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Topic: Sewing Machine Advice

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Subject: Sewing Machine Advice
Date Posted: 1/16/2009 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 203
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My parents offered to buy me a sewing machine for christmas, which is great since I have been wanting one for a while.  Now the problem is that I have to actually pick one out.  So, I'm hoping that some of you more experienced people can give me some advice.  I have very limited sewing experience (I took home ec in middle school and we made pillows and baby blankets and stuff like that) and I would really like to learn to make clothes.  Ideally I would like a machine that can do some embroidery, but that's not a deal breaker.  I would really appreciate any imput.  Thanks in advance.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
Posts: 2,077
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I've owned two Singers and loved them both. I suppose it depends on the money you are able to spend as far as which models you want. I will say that embroidery machines are very expensive and are really geared more for just that function. You can use them to sew, but they may not have a lot of the bells and whistles you want for a regular sewing machine. Most people who are heavy into embroidery have a machine for that and then a regular machine just for sewing.

Because you are a beginner, I think I'd get the feel of the regular machines first before you adventure into embroidery. By then, you may have found some things that you want or don't want in a machine that will help you pinpoint the right embroidery machine for you since it is a large investment.

Even though machines are electric now, there are two types; manual and digital. I started on a manual machine, because I could get one new for $100-$150. It was fine, but since I quilt, there were some features I really needed, such as needle-down/needle--up capability (that's where you can select that when you let off of the foot pedal the machine will complete the stitch and end either all the way up or all the way down. Manuals just stop mid-stitch wherever you are and you have to finish the stitch with the hand wheel or with the foot pedal if you are good. )

I traded my manual Singer in for a digital one at a Singer dealership (yes, they will take your old machine in on trade). My new one is a Quantum 9910, and it made my life so much easier it was unbelievable. It has a few decorative stitches and an alphabet, so you can do some VERY BASIC embroidery.

Easiest thing to do is go to a dealership--Singer, Bernina, Husqvarna, etc. and have them show you several models to give you some ideas about features that may or may not be important to you. The latter two are expensive machines-we're talking generally over $1000 for most models. But most dealerships have used or reconditioned machines that are much less expensive, so you might find a good deal there. I used a Husqvarna at a quilting class I took and did not like it at all. I see that a lot of quilters, including the famous ones pretty much use Berninas, so I'm sure they're good. Like anything, people will have their favorites, and you won't know which you like best until you try them.

Good luck!

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2007
Posts: 773
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The last time I bought a sewing machine, I told them I wanted a very basic machine - they sold me Singer's "school model," meaning it is pretty much like the one you used in Home Ec class.  I didn't want a lot of complicated features since I don't envision using them.  I wanted the features you would need to construct a simple garment, so I got a zipper foot and a buttonholer, and the machine zigzags and has a stretch stitch mode for sewing on knits.  It's the same with my camera - all I'm going to do with it is point and shoot, maybe zoom a little bit, so paying for extra functions that I'm too lazy to learn how to use is such a waste!

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 344
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My grandmother had a Kenmore (well - first she had one of those ancient treadle machines, but her first electric sewing machine was a Kenmore) and it lasted forever. My mother has a Kenmore - she's had it since about 1965 and it still works great. So when my parents bought me a machine...guess who made it?  The Kenmores have a great warranty!


BUT - I will admit that I've never used anything else. Our quilting club had machines but I always used my own; theirs were a little clunky and not as nice.

Date Posted: 1/22/2009 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 203
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Thanks everyone,

I ended up finding a middle of the road singer on sale at JoAnns.  I haven't had much chance to play with it yet but it looks like it should do everything I want to do with it and I'm excited.  I'm taking it to a over to a friend's who is an excellent seamstress to play this weekend.

Date Posted: 2/8/2009 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 13
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I agree that you shouldn't spend alot of money on an expensive embroidery machine until you've sewn for a few years and you're sure it will be a wise investment.  I don't think you can lose with a middle of the road Singer or Kenmore.  Both make very good basic machines.  My preference would probably lean toward Singer though, I think the stiches are more consistent.  Sometimes you can get a great buy on a slightly used machine in the paper or classified online sites where you can focus on people near your home.  Good look and I hope you enjoy whatever you decide on.