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Topic: Are there cheap sewing machines that aren't going to die on me?  (Read 2874 times)
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2007 09:13:23 AM »

I've been using a Kenmore Mini-Ultra, which I got for a total of $50 off of eBay ($30 for the machine and $20 for shipping). It works fine for what I need it to, which is just some hemming here and there, simple cotton clothes, etc. The tension is weird, I'm thinking about going to go get it looked at, but I don't know how much of the machine's "quirks" are due to me not knowing enough about sewing versus the machine not being very good quality.

People always say to invest now and save money in the long run, but when you're in college and you're young, you've got this whole transient living thing going on (which is so annoying, btw) and you may not be able to keep all the stuff that you acquire anyway! I don't know where I'll be after graduating, but I might move farther away and therefore not want to lug along a giant, really expensive machine that I invested money in or spent ages looking for. If you've got parents with lots of storage room, this isn't as much of an issue, but it might be something to consider.
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2007 10:38:22 AM »

I sure wouldn't go the investment route as a college student either. My adults bought me a pretty nice Singer when I was in college and I still have it but it's a basic machine(no button hole) and so I bought an inexpensive Babylock (around $100 a few years ago) that has a super one step button hole. If you ever want more than 1 buttonhole, find a machine with a one step buttonholer-I find it impossible to make more than 1 good buttonhole with a 3 step buttonholer.
If you want to sew heavier fabric switch needles to a denim or heavyweight fabric needle and almost any machine will sew through several layers of denim. The needle choice is huge!
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2007 02:43:27 PM »

I have to add that I recently bought a brother and it's wonderful! It was expensive but it was time for me to upgrade, but I know they have inexpensive machines on the market and I've read good thigs about them. A really nice feature brothers have is the ability to sew w/o the pedal if you want to, think about someone who is in a wheelchair or who has problems with mobility in their legs. They have 3 speed chioces and they are some of the quietest machines on the market. Also I belive all the computerized ones have a one step buttonhole that is a dream to use. I hated doing buttonholes before and no I want to put them on everything Smiley


« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2007 09:24:59 PM »

Hooray! I sold the Kenmore SewMini and the same day got a mid-range used Singer off of craigslist. It works a LOT nicer and I'm in love.

"Look, I've shrunk it! BY THE MAGIC OF XEROGRAPHY." -my sociolinguistics professor

« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2007 10:38:01 PM »

Personally rather than buy an el-cheapo new machine I'd be getting an older rock-solid metal machine. Oh wait - I have done that! Twice! Cheesy
I love, love, love my old Kenmores - they are rock solid and have sewn through everything from cottons to brocades to upholstery-grade PVC. Sure they are a little heavy, but not bad, and they come with cases so they're plenty transportable.

You can get 'em on eBay for cheap, but with expensive shipping, or you could ask on your local Craigslist or even Freecycle to see if anyone would give you a machine. There's a very good chance that you could get a machine for free this way. And the accessories for the old machines are cheap - it's not difficult to find a box of 25 different feet for your machine for $15 on eBay.

« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2007 10:00:45 PM »

I'm in college.  I've also been sewing off and on for a long time.  I got a Brother "cheapo" in the after thanksgiving sale at walmart my freshman year, and while it is -great- for what it's designed to do (simpler things, not very heavy fabric).. and quite reliable.. I decided that since I want to actually be able to make items out of heavier fabrics (such as denim, corduroy, and various fabrics for a possible renfaire dress).. I would save up from my job and splurge on a better machine.. enter Janome Sewist 625e..

Although it is larger than what I think you guys are wanting, and more expensive (about $300).. I am very happy with it so far and the money I save in making gifts for friends instead of purchasing them helps make up for it.  It is also relatively portable and personally I don't have a problem toting it out to the car to take home so mom and I can work on projects...

The JemGold 660 looks like it would be a solid machine for $200 on ebay.. but for $100 more it seems like you get a load more features.

Maybe look for something used, like others have suggested, instead of something new that may or may not last..

Possibly actually go talk to a sewing machine shop- and look at their machines.  Just don't take a checkbook with you, and don't let them talk you into it if you're not all that sure.  That's what I did..

"You don't sew with a fork, so I see no reason to eat with knitting needles."

« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2007 10:50:27 PM »

Currently, at Costco, for this next week, the Brothers 70- stitch computerized is only $145, normally like 180 or something. I was told this was a good machine, and my mom, who went with my grandma to get this machine for me for my birthday, thought it was great.

But, of course, nothing lasts forever, and my mom and my grandma were watching a home shopping show. And, wouldn't you know, there was an amazing, 1000 (yes, that's one thousand) stitch computerized machine with embroidery and everything. My mom goes, omg! I want that so bad! She gets a call back from my grandma, who says Merry Xmas.

Mom just got a machine for Christmas last year. So now they have the dilemma of having an extra machine. So my mom calls me and is like, hey, you should have my old machine for your birthday instead of the new one we bought you today so that I can get this awesome machine! So I'm like... grr. But whatever, I'm an amazing daughter, do what you want.

So now for my birthday I'm getting a 33 stitch non-computerized instead of a 70. Oh, and the 70 even has a place to put a picture, lol.

Long story short, there's a good machine at costco for $145, and an amazing machine on tv somewhere (I could find out what shopping channel) for $350.
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2007 09:58:04 PM »

I think your best option is to check out a local sewing shop, wherever you are and whatever your budget is. I'm not sure what exact model my first sewing machine was, but it was something like a twice-used Janome that my mom (who knows NOTHING about sewing) got half price because a local sewing shop was going out of business or moving or something. We had a housefire a couple of years ago, and insurance paid for a replacement sewing machine. Anyway, what I'm saying is that your best chance of getting the machine you need at the price you want is to go to a sewing store. Or talk to someone who really knows sewing machines. It's not too likely that you'll find a smaller, lighter weight machine that will last for under a hundred bucks, but who knows, you might get lucky. I'd say you'd be more likely to spend two hundred on something like that. Definitely put it at the top of your list for Christmas or birthday.
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