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kbagel
05-11-2009, 04:06 PM
Hi there,

I'm looking to learn how to sew. Well, I know how to sew straight lines but I'd like to learn how to sew real things like clothes from patterns. Anyways, I'd like to purchase a new or new to me sewing machine.

Does anyone have any opinions on new vs. used machines? My budget is about $120. I found a used Kenmore 1430 Zig Zag machine on Craigslist but can't find much about them other than another one for sale on Ebay. Here is the link http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/for/1158032379.html.

I'm just not sure if I should buy a new one or a used one. For new ones, does anyone have any recommendations on a good one in that price range?

Thanks!

mwhite
05-11-2009, 06:02 PM
Oh, welcome to another needleart obsession and I recommend a good used machine coming from someone who either didn't sew very much or sewed alot and knew how to maintain the machine; oiling and cleaning. As a seamstress by profession I can tell you that any of the inexpensive new ones are just fine and most have a multitude of stitch options including needle position, zigzag, built-in button hole maker, reverse and different settings for stitch length. A good, useful machine should be versitale and allow usage on any fabric from silk to denim. I actually prefer the industrial machines just for the speed factor but I own a Brother that I purchased for less than $99 new from Walmart. It is suitable for what I need and an industrial is just too large for my living space.

You will notice that there are used machines at jockey lots, yard sales and in thrift stores. If you are interested in one at these locations, request that you be able to hook it up and run it before buying. Alot of men buy their wives machines in hopes that they'll learn to sew to save money or the ladies buy them hoping to learn....generally they are totally unused and are in new condition...be sure to ask for manuals, accessories and attachments as well. Hope this info helps! Mary

kbagel
05-11-2009, 07:18 PM
Thanks so much for your advice! Contrary to how most people start sewing, I've only ever used industrial machines. I can only sew in a straight line though and I obviously don't have my own machine!

I found a Kenmore sewing machine at Sears that seems like a good option. It's the Kenmore 15358. Here is the link (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02015358000P?vName=Appliances&cName=Garment+Care&sName=Electronic). It has 58 stitch functions, built in needle-threader, 1-step automatic button holer, snap-on foot system and it seems like most of the reviews were positive, both on Sears site and a website I found called PatternReview.com. I plan on going to Sears maybe tomorrow to try it out. It's on sale right now for $100 and I'm going to see if they'll give me the additional discount on all Kenmore appliances that Sears is advertising right now.

mwhite
05-11-2009, 07:25 PM
It's just about like my Brother. I'm gonna warn you, there is a huge difference from sewing on industrials. The speed is like a snail compared. The free arm is nice, just wish I had a cabinet for mine so I'd have the flat bed....so much easier to sew when not using the free arm. The Kenmore has a better reputation for longivity from what I've heard. Hope you'll enjoy it!

I use a Pfaff industrial walking foot machine at work to do upholstery....it's a dinosaur but it'll sew through any thickness. But it's not designed to sew on fabrics and thinner like for garments. Guess this is why my sewing obsession is on hold for now and I'm knitting.

AngieLanigan
05-11-2009, 07:38 PM
I'm not a professional by any means, but I dabble in sewing (mostly making bags, or linings for my knitted bags)... I'll share my experience :)

I bought a new Singer machine in Nov 07. I only used it for really basic stuff, never ventured away from the straight and zig zag stitch on basic cotton fabric. In Feb 08 it seized up and just quit working. I took it to my local repair shop, and the clutch had gone and would cost more to repair than for what I'd paid for it. I couldn't return it under the warranty because I bought it in the states (I live in Canada). The shop owner told me that the majority of his business came from repairs to the newer machines which are made of a lot of plastic parts, etc.

I was going to save up to buy a new machine, and in the meantime bought a used Singer for $25 from Kijiji (like Craigs List). It was made in 1952 and weighs a ton LOL The woman I bought it from had it cleaned and maintenanced every year. It's worked like a dream ever since, and I have no desire to have another new machine.

It may not be beautiful to look at or easy to carry around, but it's built to last!

vaknitter
05-11-2009, 09:23 PM
HMMM - The old used Singers and Pfaff's are great if you can find a maintained one. My grandmothers old pedal foot Singer and my mothers 1950's Singer are still going strong. I have an old Pfaff serger that I bought from a seamstress for $30 and it works wonderfully. My sewing machine is a 10yr old Brother from Walmart that seems to do everything I need it to do.

Have you thought of checking consumer reports of something along those lines for reviews ? I would check mine for you, but it was just put in storage until we sell the house.

mwhite
05-11-2009, 09:45 PM
I'm not a professional by any means, but I dabble in sewing (mostly making bags, or linings for my knitted bags)... I'll share my experience :)

I bought a new Singer machine in Nov 07. I only used it for really basic stuff, never ventured away from the straight and zig zag stitch on basic cotton fabric. In Feb 08 it seized up and just quit working. I took it to my local repair shop, and the clutch had gone and would cost more to repair than for what I'd paid for it. I couldn't return it under the warranty because I bought it in the states (I live in Canada). The shop owner told me that the majority of his business came from repairs to the newer machines which are made of a lot of plastic parts, etc.

I was going to save up to buy a new machine, and in the meantime bought a used Singer for $25 from Kijiji (like Craigs List). It was made in 1952 and weighs a ton LOL The woman I bought it from had it cleaned and maintenanced every year. It's worked like a dream ever since, and I have no desire to have another new machine.

