View Full Version : Sewing machine recommendations?

03-21-2008, 05:24 PM
I've been on the hunt for a sewing machine for several months now, and I can't seem to find one that has consistently positive product reviews (unless I want to spend $500+!). I'm not looking for anything big or fancy ... it would mostly be used for finishing touches on my knitting projects. I also haven't used a sewing machine in a very long time and need to relearn, so I'm hoping to find a beginner-friendly machine. Does anyone here have a recommendation? Any input would be greatly appreciated! :hug:

03-21-2008, 05:49 PM
I bought a Brother sewing machine at - dare I say it - Walmart about 10yrs ago and it is still going strong. I was doing little sewing projects here and there and was sick of using my neighbors as I always felt like I was in her way. I have never had any problems with it.
I have a Pfaff serger that I bought used and while they get great reviews, I find it to be a little tempermental. Sometimes less is more : )

03-21-2008, 06:38 PM
I have a brother also. I love it. Haven't had any probs with it and I do sew a lot. (7 kids ya know and 4 of them girls). I would go with a brother. I really like the thread cassette idea. I find that helps a lot.:thumbsup: :woot:

03-21-2008, 06:45 PM
I've got a Brother, bought at Walmart over 8 years ago. Granted, I prefer industrial machines, this is a decent commercial machine and only paid about $95 for it. Keep in mind that there are thousands of men in this world who buy machines for their wives because A. They ask for them, hoping to learn or B. They want their wives to learn to save some money on clothing and/or alterations. My point is that these same women or men will sell a $500-$2000 machine in a yard sale for about $50-75.00 after it's sat in a closet or spare room for 5 years or more. THAT'S when you step in and "take" it off their hands and get it out of their "way". Ask around, read bulletin boards and newspaper ads and go to yardsales or jockeylots. The machines have their original booklets and accessories usually and you'll feel like you've conquered the world! HTH Mary

03-21-2008, 07:04 PM
I 3 have a Brother, it is about 12 years old and works whenever I drag it out!
Listen to Mary about finding one at a yard sale, estate sale in the local paper or try Craigslist.com
I see them all the time at yard sales and you can get a new one or gently used one for a huge saving over buying a new one, especially if you are not sure how often you will be using it!

Good Luck!

03-21-2008, 10:34 PM
I agree with mwhite.

If all you want it for is simple things a used one would be great.
Seems most of the expensive new ones have their expense wrapped up in computerized picture embroidery.

I got my sister's hand-me-down Kenmore because none of her kids will repair anything much less make something. It's from the '70's and works fine. As often as I use it I bet it will last another 30 years.
Straight stitch, zig-zag, darning and surging is all I need to make canvas bags and do repairs. I have no need for the embroidery disks (neither did she and she makes cloths).
I definitely wouldn't need one with a keypad that will wear out long before 30 years so it can make pictures of Mickey Mouse that I'll never use.

03-22-2008, 01:09 AM
A dear friend GAVE me her Baby Lock Intelli-stitch last year when she bought herself a Janome. What a great machine this is! I had a Pfaff 1222E for 29 years that finally died when my DH knocked it off onto a cement floor. This bent the casted metal interior, otherwise I'd still be using it.

I'm looking into what kind of serger to buy, as I'm very tall and like to make my own pants, etc.

03-22-2008, 01:40 AM
I've always been partial to Bernina. My mother has one and it spoiled me for anything else.

03-22-2008, 06:29 AM
I really like my Huskystar. It's a pretty solid machine that should last a good long time.

03-22-2008, 07:25 AM
I have one of the simple Husqvarna machines for 6 years and i'm really happy with it. It's user friendly, not too sophisticated and it's definitely enough for the sewing i do. What bought me also is that it's made in Sweden and not China.

Sewing Angel
03-22-2008, 09:42 AM
My sewing machine and serger are both Pfaff. I really love both of them, but there are other machines that would suit your purposes. If you have a sewing machine dealer in your area, you might want to check there. Most of the time they have really nice, reconditioned machines. The dealer I use, gives a warranty and machine usage classes when you buy one. I have sewn forever and I learned a lot of new things when I took the classes.

