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Topic: Sewing machines, a buyers guide  (Read 67189 times)
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« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2007 06:58:20 PM »

Does anyone have any specific brand/model suggestions for someone who simply wants a basic, inexpensive machine to learn on?
Under the Country of Origin & General Statistics section I listed the names of the less expensive lines for each brand that are also generaly considered reliable when used. Model numbers change from year to year, lines usually stick around for a while. Being more specific would date the thread too much & I hope it to be usefull for a while Smiley
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2007 04:33:17 PM »

Manufacturers then make dishonorable decisions (like offshores factories with abysmal labor policies) and produce poor products made from terrible materials (*lead in toys, plastic parts that wear out almost immediately*).  And then the buyers feel like they're getting a great deal on something that's not worth owning and won't last.

Hopefully the moderators of this forum won't get too upset that this topic has turned somewhat political, but this is something that seriously needs to be addressed, especially on a forum such as this that's devoted to d.i.y./handmade. Companies like Walmart are steering our country toward another great depression. I'll try to keep this relevant to sewing machines Wink... I realize the temptation to buy a sewing machine from giant discount stores is great, and everyone likes a good bargain, but these products are junk! I live in Indianapolis, Indiana and I can go to a thrift store on any given day and find a vintage sewing machine that will surpass the quality and performance of anything you'll find at Walmart, Target, online bargain store, etc. and almost always for less than $20! Seriously, the market is flooded with vintage sewing machines. You just have to do a minimal amount of research to know what to look for. Craigslist is another great source for vintage sewing machines. eBay can be a really great source if you can find a seller who specializes in vintage sewing machines. Also, call a sewing machine repair shop and ask a technician what you should look for. Nobody is going to know more about sewing machines than the people who repair them, and if you show a bit of interest in vintage machines those old repair guys will talk your ear off. Companies should take pride in the products they manufacture. They should strive to make the highest quality products possible. If these companies can't fulfill those basic requirements then we as consumers should send a strong message to them that we don't want thier junk!

+1 on everything here.  I made a similar post in the 'Machine hasn't been used in 10 years' thread. 

Older machines were built to last.  They generally have more metal components than plastic and were designed to be repaired.  People used to repair everything - TVs, VCRs, toasters, computers, and sewing machines.  Now, pretty much everything is disposable, and it feeds off itself - manufacturers make it cheaply because people want new, and they're difficult to repair so it makes more sense to buy new.  I used to repair PCs, they're the same way now.  About the last thing that's worth it to most people repair is a car, sometimes a bicycle. 

I live in NYC, and the market is a little tougher (quality stuff on craigslist tends to be more expensive and snapped up quickly, a tuneup is $60-$70) but my Bernina was worth every penny of getting it up and running. 

If nothing else, consider buying used and repairing it because you're usually getting a better deal in the long run.

(good lord, I'm 25 and a curmudgeon already...)
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2007 12:03:41 PM »

bumping because the questions are still being asked
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2008 11:40:00 PM »

I will bump and add that I got a wicked little vintage number with it's original cabinet and gold/black enamel for FREE from a family friend who purchased it at auction for $1. Yes, $1. And it works like a champ. Auctions are a good source too! I forget the name, it's not recognizable as it got absorbed by a larger company sometime in the late 40's or early 50's - I'll have to see it to remember it... New *Something* or rather...

Night Train Swing Dance Club!
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2008 02:00:14 PM »

Could someone tell me what is a really good quality machine for someone that is not a beginner??
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2008 08:34:44 PM »

That depends on what kinds of things you sew and your budget.

I tend to sew things that get thick or heavy seaming, or lots & lots of layers of fabric (think foam stuffed costiume pieces, duffle bags, dresses with yards and yards of fabric in the skirt). So I shopped for a machine that was heavy duty capable without sacrificing the ability to have a wide range of things. My choice (and hubby let me spend the $$$) was a Janome Profesional Quilters Edition (MSRP $1999, I got it on sale). I absolutely LOVE it. If I didn't sew so much I'd feel guilty having spent that much on a machine.

That said, any brand you like (or previously listed) is going to have several machines at different price points & capabilities. If you have a Pfaff and love it, look at the next thing up in their line, or whichever brand floats your boat. Finding the right machine for you is still a test & see system even if it's not your first machine Smiley just like driving and having a car, the one I have now is better than the one I had ten years ago which was better than my very first car.
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2008 09:42:00 AM »

This was a very helpful guide - thanks for putting it together!

I'm just starting out sewing and inherited a discount store Brother machine from my late grandmother. I really can't stand it - especially after watching people work on some sleeker machines at a sewing class!

So, I'm shopping around for a new machine. I know Bernina and others don't post prices and you have to go to a dealer, but how much would a basic model from Bernina run? Assuming it's new. I'm curious about Janome as well.

I've got plans to go to some dealers this weekend and test some things.
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2008 10:17:25 AM »

I just bought a Brother XR 7700 Computerized machine that was refurbished from Overstock.com.  It was supposed to be $500 or so, but since it was refurbished, it was only $139.

It works like a dream.  I haven't sewn since high school and managed to get it working with almost no trouble.  Well, there was no trouble at all - just me learning how to thread a bobbin and the needle again after so many years not sewing.

I'm going to try to sew some pants now!

Now if only I had a way to figure out serging, etc..  That's too advanced for me right now.  Later I guess.
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2008 01:28:42 PM »

Bernina= Mercedez Benz, even their least expensive models are a good bit more than other brands. Their most basic starter model gets put on sale every December for $199 the last couple years.

Janome = Toyota, good solid reliable and midranged pricing. Janome has several different starter machines in the $99 range, including the Hello Kitty one at Target. The Hello Kitty is cute but awfully small, you can get one standard sized for the same price.
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2008 07:39:15 PM »

I will bump and add that I got a wicked little vintage number with it's original cabinet and gold/black enamel for FREE from a family friend who purchased it at auction for $1. Yes, $1. And it works like a champ. Auctions are a good source too! I forget the name, it's not recognizable as it got absorbed by a larger company sometime in the late 40's or early 50's - I'll have to see it to remember it... New *Something* or rather...

We seem to be geographically blessed when it comes to ease of finding awesome vintage sewing machines (and vintage stuff in general!)... Found this one at Salvation Army for $20 and it works great:

I've been reading up on vintage sewing machines and have discovered that many mid century Japanese made machines are great because they usually have interchangeable parts (bobbin cases, presser feet, etc) and are thus easy to fix up and get running.

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