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Need advice on sewing machines

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ever since I was a child I always wanted a sewing machine but either didn’t have the money, or was too busy with something else to look into it.

Well, now that I have no life lol I have decided to pursue this. My question is what do I need to look for? Keep in mind I know absolutely NOTHING about sewing machines. Anything you can tell me would be great! Brands, functions, or anything else.

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 8
There's a LOT out there to pick from now. A lot depends on what kinds of things you want to sew, how much you want to sew, etc...

Singer and Brother: ehh... they're okay machines, but the new ones I would not expect to last as long as their older predecessors have... and not very heavy duty, either. okay starter machines, i guess. My first machine was an older Singer... I hate that thing... my sister is inheriting it as soon as I can get down to CA to hand it off to her.

Now, for the nice machines: I have a Janome. great little machine. They have both mechanical and electronic, new. The prices range from dirt cheap (do not get one of those mini machines, from any company... they aren't heavy enough to stay down when you're going through stuff) to super holy-cow-I-didn't-think-a-sewing-machine-could-cost-that-much prices... I've looked... and even I'm shocked sometimes (stay away from long arm quilters unless you have LOADS of cash and know what you're doing).

I'd say basic electronic Singer or Janome. I hate Singer now, but that is my own opinion. The newer ones just don't have the same quality of the old ones... yet they do have the electronics... my Janome has 50 stitches, roughly half of which are utility stitches (man, I've done some cool stuff I couldn't do on my basic bare-bones Singer).

Get it from a sewing machine place, which can help you find people to teach you how to use it, if they don't offer classes themselves. Don't get it from a mega-market type place (Walmart/Target/etc) because their people have no clue about the machines and won't offer classes. JoAnns, if you have one nearby, usually has a contract company with some machines... they usually sell Singer and Brother. and not much else.

If you have a chance, time and money, come out west to the Sewing Expo in February. It's south of Seattle (in Puyallup) and is immense. You can play with pretty much every brand of machine out there and they offer show deals (I got my 400 dollar Janome Heart Truth machine for half that, but only because I hemmed and hawed at the $300). There are also fabric deals to die for... I'm there with my friend Sue on Thursday and Friday... and they're they quiet days (as opposed to Saturday and Sunday).

Is your head spinning yet? Go with an electronic Singer (but spend more on a better machine with them, so it may last longer) or electronic Janome. I love my Janome.... so I'm a little biased... but i know some folks here who swear by Singer and Brother... so I would say Singer over Brother (sorry folks, but I hear far too many complaints about Brother at work - in a fabric store).

I'll let others pop in and give their two cents too...

Amanda
post #3 of 8
I had a Kenmore machine that I used for 28 years; it's still in working order, but only has 2 stitches (straight & zigzag). Got a new machine a couple of years ago that has lots of bells and whistles, and what do I use? The straight & zigzag stitches.
Since you've never bought a machine before I wouldn't go overboard. Decide what you'll be using the machine for most (light weight sewing, heavy duty, etc). I would probably go for a name brand; you can actually pick one up at Wal-Mart for a reasonable price. Sewing machine stores may sell used ones, too. (I know there aren't a lot of sewing machine stores around anymore, but thought I'd throw that out there)
Good luck with your new hobby.
post #4 of 8
Get a Singer or a Pfaff. Stay away from "Brother" as they are not well made.

I would actually recommend you going to a Singer outlet and purchase an older reconditioned Singer. The one I have was my Mom's which she bought in 1962 or 1963. In all of that time it's only cost something like $60.00 to get it cleaned and get a new presser foot, and that was in the early 1990's. It has all kinds of attachments that can do embroidery and even drapes with ruffles and pleats.

Here is a picture of mine. I absolutely love it and it's more durable than any machine that you will ever be able to buy new today.

http://www.toolfool.org/sewing/411G.htm
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by libby74 View Post
I had a Kenmore machine that I used for 28 years; it's still in working order, but only has 2 stitches (straight & zigzag). Got a new machine a couple of years ago that has lots of bells and whistles, and what do I use? The straight & zigzag stitches.
Since you've never bought a machine before I wouldn't go overboard. Decide what you'll be using the machine for most (light weight sewing, heavy duty, etc). I would probably go for a name brand; you can actually pick one up at Wal-Mart for a reasonable price. Sewing machine stores may sell used ones, too. (I know there aren't a lot of sewing machine stores around anymore, but thought I'd throw that out there)
Good luck with your new hobby.

I agree with this poster! My first machine did 2 stitches. I have since bought 2 new machines, and a serger. And I still pull out the same 2 stitches. The only stitch I would add to the original machine is the buttonhole stitch.

Until you get serious about sewing, don't spend a fortune on a machine. If it is too complex, it will frustrate you and sit in the back of the closet. I do recommend finding a teacher or mentor to help with some of the finer points of sewing.

In the meantime, welcome to the world of stitchers!
post #6 of 8
I bought a Riccar about 20 years ago. It's still going strong! I liked it because it has all metal parts and gears. Nothing plastic, which seems to break down fairly quickly. My Riccar only does a couple of stitches, but I really only wanted it for quilt tops, the occasional craft project, some basic clothing sewing, and of course, mending. It's been perfect for what I use it for. I think I paid around $200 for it, twenty years ago (which was quite pricey at the time.) I don't think they even make sewing machines anymore.
post #7 of 8
I have a Husqvarna/Viking that I bought about 15 or so years ago. Pretty basic but meets my needs. If you have Jo-Ann's in your area some have a sewing machine dept and they should carry them. I though bought mine at a independent sewing store.
I haven't every had a problem with mine!!
post #8 of 8
I think it depends on what you might be wanting to do with it.I've had my singer for over 30 years and it's still going strong.I've done everything with mine and the basic stitches from making wedding dresses to blue denim jeans.I still make quilt tops and do regular sewing with it.My girlfriend bought a bernina a few years ago...wish I had the cash for what she spent!but she loves it.I'm not sure I'd lay out the big bucks until I had some practice and knew for sure what I wanted and/or needed a machine to do for me.
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