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Old 05-08-2008, 09:18 AM   #1
Knit4Fun
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Recommended Sewing Machine?
I want to buy my first sewing machine!

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?
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:09 PM   #2
alleusion
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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.

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.
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #3
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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!
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:27 PM   #4
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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!!!!!
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:07 PM   #5
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I bought a low end computerized Brother machine from Costco.com and it is perfect for my needs.
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Old 05-08-2008, 01:32 PM   #6
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Sewing Machine
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
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:20 PM   #7
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Search on Craigslist. 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!
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:34 PM   #8
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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 ) 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!
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:00 PM   #9
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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!
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:29 PM   #10
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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.
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