Vigorelli

Vigorelli Maxi 3000

Compared to Vigorelli Fantasy, Maxi 3000 is completely sane, normal even. Compared to every other sewing machine, it is barking mad.

My machine is badged “Omnia”.

Vigorelli’s sideways movement of the needle plate is out of this world, and is certainly not something you see every day. The first model to have this feature was Fantasy, and I dubbed it “The Mad Hatter”. Well then, Maxi 3000 is then its pal The March Hare! 😆 Not sure who is the snoozing dormouse here, but it must be around here somewhere, in one of those teapots…

Here is a short video of the needle plate movement.

Maxi 3000 is a forward-facing vertical rotary machine similar in construction to the original Fantasy. It is a much later model, although I am not sure of the date.

The underbelly. Notice black synthetic gears on the right. A similar set is also hiding under the cover plate below the hook.

The rotary hook and bobbin case are of the Pfaff type, but the machine is still fully gear-driven. Although those are synthetic gears, not steel. This is worrying, however even much older Fantasy seems to fare quite well with its synthetic gears, so may be this particular material ages better than the dreaded crumbling type. Fingers crossed!

Except for the gears, everything else in this machine is metal, including the cam stack and the body (so why not the gears? 😒).

The cam stack and gears under the top lid.

It also has teflon washers in just about every major joint, so movement is smooth and does not require much oiling. Not “no oiling” – why would teflon parts have oiling holes if no oiling was required? Think about it.

The selection of stitches on Maxi 3000 is a mix of utility and decorative stitches. Some come from Fantasy and were specifically designed for the sideways movement of the needle plate creating wide patterns, but other stitches are actually utility stitches, but still making for interesting wavy designs. I like this assortment: straight stitch, zig-zag, utility, buttonhole and fancy stitches with stretch stitch and wide undulating ribbons superimposed on the basic selection.

The stitches are shown on the top lid.

The stitch selector. Stitches 1-4 come from Fantasy and have long repeat cycles, stitches 5-11 are general utility stitches but stitch 9 is not seen elsewhere as it has a long repeat cycle, stitch 12 is zig-zag and 13 is straight stitch.

Primary stitches are numbered 1 through 13 and shown in the bottom row. Stitches 8, 9 and 10 are shown doubled up – a suggestion to sew them with a twin needle. They also work with a single needle though. 😉

The top row shows the corresponding stitches with the stretch stitch engaged, marked with a star.

The stitches with the sideways movement engaged.

Another diagram on the lid shows what these stitches look like with the sideways movement engaged, with and without stretch stitch.

And here are the controls:

The stitch selector is at the top. Depress the lever and move it left or right to select a stitch. Below it there are two knobs: zig-zag width on the left and buttonhole steps on the right. Keep the buttonhole knob in the “normal” position (steps 2 and 4) for general sewing.

The big knob below that is the stitch length knob which also engages and disengages stretch stitch. Since it is not possible to regulate stitch length for stretch stitch in the usual way, this is a perfectly good solution. Use numbers to set stitch length for regular sewing, or set it to star to switch to stretch stitch.

The little lever below the stitch length knob is the reverse for backtacking.

The lever to the right of the stitch length knob regulates pattern density when stretch stitch is engaged. It has no effect on regular sewing. The normal setting is close to the “+” sign. Pushing the lever up makes the machine practically sew in place for most stitches. However, it depends on the material being sewn, so here adjustment is possible.

Finally, the round knob on the bed of the machine engages and disengages sideways movement of the needle plate. Set it to green for normal sewing and to red for wavy ribbons.

Now go play! 😃

Compared to Fantasy, sideways and reverse feed movement is simplified: there is only one pattern of each. Sideways movement makes a regular undulating wave and reverse feed movement makes the common two steps forward, one step back pattern known as the stretch stitch. This simplifies both the controls and the internal construction, as you now just have on/off switches without special pattern cams. Fancy stitches are driven by simple counted stitch cams that make those sharp utility patterns, but that doesn’t work with elongation, so that’s been dropped.

This machine has a zig-zag width knob, yet there is also a separate cam for straight stitch. Plus, you can disengage the cams altogether with the buttonhole knob. I am not entirely sure what would be the point of that, but there you go.

The feed cannot be dropped, but there is a cover plate. There is seemingly no foot pressure adjuster, but actually it’s just hidden under the top lid – not for idle hands, that.

This machine came to me in a reasonably good condition, just needing oiling, oiling and more oiling, Teflon washers notwithstanding. Everything works, although I plan to do a few minor adjustments. I’ll need to take her for a spin and see how she does on a real project! For some reason it always turns out different from sewing samples.

And of course she’s green! Did you notice? 😄

34 thoughts on “Vigorelli Maxi 3000

  1. Wow, that sounds like a festinating machine! I have always been drawn to the “mechanical monsters”, and that one has features I have not been aware of. I would love to see a video of you sewing with it and using the different features, including the sideways movement of the needle plate (I could not see that part clearly enough in the photos).
    I’ve been thinning down my sewing machine collection, telling myself that I don’t have any reason to need more machines. Your article about this machine reinforced my core reason for starting a sewing machine collection – I love exploring machines from that era, and this machine has features that I would like to play with. I hope you have a lot of fun with it, and continue to share it’s features with your readers.

