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1  UNITED STATES / Massachusetts / Re: Boston Area Sewing Shops? on: September 21, 2012 01:04:09 PM
I got mine from a teeeeensy little shop in Porter Square....I think it's on the corner of Elm and Cedar...I may be wrong, but it's right in the heart of Porter Square.
I just bought my Janome from them....they are AMAZING and the most adorable older lady that works there is patient and will let you test drive anything as long as you want!!!


I know I'm way late on this but thank you so much! I think I saw them on Yelp but I will look into it. Thanks again Smiley
2  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Re: Sewing machines, a buyers guide on: September 21, 2012 12:53:48 PM
UPDATED 12/ 19/ 07 **Bumping for relevence**

So the craftopedia is down for a bit, but I figure we can start here & when it is ready get our lovely mods to move it.

I do not pretend to know everything about every machine, or even everything about my own machine, I look for good commentary from you other experienced folks which I will incorporate into the original post with proper credit Smiley

I do know how to recognize a good machine, and I'm a pretty good comparative shopper. Smiley

Begin:
Buying a sewing machine is like buying a car, your level of skill, mechanical needs and budget dictate what you get in your machine. Sewing machines vary in price and quality much like cars. Bernina = Mercedez-Benz, Janome = Toyota, Kenmore = Buick, Pfaff = Volvo, Viking/ Husqvarna = Volkswagon. (Ok, most of the countries didn't line up perfectly, meh)
Knowing the reputation of the brand you are looking at, as well as recent reviews of quality  for the specific model is important. If it's a good machine you will be using it a lot, if it's a poor machine you will not get far fast.

Some people have Hyundais and love them, some people wouldn't be caught dead in them. The middle of the road brands of Singer and Brother sort of fall into the Hyundai category.

So, to use the analogy above, would you rather have a gently used Mercedes? or a brand new Yugo?

Would you buy a car without driving it? Why buy a sewing machine someplace you can't try it out?

When you buy a car from the dealership there is an assurance of staff who can maintain your car correctly, any time down the road, same goes for a sewing machine store/ department within a store. Walmart has no service department, nor does Target. (don't get me wrong, I shop at both frequently, but not for sewing machines).

Like automotive companies, most sewing machine companies have levels or classes of the same thing. Or like Kenmore* & Husquavarna are divisions of larger companies that manufacture all kinds of stuff. Many Sewing exclusive companies have huge numbers of products, accesories and specialized optional components.

* The Kenmore name is owned by Sears, they actually choose products from other companies that meet their standards and make a deal to put Kenmore on the front. It's still good stuff and has the Sears reputation & service to back it up.

So Nitty Gritty:
Never sewn but want to learn how- what should I buy?
This is what you need from your machine:

- straight stitch
- zig zag stitch
- reverseable stitching (most have a button or lever to do this, it's not a setting)
- a light on the machine
- bobbin winder
- foot pedal
- sturdy enough body that if it gets tripped over while sitting on the floor an adult's shoe won't crack the housing
- solid/ well placed footing or base so the machine does not rock or slide while sewing

Sewn some, learning more, want to do knits/ bags/ delicate garments/etc.

You now need all of the above and:
- a stretch stitch
- a zipper foot
- a button hole function
- an applique or other wide foot
- a walking foot if quilting is a goal
- ability to drop the feed dogs if quilting is a goal

Brands that are generally considered good used:
Singers over 15 years old (American built models)
Kenmore
Bernina
Viking/ Husqvarna
Janome that are less than 10 years old (Japanese built models)
Pfaff

Country of origin & general statistics on service:

Bernina: Switzerland, has US based service company for big repairs. Excellent warranty. Many Authorized Dealers around the US, if you want a new one  it's worth looking into these official stores. Pretty much the Mercedez of sewing machines, parts don't come cheap but they last so long you don't need to buy parts very often. Last sewing machine company world wide that is still owned & run by the original family. Budget line is called Bernette, seen as low as $US 199 on sale.

Pfaff: Germany, does not have US base for  large repair service. Many Authorized Dealers across the US. Excellent warranty. Many put Pfaff in the same category as Bernina, a hair cheaper than Bernina. If Bernina = Mercedez, then Pfaff = Audi. Budget lines are Hobby and Smart.

Viking/ Husqvarna: Sweden. {need more info} Budget line is called Huskystar.

Janome: Japan, does not have US base for large repairs. Many Authorized Dealers across the US. Much younger company than most, but like Toyota and many other Japanese brands, have quickly established themselves as reliable machines. Budget lines are Florals and Gem Gold.

Singer: Until 19XX(eighty something?- need more research) American, still owned American but now produced elsewhere.

White: American. Has been around nearly as long as Singer. Long reputation as being good sturdy basic machines, does not manufacture as many higher end or fancy machines. Does produce Sergers and commercial machines as well.

Elna: German? Less popular in the US, I think more popular across Europe (chime in please, sisters across the pond Smiley ). High quality, non-beginner machines. Harder to find Authorized Service in the US.
{{ will come back to this soon!}}

** So I did some research, no wonder everybody looking is asking about Brother & Singer, that's all I could find with prices attatched!! The market is flooded with Singer & Brother machines, every discount wholesaler on the net has dozens of each! Which really should speak for itself, if those machines were selling in the original stores, there wouldn't be so many at the second tier sales places, right?


Thank you for this I really needed it!!
Okay, so I really want to start sewing and plan on taking classes and practicing. I took note of all the above and here are my preferences or what might be best for me.

I'm new to sewing and based on the above I will definitely need
the straight stitch
a zig zag stitch

reverseable stitching (most have a button or lever to do this, it's not a setting)

A light on the machine
And lastly:

bobbin winder
foot pedal
Sturdy enough body that if it gets tripped over while sitting on the floor an adult's shoe won't crack the housing
- solid/ well placed footing or base so the machine does not rock or slide while sewing"

All as SpottedFrog stated for a newbie sewer. I want to be sure to mention that I want a mechanical machine and I aspire to making dresses (red carpet stuff and evening dresses and gowns are my dream and maybe costumes...I don't know if I'll do anything around the house too but maybe?) I thought a Bernina (it's a 'Mercedes' as SpottedFrog stated) would be perfect.

I read that their only mechanical machine is the 1008 but there are NO Bernina dealers near me and I don't have a car. I'm closer to some Janome dealers and even closer to a single Pfaff dealer. So I think what I want now is Pfaff. That way I'd be able to get to them and check out the machine in person.

I should also mention that I'm open to their budget lines as well and hopefully more metal than plastic but I'll take what I can get as long as it sturdy and durable and I can learn on it.

I do want a machine that will grow with me too so I can add or have what spotted frog recommended for someone who has progressed and sewn a little (unless it would prove to be too overwhelming at first or too much than I'll take the above mentioned just fine!)

So, based on all that does anyone have any recommendations? What models should I first look at? Again, I'm thinking of Janome or Pfaff as well as their budget lines but I am most likely going to get a Pfaff. I would like to thank everyone in advance for their suggestions! I really appreciate it Smiley And thanks to this wonderful thread I have a checklist I can use when I shop! Smiley
3  UNITED STATES / Massachusetts / Boston Area Sewing Shops? on: November 04, 2009 08:47:53 AM
Hello, I'm new here but I'm without a sewing machine. I briefly skimmed spottedfrog's advice and I really want to get the right or best sewing machine for me, but I'm not sure about shopping with EBay or anything like that. Does anyone know of any sewing machine shops in Boston? It might be best if I could go and check out the machines and talk with a salesperson.

If you know of any resources in the Boston area I would greatly appreciate a heads up.

Thanks in advance 
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