Sewing machine review: Veritas Rubina 1290

This post will be written English, since I wanted to add my review to Sew Mama Sew’s sewing machine reviews’ initiative. So here it goes, lo and behold: Veritas Rubina 1290.

Veritas Rubina 1290

What brand and model do you have? Veritas Rubina 1290, made in DDR by VEB Nähmaschinenwerk Wittenberge.

How long have you had it? Two years, but the machine was used when I bought it and it must have been made in the 1980s.

How much does that machine cost? I bought mine for 180 Euros (250$), but you could get it on Ebay for as little as 70 Euros (95$).

What types of things do you sew? Only clothing basically. The few times I’ve used it for sewing home decor, it hasn’t had any problems with it.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get? I sew at least once a week, but usually twice or thrice, and around 5-10 hours per week.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? I consider our relationship purely professional. Rubina is one great workhorse, but nothing more. It doesn’t look very good, but I know there’s much more to it than it looks and that’s what really matters in the end.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

  • It’s fast. I learnt to sew on it, which means that ordinary home machines sew annoyingly slow for my taste. Starting with a fast machine meant taking the hard way, but in retrospect it was well worth it.
  • It’s one sturdy piece of a machine – it weighs 11.7 kg (26 pounds). Most of it is made of durable metal and that’s something I value highly.
  • It handles thick fabric quite well.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

  • It lacks the free arm, which means sewing cuffs and armholes can be a nightmare.
  • I’d prefer 1-step buttonhole to the 4-step one Rubina has.
  • It doesn’t drive me nuts, but I wish I could set the stitch length and width myself. Instead I have three built-in straight stitch and zig-zag lengths to choose from.
  • I’ve had problems sewing delicate thin fabrics, but I’m not really sure whether it’s mine or the machine’s fault.

Despite the fact that these are basically the only things that annoy me, they annoy me to the extent that I’ve been thinking of buying myself a new machine. But I’ve been holding myself back, since the machine actually works just fine.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why? Rubina 1290 isn’t anything special, except for the fact it’s full of metal and sews very fast. In my opinion, if you can get your hands on a cheap Rubina, this will probably be a good gateway machine when you’re only beginning to sew your garments (but only if you’re willing to start with a fast machine). It probably won’t break and in case of a problem, it’s quite easy to fix it by yourself, because it doesn’t have any super complicated bells and whistles inside. But I guess that these days it rarely happens that someone looking for a sewing machine will stumble upon this old DDR machine (I can only imagine this happening in Eastern Europe).

Vertical bobbin


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