Wanda Witch
03-22-2008, 07:08 PM
I agree about the Husqvarna, aka as Viking in this country. I have bought three over a period of 35+ years, not because there was anything wrong with the previous model, I just plain wanted to upgrade. They are made to last, very solid and sturdy machines, and I'd definitely look for one at a yard sale or in the classified ads. My first one was just a plain sewing machine, nothing fancy and worked as well as the computerized on I now have. Actually, since I have never used all the bells and whistles I could still be using No. 1, I know.

03-22-2008, 10:11 PM
I have a Janome, and I loooooove it. Easy to load, thread, and clean; with my old machine, it was hard to get out those chunks of yarn fuzz that collect below the needle when sewing fabric to something knitted.

03-22-2008, 11:37 PM
My mother has a fancy shmancy Janome that I totally covet. The machine I have at home is "fine" for what I use it for but hers has all sorts of cool buttons that I want to play with. I am hoping she gets bored and wants to upgrade soon so I can have this one! ;-)

03-23-2008, 03:08 PM
Had a Huskystar and it consistently broke down time after time. I finally traded it for a Janome. Works well for me.

03-23-2008, 04:14 PM
I'm a Singer fan. Started with a reconditioned featherweight back in the '60s which DH still uses. Then purchase a reconditioned Singer Stylemate in the '80s which still works. Just last year I upgraded to a Singer 2662 because I thought it was about time to get a free-arm model and just had to have a machine with a see-thru bobbin cover. This machine does everything I need. I made a "bird hut" for my conure - like the expensive ones sold in pet stores using fleece. Had no problem sewing thru it even when doubled. I got it as a refurbished directly from the Singer web site at www.singer.com and am happy with it.

03-23-2008, 04:36 PM
I made the following items on my Singer machines:

I made the jumpers and dresses on my Featherweight and made the bear using the StyleMate

03-23-2008, 04:37 PM
Just thought I would add I also have a brother from Wal-mart. It is about 8 years old and I love it. It works fine for what I want to do, granted I don't sew a lot. I also have been looking into buying a serger, but they seem like a lot of money.

03-23-2008, 05:35 PM
Thank you all so much for your input! :hug: It will take a little while for me to finish saving up for a machine, but at least I'm no longer clueless about what to get or where to look. Thanks again! :muah:

BJC - Thanks your sharing your pictures. You are clearly very talented at sewing!

03-23-2008, 06:10 PM
Thanks Jade for your kind words.

Here's the "Happy Hut" I made with my newer Singer sewing machine for my black capped conure. It was much less expensive than the store bought ones since it only took a $2.00 remnant with enough fabric leftover for another.

03-23-2008, 07:40 PM
I love the pic of the happy hut!! :muah: I love birds ! I have a cockatiel, who is sucha sweetie :heart:

Anyway, back on topic :teehee:

I wanted to say I have a Janome (fancy-schmancy), Bernina (old thrift store find), a Singer Featherweight (inherited from my grandmother), and a relatively cheap ($299) Craftmaster 4700 that I am sure is a Janome in disguise, (yes, I am a sewing addict! lol) and I like each one obviously, for different reasons. If I was just starting out, I would go with the relatively unknown, cheapo Craftmaster 4700. It has *everything* you really need-although I admit, that is relative!-and sews absolutely perfect stitches. Far better than my fancier, computerized, MUCH more expensive Janome.

I frequent another site called PatternReview.com (great place for sewers!) and here is a review I did on this machine, if you care to look.

There are also lots of reviews available on other machines you may be interested in-even a forum that you can ask questions and get (lots of) advice.

My best advice is to not (if you can help it!!) buy a machine without first trying it-you want to see if you are comfortable with it and find it enjoyable to use. A dealer might be more expensive than a walmart special-but they usually offer classes and support along with your machine. That is worth it, imho, if you are new to sewing.

Good luck!! One of my favorite things is bringing home a new (or old, lol!) sewing machine!! (betcha couldn't tell, huh? lol) Have fun!