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Author Topic: Sewing machine for beginners?  (Read 10236 times)
LyricFox
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« Topic Start: January 24, 2011, 08:47:49 pm »

And I DO mean beginners.

As in having never sewn a stitch in our lives.

But Randall and I are looking for a good, easy to use and inexpensive (say $100-$150 on Amazon) sewing machine. I have absolutely no clue on what to look for, so I figured I'd ask.

Randall wants to hem jeans, and I'm more likely to join a couple of pieces of fabric together to make a coverlet for a bed...nothing fancy.

Anyone have any recommendations? What to look for suggestions?
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« Reply #1: January 24, 2011, 10:00:02 pm »

And I DO mean beginners.

As in having never sewn a stitch in our lives.

But Randall and I are looking for a good, easy to use and inexpensive (say $100-$150 on Amazon) sewing machine. I have absolutely no clue on what to look for, so I figured I'd ask.

Randall wants to hem jeans, and I'm more likely to join a couple of pieces of fabric together to make a coverlet for a bed...nothing fancy.

Anyone have any recommendations? What to look for suggestions?


References - I have been sewing on machines for 40 years and have worked as a professional seamstress.

Older Singers are good - the company got bought and sold a few times and they are not so good now.  Sears has been selling decent cheap machines for a very long time.  I have heard very bad things about Brother sewing machines.  Pfaff and Berina and New Home are excellent - you might find a used one in your price range.  Honestly, you might try to go higher.  I bought my daughter the bottom of the line Pfaff new 2 years ago for 300 or so.  It will last her a very long time - but they didn't even have anything cheaper.  Janome machines don't look very good to me - I have seen them in person.  I have heard good things about Viking machines. 

In short, I would recommend finding a used one of a better brand, I think you would be happier.  I have owned Sears (Kenmore), Singer, New Home and currently have a Pfaff.  The Singer was the only lemon of the bunch.  Maybe Craigslist?  Or the newspaper?
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« Reply #2: January 24, 2011, 10:04:26 pm »

References - I have been sewing on machines for 40 years and have worked as a professional seamstress.

Older Singers are good - the company got bought and sold a few times and they are not so good now.  Sears has been selling decent cheap machines for a very long time.  I have heard very bad things about Brother sewing machines.  Pfaff and Berina and New Home are excellent - you might find a used one in your price range.  Honestly, you might try to go higher.  I bought my daughter the bottom of the line Pfaff new 2 years ago for 300 or so.  It will last her a very long time - but they didn't even have anything cheaper.  Janome machines don't look very good to me - I have seen them in person.  I have heard good things about Viking machines. 

In short, I would recommend finding a used one of a better brand, I think you would be happier.  I have owned Sears (Kenmore), Singer, New Home and currently have a Pfaff.  The Singer was the only lemon of the bunch.  Maybe Craigslist?  Or the newspaper?

That's a shame about Brother. Randall and I just saw one on Amazon that looked good. What have you heard?

This is the one we were looking at.
http://www.amazon.com/Brother-CS6000I-Affordable-60-Stitch-Computerized/dp/B000JQM1DE/ref=lh_ni_t_
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« Reply #3: January 24, 2011, 10:06:59 pm »

And I DO mean beginners.

As in having never sewn a stitch in our lives.

But Randall and I are looking for a good, easy to use and inexpensive (say $100-$150 on Amazon) sewing machine. I have absolutely no clue on what to look for, so I figured I'd ask.

Randall wants to hem jeans, and I'm more likely to join a couple of pieces of fabric together to make a coverlet for a bed...nothing fancy.

Anyone have any recommendations? What to look for suggestions?


What to look for - metal gears inside are always good.  The basic stitches - straight, zig zag, a basic overlock.  Warranty if buying new.  The brands I listed above are really what I would look for.  Most cheap machines aren't going to have many bells and whistles anyway.  And I did a search and Sears seems to have some basic ones in your price range.

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« Reply #4: January 24, 2011, 10:08:46 pm »

That's a shame about Brother. Randall and I just saw one on Amazon that looked good. What have you heard?

This is the one we were looking at.
http://www.amazon.com/Brother-CS6000I-Affordable-60-Stitch-Computerized/dp/B000JQM1DE/ref=lh_ni_t_


That they wear out fast and I know someone who had one that changed the stitch length with the speed - it wasn't supposed to but did.  I have heard bad things about them for decades, but honestly I have an $1800 machine so I may expect a bit more than they are willing to put out.
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« Reply #5: January 24, 2011, 10:09:11 pm »

And I DO mean beginners.Anyone have any recommendations? What to look for suggestions?

