Rephrasing the question- what features should I look for in a sewing machine - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 07-05-2003, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I still can't figure out which machine to get. And as a beginner level sewer, I'm not sure what features are really important. Which machine features do you think I absolutely need? Thanks.

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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#2 of 7 Old 07-05-2003, 07:27 PM
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what all do you plan to make with it?

one thing I wish I had was a serger
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#3 of 7 Old 07-05-2003, 07:30 PM
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Well, I've been sewing a really long time (27 years) so I can't sy exactly what is good in a beginning machine, but I can tell you what I use the most and what i never use

First you need something that is easy to thread and wind/change the bobbin. You want something that makes a nice, even straight stitch. Something that can handle lots of layers, yet still work well on very thin stuff. The machine I have had for the last 12 years uses special discs to make fancy stitches and I have only used them about 3 times ever. The fancy stuff can be fun and if you really think you'll use them, get them, but you can do just fine without them and having them might end up being confising and frustrating if you've never really sewn before.

I think the best beginning machines are old Singers (the 401, 403, 500 and 503 are my favorites) because they are strong, simple and hard to break I don't really know new machines, cause I don't like plastic machines and think computers are a waste except for embroidery. I know very few owners of old Singers who really have problems with their machines and lots more people with new machines that are just never quite up to par.

You might want to check out Sewing World Commons they have a section on sewing machines and you can find out all sorts of great info by brand. The sewers there are super helpful and you can get a really good idea about what you want from hearing from people who own each kind.

Take lots of time to research and test machines and pick the one that you really love and are excited about If a dealer won't let you play with a machine, then move along, they aren't someone you want to deal with.

Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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#4 of 7 Old 07-05-2003, 07:49 PM
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I like drop in bobbins and self oiling machines. Those are very handy features. My eye sight is fair so I don't use my self needle threader but if your eyes are bad that may be something to look at.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-06-2003, 11:26 AM
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What are you going to be sewing? Clothes? Quilts? A variety? What's your price range? Do you want to buy American or do you care?

When I was shopping for new machines, I looked at Pfaff, Babylock, Bernina and Brother. I decided on a Brother.

I also have an old Singer Futura II that is a workhorse! It's sewn many a Halloween costume, quilt, diapers

But, now that I'm finally getting to the point where I have the skill to carry out my more advanced art quilting ideas, my Singer wasn't cutting it. I wanted a new machine where I could drop the feed dogs and do some free motion work.

My new machine does's computerized, has over 200 sitches (including several overlock stitches so it does the work of a serger, too) it threads the needle, cuts the thread, etc. My family likes some of the finer bells and whistles because they no longer have to deal with a gripy mommy cursing and swearing asking God to take swift and decisive vengence on her machine when something isn't working right I didn't think I would like the new machines, they didn't seem as sturdy as the old Singer I was used to...I was so wrong!

But really, for years and years my old Singer was the cat's pajamas and it did everything I needed it to. I do like the heavy old metal style of machines and I would love to own a 501 or a Featherweight just for fun

Oh and I on the machine in the store and see what you think. I tried about 7 machines out in stores and the people were always helpful and encouraged me to try them out. When you get a machine, you want to make sure it's the right one.
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#6 of 7 Old 07-06-2003, 01:35 PM
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Most fabric stores that sell machines have floor displays you can play with. and I totally agree with NOT buying unless you can sew on it. And most fabric store employees are knowledgeable about the machines they sell. I got my White sewing machine for 200.00 on clearance b/c it was a floor display I really like it. It doesn't have an automatic button holer, but I don't usually use buttons so it's not a big deal to me. It only has 21 stitches, but that's plenty b/c it has the ones I need and use the most It's super easy to adjust the tension, and figure out the stitches b/c it has pictures of each one on the machine and on the turn dial to change the stitches :LOL I would definitely say it's a great machine for a beginner(which is what I am )
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#7 of 7 Old 07-06-2003, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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I will be using it to sew baby clothes primarily. Would like to be able to do quilts in time. My budget is under $200. I don't really care about the brand. The only machine I have sewed on was my friend's Pfaff - which I absolutely love but I understand are very expensive. Thanks so much for all your suggestions.

"We shape the clay into a pot but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want" Lao Tzu
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