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Topic: Shopping for a sewing machine  (Read 544 times)
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Summ3r
« on: February 28, 2009 12:24:20 PM »

I was looking on Joanns.com and I was wondering if anybody could give me any advice on a good sewing machine. What determines if a sewing machine is good? The price? The brand? I seriously don't know so please help me... Thank you
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SuMm3R
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2009 02:24:15 PM »

"Good" is a relative term.

Personal preference is a big factor in choosing a sewing machine.

One caution, you can get a highly "value engineered" machine with loads of features that won't do basic things well, or will break easily.  So, don't get caught up in feature frenzy.

I suggest that YOU sit down to decide what you expect of the machine.

Do you need something light weight to take to classes, or do you need something full sized and sturdy for a wide range of sewing tasks?

All machines perform best with periodic cleaning and servicing.  Do you want to take it in regularly or do you want a machine that can be opened and accessed by the user for general cleaning etc..

Will you be sewing larger items like home dec and quilts?  Then harp size will be important.

What is your budget? If it's on the lower side (under $200), then you may want to consider a serviced used machine from your local dealer or other reputable source. Often, a good used machine is a much better value than new, but you want to be certain that it is in good order.

I have several buying guides on my blog that relate to both new and used machines:

http://blog.sew-classic.com/categories/Buying%20Guides.aspx


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bookwormbethie
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2009 03:56:34 PM »

i've also been doing research into getting a machine, it seems  that viking, bernina, and janome are good brands with great repuations and make quality machines.

that being said, with reading reviews of sewing machines online, it doesn't seem to matter what the brand or model, someone is always going to give a low rating for various reasons......

i've been told by many people (including a retired sewing machine shop repair owner) not to buy the singer or brother machines sold at walmart, target, or kmart because they are not made well and do not last long and are "disposbale" because they cannot really be repaired, or the expense to fix it isn't worth it.....


best of luck, it's overwhelming isn't it?!
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Cookn
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009 03:54:18 AM »

Sew Classic has offered up some great information and advice. My choice of what I think is the best might not be what you feel is the best. Test sew several machines on material samples like you will be sewing on and see what you think is the best. I do reccommend working with a local dealer, rather than Wally World or Sears, they are retailers and have nothing at stake to make sure that you have a great sewing experience.

While I don't feel that the Japanese machines are all that poorly built, some of the other far eastern built units are "value engineered" and might not be the best quality available. Singer is a brand name that you see maligned quite a bit and there is a reason for it. At one time Singer was the best machine America had to offer and it was great. Some one bought it for the name and cheapened the products, feeling that they could live on the brand name not the quality. Very similar to what happened to Pyrex, someone bought the brand and changed the type of glass used to a less expensive and lower quality and now we have exploding Pyrex.
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Summ3r
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009 04:36:05 PM »

Thanks for all of you taking your time to reply to my question. Yes bookworm looking for a sewing machine and learning about the different brands is very overwhelming. It really is a big task. Well I would want a new sewing machine but I don't want to buy a brand just for a name... I want to buy a sewing machine based on if it can do all the basic things. I really don't care about all of the fancy features that most machines offer I just want a basic sewing machine where I can use it on different types of fabrics.

I am very new to sewing. I have never sewed any thing in my entire life but I want to branch out and learn.

I would love to learn because I love purses, shirts, dresses.... I started sketching basic ideas out on paper... I guess that is a start....
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009 04:37:57 PM by Summ3r » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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SuMm3R
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2009 03:46:06 AM »

A few tips to make the shopping process less stressful and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

~1)~  There is no 'perfect' sewing machine. No matter how much comparison shopping, research and careful consideration you give your purchase, there will always be something about the machine that you wish was a little different.  This is especially true for your first machine as you really don't know yet what features blend well with your sewing style.   So, find a machine that is good enough, but don't expect "perfect". 

~2)~ Set a budget.  Only YOU know how much you feel comfortable spending.  If you shop smart, you can get a good quality machine for a few hundreds dollars or even less.  If quality verse features is an important consideration, do NOT rule out a good used machine (serviced, and in known, good order with a manual). 

~3)~ The "brand" of a machine is often nothing more than a label stuck on the front and has little or nothing to do with what factory or company actually made the machine.   However, when buying a new machine, some sewing machine companies do have a better reputation for good dealer support and customer service than others.

Hopefully these tips will help prevent you from getting a case of sewing machine analysis paralysis. Grin
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