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View Full Version : Thinking about asking Santa for a sewing machine


luvmykid28
11-24-2009, 07:29 PM
I am not a sewer, however, since I started knitting I find myself borrowing a friend's machine often. I like to make bags and purses and need to line them for better functionallity. That has got me to thinkin...Maybe I should ask Santa for a sewing machine...This brings me to ya'll - What type of machine do you suggest? I don't need anything fancy, but want something that is good quality and will do more than sew a line. I probably won't ever really start sewing, but what if I want to do more than line my bags? There are several choices and I know nothing about sewing machines. Santa price range is probably not more than $250. (He also has a coupon from Joann for 40% off.)

Thanks for all you help!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

missmom31
11-24-2009, 07:44 PM
Hi! I have a Husquvarna Viking Designer I sewing machine. It has alot of features that I dont use and never will. I was talked into it at the local sewing machine store. I don't sew clothes either, but I do like to make quilts. It is fabulous for that, but I didn't need to get such a glamorous machine. I do recommend the Husquvarna line, though. They are good machines and need very little repair. Maybe you could look for a used one...often people trade up and are looking to sell their older machines. I would check that out at a local sewing machine dealer. Enjoy your sewing...who knows, maybe you, too, will take up quilting! :thumbsup:

thecatsmother
11-25-2009, 11:08 AM
I don't think you can use your Joann coupon for sewing machines.
I don't recommend Husqvara machines.Janome or Brother make good basic machines...but you won't get a lot for $250 and I agree with the other poster about looking for a good used machine.
Patternreview.com has great reviews on sewing machines so you could start some research there

globaltraveler
11-25-2009, 01:36 PM
Ooohhhh, MissMom -- what a shame you don't use your D1 features! I love mine, and even though there's another top of the line machine now in the HV lineup, when I needed a second machine, I got another D1. :) Totally spoiled by mine! I've had businesses from bridal gowns to craft to Irish stepdancing solo costumes, and the D1 is the best one I've used.

No, you can't use the coupon from Joann unless it says specifically that you can -- the sewing machine "departments" in Joann stores are leasers and not actually part of the store chain.

All of the machines (especially the top of the lines) are going to be fairly good machines. The question is which one works for you, because they all have different ways of interfacing with the user. You'll connect with some of them, and others will boggle you totally, so sit down at the machines and try them out to get an idea of what works for you.

For sewing things like bags and purses, you actually need a good strong motor, something that will power through multiple layers of heavy fabrics and stronger than a machine that's just meant for dressmaking repairs and occasional use (such as the White machines). $250 isn't going to get you much of a new machine, as mentioned upthread, although it can buy a good basic machine for repairs and light sewing. If you have a good used sewing machine store around, that'll help a great deal, as will having a good relationship with a good sewing machine repairman. Look for metal machine innards, not plastic. A physically heavy machine will sometimes indicate a good heavy-duty machine, but not always.

My advice is to go round to the sewing dealerships and sit down at the different kinds of machines (from bottom of the line basic to top of the line fancies) and try them all out so you know what you're looking at. Educate yourself first, THEN buy in your price range that will do what you want. If you don't like how you're treated at a dealership, leave and go to the next one, because when you buy a new machine, you want to know that you'll be able to get repairs, advice, classes, and resources from the dealership, not attitude.

Even with a used machine, you want to know that they'll be helping you out, so buy from people you want to deal with. A good dealership (and I used to work at one) knows that a happy customer is a repeat customer and treats you in such a way as to make you happy.

reeny
11-25-2009, 02:42 PM
I have this one (http://www.singerco.com/products/): http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk87/cassique/988_2662450x350.jpg Picked it up from BJs about 6 years ago for about $250.

I like it just fine, although for serious seamstresses I'm sure it is not up to par. I don't use it often but I've made halloween costuems and some bags with it, and a skirt (which I realize I'm not very good at). I haven't used it for knitting projects yet.

I had to get a repaired once, after I messed up the timing, and because I didn't buy it through a dealer the fee was pretty steep for me (I think it was about $75). So if you go through a dealer you will be paying more but get a better deal on servicing.

My mother also has an inexpensive singer, similar to mine but with fewer features. We bought it through Joann.com She sews much more frequently than I do and likes it.

luvmykid28
11-25-2009, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the suggestions so far. Just to clarify...I don't want to sew bags and purses. I just want to put a lining in them. Very simple, not layers of fabric. I don't have a lot of space for sewing nor the desire to get into sewing. Knitting is my gig and it takes up enough of my spare space.