I got my Elna 1010 for about $150 and it's a wondrous beast.  Damn thing can sew leather.  Few fancy stitches, but it's the best overall, utilitarian sewing machine I've ever used.  I don't think they make 'em any longer, but you might be able to pick up a used model cheaply.

Brina
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« Reply #6: January 24, 2011, 10:14:19 pm »

And I DO mean beginners.

As in having never sewn a stitch in our lives.

I started, like you, having no idea how to use a sewing machine and being slightly afraid of them. I bought a Brother EX660, which is a computerized model, and have really enjoyed it. I'd say it's pretty much idiot-proof. Threading it is super easy (the instructions are even printed on the machine), and you just drop the bobbin in. Also, if you choose, you can control the speed by a slide switch and the start/stop by a button on the machine front, forgoing the foot pedal. The foot pedal was the thing that intimidated me the most about sewing machines, so not using one made learning a lot easier.

The price is higher than what you are looking for, but maybe you can find a used or repurposed one. I think spending the extra money for a computerized (which is what helps make it so easy to use) was worth it for me.
http://www.amazon.com/Brother-EX660-Stitch-Computer-Machine/dp/B003UNPVCG

I haven't tried sewing denim with it yet, but I did a small leather project with it.
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« Reply #7: January 24, 2011, 10:18:37 pm »

That's a shame about Brother. Randall and I just saw one on Amazon that looked good. What have you heard?

This is the one we were looking at.
http://www.amazon.com/Brother-CS6000I-Affordable-60-Stitch-Computerized/dp/B000JQM1DE/ref=lh_ni_t_


Although a different model, this looks to have the exact features my machine has.
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« Reply #8: January 24, 2011, 10:27:48 pm »

What to look for - metal gears inside are always good.  The basic stitches - straight, zig zag, a basic overlock.  Warranty if buying new.  The brands I listed above are really what I would look for.  Most cheap machines aren't going to have many bells and whistles anyway.  And I did a search and Sears seems to have some basic ones in your price range.



Unfortunately, Sears is a no go. I won't have a Kenmore small appliance in the house, and when I looked over there, I didn't see much option other than that (at least not in store...online is different).
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« Reply #9: January 24, 2011, 10:50:04 pm »




A drop-in bobbin system is really helpful--otherwise you may be all day trying to get the needle to pick up your bobbin thread, and you'll cuss that thing for all it's worth. Also, if you're going to be expanding into clothes at all, you'll want an automatic buttonhole, because doing buttonholes manually is a pain in the backside like nothing else I know. Also, I'm like Brina--I had an Elna for my first machine, and it was amazing. I never sew a stitch without missing that machine.
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« Reply #10: January 25, 2011, 10:03:07 am »

I got my Elna 1010 for about $150 and it's a wondrous beast.  Damn thing can sew leather.  Few fancy stitches, but it's the best overall, utilitarian sewing machine I've ever used.  I don't think they make 'em any longer, but you might be able to pick up a used model cheaply.

Brina

Yep - I forgot about Elnas!  good machines.
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« Reply #11: January 25, 2011, 10:04:42 am »

A drop-in bobbin system is really helpful--otherwise you may be all day trying to get the needle to pick up your bobbin thread, and you'll cuss that thing for all it's worth.

Really?  I've never had any trouble.  Though if you turn the wheel the wrong way it might not pick up.
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« Reply #12: January 25, 2011, 12:40:42 pm »

Really?  I've never had any trouble.  Though if you turn the wheel the wrong way it might not pick up.

Randall and I were talking last night, and one thing we really are going to have to take in to account are my physical disabilities. I'm going to have a problem with a foot pedal which makes that one Brother with the option of both the foot pedal and controls at the machine is a really good option.

The other problem I'll have is any kind of needle threading because of hand problems. That's going to have to be down automatically.

**sigh** I hate my body.
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« Reply #13: January 25, 2011, 12:43:42 pm »

Randall and I were talking last night, and one thing we really are going to have to take in to account are my physical disabilities. I'm going to have a problem with a foot pedal which makes that one Brother with the option of both the foot pedal and controls at the machine is a really good option.

The other problem I'll have is any kind of needle threading because of hand problems. That's going to have to be down automatically.

**sigh** I hate my body.

You can easily put a foot pedal on the table next to you and use an elbow.  Especially if you're not too worried about speed control.

Needle threading sounds like the tough part.
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« Reply #14: January 25, 2011, 01:05:42 pm »

You can easily put a foot pedal on the table next to you and use an elbow.  Especially if you're not too worried about speed control.

Needle threading sounds like the tough part.

Yeah. I can do it OK for cross-stitch, but that's because I can hold the needle the way I need it held. Something fixed could cause me real trouble.
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