Can you recommend an inexpensive but good sewing machine? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 08-22-2005, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ideally it would be not like crazy complicated but good enough for sewing clothes (mostly childrens), handbags, blankets. pillows etc. TIA

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#2 of 18 Old 08-23-2005, 06:47 PM
 
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It depends on what you consider inexpensive. Many people start out with a $100 Brother sewing machine from Wal-Mart that can usually handle simple sewing. Handbags and blankets are usually made of heavier materials and might make a inexpensive machine choke.

Other choices (that avoid Wal-Mart, which I like) include finding a used machine. Dealers take trade-ins on new machines and sell the old ones at a huge discount, sometimes for little more than the cost of the tune-up. Ebay, free-cycle, and relatives are other good sources for used machines. Sears sells Kenmore sewing machines that many people are happy with at below sewing machine dealer prices.

Most sewing machine dealers have mid-range machines that are around $400 and up. The advantage is in the support, almost all offer free lessons, trade-ins, service, or just having someone to ask questions. There are also on-line dealers who sell machines for less than B&M stores, the machines are usually older models and lack the support of local businesses.

Names that are good include Viking, Bernina, Pfaff, Janome, Elna. Old Singers and old Whites are also good. This isn't all inclusive, there are more good names out there.

If you can find or afford it, don't be afraid of a fancier machine. They can actually be easier to use. My computerized Viking has neat tricks like it always stops with the needle up (unless I want it to stop down) and a super easy button hole. I can switch stitch types by pressing a button. Even my 15 mo can do it, but that is another issue :LOL. A higher quality machine is also easier to use because it is reliable. When you are a new sewer this is important because you might not know if the problem is user error or machine error.

A good resource for checking out a particular model is the reviews at Sewing Pattern Review . You have to register to view, but it is free. Good luck!
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#3 of 18 Old 08-23-2005, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow thank you for this post!! There is so much good info I am saving it on my computer for future reference Thanks.

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#4 of 18 Old 08-23-2005, 11:08 PM
 
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You are welcome. Thanks for thanking me!
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#5 of 18 Old 08-25-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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Nothing useful to add, just wondering, are you already a sewer? Or are you a pre-sewing novice?



Just bid on a machine on eBay. A reconditioned Singer, no clue how old, honestly, but at this point I just want something to learn on. It's one of those .99 cent starting bid ones from a dealer with all positive feedback, so hopeful that I'll at least learn how to thread the thing before it craps out on me ... :LOL

If you're a beginner, are you taking lessons of some kind or are you just going to wing it?
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#6 of 18 Old 08-26-2005, 11:53 PM
 
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Yay, helpful thread! I've never touched a sewing machine in my life, and a needle and thread only a handful of times. But I'm looking into a hobby such as this. I think I'll look into getting a used sewing machine, too.
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#7 of 18 Old 08-28-2005, 08:45 PM
 
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]I have a Janome Harmony 2049. I is slick and smooth and all good things a machine ought to be. has an automatic button hole gadet that makes me happy to be alive and makes me want to but button holes everywhere. atfer 8 years of being unsuccessful at even coming close to a respectable button hole. It has several decorative top stiches that are fun for blankets and diapers and such. so easy to use. and it was only $200. andi t is good brand with a good reputation. I love it. Got it at sears but they have a similar/same one at hancock and joanns and such. the local sewing store sell janome (it is a very good reputable brand) but I don't know if they sell the simple exclusively mechanical ones. I did not want a computerized one and that is mostly what they sell.

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#8 of 18 Old 09-02-2005, 04:46 PM
 
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Hmmm.

I've been bidding on eBay for various sewing machines but keep losing. If I'm getting a reconditioned one in the mail, though, I don't want to spend serious money. They've been Kenmores (15812, I think was the model number and another one I forgot what it was) and a Singer (something like Q132). Also started to bid on a Simplicity one called something like a "Denim 210" or something like that, but then stopped because it didn't look like a serious machine . Really. Silly reason, I know.

But anyway, point being that this is a beginner of all beginners. Still have a bid on one, waiting to see what happens ...

