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Old 09-30-2014, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,403 posts, read 2,073,281 times
Reputation: 1322

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So I've been researching sewing machines lately, I didn't want to spend more than $150 on one. The ones in that price range though are mainly Singers and Brothers, but Ive read a lot of reviews and people say these machines are cheap. It seems as if Janomes are mid range priced machines and I haven't seen anyone say anything bad about that brand so far, but those are at least $200. I'm just a student who waits tables so there is no way I can afford a Bernina, Husqvarna Viking, or a Baby Lock which those brands seem to be the ones that experienced seamstresses say are awesome.

I want my sewing machine to last at least 2 years. I don't want a piece of junk, but I don't want the most expensive thing. I read that the best time to buy sewing machines are at Christmas time or Mothers day when there are really good deals on them, but I don't want to wait that long to get one. Since I'm stating out I know I don't need something with all the bells and whistles.

I was on a website and it said that these are must haves for a sewing machine:


Automatic buttonholer – Buttonholes are hard to sew beautifully, so this is where technology can really help out. Some machines have 4-step buttonholes, sewn in four steps. Others do a 1-step buttonhole, sewn in one step.

Good light – Older models often come with halogen lights, while newer models often have LED lights. Either way, the light should be bright enough to illuminate your sewing surface.

Built-in needle threader – You want a mechanism that will thread the needle for you so you don’t have to eyeball it. This is especially good for people with poor eyesight.

Adjustable needle feature – This allows you to move the needle off center to the left or right while straight stitching, a great feature for edge stitching.

Up/down needle feature – It allows you to choose whether the sewing needle will rise or stay embedded in the fabric when you take pressure off the controls. (Some machines have a button to automatically raise or lower the needle.) This comes in really handy if you want the needle to remain down so that you can pivot the fabric when sewing on a corner. Most of the basic machines we’re looking at here don’t have this ability.

Adjustable presser foot pressure – It’ll allow you to adjust the pressure of the presser foot to make it easier to sew a variety of fabrics.

Adjustable feed dog height – Similar to presser foot pressure, this allows you to adjust the height of the feed dogs (see “How a sewing machine works” below) to make it easier to sew a variety of fabrics.


There is a sewing center near me, but the people who work there aren't friendly including the owner and I hear that their prices are really high. So I know I will have to go online and get one. I also didn't want to spend more than $150 because I'm going to buy at least 2 books on sewing fundamentals and I know I have to buy other supplies as well.

Does any one have any advice on what to get?
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:52 PM
 
84 posts, read 62,237 times
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I adore my Brother Innovis NX450-Q, more info here: Brother International - Home Sewing Machine and Embroidery Machine NX450Q

HIGHLY recommend it. Had a few machines before this one, each one developed crazy issues (for which I take the blame for two reasons: I learned on them and had no idea what I was doing AND was working with stretchy/slinky fabrics which are impossible to sew). This Brother had NO TROUBLE with anything at all. Just fantastic from the beginning.

Oh, and I never quilted on it, so don't let the fact that it's a "quilting" machine dissuade you from checking it out.

Just a little tip, too: No matter what machine you get, make SURE You use the bobbins that are specifically, brand-made for it. I screwed up my machines by going against this advice because they look completely identical and are half the price. I don't know what it is, but it does make all the difference!
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Old 09-30-2014, 02:57 PM
 
84 posts, read 62,237 times
Reputation: 224
Sorry, just now saw your budget -- the one I recommended is quite a bit more expensive. But when I first started, my budget was $250; the machines I kept getting were ramping up in price and were completely unreliable until I got to my current Brother.

I hope you do find what you're looking for in your price range; I'm sure there's something great out there! Also depends on what you're looking to do with it. I'd search for reviews; there are many dedicated sites where you can read about user's personal experiences.
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Old 09-30-2014, 04:19 PM
 
1 posts, read 2,235 times
Reputation: 15
Default Brother makes a good intro machine

i bought my daughter (when she was 18) a computerized Brother from Costco and now 3 years later, she has no issues with it. It has many of the same features as my much more expensive Husqvarna (and some it doesn't have). It was under $150. It makes a beautiful buttonhole too. the one thing that bugs me is the default straight stitch isn't centered, but slightly to the right. you have to go to a different stitch to get a centered one.

i myself started out with a mechanical Kenmore, but that was long ago. It was a great machine too.
I did buy my daughter a mechanical Simplicity machine on Amazon for $100 as her first machine. She would never use it, because she liked the computerized features of my Husqvarna. (automatic correct placement of the needle position is a biggy).

