for us to offer. After many years experimenting with other machine brands, the first machine with the Sailrite brand was introduced–the Sailrite Sailmaker.

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The Sailrite Sailmaker

The Sailmaker was a very good machine, but over the years it became increasingly more expensive ($1,999). As a result of a college assignment, Matt Grant, current Sailrite owner, had a big idea. A lower-priced sewing machine with all the right features would encourage the growth of the do-it-yourself sailmaking and canvas industry.

Although we knew where we were headed, it took two machines and a little trial and error to get there. The first portable machine, the Yachtsman, was popular, but it had a small feed dog that made feeding heavy fabrics difficult. The second attempt was the Sailrite/Thompson Mini Walker, a fine-tuned, straight stitch only machine that featured a walking foot mechanism that could pull even heavy materials through the machine. Although great for canvas, the Mini Walker was missing the zigzag stitch needed for sail making.

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The Sailrite/Thompson Mini Walker

That’s when we decided to build a machine ourselves. Using the Mini Walker as a base, the Sailrite team designed parts for a zigzag/straight stitch machine. After building a prototype, Sailrite applied for a patent, further solidifying its place in the sewing machine industry. The result was the very first Ultrafeed LSZ-1 (Version 1).

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The very first Ultrafeed LSZ-1

The do-it-yourself sailmaking and canvas market was growing and the Ultrafeeds proved to be great machines. But we wanted them to be the very best. What if they had more power? What if the clutching system never slipped? These questions drove us to further innovation.

To increase the sewing power, we introduced the Monster Balance Wheel and the Power Plus Wheel, balance wheels that have twice the size and power of traditional balance wheels.

In response to customer requests, we made wiring improvements, added a better foot control with a longer cord, and created a new, sturdier case.

And then, we had the idea that changed it all. A redesign of the clutching system resulted in the Posi-Pin, patented in 2007, which provides 100% power transfer from the balance wheel to the needle.

With this change, we realized that the internal components, and even the body casting, weren’t strong enough to handle all the extra power. The entire machine would need to be redesigned with the strongest, all metal parts and casting available.

That redesigned machine is the Ultrafeed (Version 2), what we sell today.

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The current Ultrafeed LSZ-1 (Version 2) with the Ultrafeed Ultimate Pack

After years and years of thought and testing, the Ultrafeed Sewing Machines finally became, definitively the most versatile machines on the market, unmatched in strength and quality, at a very competitive price. Loaded with features, the Ultrafeed is great for sailors yet intuitive enough for home sewers.

Best of all, we stand behind every Ultrafeed we sell. From the very beginning, Sailrite has been about support. From helping amateur sailmakers make a sail to providing techinical help so your sewing machine runs as it should, we pride ourselves on offering the best support available to our customers.

See the Sailrite difference for yourself. To learn more about the Ultrafeed and be a part of our history, visit www.sailrite.com.

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Home sewing machines are great for most home sewing projects, but what about when you want to hem your jeans, make a leather handbag, or reupholster a sofa? For these more heavy-duty projects, you might find that your home machine is not up to the challenge. If you’re in the market for a heavy-duty machine, take a look at the Sailrite Ultrafeed.

The Ultrafeed LS-1 and LSZ-1 Sewing Machines offer the best of both worlds combining the sewing power of an industrial sewing machine with the portability of a home sewing machine. The LS-1 is a straight stitch machine, while the LSZ-1 offers both straight and zigzag stitch options.

Double the Power

The Ultrafeed has the power you need to sew through thick assemblies. It can sew through up to 10 layers of heavy canvas in a straight stitch. A standard feature of the Ultrafeed is the Power Plus Wheel. This balance wheel is twice the size of a home machine wheel and provides twice the power even when sewing at slow speeds. With a 3/8” high foot lift and best-in-class needle bar stroke, you can sew virtually anything you can squeeze underneath.

Sew it All

The Ultrafeed can handle a wide range of materials with ease including: denim, leather, canvas, fleece, flannel, faux fur, and upholstery fabric. Another great feature of the Ultrafeed is the mechanical walking presser foot. This foot pulls multiple layers of fabric (even sticky materials!) evenly through the machine for easy sewing and symmetrical stitch lengths.

Easy to Use

So it has the power required, but will it be too much of a beast? The Ultrafeed is very intuitive to use, making for a smooth transition from your home machine. It is easy to set up and operate, although it will be a bit louder than a home machine. A nice bonus feature is that the Ultrafeed’s presser foot comes with a built-in welting tunnel, which means you’ll have to change the foot less often for creating piping or installing zippers.

