Necchi Sylvia Maximatic (586)

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I've finally gotten a chance to post my Necchi Sylvia Maximatic! I've already reviewed the Multimatic earlier; the two machines are very similar!

The only real difference is that the Maximatic has a few extra embellishment/embroidery type stitches (like triangles and curved arcs) -- very similar to the embellishment stitches you might see on an older Bernina 830. I've got a picture of the stitch selections later on, but don't know how visible the stitches will be.

Other than that, the two machines are identical as far as I can tell. Same sleak Italian styling, same sturdy and clean casing, same feet and operation.

My knock on this Necchi is mainly the same one I had for the Multimatic -- I wish the two handwheels on the side were reversed! The top handwheel changes the stitch selection; the lower handwheel operates the needlebar. It really should be reversed.

Pretty much everything I said about the Multimatic also applies here. I had the same squirrelly issues getting the tension just right -- but then things worked like a dream once that was done. This is still a very uncommon machine -- but every one I've ever seen was in near mint condition. Even though it's fairly rare, it doesn't command premium prices when it does appear on Ebay (every month or so). Go figure!

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Note the few extra embellishment stitches on the stitch selection chart ... mainly the ones in Red and Blue. You can combine things like triangles, arcs, and diagonal slashes to create embroidery -- at least, if you're good you can. I can't! The most I do with these sort of stitches is to repeat them around the edges of a piece -- kind of like a "poor man's blackwork"!

The buttonhole works exactly like it did on the Multimatic.

While this looks like a lack of stitches -- at least, compared to modern machines with hundreds of stitches, it's really not that much of a lack. As long as you can do a good straight stitch, zig-zag, maybe three-way zig- zag, a buttonhole (a good one!), and a blind-hem, then you really don't need much else.

These few stitches are really all I'm looking for in a good mechanical machine -- and the Maximatic satisfies in this regard!
And here's my biggest pet peeve about the Maximatic (and the Multimatic as well). In my humble opinion, the handwheels are in the wrong place!

You can see the two handwheels on the side. The top one controls the stitch selection, the bottom one controls the needlebar.

Sounds okay -- but when you're sewing and you reach (without looking) to rotate the handwheel to adjust the needle up or down ... which handwheel do you think you're likely to hit first? The top one? Or the bottom one?

It's the top wheel for me every single time. Every other machine I have has the needlebar handwheel at the top of the right-hand side of the machine. I've given up trying to make the mental switch when I use this Necchi -- I just accept the fact that I'm going to hear the "click" of changing stitch selections every single time I try to adjust the needle up or down!

Off soapbox -- okay, back on for a bit! I mean, didn't they consumer test this at all? Didn't someone say "Errrr ... aren't these wheels reversed?" If this were a current model machine, then I'd be all over making suggestions to the manufacturer. Things being the way they are, this'll just have to be a "lovable quirk" of this otherwise fine machine!
Backside view of the machine -- no surprises here. I like the two thread spindles -- I like them at the bottom of the machine, too. Too many thread spindles at the top of machines break off over time.

Didn't mention it earlier, but the bobbin winder is on the side of the machine underneath the bottom handwheel (the good one). You have to manually stop the bobbin when it's full.

The "off/on" switch is a rocker switch near the middle of the backside of the machine. It doesn't say "Off-On" ... it says "Max - Min". Middle position is off, rock to either side for max speed or a slower (higher torque) speed. I find that the "Min" speed is plenty fast for me.

You can see the upper thread tension control at the top-right rear of the machine. It was a little squirrely -- just like on the Multimatic. I think perhaps the spring kinks if it hasn't been used in a while. Took a little fiddling, but it's now working properly.
This is a free arm machine. The table base slides on and off to reveal the free arm. The base also opens for storage.

When this base is attached, it's staying on! There's a metal bayonet bar that slides into place when you attach the base. This makes it very solid -- a nice engineering touch! The base and the case are metal with a nice enamel paint coating. Much sturdier than resin or plastic -- and it's really not that heavy.

I had mentioned on the Multimatic that I've never seen one of these models that didn't look almost mint. I don't know why that is -- the paint really doesn't discolor or wear.
This is a drop in bobbin -- although the bobbin "case" can be removed. Nothing tricky or troublesome, it worked very smoothly.

You do need to remove the base to access the bobbin release door.

Both this and my Multimatic have an automatic needle threader. I don't know how it works so I didn't use it. Looks pretty simple, though.

My favorite needle threading aid is a strong pair of reading glasses!
The Maximatic made very nice stitches -- here are some sample of straight, zig, and blind-hem.

No problems with needle tuning; the bottom thread came up fine each time. I had mentioned I had some upper tension issues, but some fiddling took care of that.

Didn't try the other stitches 'cause I never use them. Straight, zig-zag, and blind-hem take care of all my needs!

The feet look much like my Singer low-shank feet. Haven't compared them to check for sure.
Here's the project we'll make with the Necchi Maximatic. I don't really know what these things are called -- they're kind of a fleece blanket with sleeves. I've seen them called "Slankets" and "Snugglies" and "Snuglets" -- they're basically just a fleece blanket with a set of sleeves.

If you cuddle up under a warm blanket, you know what happens when you try to use your arms -- you upset the blanket, let cold air in on the sides, or pull the blanket away from your neck area to free your arms. The Sleeved Blanket avoids that!

Note how Sue can pet Skippy or even toss the the rope toy without having to move her arm from under the blanket! That's the idea!

It's pretty darn simple to make -- takes less than 20 minutes or so on your machine! Since it's fleece, there's no need to worry about seams unravelling, so you really don't even have to finish them. Leave the edges raw if you wish!

Click here for the Sleeve Blanket project!

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