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Topic: Suggestion for Sewing Machine

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Subject: Suggestion for Sewing Machine
Date Posted: 8/22/2011 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 29
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I am new to sewing.  I am looking to purchase a decent, dependable sewing machine.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I am more a little overwhelmed by all the choices.  Thanks. 

Date Posted: 8/22/2011 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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I think it really depends on what you are wanting to sew and how much you are willing to spend.  I have two machines, a $400 Brother embridery machine and a $70 Singer for everyday work.  I will also probably pick up a cheap sewing machine on Black Friday to handle other everyday sewing.  I tend to be pretty rough on my machines (lots of flannels with nap and lots of thicknesses) and have burned out inexpensive Brothers in the past (probably because I wasn't cleaning them after every use like I do now, or perhaps because they were cheap).  So far, I like my Singer.  I've had it for a couple of years now, it doesn't have any fancy stitches, but it works well.  I don't spend much on my machines, but I never get them serviced, either..it has always been cheaper to buy a new machine.  I will probably take my embroidery machine in if it ever needs it, but so far it has worked well.  I can't tell you much about the more expensive brands, those are the only two that I've ever owned, but perhaps someone else can.  One thing you might do is go to a store like Joanne's or Michael's.  Some of them have machines set up that you can try out sewing on.  Good luck!

I learned to sew when I was a child on a Singer and can't wait until I inherit it.  It is from the 1940s and so far as I know has never needed servicing.  I wish that machines today were built like they were back then. 

Edited to add this:  One piece of advice I do have is that you should practice sewing a few projects on inexpensive material before you buy more expensive stuff.  Cotton or poly cotton blends are much easier to sew than some fabrics and are much nicer for a beginning, plus the don't cost as much to practice with.  Even now, when I'm making something out of really expensive fabric (like a Renaissance costume) I always make a "muslin" of it out of cotton first, just to practice the seams and make sure it fits before I cut the $20 a yard stuff.  Like my high school Fashions and Fabrics teacher told us, "Measure twice and cut once" 

Last Edited on: 8/23/11 5:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2011 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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The choices can be a bit overwhelming.  I have six machines that I regularly use, and several more antiques ones.  My workhorse is a Sears Kenmore with all metal parts, 37 years old and still going strong, will sew through anything.  I really like my New Home / Janome machines, again really well made.  Other good quality brands are Bernina and Pfaff as well as the Brother machines sold by dealers.

The advice above is the best, go to a dealer and try them out.  They can also give you sewing lessons, machine lessons and be there for help when you need it.  The one thing you do NOT want to do is buy a cheap machine at Walmart.  When you are just learning, having constant machine issues with no support is too discouraging.  Get a good one, in your budget range, and have someone you can call with questions.   If you have a friend or club you can go to, you might look at garage sales and Craigslist for a used machine.  If the brand is good, that can get you a better machine for less money.  Just be sure to take someone with you that can look it over and be sure the tensions aren't shot and the bobbin is good.

You might see if there is a chapter of the American Sewing Guild in your area.  Members are very helpful to those just starting out with advice and support.

Welcome to the wonderful world of designing your own clothes, making killer accessories, unique gifts and/or quilting.  Post your sewing questions here too, I think there are a bunch of people that will be happy to help you.  I am always happy to see someone take up my favorite hobby!!

Shelly -
Date Posted: 8/27/2011 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3,036
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I have a pricey Singer that does embroidery that I really like. I also have a Singer from the 50's that is just a straight stitch that I love! Spent less than $100 on eBay for that one. It totally depends on what you are wanting it for to be narrowed down.

Subject: Sewing Machines
Date Posted: 9/8/2011 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
Posts: 16
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In my opinion, an older machine, if it's been well serviced and taken care of is much the better buy. Machines nowadays have too many non-metal parts that don't hold up well.

I have an Elna I've had for 35 years and an old (1974) Bernina I just bought on e-Bay (that I haven't given a good workout yet) that are all metal construction and very solid. I've had Singers in the past, and they all worked well, but the tension would never remain constant. I've never had that happen on my Elna. The main thing is...get it serviced once a year at least, whether it seems to need it or not. A good machine will last you forever that way. I don't have any use for the computerized machines because I don't embroider or do fancy stitches. I sew clothes, accessories and quilts.

Also, oil it occasionally and change the needle with regularity. I use a brand new needle for each quilt. I save the old ones to use for mending clothing and hemming up towels that start to unravel and that sort of thing. And do take a sewing class! Most people my age (60's) learning sewing in Home Economics classes in school, but they no longer offer those (more's the pity) so you need a mother or a grandmother or Adult School class to learn to sew nowadays. But they are very helpful.

Date Posted: 10/8/2011 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 2,030
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If you can find an old gear driven Singer it will be fantastic. 

Date Posted: 6/17/2012 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
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Jessica, did you get a machine?