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    1. Here is a video of the original Vigorelli Fantasy machine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNXX7O7cWTc
      It shows the movement of the needle plate. There is a link in my post to the original post on Vigorelli Fantasy that I wrote a few years back. These are really cool machines!

      PS. I was thinking I should get organised and make a video of that needle plate movement. In the meantime, search for “Vigorelli Fantasy” to see other people’s work.

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      1. Hi! Do you have a book for this sewing machine? I own a Vigorelli maxi 3000, but I don’t know how to use it 😦

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      1. I hadn’t seen the link – I have now! Oh my goodness! I wouldn’t have your patience with all that! Knobs and dials everywhere, although it must be fun to experiment with them – but yikes!

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      2. That machine came with a manual. 😃 I have used it in several projects already – it is truly remarkable. No utility stitches but straight, zig-zag and embroidery is fantastic, in particular for fine and flimsy fabrics that normally just get chewed up everywhere else. That’s why I was so excited to find its sister that had utility stitches as well!

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      3. Oooh it does embroider nicely – better than my Jezebel Janome – and she’s much younger!

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      4. And those are WIDE ribbons – 17mm. You can only do it with this left-right motion of the needle plate. Or of course with a proper computerised patch embroiderer, but they do motifs, not ribbons. The widest ribbon that can be done is I believe 9mm – I’ve got a “modern” 1990s Pfaff that does it. But she requires stiff fabric to work on – she chews up delicates.

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      5. So cool! 😎 I tried Jezebel with fancy stitching at the top of a tote bag – she chewed it all up. Heart strings became joined up blobs! Ribbit! Gave up after that! LOL!

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      6. Yes, that’s a common problem. It’s easy enough to put cams into a machine, it’s much harder to make it so you can embroider floppy fabric and not just laminated card. 😉

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  2. I’d say that machine’s definately mid-seventies in date, both due to the nylon gears – whioch were just coming in then and the colour. I’d put money on the nylon gears being mainly about reducing noise. Regarding the colour, when I was a kid my parents bought a brand new Ford Fiesta when they first came out in 1976 – and it was almost that colour – “signal green” they called it – and highly fashionable at the time (!).

    Interesting about the “pfaff” style rotary hook – I though these “italian jobs” all had the “move the whole flippin’ hook” zig zag. Obviously not….

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    1. Mid-1970s is what I would have thought as well, but don’t know for sure. The colour is a dead giveaway though. 😄 The first machine in the series – Vigorelli Fantasy – also had the same nylon gears, and it was from 1963. They made them like that from the beginning. It does make for smooth stitching – that’s true!

      The hook on this one is completely Pfaff style. On Fantasy it was the same type – forward-facing vertical rotary – but it had a different bobbin case, similar to Husqvarna and the old style Lada hook. So they switched from Husqvarna style hook to Pfaff style.

      Move the whole hook thing – are you thinking of Necchi? They started out as side-facing vertical oscillators but later switched to forward-facing vertical rotaries as well. Moving the hook went out of fashion…

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  3. I just found a Vigorelli Amica Super Practica, a somewhat simpler machine, and maybe a bit older than your machines. Luckily it still has the bobbin case, but alas no bobbins! I found a manual, but it does not show the bobbins very clearly. What kind of bobbins do your Vigorellis take? Pfaff style maybe? Metal or plastic?

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    1. Hi, it takes standard rotary bobbins, that is the same as old Pfaff or modern industrial. I prefer to use metal bobbins in old machines, but many people say it doesn’t matter.

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  4. Buna seara, am primit și eu o asemenea masina. Puteți sa îmi dați mai multe indicații de folosire… ? Mulțumesc mult! Sunt începătoare😊🤭

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      1. Good evening, I also received such a custodian car. Can you give me more instructions for use…? Thank you very much! I’ma beginner. 😇🤭

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      2. Hello, sorry, I do not have instructions for this machine. It is a difficult machine for a beginner, it has many advanced functions.

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  5. Hi does anyone know about vigorelli maxi 4000 model . What is the “ wattage “ of its motor and does it have “ sideway moving stitch plate “ ? I am considering buying one ( even though the price coated is quite hefty !) and lastly, can it sew / handle leather ? Would appreciate feedback please. Thanks, Ramana.

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  6. Wow I love this machine! I need this one! I have a small sewing machine collection which consists of 2 Necchi Supernovas in pink and mint green which I love, a hot pink Morse, two other Morse models, New Home Janome 672, and a Dressmaker. I found them All on Facebook Marketplace. The mint green supernova I did travel 5 hours up and back to get. It was worth it to me though. Anyway these machines you have seem very rare. This Vigorelli machine seems to be sold under different labels such as Nelco Amica, White, and Omnia. They all have that 5 opening moving foot bed. I’m sure there may be other different labels but that is what I came across reading into this machine the past few days. Anyway do you have any tips on how you found your machines? I guess I will be scouring marketplace daily in hopes it may pop up. I won’t go to thrift shops because I never had any luck with that.

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