View Full Version : Sewing Machine Help

08-25-2004, 10:30 PM
I am looking for a little advice. I kind of know how to sew, I took lessons years ago, but want to make some fun things for DD. Once I saw that Amy Butler stuff, the crafty side of me was reborn. My question is, can anyone recommend a good sewing machine that isn't a piece of junk, but isn't the top of the line either. I saw a Kenmore in the sears circular this week for $80 and a Singer in the Target circular for about the same. Both of these models seemed on the low-end side, but for what I am going to do, do I really need more than that?
I don't want to buy a cheapy that I will have to replace in a year, either...
Thanks guys,

Emily 9.24.03


08-26-2004, 01:41 PM
there are a few brands that I trust: Bernina, Pfaff, Brother and Viking. One of the considerations that I factored was the cost savings of sewing some of the baby items myself. I know that I saved thousands of dollars by sewing the nursery soft furnishings. Plus, I have made pillows, quilts, bags, etc for myself, my house and my friends. All at a considerably lower cost than purchasing these items. This allowed me to buy a more expensive item. Just something to think about.

08-26-2004, 02:38 PM
Thank you! I would have thought Singer would be the better choice, but now I know better! I will do a little more research.
Thank you again,
Emily 9.24.03


08-26-2004, 02:59 PM
If you want to make handbags/totes (ie Amy Butler stuff), you probably want to stay away from the real cheap machines because of thickness of materials that you would be sewing through. Singer used to be a great brand name but quality in recent years, imo, has seriously declined. The best thing to do is go to a fabric store with a few scraps and sew with the machines you are thinking about buying.

Also, if you are going to do garment sewing at all, you will always want to test out the buttonhole capabilities. Those are a pain to sew without some automation.

08-26-2004, 09:22 PM
Kenmore is a Janome machine I believe. You can also get nice prices sometimes on ebay.

08-28-2004, 03:24 AM
New Home is also a really good machine maker (mine is a New Home). Kenmore seems to be good & reliable. Stay away from Singer & Brother & anything that seems too good to be true.

09-02-2004, 07:42 PM
I second the suggestion to look on Ebay. I think that a Bernina is the best way to go for ease of use, and a really solid machine that will last for years. Husqvarna/Viking have great machines too, but I don't think their low end machines are as good as Bernina's low end machines.
I haven't checked prices lately, but I'd bet you could get a good used Bernina 130 (the lowest of the computer models) on Ebay for a pretty good deal, and it would be a machine that's heavy duty enough to do pretty much any type of home or craft sewing that you'd want to do. It's from the line that was the most recent before the current line for sale now, so that would save you some money too.
You definitely don't want to get a cheap machine. I had a Kenmore for years, and it nearly destroyed my love of sewing. The tension had to be mucked with every time I sewed, and it was SO hard to get a quality stitch out of that thing. Hubby got my first Bernina for a gift, and I've literally sewn almost daily since!

09-02-2004, 09:20 PM
I have a Singer XL-1000, a Viking Designer 1, a Bernina 1300D serger and a Kenmore 19153. I also have quite a few basic mechanical machines. They all do things well, and they all do things not so well. Buy what you can afford. I'm not sure about ebay, because you don't know how the machine has been treated and there is no return policy if things go wrong. I personally like Kenmores. Many are made by New Home (have had a couple of those too) and I have never had any problems.

Josh 3/90
Mollie 4/92
Jeffrey 12/94
and Katherine 6/03


09-02-2004, 11:21 PM
FYI Baby Lock machines are essentially Brothers.

09-07-2004, 02:18 PM
Consumer Reports recommends Brother and White for good starter machines that have a lot of features but won't break your bank. The other piece of advice I received here was "Buy the most expensive machine you can afford right now."

I just finished my sewing class and 90% of the ladies in it had Brothers. Our instructor recommended them also, so I ended up getting one from Costco. The thing I like is that Costco has an unlimited, unconditional guarantee. So if I use it for a few months and find out I don't like it, I should have no problems returning it (DH did this with a lawnmower he bought at Costco--he got a full refund, no questions asked).

Good luck!