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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last time I used one was in 8th grade home-ec to make a small elephant pillow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
I went to Joanns, debit card in hand, ready to go...but the woman there wasn't very beginner friendly. I asked her what was a good, reasonably priced starter model, and she went into a game of 21 Questions. She was asking about what materials I usually work with, did I need quilting quality or industrial strength, self threading, hand held/portable or stationary, electric or battery, etc.<br><br>
I felt so overwhelmed, I told her I'd come back later in the day, after I picked DS up from school. That was last week. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
So....what I'd like in a sewing machine is:<br><br>
~User friendly-not too hard to use<br><br>
~Under $150 (don't mind buying on ebay)<br><br>
...that's it I guess. What else should I look for?<br><br>
I'd like to make some pillows and pillow cases, small crafts for labor/birth (like rice pouches and stuff), curtains, etc for now. Eventually, if I get the hang of it, I'd love to quilt.<br><br>
Can you ladies help me out? Specific brands, models, etc? Or at least what to tell the lady at Joanns!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'm thinking something like <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/Singer-Inspiration-4205-Sewing-Machine-Brand-New_W0QQitemZ110232527122QQihZ001QQcategoryZ28166QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">this</a> would be nice...<br><br>
Or maybe <a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/BRAND-NEW-Singer-2662-Sewing-Machine_W0QQitemZ230227595029QQihZ013QQcategoryZ3118QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_blank">this</a><br><br>
But for all I know, it's much more than what I need...or conversely, a piece of cheap junk.
 

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I think I'd go with the second one, it looks pretty cool. When I bought my first machine I was super overwhelmed, too, so I kwym. Don't be afraid of the gadgetry. I bought one with all the bells and whistles and I'm glad I did. It's pretty handy to think, "Gee, I wonder if I could make X project, will my machine do that?" It is always such a pleasant surprise that YES! It will! It does crap that I still haven't even used... But I digress. Anyway, I'm looking around for one too, a less expensive second machine for the kids or when my other one is in the shop and that looks like a pretty solid bet. Do you have a Hancock Fabrics close to you? They carry the Janome machines which I lurve, they're a good brand, IMO. Good luck!
 

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I have done a lot of sewing machine research and I really think Kenmores (Sears) are the best basic machines. You can get one for under $200 I know for sure, maybe $150. You might want to check out the comments to <a href="http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=429#comments" target="_blank">this blog post</a>.<br><br>
(That is my blog, but it really is relevant. I hope that is ok to post!)
 

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If you see a machine you like the look of you can check it out on <a href="http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/topsearch.pl" target="_blank">patternreview.com</a> in their sm/sergers review section.<br><br>
There or on <a href="http://sewingmamas.com/b/" target="_blank">sewing mamas</a> (Sabrina posts there and here and may be along in a bit to help you) What those ladies don't know about the pros and cons of machines is nobody's business!<br><br>
In terms of features, I would look for stretch stitches, easy buttonholes, adjustable stitch length and a brand that you can get serviced locally.
 

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One poster mentioned Janome and I would have to agree with that suggestion. I have a high end Janome and I love love love it. It is tough enough to quilt through denim and yet gentle enough to make sheers go though beautifully. I am sure you probably don't want a model with as many features as mine- but anyway..... I would say stay away from JoAnns and Hancock and go to an actual sewing machine store. They will help you out so much more than a big box will. They will have the time and patience to sit down with you and show you how to run it and go through the features that you need and those that you don't think you need- but are nice to know they are there. Plus when it is 4:30 on Friday afternoon and you are having problems you can always call them and they will either walk you through fixing it or help you in the store asap. Small shops have way better customer service. Call around and see what you can find. Janome, Bernina, Pfaff, all good brands that should have shops close by. (well hopefully- the closest sewing machine shops to me are 120 miles away!)
 

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Hey there! I'm so excited for you to go machine shopping what fun!<br>
Definitely check out consumer reviews on <a href="http://www.patternreview.com" target="_blank">www.patternreview.com</a>. I personally don't know about the 2 models you post other than I think you'll find they get very mixed reviews. Singers lower end machines are not known to be very good and therefore not really worth it. Brothers can be hit or miss. Some really enjoy them. Some really despise them. I had a lower end brother for years and most of the issues I had I think were partly user error. I used it for many years before upgrading and it never "broke" but certainly could be finicky and could be oftputting to a less determined sewer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> For a really good value and a solid reputation I don't think you can go wrong with a kenmore. They are made by Janome and produce a ton of machines for themselves and other brands. I think if you can spend maybe $200 you can get a great machine!
 

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I just bought a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FBrother-CS6000I-60-Stitch-Computerized-Functions%2Fdp%2FB000JQM1DE%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_2%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dhome-garden%26qid%3D1206585602%26sr%3D8-2" target="_blank">Brother CS6000I</a> and I really like it so far. As a pp said, some people love Brother machines, some don't; I happen to like them. It's a little more than you said you wanted to spend, and it has more bells and whistles than you'd initially need, but it's also incredibly easy to get started with and has the room to grow with you.
 

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A few years back I was ready to start sewing again (it had been years), and we went down and bought a new Singer at wal-mart. Thing was a piece of junk, and I found out that they're made in asia now, and there was 1, single, solitary woman in customer service when I called. She told me to take it back and get a used, old singer, or something totally different. (We got to talking and she was nice.) I went back, exchanged the singer for a brother, and had similar (although not AS horrible) problems. By then I was totally frustrated, and took the brother back, saved a few more pennies, and bought an old tank of a bernina (just like my mom's) used on ebay. I LOVE it! My mom bought hers new in the 60's and it is still running like a dream, even after she spent all these years sewing with it day in and day out, and I put it though all my teenage fashion-designer phases, etc. Mine is awesome too, and I just can't say enough good things about it. I think I paid $300, but I got my 730 and another, slightly newer Bernina for that. I sold the newer one for $250 in about 2 hours on ebay (gotta love Buy It Now!), and I am a very happy camper. I may pony up later this year for a newer, electronic one, as I am dying to play with all the new features and I am always lusting after the embroidery ones (but I cannot justify the expense!), but my workhorse will always be my old, mechanical, metal cased Bernina 730. I'm just one of those die-hard bernina fans, I guess. They sew through multiple layers of denim and then go straight to chiffon with no adjustments (well, I would change the needle, LOL!). You never have to mess with the tension, they run for-freaking-ever, and can take abuse. (Years ago, I had a newer plastic cased model go through a housefire - casing melted but engine and cams were fine - local bernina guy got a different case for it - good as new!!!)<br><br>
So, I'm recommending bernina!<br><br>
Tracey Mouse
 
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