PDA

View Full Version : Recommended Sewing Machine?


Knit4Fun
05-08-2008, 09:18 AM
I want to buy my first sewing machine! :woohoo:

I have NO idea what to look for in a machine other than if I want certain features.

I basically want to be able to sew and learn to quilt. I don't need tons of fancy options but I want a good machine that I can grow with as my skills get better.

Recommendations on machines you like or don't like?

alleusion
05-08-2008, 12:09 PM
I've always had great luck with the Brother brand of machines. My mom swears by Singer and Janome, but those can get expensive. I'm about to purchase a new machine myself (rather than spend $300 shipping it from my storage in San Diego all the way up to Canada). I was looking at this. (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=4764726)

Now I realize, some people have a very strong hatred for Wal Mart, but it was the last place I saw the machine I wanted for a good price and I could find the link quickly.

eladine
05-08-2008, 12:17 PM
My mum swears by Singer, but they can be expensive.

I've got a Brother XL3600 (i think!), and it's great. Simple to use, lightweight - but not light enough to scoot across the table when you're sewing something.

Happy machine hunting!

Knit4Fun
05-08-2008, 12:27 PM
I've actually been considering that one from Wal-Mart since it's gotten good reviews. There's just SO many out there!

CONGRATULATIONS on your new arrival! Miss Emily is beautiful!!!!!

tootie44
05-08-2008, 01:07 PM
I bought a low end computerized Brother machine from Costco.com and it is perfect for my needs.

JThomas55
05-08-2008, 01:32 PM
I have sewn for years and have more machines than most people would want. I have found that it is not necessarily the machine that is as important as the place where you purchase it from. Near me is an excellent viking store. The woman who sells these machines also teaches quilting classes, sewing classes, fun classes, and serger classes. She not only sells the expensive machines but has many that cost less. She also sells machines that are gently used which are a great buy. The main thing that she has is knowledge. I have only purchased one machine from her but I go there constantly to pick her brain and she picks mine for I have a commercial grade embroidery machine. I also send a lot of people her way. I have known her for years and have followed her to three different spots. If you want to really get into sewing this is the way that will make the most sense to me. At least go and check this out for the knowledge that you will learn. And the lady also has great material. Talk to others that live in your area and sew they will also know what sewing store to stay away from. My first sewing machine was purchased by a company that sold me one that had unbeknown to me survived a fire. Well maybe the fire didn't hurt it but what about the heat? I had more problems with that machine than any that I had ever made. And one time I asked for new screws on the top of the machine because I had burs on them from the cleaners cranking down on them too hard. The cleaner ( her husband) filed down the screws and the paint job which made the machine catch the fine fiber. I was furious because he damaged my machine and said that I did it. So you need to ask around to see what machine store is good.
A viking company won't mess around with their people if their franchise is at risk they get refuse to sell them the machines. When you go into the machine store. Look it over. is it clean? does it have great fabric? Are the people nice? Are they knowledge about their machines as well as other machines? Do they let you run the machines and teach you how to do the running? Or do they just show you? Do they use real fabric or that crummy white stuff that any machine can sew through? Are they interested in showing you that their machine can sew through metal or that you can learn to master the machine. Do they have free classes available to you? Do they give you free lessons with the machine? Many of the machine stores have free classes or clubs that you go and only have to purchase the fabric there and you learn to quilt for free. Do they go to all the latest shows and run all over the place and leave the business alone to the people that don't know what they are doing? That is a problem of some shops that I have seen. But the viking shop is about the best that I know of too bad you don't live in Warren, OH. I could take you to the best one. Jacquie

Silver
05-08-2008, 02:20 PM
Search on Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.com). There are always lots of sewing machines on there. I have a Janome Memory Craft 9000, which I found on Craigslist for $400. I LOVE my machine. Seriously. LOVE.

If you want to quilt, do not get a small compact machine. You'll need room to put a quilt under the arm. Even a small crib quilt can be a pain on a little machine, ask me how I know.

Also, for quilting, you'll need a 1/4" foot and a walking foot at least, so if you can find one that comes with them, bonus! :)

Jaxhil
05-08-2008, 05:34 PM
I love sewing, how exciting that you are looking for a new machine!!

