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Thread: Buying a sewing machine

  1. #1
    AthenaNabi's Avatar
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    Im not sure if Im even putting this in the right section but, Im buying my first sewing machine and getting ready to take a quilting 101 class.
    I was pretty sure I was going to get a Emerald 203 from JoeAnn's but was then shown a Baby Lock Melody. I don't' know how to use a sewing machine yet so it's very hard for me to tell which one is better other than that the Melody has a better warranty and were I would be buying it from offers a store discount for people who buy machines. The Melody is about $500 more than the Emerald and really is a lot more than I had anticipated spending on my first machine, but I want a machine that I won't outgrow or have trouble with.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Wow! That is quite a challenge. Maybe you could find a used one for $50 or so bucks since you don't even know how to use one. For a beginner, having all the bells and whistles could be confusing. The simpler the better. There is much to be learned about tension and sometimes that gives even the most experienced sewers fits. When you do out-grow that one, it could be resold and you would probably be able to re-coop that minimal investment. I would hate to see you become discouraged because of your lack of knowledge. Good luck to you. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way. I wouldn't jump out of an airplane just hoping that the size of my parachute would compensate for my lack of knowledge. :-)

  3. #3
    skippitydodahquilts's Avatar
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    I guess it just depends on how serious you are about sewing? If you buy a machine that costs you an arm and a leg and find out later that you don't love sewing as much as you thought, you'd be in a pickle! But if you plan on this becoming a serious hobby, then you want something that can withstand the abuse of a lot of sewing. I have no experience with Baby Lock or Viking, but I can tell you I spent about $180 on my first machine, and it pooped out within 6 months. Replaced it with a Janome Memory Craft 6300, and I haven't lost steam yet.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonnieLoree
    Wow! That is quite a challenge. Maybe you could find a used one for $50 or so bucks since you don't even know how to use one. For a beginner, having all the bells and whistles could be confusing. The simpler the better. There is much to be learned about tension and sometimes that gives even the most experienced sewers fits. When you do out-grow that one, it could be resold and you would probably be able to re-coop that minimal investment. I would hate to see you become discouraged because of your lack of knowledge. Good luck to you. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way. I wouldn't jump out of an airplane just hoping that the size of my parachute would compensate for my lack of knowledge. :-)
    I agree with buying a good used machine for little $$. There are tons out there either on Craigslist or even at your local sewing machine dealer. Those may even have limited warranties available for a short period of time. If you want to do basic garment/home dec sewing as well as quilting, even just a basic straight stitch only machine will serve you for quite a while. If you get a machine with a few other stitches (zig zag, etc.) you could always keep it as a back up when you're ready to upgrade to a fancier machine. Many a quilt (and plenty of garments) was made either with no sewing machine or very basic ones.

  5. #5
    klc
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    Senior Member klc's Avatar
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    I've had a Singer, a Brother and now I'm the proud owner of a Janome Horizon. My suggestion is to purchase a machine from a dealer that also offers classes. That way you have someone to teach you both sewing and how to use your machine. You do not need to start with a high end machine. Go to a dealer in your area and try out their machines. Ask about classes and lessons. Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Super Member Airwick156's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonnieLoree
    Wow! That is quite a challenge. Maybe you could find a used one for $50 or so bucks since you don't even know how to use one. For a beginner, having all the bells and whistles could be confusing. The simpler the better. There is much to be learned about tension and sometimes that gives even the most experienced sewers fits. When you do out-grow that one, it could be resold and you would probably be able to re-coop that minimal investment. I would hate to see you become discouraged because of your lack of knowledge. Good luck to you. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way. I wouldn't jump out of an airplane just hoping that the size of my parachute would compensate for my lack of knowledge. :-)
    I also agree with TonnieLonnie. Invest in a used one or you can buy one at Walmart for like $70 bucks if not cheaper to at least see if it is something that you want to invest your money into. Good luck on whatever you decide to do. Can't wait to see some of your projects. :)

  7. #7
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    Since you have little knowledge of sewing machines, I would purchase one from a local sewing machine dealer, not a retail store. A dealer will be able to provide you proper instruction for using your machine. And if you need help they are there for you. Purchase the machine that has the features you want and will use. Don't waste your money on features you won't use. A dealer can start out showing you the most basic machine and then advance you up to the most fancy. Obviously, the price goes up as well! And generally dealers will give you a good price, you don't have to pay retail. Baby Lock is a good machine. I have an Anna and a Grace. Nothing fancy, but good working machines. If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer them for you. I'm not a dealer, just an experienced quilter, willing to help a beginner.

  8. #8
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    If you do not know how to use a sewing machine, it would be extremely helpful to buy from a dealer who offers free lessons. I agree with buying a used machine if the dealer will offer lessons with it. Your Quilting 101 class will expect you to know how to use the machine, including how to thread it, how to wind a bobbin, how to insert and remove a bobbin, etc.

    An alternative to dealer lessons is if your have a friend or relative who could spend an hour or two with you, teaching you how to use a machine. After that you will need to spend some time practicing to make sure you can do everything on your own before starting the quilting class.

    If you can get free lessons only by purchasing a new machine, I would stick to a lower-end machine. Babylock, Brother, Janome and Sears Kenmore all have reasonable quality lower-end machines. Just be sure you are able to adjust the stitch length and stitch width individually. (The lowest-end machines often have a set number of "preset" stitches which do not allow you to make adjustments.)

    This low-end machine can become your backup machine and take-to-class machine for later on, when you buy your all-bells-and-whistles more expensive machine.

    Don't spend a lot of money on a machine now, before you really understand sewing machines and what you like/don't like. You could regret the purchase later, when you realize that this first machine doesn't have everything that has become really important to you. Give yourself some time.

  9. #9
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    Another note. Sewing machines can be very "fussy" and frustrating when things don't go right. Enough so it can make you want to give up! Purchasing a machine off the internet or from a retail store provides no personal help at a frustrating time. I would hate to think you gave up a great hobby with unlimited avenues because you couldn't make the sewing machine work right. OK, enough from me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SnowQuilt's Avatar
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    I would buy a used machine for about $40-$50 and try that out first. Some dealers have free classes no matter where you bought it, or what brand the sewing machine is. Good luck to you and welcome to the QB. :)

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