Top Notch Support

Every Ultrafeed Sewing Machine comes with excellent instructional materials and support. Included with the machine are interactive instructional DVDs as well as a full-color guidebook with parts listings and a full schematic to the machine. For additional information, there are streaming videos on the Sailrite website that demonstrate how to use the machines as well as how to install and use available upgrades. If you need extra assistance or want to talk to a live person, call Sailrite toll-free for tech support.

Ultrafeed Sewing Machines are bridging the gap between industrial and home sewing. They are built from the most reliable parts so they’ll last a lifetime. To see the specs and learn more about the Ultrafeed, visit www.sailrite.com.

Home sewers: what do you look for in a sewing machine?

Last minute holiday shopping to do? Don’t worry, there’s still time and we’re here to help with some great gift ideas! Last week we outlined potential presents sewers would be sure to love (check it out here if you missed it!) and this week we’re tackling boaters. Here are 10 ideas to surprise the boater in your life and get them excited for spring.

10 Great Gift Ideas For Boaters

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1. Ultrafeed LSZ-1: A powerful, portable sewing machine for any project that comes your way. This zigzag/straight stitch machine is very versatile; make your own sails, covers, cushions, or use it for home sewing. And because it’s portable, you can use it on your boat, on the dock, or at home!

2. Snap Fastener Kit: Snap fasteners are so handy for all kinds of uses and this kit has everything needed to get started! Complete with 200 DOT® snap fastener components including: buttons, sockets, eyelets, eyelet studs, screw studs, and gypsy studs. Kit also includes Sailrite’s Deluxe Snap Installation Tool and a 1/8” hole cutter. All these tools are held in a waterproof, floatable, Otter box case.

3. Sail Repair Kit: A must have for every sailor! This kit brings together tools and supplies for repairing a ripped sail all in one place. Includes essential tapes and patch materials for sail, canvas, and vinyl repairs, needles, twine, thread, and sail palm (right-handed). All neatly tucked inside a waterproof, floatable Otter box.

4. New Boat Owner’s Essentials Kit: This kit is a Meguiar’s triple play that is sure to keep any boat looking shiny and new. Complete with Meguiar’s Premium Marine Wash, Premium Marine Wax, Quick Clean Spray, and an applicator pad. This 3-step system cleans, protects, and spot cleans between major cleanings. A boat owner essential.

5. Sailrite Edge Hotknife: Cut rope without frayed ends in one easy step with the Edge. This hotknife cleanly cuts rope, webbing, synthetic fabrics and any other material that would fray when cut with scissors. The Edge’s hot cutting blade heats up in seconds to deliver a precise, sealed edge every time. Comes as a kit that includes the hotknife body, R blade, cutting foot, plastic carrying case, wire brush and a hex key. Available in 110V or 220V.

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6. WinchRite: Surprise a sailing friend with a WinchRite cordless, electric winch handle. Lightweight and weather resistant, the WinchRite has extended battery life to always be at the ready. Good torque at variable speeds. Use on all single and two-speed winches with a standard eight point handle. Comes with a drive cog, 12-volt trickle battery charge, 100-240 Volt AC shore power, and a storage tote bag.

7. Velocitek SpeedPuck: Delight the racer on your list with the SpeedPuck! The award-winning SpeedPuck provides real-time, on the water data for better race performance and speed accuracy. The SpeedPuck calculates speed by measuring the Doppler shift in GPS signals and tracks downloadable data for 30 hours of sailing (Mac and Windows compatible). Large, sunlight-readable digital readout.

8. Pres-N-Snap Tool: Get the tool the professionals use for quick and easy snap installation. The Pres-N-Snap tool is durable, easy to use, and accurate. Installs snaps with just the squeeze of one hand. Punches the hole as it installs for one step installation. Comes with 6 dies for standard snap fastener and #1 plain washer grommet installation.

9. Throated Sail Cover Kit: Sailrite kits are a great way to customize your boating accessories. Kit contains everything needed to make a custom throated sail cover to protect your flaked sail. Includes durable Sunbrella Marine Grade fabric in the color of your choice.

10. Gill Pro Sailing Gloves: These short-fingered sailing gloves offer 3 times the durability of other gloves! With excellent wet and dry grip, pre-curved fingers and seamless construction, these gloves protect your hands and stand the test of time.

To check out these and other great DIY gift ideas, visit www.sailrite.com.

Do you have any other great gift ideas for boaters? We’d love to hear them!

The holiday season can be stressful. We’re bringing back the cheer with holiday gift guides full of great ideas for every do-it-yourselfer in your life. This week we’re featuring gifts any sewer is sure to love. From beginners to certified sewing pros, these suggestions will put a smile on your sewer’s face!