If possible, I would avoid buying one from Walmart. I have heard lots of people have problems with them. They might save a little up front, but in the long run they could cause more frustrations and aggravations than its worth. On the other hand, if that's the only option you have, it might be worth it. I know at least one person who is satisfied having gone that route!

You have been given some great advice here! I wanted to add a little something to think about. You mentioned you are interested in quilting, and because of that I recommend testing any machine you are considering with a couple of pieces of fabric (cotton or flannel of the type you will be using, and a piece of batting in between) to see how the machine sews quilts. Of course, if you'll be hand quilting, and just piecing the top by machine, that won't be an issue.

Actually what I was going to say before I side-tracked myself, lol, is to look for a machine with an excellent straight stitch. I have 4 machines (not including my sergers :teehee:) and the most expensive one, a Janome (that I love, don't get me wrong!) has the worst stitch quality of all. My cheapest (it was under $300, with everything you could want, really, including a walking foot for quilting and the 1/4" foot for piecing) has an absolutely perfect stitch. It's a Craftmaster 4700 (I think its a lower-priced Janome in disguise, lol) and I LOVE this machine. I think it's the perfect beginner machine. It's easy to use, and has plenty of useful feet and features so that you won't ever really outgrow it. Unless you decide you need a bunch of fancy stitches, it should be good for years of great sewing time.

My other good stitchers (machines!) are older than me. One is a Singer Featherweight (inherited from my grandmother) and the other is a Bernina Record made in about 1961-I found it at a thrift store for $35.

Good luck, I hope you let us know what you decide!

Oh! And if you need more advice, try this:

patternreview.com

Lots of Sewing machine reviews here!

Knit4Fun
05-08-2008, 06:00 PM
Our Costco has a Brother XR7700...anyone know if this is a good machine? The ratings seem to indicate that people who have them like them.

I want something I can grow into but don't want to spend more than $200 tops on one to start.

This thread has been great so far - thank you all so much! :muah:

lucky_alf2
05-09-2008, 07:29 PM
I started with White from JoAnns but found as I started sewing and especially quilting that I didn't like the way my feed dogs moved (from left to right). It's a small detail but I felt like I was always fighting the fabric to keep it feeding straight. After using my mom's nice Brother I got a low end Brother too as the feed dogs move from front to back so the fabric feeds in straight. i can also drop the feed dogs on the Brother (versus just cover the feed dogs with the White -- horrible IMO if you want to quilt). I yearn for an even nicer machine now as I am even more experienced -- maybe some day....The 1/4 inch foot is a must if your going to quilt as well as a walking foot and maybe a darning foot for free motion quilting. Also get as much throat space as you can. The suggestion to watch Craigslist is good, and I'd suggest you look for sewing/repair shops (not just Joann's) in your area as often they sell not only new machines but trade-ins too -- you'll probably get a much nicer machine that way and as you grow into your hobby be much happier. It kills me that I now have 2 machines and while I happy with the second I could have had a pretty nice starting one if I'd hadn't been so cheap to start with.

Cynamar
05-09-2008, 09:24 PM
I have been looking, too, but I really want all metal and those ain't cheap!

Karina
05-10-2008, 03:04 AM
I have an Elna basic machine which has 21 stitches, 1 step button hole and so on. and it sews really well.
I also have a Janome MC9500 which is a beautiful machine but a lot more expensive. The features that I really like is needle threader and the start stop button so you don't have to use a foot control. Also one feature that I really dislike on the Janome is that the spool of thread lays down on the spool holder and quite a few times the thread gets tangled as it comes off the spool.
The Elna have the spool holder on the top so the thread stands upright and the thread tangling has never been an issue with that machine.

If you have seen a machine you like at Costco, If I was you I would try and find a store that sells this make of machine and have a go on it before you make up your mind. Also check out prices on the Internet for the same machine. Costco is not always cheaper, at least not in this country.

Good luck in your search for your perfect machine.

Knit4Fun
05-10-2008, 09:23 AM
Yeah, I'm going to take my time and keep looking and asking around - I'm keeping a list of what others say so I can use that to help me decide. I think I'm turning into my father...used to be that I would want something and if I could afford it, I went and got it...now I look at Consumer Report and research first! I think I've hit the stage where I'd rather have three things I really love and that last than a hundred that are cheap whims that don't, you know?