Reeny - the machine you have is like the 1 I borrow from my friend.
Thanks again everyone.

globaltraveler
11-25-2009, 04:13 PM
Ah -- then in that case, $250 should buy you a lower end model that you will want to learn to maintain and take in for a checkup once every year, which should do you. Basically, the rule of thumb is that the more a machine is used, the more it should cost. So if you're going to make a bag lining or repair a hem or some other relatively simple task, a $250 simple machine should be fine. I'd highly recommend the lower lines of a dealership machine, you'll probably get more for your money that way. (But if you can find an old Bernina, pre-80s or so, snap it up immediately.)

meowmeowmeow
11-27-2009, 12:46 AM
I sew a LOOOOT.A LOT. I will tell you right now that any sewing machine that does fancy little stitches is completely worthless unless you're embroidering...and even so it must feel like cheating.

I make a lot of clothes and all I ever need is a zigzag and a straight line.Reverse isn't even necessary because you could just turn the work around.You don't even need a buttonhole option on your machine.You can do that yourself pretty easily. If you needed something more elaborate, you would need a serger or one of those machines that basically prints out a picture.

I have only used five sewing machines in my entire life.I learned on a crappy industrial looking Singer from the 80s in my 8th grade Home Ec class.I then used a similar model at home that belonged to my mother until I was 18.It was barely surviving. On my birthday, my boyfriend bought me my first sewing machine to call my own, a hundred dollar Singer Esteem.Someone broke it(probably my half brother who was angry with me) and so I bought another one.I now have a Brother lx-3125. I could have bought a giant expensive machine, but it wouldn't really matter.Eventually, I may get a Serger.If I died before then, I wouldn't be missing out on too much.

The only thing a sewing machine really needs to be able to do is sew in a straight line,evenly.Every machine [that is not broken] can do this :)

luvmykid28
11-27-2009, 02:12 AM
So I was talking to my mom yesterday and said I wanted a sewing machine for Christmas and she said she still had hers. She said to me, "It's old, but it's a good sewing machine." From when I was a kid. I think it's from the late 60's or early 70's. Anyway , I brought it home and will have a look at it this weekend. Dang, that sucker is HEAVY...I am so excited, I will probably have to have it serviced, but that's fine with me. I'll let ya'll know how it is. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will keep them in mind if this one doesn't work.

globaltraveler
11-27-2009, 06:11 AM
Stellar. Sometimes those old machines are the best old workhorses ever. :) Def get it serviced, not the least to make sure all the parts are still lubricated. You really really don't want to know what happens to the machine if it isn't properly oiled all the way through!

MeowX3 -- yes, you can survive on a machine that only does a straight line and won't go backwards, but, um, why would you bother unless you like to suffer? :)

thecatsmother
11-27-2009, 10:14 AM
Glad you got a FREE older machine,those heavy,solid machines might not have all the fancy stitches but they are more reliable than some of the junk out there SO you can now use the money to buy fabric.

Meowmeow....I also sew a lot,I make all my own clothes and most of my gifts.I have an expensive machine with all the bells and whistles and it allows me to use my sewing skill to the fullest.Yes I could still do a lot of things with my reliable old Kenmore but now I can do more.Somtimes as you advance in your skills you want different equipment to be help you more creative.

Jaxhil
11-27-2009, 05:11 PM
Great!! That is even better, getting your Mom's machine! I agree with Zina, definitely get it serviced, it'll be *well* worth the cost (it's really frustrating to sew with a machine that's not functioning quite as it should).

I admire people who can get by with just a very basic machine, and I agree its completely do-able..but, well...I really love my serger! And my automatic cheater buttonholes :) LOL! :D

Enjoy your "new" toy!

