View Full Version : What sewing machine should I get?

01-31-2005, 07:15 AM
Hi, I want to start sewing. I sewed when I was younger, but will be starting over as a newbie. I will mostely use it for easy things(simple curtains, pillows, simple dresses for youngest DD)but I would also like to monogram things. I don't want to spend a fortune, but do not mind paying to get a good one. I have a Singer 6268 that was given to me a few years ago, but I do not have the pedal or extra cartridages. Without the pedal it doesn't even work. Is this machine worth getting a pedal for? Or do I start over? any help would be appreciated.

02-28-2005, 03:52 PM
I just found your post -- I've spent most of my time in the necessities forum. You may have already found a machine by now...
I teach sewing, work in a sewing machine store, and sew a lot, so I thought I'd dive in with some tips.

I definitely recommend buying from a machine dealer, not a discount or craft store. There is a big quality difference in the machines, but equally important, most dealer machines come with lessons, solid warranties, and a staff of people you can turn to with questions on your various projects.

Don't buy a machine you haven't actually test-driven yourself. If they won't let you sew on it, there is a reason -- and it is something wrong with the machine, not with you! Each brand feels a little different, and one may be a better fit for you than another -- just like some people love Chevy and others love Ford. Also, factor in how friendly the staff was. You need to be able to turn to these folks for help, and they should be as happy and kind to a newbie as to an expert.

Ask about return policies. A dealer who is confident about the product will refund your money if you bring back your machine within 30 days (hint: they know these machines don't come back!). A dealer whose product is inferior will refuse to take one back for any reason, or will only issue a store credit (because otherwise they'd go out of business).

At least one major manufacturer makes 2 distinct lines of machines, one for dealers, another for discounters. Consider these to be 2 separate brands, becuase they really are. The Wal-Mart/JoAnn version is made to much lower standards and is backed by a difficult and near-useless warranty, while the dealer lines are solid and have warranties you can count on.

Personally, I love my Bernina, and I'll never buy a different brand. But they are expensive, so they may not be right for you. The new Bernette line is really a great lower-cost option. The older Bernettes were terrible and I refused to sell them to customers, since the store I worked in also carried a different lower-cost brand. But even if you are looking at investing in a top-quality machine, only go with a brand sold where you feel comfortable with the staff.

I'll be happy to help you evaluate brands/features/price points appropriate for what you want to do, either here or in private e-mail. That goes for any members here!

Sewing is not hard. Anyone can do it!

02-28-2005, 03:52 PM
edited to remove duplicate post

04-04-2005, 11:22 AM
I can't speak to any machines that you can buy today except to say one thing.

My mom has a White brand sewing machine she bought when I was a child - so maybe it has to be around 25 years old. And it still runs great and now resides at my house for the little bit of sewing I do.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if I were to buy a new sewing machine today, I would probably buy a White assuming they are made to the same quality. But as i said, I can't tell you for sure - just thought I'd mention my experience for what it's worth if anything.

04-05-2005, 09:17 AM
Hi Tara
Would you (and anyone else out there reading this) mind giving me your opinion (if you have one) on the Janome machines? I have owned a New Home Janome Memory Craft 5000 embroidery machine for about 7 years. Used it often in the beginning and have recently dusted it off for some sewing. When I bought it, I had never heard of Janome, but got sucked into it!
It's been okay, but with a couple needs for minor adjustments, but I"m wonder if I should get a simpler machine for straight sewing and save the Janome for the embroidery?
Or do you think the Janome embroidery machines are sturdy/reliable enough to handle my everyday sewing as well as the embroidery?
I just don't want to do any damage to the machine by using it too much! I know it sounds crazy, but buying this was a big investment for me.
THanks for any input.

04-05-2005, 11:15 AM
Any machine is going to need some adjustments as time goes on - whether we're talking sewing machines or cars or whatever. It is recommended that a sewing machine be tuned and oiled (professionally) each year, but if you do it every two years you're still ahead of most people. Don't let minor adjustments worry you. If it is popping out of timing frequently, that is a different matter. If you've been basically happy with your machine, I'd say stick with it. A quality machine, even a basic model, is not cheap and you have already invested in a good tool there. Use it, and enjoy it! Unless your are sewing as a business (and I'm talking for 6-8 hours almost every single day) you are not going to be "using it too much" -- it is made to sew, don't worry!

Don't overlook basic care, to keep your machine running well. My best advice is change your needle frequently. Every 4-8 hours of sewing, at least. More often if you're doing embroidery or working with synthetic fabrics. And make sure you're using the right type of needle for the job (bigger needle for heavier fabric, jeans needle for denim or canvas, etc.). Brand-wise, Schmetz makes good needles for many different jobs and they are widely available. When you change your needle, brush out your bobbin area and oil the places your owner manual shows to oil -- just a drop, and it must be sewingmachine oil, no subsitutions (I've actually had to clean up a machine that a lady was oiling with Wesson!). And really, a professional servicing every other year is a wise idea, even if you aren't sewing a lot -- if you didn't start your car for over a year, you'd expect problems, right? Well the oil can dry up in your other machines, too. A dealer-type machine should always go back to an authorized dealer for service -- the top companies require their dealers to have certified techs on staff and no one else can get the right replacement parts.

Go have fun with your machine! And let me know if you have other questions, or if I didn't really answer what you were asking!


04-05-2005, 11:33 AM
You'd be amazed at the number of new machines these days that are not working, straight out of the box. White, Singer, Simplicity and the discount Brother line are the worst offenders. (Brother makes a dealer line that is good, a discount line that is terrible, and the Babylock brand that is somewhere in between).

It is sad that companies built solid reputations and now use their names to sell shoddy equipment. But they've been bought and sold, and new ownership has different goals and different plans for making a profit, I guess.

Meanwhile, though, if you have an old one that is working for you, that is super! Just keep up the basic maintenance and you should have plenty of happy years before you have to worry about any replacement!


04-06-2005, 01:01 PM
Wow, thanks for that info! I didnt know to change the needle that frequently.
Also, it's good to hear you suggest regular maintenance, because if I'd heard that from my local shop, I'd just assume they want to sucker me in so they could make more $$.
Thanks again!

04-06-2005, 02:10 PM
Any time I can help!
Changing that needle may head off a lot of those visits to the local shop. In our area, routine servicing generally runs $50 - $80 for a combination sewing and embroidery machine, if that helps you guage anything. And really, every other year should do fine.