What is a good beginner sewing machine? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 02-28-2011, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for either new or used and relatively cheap because if I find that I'm not good at this, then I would like to be able to re-sell it.  But I've got the bug and I want to give it a try.  I'm fairly creative/artsy - I love art, love to paint and make stuff for the kids.  Any ideas, suggestions would be great.

 

Thanks!


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#2 of 11 Old 03-01-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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I started sewing and quilting with a Simplicity sewing machine that I purchased at Wal-Mart.  It was a decent price 15 years ago.  Three years ago I upgraded to a Kenmore that I purchased at Sears for just under $200.00.  I really liked the Kenmore alot better and it was user friendly.  Make sure what ever machine you purchase has a drop in bobbin and not a side/front load.  If you can purchase one in your price range with auto tension, that  would be beneficial too.  They are the only 2 problems I have with the Simplicity machine.  The Kenmore machine bobbin is easier but I am not very good at the tension adjusting.  I hope this has helped you.  If you have any questions or would like some project ideas I would love to answer them.  I am not an expert by any means but I am learning as I go and enjoying every minute.

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#3 of 11 Old 03-01-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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I will second the suggestion for the Kenmore machine.  They are made by the same company that makes Janome machines.  They are well made, reliable and easy to use. 

 

Now...find something that you want to make.  What's something you really want that you'd like to make for yourself?  Look it up on You Tube and see if there's a video that shows you how to do it.  You'd be amazed at what you can find on You Tube these days.  There are thousands of tutorials and instructional videos that will teach you just about anything you'd like to learn. 


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#4 of 11 Old 03-01-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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The brother one thats like $70 at wal-mart.  

 

I have several (well....6) sewing machines, and I use my cheepo brother machine more than any of the others.  It is super easy to use, reliable, does all the basics, and its cheap.   I taught myself to sew using it.  

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#5 of 11 Old 03-01-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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I got a kenmore that retails for I think around $100 for my birthday a few years ago. Last summer I managed to break it (think  it needs a new belt or something?!) and decided to just get a new one on craigslist instead of fix it. I got a kenmore that retails for a little under $200, barely used, for $50!! Great deal :) I love it, its better than my old one. My old one was a "front load" bobbin and my new one is a drop in/top load bobbin. I don't understand why the front load would be non-ideal? I never had a problem with mine, equally easy! The front load one is better for shirring. According to tutorials I read, they were like, "well.. you CAN shir with a top loader... but it'd be easier to just go buy a front load bobbin machine from a thrift store and use that for shirring" lol. My machine decided to break when I was in the middle of shirring something and I never could finish on my new machine :/ couldn't get the tension right, but it was a snap with the old one. Thats my only complaint about top loaders. 

 

 


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#6 of 11 Old 03-02-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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I love my Kenmore too - i dont think ive ever used a front loader...hmmm.....so no comment there.....but look for soemthing that only has 10 different types of stitches - it will be lower in price and less complicated to use.


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#7 of 11 Old 03-02-2011, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the suggestions!  Very helpful!


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#8 of 11 Old 03-09-2011, 12:45 AM
 
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I've got a machine that's a drop-in bobbin (Brother), one that's got a front-load (Kenmore), and a Singer that I never use.  The Brother is computerized, and the Kenmore is mechanical.  I've found that the type of bobbin really doesn't matter.  The auto-tension on the Brother is a lot easier than the mechanical of the Kenmore, though the Kenmore one lets me personally adjust tension for delicate fabrics.

 

A little secret is that MOST sewing machines are made by Janome these days.  Brothers, Kenmores, Singers, they all comes out of the Janome factory with different stickers on them.  The higher-cost ones tend to have fancier stitches and stronger motors, so don't really worry about brand so much.

 

Look for one that has straight stitch, back stitch, and zig zag.  If you progress to buttons, you can upgrade to a machine that has one-step button stitches (I swear I went from hating buttonholes so much I refused to doing them, to getting excited to do them, solely because of the one-step on my Brother).  The rest are mostly decorating stitches, and of those that aren't, you can live without them.  I sew professionally, and I rarely ever use anything other than those three stitches.  But for each additional stitch on the machine, you can expect the price to go up another $10-$25.  Sure, it looks fancier to have all the numbers on the machine for all the different stitches, but save yourself the money.

 

If you want a really good machine for very little, look for vintage machines on Craigslist.  Even the best machines now, unless you're looking at industrial, will be made using a lot of plastic.  The heavy, built-like-a-tank machines of the 70's and before (especially ones from the early 60's and before) will LAST FOR-EV-ER.  And they're much less than a new machine.  My next machine will be a vintage one.  With machines, you really can't get too old.  Even the old treadles are amazingly efficient and durable.  But they take a bit more skill than a mechanical one from the 50's.

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#9 of 11 Old 03-09-2011, 12:46 AM
 
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LilStar, I've never heard that shirring isn't supposed to be possible with a drop-in bobbin machine.  I've never had any trouble.

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#10 of 11 Old 03-10-2011, 02:01 AM
 
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Me neither.... mine shirrs just fine.


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#11 of 11 Old 08-12-2012, 06:37 AM
 
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For a beginner I would recommend the Brother XL2600I.


This sewing machine is great for the beginner. I am just starting out sewing and really had no idea what I was getting myself into. My mom and aunts do sew on a regular basis, therefore, I turned to them to find out which machine I should purchase. They stated that this machine had the most options at a beginner level, yet I could grow into this machine. I have been using it for two months now making baby bedding, blankets, and cloth diapers. It was been wonderful! I can't say enough good things about this product! EXCELLENT for beginners and price!      

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