Hi edt: There are a bunch of older all-metal Japanese Zig-Zag machines made under various labels (like Kenmore) that work really well for kite and light sail repair. I've picked up several of them at garage sales and CL for well under $100. They are pretty common and a distinguishing feature is the end-mounted bobbin in line with the machine's major axis that moves back and forth with the needle bar. Some are more elegant/versatile than others depending on year and the requirements of the brand they were made for. These machines are pretty bomber for a portable/home machine. I have a Reed's Sailmaker which is from this design. Here is a pick of a very cool Morse which is also fairly representative of these machines I found at an estate sale for $50. If you want to go to a more robust but still portable machine you cannot beat a Pfaff 130 or Adler 89 but they are harder to find and more expensive. Another step up is an industrial table-mounted machine like an old Singer 107 or Consew or Juki. At the top of that route is a Bernina 217, Pfaff 138 or Adler which are rare and expensive but well worth it. I think there is a Bernina 217 on EBay right now for $1950 but they can be found for around $750-$1000 if you keep an eye out. These machines are the absolute ultimate. For heavy duty harness repair, an Adler walking foot is the one to have. Sewing machines are cool and a good one is worth it's weight when it does the job without fail. Good luck in your search!
I don't mind doing harness repair with an awl, it never takes me more than half an hour to sew on new straps. It's doing patches by hand that is wearing out my fingers. Hansen I noticed the singer 401A is not on your list is it too cheap?
edt: The reviews on it are pretty positive and it looks to be a versatile well-made machine. I wonder about the horizontal bobbin and the slant needle configuration but not qualified to comment since I've never seen/used one. Plenty of them for sale and not too expensive. If you get one, let us know your results!
edt wrote:Hansen I noticed the singer 401A is not on your list is it too cheap?
Hansen Aerosports wrote: At the top of that route is a Bernina 217, Pfaff 138 or Adler which are rare and expensive but well worth it. I think there is a Bernina 217 on EBay right now for $1950 but they can be found for around $750-$1000 if you keep an eye out.
This is what I got baby Bernina 217 with the cam. The cam is very important add on because it makes triple stitch posible that's why you see $1000 dollars price differences. Don't get sucked in into the no cam deal because someone says you can find one later and add it on. The cams are impossible to find trust me. Now, Pfaff 138 is more for sail repairs as it is a medium to heavy duty and no triple step zig-zag. Still one day I might get one just to work on leading edge and struts. Is it still kite forum or church ladies sewing club?
If you live in a place where you can get away with something like Naish Trip 10m might as well pull up your sleeves and make one. Why not? Making a strutless kite is on my to do list. I am just waiting for someone destroying it so I can keep it as a pattern.