Sailrite’s 10 Great Gift Ideas for Sewers

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1. Ultrafeed Sewing Machine: This portable machine packs a punch. The Ultrafeed is a versatile machine that does it all from home sewing projects, to upholstery, canvas work, and sailmaking. Choose either the straight stitch Ultrafeed LS-1 or the zigzag/straight stitch Ultrafeed LSZ-1.

2. Knife Edge Shears: These high quality knife-edge shears by Gingher are a great addition to any sewing kit. The knife-edge makes cutting through thick, tough fabric a breeze. They also work well on slippery fabrics like nylon. These shears will last for years and the knife-edge blade can be re-sharpened using a sharpening stone (sold separately). Available in right and left-handed versions.

3. Right Angle Binder: Now in two sizes, 3/4” and 1” these binders are sewing machine accessories that make it easy to add binding around curves and corners.

4. Self-Healing Cutting Mat: Makes a great gift bundle with the Fiskars’ Rotary Cutter! This cutting mat is designed to protect your tabletop when cutting with rotary cutters. The self-healing technology keeps the mat from getting cuts or grooves on its surface so it always looks like new. Also features a measuring grid with 30, 40, and 60-degree bias lines for making binding.

5. Deluxe Magnetic Sewing Guide:  A great sewing guide for metal sewing machines! Sewing guides help to ensure uniform seam width. This Deluxe Magnetic Sewing Guide is extra long for accurate stitch placement and secures firmly to the machine. Easy to remove and adjust for thread spacing. This sewing guide makes perfect stitching effortless.

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6. Sailrite Flex20 LED Light: Share the gift of light this season! It can get dark under the arm of a sewing machine, but the Flex20 has a flexible neck that stays where you put it to illuminate your work. The 20 LED bulbs give 1 watt of power and bright, white light without getting hot. The Flex20 has a magnetic base but also comes with an adhesive pad so it can attach to any sewing machine.

7. Gingher Thread Nippers: An accessory so great, sewers will forget how they cut before it! These thread nippers are very sharp and snip loose threads quickly and cleanly. Thread nippers are great for trimming threads close to fabric or under the sewing machine and this pair are the best around!

8. Integrated Thread Stand: For the Ultrafeed sewer (or as a bonus gift with an Ultrafeed!). The Integrated Thread Stand is designed to fit in the Ultrafeed’s Deluxe Carrying Case so the thread is always loaded and ready to go. An essential for sewers on the go. Also installs on any sewing table.

9. 60 mm. Rotary Cutter: This rolling cutter by Fiskars looks like a pizza cutter and slices through fabric with ease. The rolling motion makes this the perfect tool for turning corners and detailed cutting. Blade has a switch operated safety guard.

10. Make Your Own Pillows, Shams & Bedskirts DVD: A Sailrite original, this instructional DVD provides easy to follow video instructions for multiple types of pillows, zippered and envelope style shams, and a bed skirt. A great resource for new sewers or anyone looking to do a DIY update to their bedroom.

For these and other great sewing and DIY gifts, visit www.sailrite.com. Be sure to check back next week when we reveal our “10 Gift Ideas for Boaters!

We are constantly looking for ways to improve our Ultrafeed Sewing Machines and the overall sewing experience in general. We use your feedback and comments about the machine and your project work as a catalyst for those improvements and innovations. In response to a few of your suggestions…(drum roll please)…here are 3 new accessories for the Ultrafeed machine that are designed for greater efficiency and convenience!

1. Integrated Thread Stand

We are really excited about the new Integrated Thread Stand. This thread stand attaches to the Ultrafeed’s Deluxe Carrying case and then can pivot to the ideal thread feeding position and also into a safe storage position inside the case while fully installed.

2. Reverse Stop & Lock Knob

The new Reverse Stop & Lock Knob is an adaptation of the current stitch length knob that will allow you to lock the stitch length lever in place to keep stitch length consistent in both forward and reverse.

3. Deluxe Magnetic Sewing Guide

The Deluxe Magnetic Sewing Guide is a high strength magnetic guide that has an extended length for consistent hem and seam construction as the fabric moves all the way through the machine.

Each one of these new accessories can be purchased individually, but you can save 10% when you order them together in the new Ultrafeed Accessories 3-Pack.

Join the conversation! Leave a Reply below with your comments, questions, or suggestions.

Boats need a lot of canvas. Marine canvas is used for covers, dodgers, awnings, seating, and sails and softer furniture fabrics are used in the boat’s interior. Unfortunately, new boats don’t come with even a fraction of the canvas items needed to protect brightwork, and although pre-loved vessels may have those items, many times they need to be replaced or repaired. As a result, boat owners either need a good relationship with a canvas shop and sailmaker or they need a sewing machine and materials source.