If I were you, with the budget you have, I'd go for the Brother. Good Luck.

Laura Al
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Old 09-30-2014, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Encino, CA
3,417 posts, read 2,893,826 times
Reputation: 5789
Quote:
Originally Posted by princesasabia View Post

Does any one have any advice on what to get?
Here you go.

http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Projec...121061&sr=1-10

I give you this based on expert advice from some people I know personally who are alteration experts at both Nordstorm and Neiman Marcus, and are costume designers. This is perfect for your budget and starting out.

Make sure you actively participate in the other thread you started in this forum on sewing as well. Some good advice is given there.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,403 posts, read 2,073,281 times
Reputation: 1322
Quote:
Originally Posted by laura_al View Post
i bought my daughter (when she was 18) a computerized Brother from Costco and now 3 years later, she has no issues with it. It has many of the same features as my much more expensive Husqvarna (and some it doesn't have). It was under $150. It makes a beautiful buttonhole too. the one thing that bugs me is the default straight stitch isn't centered, but slightly to the right. you have to go to a different stitch to get a centered one.

i myself started out with a mechanical Kenmore, but that was long ago. It was a great machine too.
I did buy my daughter a mechanical Simplicity machine on Amazon for $100 as her first machine. She would never use it, because she liked the computerized features of my Husqvarna. (automatic correct placement of the needle position is a biggy).

If I were you, with the budget you have, I'd go for the Brother. Good Luck.

Laura Al
Thanks Laura! I'm thinking of going with a Brother.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,403 posts, read 2,073,281 times
Reputation: 1322
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kings Gambit View Post
Here you go.

Amazon.com: Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW Electric Sewing Machine - 50 Built-In Stitches - Automatic Threading

I give you this based on expert advice from some people I know personally who are alteration experts at both Nordstorm and Neiman Marcus, and are costume designers. This is perfect for your budget and starting out.

Make sure you actively participate in the other thread you started in this forum on sewing as well. Some good advice is given there.
Thanks Kings Gambit! I will! I'm taking all the advice I can get.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:21 PM
 
10,869 posts, read 41,139,178 times
Reputation: 14009
Your machine doesn't have to be a new one ...

I've seen many higher quality sewing machines show up at flea markets or "antique" malls.

Have personally purchased a number of Pfaff industrial quality machines (I do horse tack repairs, sailboat covers, sail repairs, upholstery work, and my wife does draperies and clothing work). I bought a hardly ever used Pfaff 332 for $30, but that was many years ago, even the cabinet was in excellent condition. My wife bought a Pfaff 130 for $25 last year, and it was in excellent condition although the power cord needed to be replaced. I even got one of the Singer industrial treadle machines for my heaviest work, and it's a thing of beauty ... for $50 ... can do leather work on this machine and the treadle is no obstacle to doing the amount of work I need it to do.

Along the way, I've seen a fair number of just about every make of mid-to-high end sewing machine you could want ... including Bernina, upline Singers, and some late model electronic machines with all the fancy stitches and buttonholes built right in, all the features you're looking for. Of course, they've also got a bunch of the cheapie low end machines in these places and you just need to know what you're looking for. I've even spotted some walking foot industrial machines for a fraction of the price of new.
Another neighbor found an industrial Pfaff at a garage sale in a small town ... complete with the commercial quality table, knee lift, walking foo, big spool of thread holders, extra needles and bobbins, etc.; a local dressmaker had it for years and kept it in beautiful condition. Her granddaughter didn't know what it was and was cleaning out her grandparent's garage to get the house ready to sell. $50 for the whole set-up. I've also seen electronic serger machines for cheap money. Missed out buying a long arm Singer quilting machine at an auction last year ... but it was part of pro quilting shop dispersal and brought $450 ... in almost new condition; the yarn/sewing/quilting shop didn't make it as a business and the equipment was being auctioned off (including the spinning wheels they had in stock as floor demo/school models ... most sold for $350-600, a fraction of their new price).

