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Topic: Sewing machines, a buyers guide  (Read 42310 times)
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CraftyDiem
« Reply #80 on: May 14, 2011 04:50:47 PM »

Speaking up for entry level sewing machines!  Hey, we all have to start somewhere!  There is no rule that says you have to spend a certain amount of money on a machine in order enjoy sewing!  I have a Kenmore from the 385 series that I got about 13 years ago.  I love it - it runs like an absolute champ.  I taught myself to sew and quilt on it.  The stitches are even and it will work with any thread.  I don't know anyone who has owned a Kenmore and thought it was a lemon.  For me, it was a great place to start and I still go to it over my more expensive Juki when I get tired of fighting about tension issues.  I think that when you are just getting started or don't have heavy duty sewing needs (yet) a machine that is simple to thread, reliable, and easy to operate is a perfect choice.  You don't need to go vintage or fancy. 

Head over to Sears, or check out their website.  They carry a few different options.  I would probably start with a mechanical machine because they cost less.  They will still be really easy to operate.  Find a place where you can sew a little bit on the machine - see if you can thread it easily, if the stitches look pretty even, and if you like the "hum" of the machine. 
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m_coates
« Reply #81 on: July 08, 2011 07:05:26 AM »

Hello.

What i would suggest is to have a look at the pre conditioned machines (second hand) as you will get a better machine for your money. Make sure you get a good guarentee with the machine, you may also get a few extra feet or attachments as well.

Personally i think that this is the way to go as a new machine for $200 is not so much money, what you need is good sturdy reliable sewing machine, also test some machines out and always go for the one that you feel most comfortable with.

Good luck and regards.

Michael.
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fairygoodthings
« Reply #82 on: August 20, 2011 08:25:18 PM »

I don't now much about sewing machines but I've heard that Brother is more user friendly than Singer. Also, if you do a search for "refurbished brother sewing machines", you get a good number of options.
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« Reply #83 on: August 20, 2011 10:40:42 PM »

Hi, buy a Brother one. I know what im telling you.
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« Reply #84 on: August 21, 2011 12:48:40 AM »

sewing machines nowadays are fairly similar brand to brand, not like the ones my mam and aunts had when i was growing up, they were all completely different
i'd say just have a good look around and find something that suits you, i have a janome sew mini, they're not very expensive but easy to use and versatile, as well as small and light which is good if you're short on space
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craftylittlemonkey
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« Reply #85 on: August 22, 2011 04:41:54 PM »

(ETA a mod moved this here and it doesn't really fit in but I'll leave it in case someone has advice for me anyhow. Thanks!)

I know there are tons of review out there but what I really need are some suggestions about brands, models, sellers to even start looking at. It's been a long time since I bought a sewing machine and I'm not sure I ever bought one new in my life, lol, but it's time to upgrade my old equipment. I do a variety of sewing, sometimes just personal repairs and small projects but occasionally I do a large volume of stitchery at once. I make clothes, toys, home items etc but I don't do anything fancy. I haven't ever used a complicated machine and don't even use all the stitches my basic machines can do. I would love to have a machine to do embroidery but I think that's a different unit altogether. So basic is good, so long as it's a reliable work horse and can go a while without repair or servicing. I'm ok to do oiling and dusting regularly.

Thanks in advance for any advice you've got to give, I really appreciate it!
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Fildrigar
« Reply #86 on: August 31, 2011 10:55:03 AM »

There has been a lot of consolidation in the sewing machine manufacturer world over the last twenty years. Many brands of sewing machines will purchase machines from other companies ( to their specifications ) and sell them with their own brand.

For example: Most Babylock machines are made by Brother. ( Not their sergers, and not some of their specialty machines like the Sashiko ) Brother also makes some of the entry level Berninas. ( specifically the Bernette line. ) 

Janome merged with ( or bought ) Elna and I think White, too.

As has been mentioned before in this thread, some manufacturers will specifically produce ultra low end machines for Walmart and other big retailers. These are the ones to avoid at all costs. The regular low end machines sold in Sewing machine stores are going to be much higher quality than the Walmart ones.

Also, don't let a plastic case dissuade you from a sewing machine. Most machines these days ( even high end ones ) have a plastic case, but a metal frame. ( Even Babylock's very low end BL9, which you can sometimes find on sale for 99$ has a metal frame. ) The frame is the important part.

If you are in the market for an inexpensive sewing machine, visit your FLSMS ( Friendly Local Sewing Machine Store ) no matter what brands they carry. They will have a range of machines, try out several of them. Furthermore, most sewing stores carry some used machines as well. They usually have been refurbished by the technicians at the stores, and often come with warranties, some as low as 30-90 days, occasionally as long as a year. Most good FLSMS' will work with you to get you in a machine that you're going to like. ( After all, they will want to sell you fabric, thread, accessories, etc. ) They will usually have inexpensive ( or even free ) classes to help you get the most out of your sewing machine.

You can find deals on sewing machines online, but be cautious. You are more likely to run into dishonesty online than at an actual brick and mortar sewing machine store. After all, the brick and mortar store wants your business. If they keep you happy, they keep you returning to them for some of your purchases. Also, I have yet to see online stores offer one on one, in person training, which you are likely to find in most brick and mortar stores.
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JulieTakase
« Reply #87 on: December 19, 2011 01:10:14 PM »

Wow! This is a great post! Thank you! I am in the market for a machine, but was lost and at the store they wanted to sell me the expensive ones only!
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CraftsInSeattle
« Reply #88 on: January 08, 2012 01:08:31 PM »

I had a sewing machine; I know how to use one but it didn't have a guide and couldn't stitch through more than 3 layers of woven cotton...also its TINY.
I initially learned on a juki.
What machine would you guys have chosen as your first sewing machines?
Also has to ve decently priced. Nothing too crazy...I say $300 max
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KaoticKrafter
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« Reply #89 on: January 10, 2012 03:52:57 PM »

Thanks for all the great info everyone!
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