My 1st sewing machine - how much to spend? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-12-2010, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you recommend? I've been looking around on craigslist for a used one to maybe save some money, but I haven't found anything under $100. I found a brand new one at Wal*Mart for $60. Is that about right?

I'd like to eventually take a sewing class or just dive right in and teach myself. So much I want to make for the baby and around the house.

How did you get started? Any advice/suggestions you'd like to share with me?

Thanks!!

One happy mama to 1/06 , 3/10 , and married to my best friend
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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when i had only read your subject line without opening the thread to read your actual post, i thought, "$100". if you want to find a used machine, you may have better luck at thrift stores. around here, they are typically $25 in an old-school sewing table (or sometimes it's newer and in a case). you'd also then want to get it tuned up - so it's not really saving any money over the wal-mart version. but even $100 isn't a huge investment, and if used machines are going for $100 on your local craigslist, you could probably recoup some of the cost if you decide you hate it and don't want your machine anymore. for cheap fabric, thread, elastic, trims, etc: thrift store!

i started by just guessing at stuff, as a kid. (got my machine for my 11th birthday!) i've never been big on following patterns. however, i do like making things from 'tutorials' where i use a template or it explains how to make my pattern pieces. some really easy things to start sewing with are panel curtains, 'envelope' cushion covers (see the chez larsson blog for instructions!), simple tote bags, pillow case dresses or tops. craftster is a good source for free projects. there are some easy projects in the books 'weekend sewing' and 'handmade home' which you might be able to get from the library. i love vintage patterns and books for inspiration, but for actual projects, i think modern stuff is way less fussy and easier to follow. oh yeah, i also love amy karol's blog (angry chicken) and i bet her books are great - just haven't checked them out yet.

i would rather have a friend help me out once in a while (and most people who sew would probably love to help you!) versus taking a class. that way, you make the projects you want to make and get one-on-one help when needed.

my advice: measure twice, then cut!
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I started sewing when I was in 8th grade. I started with a simple pattern and learned from there. I have taken some classes, but more for socialization than education. I find that just doing stuff, reading about it, asking question in forums like this has been as helpful as any class I ever took.
Regarding machines and your budget. For $100 unless you get a used vintage machine you will be getting just what you paid for "a $100 machine" and depending on your goals and how much you end up loving sewing you might outgrew it very fast and also be terribly disappointed in the quality. I encourage you to put out some fillers. You can check freecycle, thrift stores or ask a relative or friend if they want to get rid of a sewing machine. I have a blog that I've talked about different vintage machines. I think you can't go wrong with a good solid pre1970's metal machine, brand not withstanding. If you lived near me I'd give you a machine. I have one in my garage that would love a new home.

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 01-16-2010, 10:42 PM
 
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My first machine was an ancient brother that I got for $15 at rummage sale. My roommates boyfriend carried it back to the car. It was heavy! I needed to have it serviced and the wires replaced for another $50. I used it for years.

My first new machine 7 years ago was a basic Kenmore which was about $100. It has a good Consumer report rating. It has worked well.

A lot of my first sewing projects involved dollar a yard fabric which took away some of the "what if I mess up" fear.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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Hmm... I spent about $200 on my first machine, which I love. It is the sears brand, which is made by Janome (one of the more respected brands). Other experienced sewers of 4+ years have envied my machine and decided to get one like it. I think that if you expect you'll sew a lot (like weekly) you'd appreciate something better than a $100 machine. If you're going to do a project once a month or less, then a cheaper machine may do well. My favorite features on my machine are the up/down button (makes the needle stop at down when desires), the thread cutter, needle threader, removable arm, and slow stitch setting. I also decided to buy a walking foot accessory, which has been VERY helpful!

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Old 01-25-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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I spent about $250 on a HuskyStar machine a few years ago. I got it from a reputable sewing machine store. It came with classes to teach me how to use it and a couple free tune-ups. I had an ancient garage sale one that I got as a teenager for $50 but it couldn't do the things I wanted to do.

Heather Mike Married 8/1/99 Mom to Charlotte Aug 04, Nov 06, and Katherine Oct 07
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:15 AM
 
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I second the suggestion of the pre 1970's all metal machine. I LOVE my Singer 500 you can pick up a nice Singer 400 through 500 series on ebay for a decent price some times. Sometimes the prices are CRAZY but for the most part if you bide your time you will find a good all metal machine for a low price. My dh picked up a Singer 403 in a table at Habitat for Humanity for I think $30.00, I don't really remember now. Sews like a dream but I love my 500 from ebay so I'm keeping it and will sell the 403. Personally, I would not buy the $60.00 machine from WalMart in that case you will get what you pay for. It will sew basic stuff but not heavy materials. And it will cost more to tune up or fix then it would to replace it with another $60.00 machine. The older machines will sew silk to leather and everything in between and last a lifetime. My machine was built in 66 and it looks new, runs like new. Good luck.

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Old 01-29-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busymama77 View Post
What do you recommend? I've been looking around on craigslist for a used one to maybe save some money, but I haven't found anything under $100. I found a brand new one at Wal*Mart for $60. Is that about right?

I'd like to eventually take a sewing class or just dive right in and teach myself. So much I want to make for the baby and around the house.

How did you get started? Any advice/suggestions you'd like to share with me?

Thanks!!


I'm a beginner too! My mom bought me a sewing machine for my birthday in November. It's the bottom of the line (or near bottom of the line) Singer that was on sale for $94 at Joann Fabrics. I didn't think about a used one, but that would probably be a good option if you're willing to get it tuned up. I just wouldn't know what to buy or where to take it, and honestly I'm lazy and it seemed like a lot of trouble.

My little Singer is not going to last a long time (not very sturdy), but I figure it is a good platform for learning as there aren't a lot of "extras" on it and it is NOT a "professional grade" machine. So far I've made curtains, baby blankets, burp cloths, and nursing pads, and been pretty happy with the results. If I decide to stick with sewing (other than an occasional button or hem or simple things like I've made so far), then I'll look at something pricier and more substantial for next time.

I thought about classes too, but they seem geared toward the lowest common denominator, IYKWIM. So I'm learning on my own, and making lots of mistakes along the way. But that's part of the adventure, to me. Good luck!

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