Ellieblue
11-27-2009, 06:38 PM
I am real happy with my Brother michine which I got for less than $100.

meowmeowmeow
11-27-2009, 07:15 PM
MeowX3 -- yes, you can survive on a machine that only does a straight line and won't go backwards, but, um, why would you bother unless you like to suffer? :)

LOL! I really don't think something as simple as doing a u-turn could be considered suffering..Well, unless you're entirely new to sewing and don't know how to lift the presser foot and pivot work.Then again, that's pretty self explanatory...>_> Even my boyfriend knows how to do that.He's only sewn a pair of pajama pants.

luvmykid28
11-28-2009, 04:06 PM
Well, here it is. I took it out this morning and tried it out. It works...it's kinda loud and slow, so I'll take it to get it checked out on Monday. I think my mom had it worked on, just before she put it in storage 15 years ago. I found a manual online at sewusa.com and printed the threading instructions. I am very excited. :yay:

My DD was intrigued by the machine. She wanted me to just jump right in and start sewing stuff for her...LOL

I was trying to figure out how to make it go backwards...I pushed something and I had a flshback of my mom working at it when I was very small. Kinda gave me chills...
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2557/4141723800_58581f6515.jpg

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2567/4140966639_81f7f0e8e1.jpg

vaknitter
11-28-2009, 10:31 PM
Congrats on the free machine !! Some of those oldies are in fact the best. My mother has an old metal Singer that is used daily - she makes clothing, doll clothing etc. She's had it my entire life !! My grandmothers old treadle Singer was still operational when she died about 8 yrs ago...if only I'd had a way to bring it home with me.

Anyway, I highly suggest looking for a good used machine. I have a basic Brother machine and got my serger I actually put an add on Craigslist saying that I wanted to buy one and what I was willing to pay and a seamtress sold me her 2 needle Pfaff for $30 and it works like a dream !

mommydearest
11-29-2009, 08:31 AM
I have a Singer and have had for 10+ years and have not needed it serviced yet. I do the oil and general cleaning out myself but so far it has worked very well for me and my family. We aren't big sewers (although I went through a stage of "need to sew") but it's nice to have it around for hemming and costumes, etc.

It's easy to use as my 11 yo son should me last night when he wanted to make a pillow. He learned to use a machine in school this year and new what to do. At 2:00 am he woke me to show off his finished project, which by the feel of it, felt nice as my eyes refused to open.

Try the machines out and choose what feels comfortable and easy to use.

Mary

ajsgramma
11-29-2009, 11:06 AM
[QUOTE=luvmykid28;1263532] I found a manual online at sewusa.com and printed the threading instructions. I am very excited. :yay: QUOTE]

If you have the manual, be sure to clean the bobbin case, (usually there's a little brush in the attachments box) & oil it wherever the book says. Only use machine oil (sometimes found in the attachments box). These two steps can save you on repair money now & in the future. Sometimes when a machine is really noisy - it's working dry (no lubrication for the gears & moving parts) not a good thing.

You'll enjoy this machine & it's even better 'cause it's free & will remind you of your Mom every time you sit down to use it.

My Mom passed away last year & I have her machine (the one I took sewing lessons on when I was 12 and it was brand new - 50 yrs ago). That old machine is still going strong. The 2 EXPENSIVE computerized ones I bought new are both unworking due to chips going bad internally. I'll keep my Mom's old machine and the used Bernina I just bought from a friend for all my sewing needs for now.

Good luck with the machine & get your daughter sewing too. Some smaller fabric stores or quilt shops usually offer beginning classes that she might enjoy. I made my own prom dress & saved my parents a lot of money on clothes growing up. Eventually I had a pattern design business that never would have happened if my Mom hadn't bought that first machine.
(((((HUGS)))))Verna

sueko
11-30-2009, 03:15 AM
I've been through quite a few machines from cheap to quality: White; New Home; Janome; Singer; Signature; Husquavarna; and three different Berninas. Once I found the Bernina I was more than satisfied (I have three because one of them is a serger, and one of them does embroidery as well as my first basic Bernina. The stitch quality of the Berninas surpass every other machine I've ever used and I would only recommend a Bernina to anyone who asked. An old used model would be a better choice than a cheap shiny new machine. People hang onto these machines so you might keep an eye out for estate sales as well as the common websites like Craig's list and ebay.
I hope your mom's machine works out for you. It is good that it's heavy (all metal parts, the newer machines with plastic parts break so much easier and aren't meant to last a lifetime), because if you like it it will keep running for a long time.

*KnitPixie*
11-30-2009, 04:13 AM
Congrats on your "new machine";) Sometimes the old ones work best. My grandmom gave me one and it got real old and could not be fixed anymore.. then for Christmas she bought me a new one..brother I believe..and I miss my old one..its yellow color and all lol

globaltraveler
11-30-2009, 03:52 PM
Totally agree with you about older Berninas, Sueko -- the older Berninas are a dream to sew on! Haven't tried the very newest ones recently, though, so YMMV.

Still sticking up for my HV machines, though -- to die for!