It may not be beautiful to look at or easy to carry around, but it's built to last!

I definitely agree...the older, heavier, "dinosaur" machines are unbeatable. I have one that someone who knew I sewed alot left on my front porch...kinda like an orphan baby, LOL! I don't know who left it but it sews beautifully. The tension is constant and I can easily adjust the feed. It actually sews like an industrial without the speed.

mwhite
05-11-2009, 09:48 PM
HMMM - The old used Singers and Pfaff's are great if you can find a maintained one. My grandmothers old pedal foot Singer and my mothers 1950's Singer are still going strong. I have an old Pfaff serger that I bought from a seamstress for $30 and it works wonderfully. My sewing machine is a 10yr old Brother from Walmart that seems to do everything I need it to do.


You're right! The older ones were maintained because they were necessary, in my opinion. My Brother is about 10 years old, too but it is a lightweight.

kbagel
05-11-2009, 11:13 PM
Thanks for all the great info! There's sooo much to process.

Originally, I wanted an old machine. One of the sturdy, heavy monsters that I hear great things about. But, it seems like they're really overpriced where I live (LA). The one I was looking at is 1.5 hours away and the woman is asking $140 for the machine and sewing table. That seems like a lot now that all of you are telling stories of $25 and $30 machines!

Here is the link...do you think it's overpriced?
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/for/1158032379.html

mwhite
05-11-2009, 11:20 PM
Super nice desk/chair...storage is really great....really depends on how much you'll use it or if you have ample room...she does say to make an offer. You really need to sew on it, too. If it were my Great Grandmama's machine and desk, I'd have a hard time parting with it but I do love to sew.

cftwo
05-12-2009, 08:17 AM
The old (but not too old!) metal machines are sturdy, reliable machines. I've had one that was probably 80 years old still work. I recommend, though, that you look for a post-WWII model, since they have more bells and whistles. (My 1920s era ONLY did straight stitch; it's handy to do zig zag, at least.)

Singer, Kenmore, Brother, Bernina, and Pfaff are all generally reliable brands. Places like Joann Fabrics offer sewing lessons, if you want some guidance. $140 for that sewing machine is a steal - the cabinet and chair add to the value, and your sewing machine will look like a piece of furniture. Most the the $25 machines come in a carrying case and don't look as nice as that. My mom has a sewing cabinet like that - the long arm to the left is a godsend when you're sewing big things. I wouldn't be surprised if there are storage drawers in there for feet and bobbins and so on.

cindycactus
05-12-2009, 08:44 AM
Dh bought me a Kenmore sewing machine in the middle 1970's and I sewed most of my clothes on it for many years. It had some special stitches and sewed like a dream. The only reason I got rid of it was because I wanted a a new Janome and my dd got the Kenmore. Just did routine cleaning and it never needed repair. I know you would enjoy the one your referenced.

AngieLanigan
05-13-2009, 08:03 AM
The old (but not too old!) metal machines are sturdy, reliable machines. I've had one that was probably 80 years old still work. I recommend, though, that you look for a post-WWII model, since they have more bells and whistles. (My 1920s era ONLY did straight stitch; it's handy to do zig zag, at least.)

Singer, Kenmore, Brother, Bernina, and Pfaff are all generally reliable brands. Places like Joann Fabrics offer sewing lessons, if you want some guidance. $140 for that sewing machine is a steal - the cabinet and chair add to the value, and your sewing machine will look like a piece of furniture. Most the the $25 machines come in a carrying case and don't look as nice as that. My mom has a sewing cabinet like that - the long arm to the left is a godsend when you're sewing big things. I wouldn't be surprised if there are storage drawers in there for feet and bobbins and so on.

I agree with this. Mine does not have the desk/cabinet, it has the carrying case and it's not pretty LOL

I'd pay $140 for that lovely machine/desk/chair you linked. Definately worth making an offer on, for sure. Around here, the ones with the built in cabinet sell used for anywhere from $80+. I considered one, but we really just don't have room for another piece of furniture around here!

Quiltlady
05-20-2009, 09:48 AM
I have a wonderful BROTHER sewing machine and a BROTHER embroidery machine. Both work great.

You can find a good priced machines at Walmart. Or check out www.allbrands.com (http://www.allbrands.com) which has free shipping. I got my embroidery machine from them. Came in three days.
Good luck!

kbagel
05-21-2009, 12:20 AM
Thanks so much everyone for all your help! In the end, after talking to the woman selling the metal kenmore on the phone, I couldn't bring myself to drive 1.5 hours for a machine that may or may not work and might require quite a bit of work. She said the machine hasn't been used at all since she's had it, over 10 years now. Also, when we move back to our apt in the NYC we won't have room for an extra piece of furniture either.

In the end, I went with the Kenmore 18221. It's a step up from the basic machine I was looking at but I got it for the same price because they didn't have the other one in stock and it was going to be over a week to get it in store unless I wanted to pay for delivery. You can see it here (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_02018221000P?keyword=sewing+machine# descriptionAnchor).

I can't wait to learn how to sew real things now!

mwhite
05-21-2009, 07:48 AM
Excellent choice...I hope you'll enjoy it and remember to let us see your creations!