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Topic: Sewing Machine recommendation?

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Subject: Sewing Machine recommendation?
Date Posted: 6/25/2009 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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Does anyone have any experience with the Mini Rex Sewing Machine? I'm debating between that one and the

Michley LSS-202 Lil' Sew & Sew Mini 2-Speed Sewing Machine



My grandma taught me to sew by hand, and I took a couple crafts classes in high school (we did several sewing projects) so I'm not completely a novice, but it's been a few years.

I want a sewing machine to make simple craft projects--a wallet, apron, dishclothes, etc.

If you have any advice, I would appreciate it enormously!


Date Posted: 6/30/2009 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
Posts: 2,077
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My advice is to get a real sewing machine. You can get a bottom line Singer at Walmart for under $100. It will last much longer and cause you much less aggravation than these little things. Any reviews I've read about mini-machines like this (and I did not look these two up...I suggest you do), is that they are not good for much more than mending a quick hem. They are not strong enough to sew through denser fabric, like upholstery (to make pillows) or denim, or sometimes even quilt-weight cotton. They also tangle easily and end up being more frustrating than just hand sewing.

The other option is going to garage sales or checking on craigslist to see if there's someone wanting to sell their machine cheap if cost is a concern for you.

Date Posted: 7/1/2009 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2008
Posts: 1,417
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Lisa--Thank you for the advice.  Cost is a concern, but I'd rather spend a little more than buy something that won't work.

Walmart has the Brother 10-Stitch Portable Sewing Machine, LS-2125i on sale for $69.98 (it was $78.88) and it has almost 100% positive reviews on both Amazon and Wal-mart's site.

I've been checking Craigslist to no avail, so I think I'm going to pick up this one sometime this weekend.

Thanks for putting me in the right direction.

Date Posted: 7/3/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Last Edited on: 11/23/10 11:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/18/2009 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2005
Posts: 884
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If you haven't got a machine yet, I just got the most recent Brylane Home catalog in the mail, and with promo code BHKCSEW you get a mini rex for FREE....

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 7:38 AM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2006
Posts: 795
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The $99 machines at Walmart aren't bad. Lots of machine for your money - but they are light weight, light duty machines. If you become a serious sew-er, you will see what you need. For example, I kept buying the $99 Singers at Walmart and wearing the gears out about once every year or two, I finally was able to afford a real machine - $800 Janome Quilting machine. It is heavy duty but very few stitches. All I need is a satin stitch (zig zag) and a straight stitch. I have had it for years and no problems - it is a quilters machine. it shoudl last me the rest of my life.

You, however, might find the need for many stitches or for some light embroidery or heavy embroidery. By the time you are ready for a $500+ machine, you wil know what you need & want in a machine. Don't spend a lot of money right now until you know enough how you sew. You will know when the time comes when it is time to graduate to an expensive machine - and why. Until then, plain jane, inexpensive machines will be OK.

Not all machines are for everybody. Those mini machines, however, are for nobody over the age of 12.

The thing to watch with the cheaper machines (under $300) is learn how to control and adjust the tension on the machine. Be sure to learn how to clean it and do clean it - about every time you change bobbins. And, if the manual says to oil it, then oil it but only over some scrap fabric, please, and not too much. Read the manual. And use only the right kind of oil.

A good place to ask about good used sewing machines would be the local quilters guild. Many folks buy a good machine then move up to a great machine, so you can often find good used ones which are not advertised. Many quilt guilds have websites, or just find one near you and go visit.

As for buying a used machine, unless you know its source, I wouldn't. That machine at Goodwill for $25? Pass. garage sale? pass.

That being said, look in the yellow pages - the shops which do sewing machine repairs often have some for sale. Get one with a warranty. Good thing about buying from a sewing machine shop (or qult shop which sales sewing machines) is they usually have classes or will teach you how to use your machine.

You will notice a vast difference in the weight of machines even though they are the same size. Some smaller ones might be heavier than the large ones. The question to ask is this; plastic gears or metal gears?

 Janome is a great brand. White is a good brand. Brother and Singer - decent,  not great. Adeqaute for the average person who sews occasionally.  Singers are not the work horses like they used to be.

But, you should be able to get either a new or used machine that will fit your needs just fine and last for a few years (but not a lifetime) for less than $100.

(I'd stay away from the $99 Singers at Walmart).


Date Posted: 9/27/2009 4:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 1,157
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Dear Melissa,

I have a web page of advice about selecting the right sewing machine for you on my web site, SewingWithTom.com . If you don't feel that's enough advice for you, please go to my contact page and remind me that you met me here and ask for a copy of my book, "How to Buy a Sewing Machine". I'll send you a free copy as a PDF if you like (it's short, you can just read it on the screen), or it's available on amazon.com . The book won't tell you what machine to buy; it teaches you about what all the parts of a sewing machine do and how it all works, and advises a strategy of how to compare machines and select the one that's right for you.

One small piece of advice I will give is, don't buy a cheapo machine at a department store. As is noted above, they usually carry very low-end machines that are intended only for light use and won't stand up to serious sewing work. In contrast, you can get a really quality basic machine from a real sewing machine dealer for between $150 and $200, particularly if you wait for a sale. One exception: Sears sells some pretty good machines, so don't be afraid to go there if you really want to, but I advise trying your little independent dealers too. You'll find a list of sewing machine dealers at SewingWithTom.com as well. 

The two models of machine you showed seem like toy sewing machines to me. There are one or two such models that are quality, but most are garbage. I can't comment on those in particular because I have no experience with them, but I'd advise that getting a real sewing machine will probably make you happier in the long run.

Best wishes, and don't hesitate to contact me if you want to gab about sewing.


Date Posted: 9/30/2009 12:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2009
Posts: 451
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Not sure if you have purchased your machine or not, but I will add my $.02.  Don't buy a Brother, the one I had access too was crap.  It was finicky and kept breaking down.  Singers are ok machines, BUT they are extremely finicky.  They like being threaded properly, or just so every time.  If not they snarl.  They have a tendancy to have their tension go out of whack every so often and need to be re-calibrated by the Singer guy.  I own a Singer serger and have to rethread the thing every time I use it and it demands that I take it in for servicing just about every year. (I sew A LOT!)  My sister owns a Singer sewing machine, new, and it pretty much does the same thing to her.  My work horse is a Necchi.  LOVE IT!  Good basic machine, cots about $200.  I have an old '70s Viking, lovely workhorse.  My Mom owns a Bernina and a Viking.  Both are excellent machines if a bit pricey.  A friend owns a Pfaff.  Also a good machine if a bit pricey.  I would suggest sticking to a good name brand, going to that dealer/repair shop and seeing what used machines they have for sale.  Buying from them guarantees that the used machine is in good working order, and you can get a good older quality machine at a decent price.  Some of the top of the line brand names, in no particular order, are: Bernina, Viking, Janome, Pfaff. (the Cadillac machines)  Good name brands are Singer, White, and Necchi. (The Fords of the sewing world) There are a lot more brands out there, but these are the ones that I am familiar with.

Hope this helps.