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Recommend me a sewing machine

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi! Please help me find a good machine. What would you recommend?

I'm new to this corner of the commune! I was just reading about a woman who woke up one morning and just HAD to sew. Funny thing because I woke up this morning with the same feelings!! I HAVE TO SEW! Only problem. I don't have a sewing machine... Soooooo what now? I am on a budget here. Would spend $300 AT THE ABSOLUTE MOST! Hoping to find a machine for around $150. I would like to use it to try and make carriers, diapers, crafts and clothes. I am an okay sewer. I definately need some practice and a machine that is easy to use. So... Help me, Ronda! What brand would you recommend? or specific machine? Links would be appreciated but not necessary! Thanks Ladies!

PS-I've been looking at some Kenmore machines. What do you think of them? Anyone have one that they can vouch for?
post #2 of 21
I just bought an amazing brother on sale @ walmart reg 200 for 160. Has 77 different stitches and is SOOOO simple to use!!! Easy Easy Easy!!

Got to say its a beauty!! They also have the same idea with less stitches for cheaper!

Id go with a brother or a singer!
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
So my Grandma, who is an extremely talented quilter, recommended a Janome for me for starting out. She also said Bernina is a good brand. What do you all think? I would really value any input ANYONE can give. I know you all out there must have something to say!
post #4 of 21
I have three of the old Swiss Bernina 950 and it's a great machine. They are all at least 30 yo and still going strong- I have heard that the new Berninas are not so good. I do have a relatively new Janome, about 10 yo and it is a good machine, sews beautifully and trouble free, but a bit disappointed with the embroidery function of the Memory Craft 2000 model. I think when you have a limited budget, older used machines are the best buy. The old Kenmores were great machines- at leasts 30yo with metal moving parts. Singers haven't been good for quite a while but the old ones are great and very desirable. Check your local Sewing machine shop for a used machine. A lot of good old machines are traded in for the new machines with all the fancy embroidery and stich functions, which I rarely use, but I think that if you want to sew garments, you want a zigzag stiich in addition to the straight stitch, so tha you can make button holes. For a beginner, I think this is plenty of machine to start. Then once you find yourself sewing a lot, you can trade up to a fancier model. Best of luck to you!
post #5 of 21
I think under $300 is a good range for a starter. All of these machines will fall into the "not as good" category because they will be made with plastic parts instead of metal. That worked for me because I wanted to see how I liked it and if I felt I could do alot of sewing before really investing.

I have the bernina bernette 80E
And so far I love it. I've had it for about 6 months. I got it on sale at Hancock for $300. I watched it for a few months until it went to close out, my store decided not to carry that model anymore. It includes unlimited "free" lessons.
post #6 of 21
I really love my Singer Quantum 9940. I got a good deal new from a seller on Ebay that sells lots and lots of sewing machines. There is a 9920 & 9910 version too I think that has fewer stitches and cost less. I don't even begin to use all the fancy stitches that mine has.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
I went to a sewing store that sells Berninas and looked at some Bernettes. The most basic (Bernette 55) was like $229. I just found a Bernette 65 online for around $200 and think I might splurge on it. It doesn't have many decorative stitch functions but I don't know if I will really use those anyhow. It won't come with free lessons but I will figure it out, right? Anybody have the Bernette 65? Do you think that is a good deal?
post #8 of 21
post #9 of 21
I have a Bernina 125 and love it. It's a heavy duty machine and I sew several hours a week on it and have never had a problem. I don't know anything about the Bernette 65.

I volunteer in a Ministry that makes Sock Monkeys for orphans and children with cancer, and often teach the machine sewing class (teach people how to sew the monkey parts). I often spend most of my class time repairing other peoples machines. I don't think much of the really cheap Janome's or Brother's - from what most people have told me they've paid $100-$150 for these machines. I also have an old White (features are only straight, zig-zag and reverse), and a newer White Jeans machine that I just bought for my daughter and they are both good machines. If you have a Hancock's near you you might want to check them out as they've had most of their machines over about $200 for 1/2 price this month. I'm not a Singer fan either, I bought a heavy duty Singer machine and it only lasted about 3 years, and was in the shop for much of that time. I've never looked at a Kenmore and am not sure who makes them.