To the OP, did you get one?
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#9 of 18 Old 09-02-2005, 04:56 PM
 
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I like my mother's old Kenmore, I had a Brother- Nice, and a Non-computerized Singer on loan-Awesome. Check out your local Vacuum & Sewing Machine Store....they fix them and usually sell them or Pawn Shops. Both will usually let you make payments which is really nice in this day and age. Git yo sew on!
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#10 of 18 Old 09-02-2005, 05:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk
"Denim 210" or something like that, but then stopped because it didn't look like a serious machine .
my first thought was "that does not sound like a very serious sewing machine. they shou7ld perhaps rethink thier marketing on that one :LOL

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#11 of 18 Old 09-02-2005, 06:13 PM
 
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You'll find just about any Singer or Kenmore machine to be good. They are plentiful and inexpensive. Check at a local sewing store to see if there are any used models and what accessories are available. Occasionally you will find a more expensive brand name on eBay for cheap. I bought my Pfaff serger on eBay for less than half of the retail price.

Stef - mommy to Matthew and Katrina, wife to Dave; seamstress, bra-maker, and resident bra expert.  Find your proper bra size.
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#12 of 18 Old 09-06-2005, 02:03 AM
 
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All right then. Finally won an auction. And I had bid on maybe 12 or 13 machines, kept losing. It's a Singer 132Q, am guessing the Q means it's usually for quilters, but I don't think quilters do anything weird with their sewing machines, right? It should work for, oh, say, a clothing pattern, right?

Looking forward to it arriving in one piece and in working order.

So do you need lessons to sew the first time or can you figure it out on your own? Kind of asking as a general rule. IYKWIM.



OP, did you get one??
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#13 of 18 Old 09-10-2005, 03:21 PM
 
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I have a 35ish year old pfaff that just rocks! It was my grandma's, and when I was 12 she paid me to make some valances for her on it. I loved it so much I asked if I could have her machine.... She told me that when she died, I could have it. She died 2 years ago , but had the machine delivered to me before she died so there would be no fights. I love it. I bought my daughter the Brother from WAL*MART, and she really loved it for her sewing classes (she's 10) It's always set up, in her room, so I've used it quite a bit, too and have to say it really works quite well. It is too light, though so it walks across the table when you're going full speed. Full speed is not nearly as fast as I like, but then, I'm used to the Pfaff. :LOL
And, yes, you can figure it out on your own. Good Luck!
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#14 of 18 Old 09-16-2005, 12:38 AM
 
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Newbie, SAVE
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#15 of 18 Old 09-30-2005, 01:29 PM
 
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can anyone reccomend one that can handle thicker fabrics? I had a Singer I bought from walmart that was really crappy and couldn't handle any thickness at all. I really want to get something that I can make slings and such with, but I don't want to spend more than $300. Does anyone know of anything like that? I don't need it to do any fancy stitches, it just needs to be able to handle thick fabrics and layers of fabric, without dying.
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#16 of 18 Old 10-01-2005, 10:19 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Summertime Mommy]can anyone reccomend one that can handle thicker fabrics? I had a Singer I bought from walmart that was really crappy and couldn't handle any thickness at all. I really want to get something that I can make slings and such with, but I don't want to spend more than $300. Does anyone know of anything like that? I don't need it to do any fancy stitches, it just needs to be able to handle thick fabrics and layers of fabric, without dying.[/QUOTE

I would say you should go with an older model. I bought a 20 year old montgomery ward machine and I love it, it can handle anything so far, I even sewed my rating badge onto my Navy issue pea coat and it did just fine. I bought it for $40 from and eldery woman who just couldn't see that well anymore. It was in beautiful condition and I love it's retro look. Just look around for awhile until you find the right one for you. It's worth it!
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#17 of 18 Old 10-07-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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I agree with the above post! I too bought a 15-20yo Montgomery Ward from a sewing repair place that also has used machines for around $100. It is a work horse & super simple to learn on!!!
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#18 of 18 Old 10-07-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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I just have to chime in for the Berninas here. I LOVE this brand! My mom has the super-duper top o'the line model, and it is a cadillac. I have the lowest entry-level computerized model, the Activa 130, and it is plenty for me. Not sure what the original retail was, but I think it was in the under $300 range. Sews diapers like a dream, even with thick organic thread.
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