Take the time to check out any machine that you find in your price range. Do some sample sewing with it and see if it meets your needs. I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a higher quality machine that will give you years of service for less than your budget. Don't be afraid to negotiate and make reasonable offers; I bought my 332 when it was asked at $400 for a fraction of that.

Last edited by sunsprit; 09-30-2014 at 06:31 PM..
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:24 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
18,847 posts, read 12,473,150 times
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For your price range, I'd recommend buying used. If you have dealers around you, you might check to find a refurbished trade in. Or you can check Craigslist, although IMO, you see mostly antique models that sellers think are worth a lot. (They generally aren't)

A refurbished late 1950s Singer would probably do everything you want. Those were good machines. If you can find a 1960s-70s era Pfaff in good condition, I'd make sure it was usable, and then buy.

Another place where I've seen lots of interesting machines is ebay. I'd buy from someone who has already serviced the machine. If you buy used, and the machine has not been serviced, then you have to figure in the cost of having it gone over and serviced.

Your budget is too low for a decent new machine. If you need to stick to the budget, they you will have to buy used. But there are good old machines out there.

Here is a site with reviews of loads of old and new machines:

Sewing - Sewing Patterns & Sewing Machines. Butterick & Kwik Sew Patterns. Sewing Machine Reviews & Pattern Reviews. Sewing Classes at PatternReview.com

I bought a Baby Lock several years ago, and it is a very nice machine. But I spent far more than $150.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Oceania
8,623 posts, read 5,891,490 times
Reputation: 8318
Quote:
Originally Posted by princesasabia View Post
So I've been researching sewing machines lately, I didn't want to spend more than $150 on one. The ones in that price range though are mainly Singers and Brothers, but Ive read a lot of reviews and people say these machines are cheap. It seems as if Janomes are mid range priced machines and I haven't seen anyone say anything bad about that brand so far, but those are at least $200. I'm just a student who waits tables so there is no way I can afford a Bernina, Husqvarna Viking, or a Baby Lock which those brands seem to be the ones that experienced seamstresses say are awesome.

I want my sewing machine to last at least 2 years. I don't want a piece of junk, but I don't want the most expensive thing. I read that the best time to buy sewing machines are at Christmas time or Mothers day when there are really good deals on them, but I don't want to wait that long to get one. Since I'm stating out I know I don't need something with all the bells and whistles.

I was on a website and it said that these are must haves for a sewing machine:


Automatic buttonholer – Buttonholes are hard to sew beautifully, so this is where technology can really help out. Some machines have 4-step buttonholes, sewn in four steps. Others do a 1-step buttonhole, sewn in one step.

Good light – Older models often come with halogen lights, while newer models often have LED lights. Either way, the light should be bright enough to illuminate your sewing surface.

Built-in needle threader – You want a mechanism that will thread the needle for you so you don’t have to eyeball it. This is especially good for people with poor eyesight.

Adjustable needle feature – This allows you to move the needle off center to the left or right while straight stitching, a great feature for edge stitching.

Up/down needle feature – It allows you to choose whether the sewing needle will rise or stay embedded in the fabric when you take pressure off the controls. (Some machines have a button to automatically raise or lower the needle.) This comes in really handy if you want the needle to remain down so that you can pivot the fabric when sewing on a corner. Most of the basic machines we’re looking at here don’t have this ability.

Adjustable presser foot pressure – It’ll allow you to adjust the pressure of the presser foot to make it easier to sew a variety of fabrics.

Adjustable feed dog height – Similar to presser foot pressure, this allows you to adjust the height of the feed dogs (see “How a sewing machine works” below) to make it easier to sew a variety of fabrics.


There is a sewing center near me, but the people who work there aren't friendly including the owner and I hear that their prices are really high. So I know I will have to go online and get one. I also didn't want to spend more than $150 because I'm going to buy at least 2 books on sewing fundamentals and I know I have to buy other supplies as well.

Does any one have any advice on what to get?
craigslist


My mother was a seamstress and never used all of those bells and whistles. Her machines were tanks and lasted forever, I remember the old black Singer she had for the reason we would put rattlesnake rattles on pipe cleaners and attach them so the wheel made the thing rattle and scare the shot out of her. She took it in stride, what do you want from kids down in south TX?
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