Thanks for the recommendations...keep 'em coming! :hug:

bjc1050
05-10-2008, 10:20 AM
Last year I purchased a refurbished Singer 2662 directly from their website at www.Singer.com to replace my Singer Stylemate which doesn't have the free-arm or the see-thru bobbin cover. I paid $159 which I think is a decent price for the features. They included most presser feet that will be needed and includeda dust cover. I like both machines. They both work great. I too had been looking at various brands and models in the stores, but decided this was the best deal.

I never test drove any of my sewing machines, but they all work well. My 1st machine was a featherweight Singer....bought back in the '60s....DH uses it.

You can't always go by what Consumer Reports says. I have a Toastmaster Bread Maker's Hearth that they didn't have much good to say about it and I LOVE it....don't want any other toaster oven unless they come out with one that has a convection feature.

GinnyG
05-10-2008, 01:02 PM
You got me thinking about sewing machines.... mine is over 25 years old (New Home) and with a new grandchild on the way I see some quilts in my future. My college age daughter just asked me to make her a quilt for christmas this year. I used to quildt but haven't done much since I strated knitting.

I've been looking at the Joann site, they have t limited edition Brother, Project Runway with 294 stitches, with the 40% off coupon it would be less than $300.00

Does anyone know anything about that machine?

bjc1050
05-10-2008, 02:42 PM
www.patternreview.com has reviews for just about all sewing machines. That's what helped me decide that the Singer I bought last year was a good value for my needs.

Jenn_Knitter
05-15-2008, 01:16 AM
Older Brother sewing machines are great. New ones (unless you buy one of the snazzier models) are horrible. I ended up returning mine to the store I purchased it from after using it twice and took the money and a little extra I had and bought a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116 and never looked back.

My best advice - if you are able, spend a little extra on a good quality machine now. It will make your sewing experience much more enjoyable. A bad machine can turn a person off to machine sewing in a heartbeat. Plus, you have to spend more money to buy a new, better quality machine.

fireflyknitter
05-16-2008, 11:37 AM
I have a little Pfaff and I love it, it suits my needs just fine and I got it gently used from a local sew/vac shop for $200.

I'll reiterate what a previous poster said though, where you buy it is at least as important as what kind of machine you get. I've got nothing against big box stores in general, but if you buy your sewing machine from a place like Target or Walmart and you need help with it, you can't take it in and have an experienced person help you out. With my machine, I can take it in for service if I need it, or if I need help figuring something out I can take it to the lady I bought it from and ask her. She is wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable and I know I wouldn't get that kind of service at Target.

Knit4Fun
05-16-2008, 12:11 PM
Good point...

It makes me sad how it used to be that there weren't these box stores, so you always were able to develop relationships with sellers so things seemed more personalized and true than they often do now.

I am going to look up some of the sewing stores in our area - I know there is a Jenome dealer close to me - and talk to them first.

You people are amazing me...I think I'm about the only one of you who doesn't sew...YET! :-)

:hug:

GinnyG
05-16-2008, 12:13 PM
You have rekindled the sewing bug.... not that I have any free time to sew. Would LOVE to get a new machine. Unfortunately the machine I "covet" is the Bernina 430 QE and it goes for about $3,000:whoosh:

Knit4Fun
05-16-2008, 12:46 PM
Holy moly...yeah, I don't think that'll be my starter machine at that price, but hey...nothing wrong with dreaming! :p

Jenn_Knitter
05-16-2008, 03:31 PM
You have rekindled the sewing bug.... not that I have any free time to sew. Would LOVE to get a new machine. Unfortunately the machine I "covet" is the Bernina 430 QE and it goes for about $3,000:whoosh:

Wow! Bermina makes an excellent sewing machine, though. My mother sewed all of my baby clothes and blankies on a Bermina that had belonged to my grandmother.

And just a quick response about where to buy a machine - I bought my Husqvarna/Viking at JoAnn and they are great. They are a licensed dealer of Husqvarna machines, so if you ever need repairs done, need to buy parts or have a tech support question you can go right to the store. Also, if you sign up for their email list, you occasionally get a special invitation to their sales which are only open to people who have purchased a Husqvarna machine in the store. You can save a ton of money on a new machine and parts as well. I bought mine at 40% off during a sale they were running.

Ellieblue
05-16-2008, 07:03 PM
Whatever you finally decide to buy , make sure it has an attached needle threader. A must have in my opinion