If you have a Bernina shop, check with them, ours takes machines in on trade and consignment and they often have some really good prices.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately we don't have a Hancock in our area. Only Joanne Fabrics, and they only sell HuskyStars. I did check out a Bernina store but they only have the really expensive Berninas. The only "Bernina" I could afford was the Bernette 55. I think I might buy one online as they are a bit cheaper in price.
post #11 of 21
I have a Kenmore that I love. I bought it for $250 on sale.

post #12 of 21
I have a 35 year old Kenmore all metal model that my mom bought when she left for college and it is still going strong! My mom sewed a ton back then, and I have pu tit through a few quilts, some clothes, and some Halloween costumes and it handles it all. I sometimes think of 'upgrading', but it would take a pretty expensive machine to do more than mine does, and I doubt the thing will be dying on me any time soon! Check the market for some used machines -- some shops that repair them sell them also.
post #13 of 21
Pfaffs use to be a good sewing machine. Not sure about now days.

I had an old one that had to be 40+ years. I could do all sorts of fancy stitches. Just found out by searching E-Bay it was a 1950 model no doubt.

Havent heard anything mentioned nowdays about them

I would recommend an old Singer but not so old its doesnt have zigzag
post #14 of 21
Go vintage, do not buy a new plastic cheapo one or even an expensive plastic one!!!

My recommendations are

If looking for a machine capable of Zigzag, Singer 401A, made in 1958-1960 a little on the heavy side but has lots of built in stitches, can take the top hat cams to get a few more stitches, it's an all metal gear machine, nothing to break like on the new machines. It's a slant needle, takes common, made today bobbins and needles. an electric machine. Won't handle hours and hours of heavy duty work but will easily sew through heavy upholstery for the occasional project or the fine silk!

if you want a really good straight stitch machine, I'd go with one of the 'old black singers' if you want an all electric I'd go with a 15-91, if you want something that can be either electric, treadled or converted to handcrank, I'd go with a 66. The 66 would probably be cheaper, but it really depends on where you go looking for one. Both of these machines are low shank, taking common needles and bobbins. You can get buttonholers that work really well on them! What's even cooler about these machines is the fact that there is basically nothing on them that will break, you can easily learn to do the maintence and repairs on them yourself, which means you can save all that $ you would of spent on a tech for the newer machines on fabric!

And if you are afraid that you won't be able to make 'pretty' things w/ a straight stitch only machine, think about all the clothes that were made before the 50's, if they were home sewn on a machine then a straight stitch only machine would of been used!

All should be priced under the 150 range, with the 401 probably being the highest, then the 15-91 and last the 66.

Links to see pictures of machines I'm talking about.




I really like the old machines!
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey, I think my mom has one of those old sewing machines. But she only uses it for decoration. I want a machine that I can take with me to sewing classes and such. I have narrowed it down between 2 machines.
The Bernina Bernette 65 which is available for around $220 (shipping included) on eBay.
The Viking Husky Star E20 which is available for around $200 at Joann Fabric Stores in my area.

I am leaning more toward the HuskyStar E20 because it comes with free lessons and has more stitch options as well as accessories included. For a basic machine it probably doesn't matter which one I go with. If I like it enough I may upgrade in a few years anyhow, right?
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
YEAH! I did it! I did it! I decided to go with the Viking Huskystar E20! They are selling like hotcakes. I got the last one in the store. I can't wait to use it... now what am I going to sew first? I was thinking about taking my old pre-pregnancy jeans and making a skirt, (YEAH! Something that will fit!) but that's another story. Thanks for all your help ladies!!
post #17 of 21
Did you get it at Joanns? I've been meaning to go over to the one here that has the machines set up and check it out. I'm lusting after a Huskystar C20... but I really don't need one, my Brother is still working ok. It does need to be serviced pretty soon, and I feel like I could just as well buy something nicer rather than pay for the service... But that might just be me trying to justify it! :
post #18 of 21
I got a Huskystar about a month ago.
I've only had Singers and was IN LOVE with my singer 6038, then my MIL talked me into a dress makers singer. I can't remember the number. I hated it and sold my 6038 so I had to suffer with it. It broke last month. WOHOOOO, so I went looking around and was going to get another Singer 6038 but saw the huskystar while at Joanns.

I LOVE it. I think I love it even more the singer I had. It stitches so nicely and will sew through a lot of layers to. Enjoy it.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I love it too! I am just playing around right now, but you're right it does stitch really nice! I can't wait to try making some maya-like baby carriers! Ooooo, I am giddy just thinking about it!
post #20 of 21
I just got a Huskystar E20 as well. I love it so far, but I've only had it since Monday night. Definitely better than the EuroPro Shark Automatic it's replacing.
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