After much debate and many reviews, I decided on the Brother XL-2600i only to discover that it will take two weeks to ship out here. I'm impatient. So I called around, and the local walmart has the Brother LX-2500, which is a similar model with fewer features at the same price. I will be purchasing the LX-2500 tomorrow, and if in a month or so I decide it's too simple for me I will order another model with more features and return the LX-2500 when it arrives. Although, I don't think I'll need anything other than the basics any time soon, so I'm sure the LX-2500 is going to be great.
Thanks again, everyone for all of the advice! I'll post periodically around the forums so I can show off my progress. I think I'm going to start with simple projects, like my own cloth grocery bags and maybe some small plushies.
I remember my granny has two sewing machines (her old one, and my mom's), and a serger as well. I never got a chance to use the serger, and it was intimidating at best. But yes, I agree that having two sewing machines is a good idea.
Where would I take a sewing machine to get serviced?
I found an ad on Craigslist today for a Singer that looks like its from the 60s or 70s. It comes with a beautiful sewing table with fold out sides and a full cabinet underneath. It's only $50 for all of it. If anything, the table is worth that much even if the machine is junk. Either way, I'm going to wait for a reply before I run out and buy a new sewing machine. http://images.craigslist.org/5Z45Kf5Fc3Gb3N83o2c2ff3b16155fd5310ad.jpg It won't let me post a picture yet, but here's a link. ^
I called my mom earlier and talked to her about our old sewing machine - the one I grew up with. It's an old Singer, bought sometime in the early '90s. She bought it new for about $200 at Sears. I can get a model number from her tomorrow, but she didn't feel like going down to the basement and digging it out today. It's a lightweight machine, and very basic with several stitch options. I remember it has a plastic casing, metal pedal, a backwards stitch switch, several metal and plastic bobbins, and a clothespin holding the spool of thread down lol. It's never been maintenanced, oiled, or anything of that sort. It survived my childhood antics of who knows what. The last time I used it was late 2010, and it worked okay from what I remember. I was sewing a rat hammock; a piece of flannel, several scrap pieces of bed sheets, and fleece together. As always, it was easy to work with and rarely tangles the thread (though it does happen from time to time).
Why I bring this up: My mom said it would cost about $40 to ship it out here. Would I be better off buying one of the two Brother machines I mentioned in my last post, or spring for shipping for my childhood Singer? I am going to visit my mom in a few months and if I opt for the Brother now, I can bring the Singer home with me. Price doesn't matter to me - quality does. If a 15-20 year old Singer is better than a brand spanking new Brother, then I'll take the Singer any day. Problem is; I don't know anything about sewing machines.
Thank you so so much for the reply! Those are extremely wonderful suggestions. I don't really have much time to write out a thoughtful reply right now, as I have to get ready for work in a few minutes but I just wanted to thank you.
I do want to mention the living room, however. We have a full basement, which acts as our living room. The boyfriend and roommate throw parties, but for the most part they remain in the basement. The living room is used mostly as shoe and jacket storage (let's just say I've only needed to clean it 3 times in a year). So really, it's the quietest, least used room in the house. The real activity is in the basement or kitchen. It's the perfect room for quiet hobbies, and it'll give me an excuse to actually use the room.
I'm looking into two Brother machines, but can't decide which one. The first is the Brother XL2600i (Retail : $80), and the other is a higher-end Brother CS600i (Retail: $160). I have an employee discount on both, so they'd be $72 and $144 respectively. I figure I'd grow out of the CS600i slower than the XL2600i. I'm not exactly a beginner, but not a professional (though that is my goal). Which one do you recommend more?
JHall, I wish I had known about the loop you mentioned years ago! I hated flipping the straps to my rat hammocks inside-out. In the beginning I used a pencil, but over the years I ended up just using scraps of fluffy fleece and I would sew right up the center of the strap. I will be adding that to my shopping list for sure just for the off-chance I ever get another pet rat. lol Maybe I'll make hammocks and sell them on Etsy. Also, my kitty is a young, long-haired white cat who rules the house. He's not allowed in the bedrooms (boyfriend has allergies, roommate doesn't like my cat), the bathrooms (he plays in the toilet), or the basement when no one is home (I have a fish). That leaves the living room as his domain, and I'm going to take over it with my sewing projects. He loves string, and I can't even tie my shoelaces without him lunging at me. This should be an experience, that's for sure.
Iron, that's a great suggestion. I don't know why I didn't think of it. I loved my old sewing machine, and if it wasn't cheaper to just buy a new one I'd have my mom ship it to me. I'll definitely check out ebay for "antiques" before I run out and buy a cheap new one.
Mary, I'll stop by Joann's after work and see if they accept competitor coupons. I also will check out the ads (I work retail, and we price match all local store ads, so I can check while getting paid!) and see who's got what on sale. I hate paying full price for anything, too.
So let's see... Got my list... add... "Learn to Sew" Simplicity patterns. "Perfect Fit" Simplicity patterns. A book, if any catch my eye. I'll also check my nook for ebooks.
Now I just need to do some research on sewing machines, and wait for my tax returns to come in. I'm so excited.
Thanks marypoppins! You gave me a lot of useful information.
I work in a shopping complex with a Walmart, JoAnn's Fabric, Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I'll check out the Brother sewing machine you mentioned (I also saw a Singer there, I'll read some reviews). It won't take me long to remember how to use one, but the fewer bells and whistles the better - at least for now.
I'll write down your list and go on a shopping spree my next day off work. I'm not sure what kind of project I want to start with, but I'm sure something will inspire me with three craft stores literally side-by-side-by-side.
My boyfriend said I need a hobby. In time he will learn to regret that statement.
I'm not new to sewing. I've been creating and designing with fabrics since I was 6, and got my first sewing machine when I was 8. I started making my own doll clothes patterns when I was 9, but somewhere along the way I stopped practicing. Over the last few years all I've made were hammocks for my rats (really complex, multi-level hammocks mind you). I'm very rusty, but not a novice when it comes to thread and needles.
For years I've been talking about learning to make my own renaissance dresses, and that is my ultimate end goal. But for now, I'd like to start from the basics - general everyday clothes made from patterns - starting with PJs. I'll be making my own body form (a duct tape model) to help me get started.
With my tax return coming in, and no more pesky car payment (who needs a car, anyways?) I can begin purchasing all of the necessities for my new/old hobby! I am clueless where to begin and literally starting from scratch here, so that's where I need help. My last sewing machine was a late 70's/early 80's model, and I'm sure they've become both more complex and simple through the years.
* What is a good beginner's sewing machine? I'd like to keep it in the <$150 range. * What other necessities am I going to need? (And I mean EVERYTHING. I don't even own an iron.) * What are the best space saving storage containers for everything? * From your experience, what are the best patterns to begin with? * What are easy fabrics to work with, and as a newbie what should I avoid? * Is there a website to translate "technical terms" applied to sewing? (i.e. What is a princess seam?) * What is the best way to keep your cat out of your sewing supplies? My "sewing room" doubles as the His Highness's sleeping quarters. "Removing the cat" is not an option. Any other useful links, comments, help is welcome and much appreciated. Thanks! =)