Sailrite recognizes the benefits of being a self-sufficient sailor, a do-it-yourselfer that can get things done when and where they need to at a reasonable price. That’s why Sailrite provides a full stock of boating canvas supplies, sewing machines, and instructions (available at www.sailrite.com or request a free catalog). Our flagship item:

The Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machine

There is a good reason for that. If there’s any tool a do-it-yourself sailor needs, it’s a quality sewing machine. It’s pretty safe to assume that any sailor is looking a durable, trouble-free machine that can handle sewing various types of canvas, sailcloth, strapping, upholstery materials, and leather with ease. But if you’re in the market for a sewing machine or might be in the future, consider these lesser-known features that make a big impact before making a final purchasing decision.

1. Portability

A compact, portable sewing machine can conveniently be stowed onboard, moved above deck, or used on the dock without being damaged. A portable machine should have a heavy-duty case that protects and cradles the machine so it can be stored on its side if necessary. The Sailrite Ultrafeed’s wooden deluxe case is also covered in a high quality black vinyl with reinforced corners and a carrying handle and side hasps that can easily support the weight of the machine.

2. Fully Grounded, Electronic Foot Control

Heavy-duty sewing machines are cast-iron and typically have a metal-cased motor that rarely is double insulated. This makes a ground wire or ground fault circuit interrupt a safety necessity, especially if used outdoors or around water. Also look for an electronic foot control that has a 6 foot cord that can reach the floor even when the machine is used from a high bench. Sailrite Ultrafeed machines come with high quality, fully grounded electronic foot controls featuring a long cord.

3. Posi-Pin Clutch

Friction clutches are simply outdated and ineffective. Sailrite’s patented and exclusive Posi-Pin clutch is the solution to a slipping clutch. A specially designed pin is positioned through a hole in the balance wheel and into the shaft bushing to engage and disengage the drive. The Posi-Pin clutch is easy to use and results in 100% power transfer from the balance wheel to the machine’s needle. The pin can also be pulled out to wind bobbins easily.

4. Oversized Balance Wheel

An oversized balance wheel will greatly increase the slow speed power and control of the sewing machine with greater torque and the ability for slow, precise stitching. The Sailrite Ultrafeed comes standard with the Sailrite PowerPlus wheel, twice the power and size of a typical balance wheel. For even more power, opt for the Monster II Balance Wheel, a 7 lb. solid nickel-plated steel wheel with hand crank handle for optional manual operation.

5. High Foot Lift

A foot lift of 5/16” or higher allows for seams, clear vinyl assemblies, corner patches, zippers, and piping cord to pass under the foot easily. The Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machine has a 3/8” foot lift and can sew virtually anything that can be squeezed underneath.

6. Walking Foot

A walking foot guarantees even feeding of the top and bottom fabric layers through the machine. It also makes feeding heavy and spongy fabrics easier. The Sailrite Ultrafeed walking foot mechanism features two upper feet that facilitate feeding from the top surface in addition to the typical feed dog beneath the needle plate. Sailrite feet are even nickeled silver to make seeing around the foot easier.

7. Long Needle Bar Stroke

Stroke length is directly correlated to the material thickness that a machine can sew – the longer the stroke, the more capable the machine. The Sailrite Ultrafeed has a best-in-class stroke length of 34 millimeters, Sailrite’s patented stroke length for portable zigzag sewing machines with walking feet.

8. Scarfed Gib Hook

The gib hooks rotates around the cage that holds the bobbin thread under the machine. If for whatever reason the fabric jams violently, the needle can strike the hook and break thread, bend the needle, or throw the machine out of adjustment. The Sailrite Ultrafeed features Sailrite’s patented “scarfed” hook that eliminates the potential for the needle to strike the hook.

9. Comprehensive Owner’s Manual & Support Materials

Although it sounds like common sense, do not assume a sewing machine comes with support! All sewing machines should come with a comprehensive, clearly written owner’s manual and/or instructional DVDs that include complete timing information. With the proper materials and support, a mechanical sewing machine should never require the services of a repair man. Sailrite Ultrafeeds come with a 4-color guidebook, 2 – DVDs with detailed set-up and maintenance information, and Sailrite’s phone, email and online support cases.

10. Warranty

Protect your sewing machine investment and take a closer look at the warranty. Confirm appropriate and dependable care and service if the unexpected occurs. All Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machines come with 2-year warranties, and Sailrite stocks every sewing machine part for both Ultrafeed machines.

Next time you’re in the market for a sewing machine, use this list and ask the right questions. Because the way we see it, a sailor’s sewing machine should be like a first mate: dependable, portable, tough as nails, powerful, and able to handle anything and everything that comes its way. That’s why Sailrite invented the Ultrafeed Sewing Machine. No sailor should leave home without one.

For more information about the Sailrite Ultrafeed Sewing Machine, click here.

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