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Thread: Mechanical vs. electronic sewing machine

  1. #21
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    ARE there even any electronic/digital/computerized machines under $400, that are any good??

    Look for a vintage Bernina 830 Record or a vintage Bernina 810/807 Minimatic on ebay, craigslist, local paper, thru you guild, or at a dealer where it might have been a trade-in. You can find them for $500 or less occasionally if you take your time to search.

    They will have an extension table for a larger sewing surface, needle up/needle down capability with toe tap, 5 needle positions so you can get a scant 1/4" seam, and a carrying case. The vintage 830 also has the knee lift bar for hands-free raising of the presser foot.

    Remember that 30 years ago this is ALL the machine we had to sew on! The necessary stitches are there, but you won't have decorative ones.

    Can't even tell you how many delighted sewers I've turned on to these machines; I have 2 of my own and use them all the time!

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    Thank you all soooo much! I like mechanical because there is really not much to go wrong and I can service them myself. That is is One of many reasons why I bought a Bailey 17 - it is a stretched model 15 Singer. Love, love my Bailey. I also upholster our furniture and cannot have a machine that will whine at the sight of thicker, bulkier fabric. Thank you for giving me a wake up call. After all, I did learn how to sew on a dinosaur, 1892 Singer treadle which in over 100 years only needed a belt replaced.

  3. #23
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tashana View Post
    Thank you all soooo much! I like mechanical because there is really not much to go wrong and I can service them myself. That is is One of many reasons why I bought a Bailey 17 - it is a stretched model 15 Singer. Love, love my Bailey. I also upholster our furniture and cannot have a machine that will whine at the sight of thicker, bulkier fabric. Thank you for giving me a wake up call. After all, I did learn how to sew on a dinosaur, 1892 Singer treadle which in over 100 years only needed a belt replaced.
    The reality is no one machine is perfect for everything.

  4. #24
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tashana View Post
    I am at the point where I need to buy another sewing machine. The machine that I have is mechanical, very simple Singer about 12 years old. It is a good little machine that never had a temper tantrum. But, If it dies I will be in a pickle. I have never worked on an electronic (digital) sewing machine before. What are its pros and cons? I do not like overly sensitive machines that throw a fit if I use a thread that is not high end. I would be using the machine primarily for piecing and occasionally for quilting small projects. I have my Bailey for bigger quilts. The options that I like but do not have are automatic threader, thread cutter, dog feed lowering, and maybe a few decorative stitches. My budget is small, about $400. What are your thoughts - stick with the devil I know and buy a mechanical or join the 21st century and buy a digital machine? Help!
    I sew on twenty year old Janome, which was called New Home when I bought. It is a dream of a machine. It was the school model when I bought it. It has never been serviced by anyone other than myself. I clean it once in a while and add a little oil. I clean out the bobbin area and put a drop of oil between the bobbin and case at every bobbin change and if I am sewing fast and for a long time I add more oil to the bobbin case. I use any and every kind of thread. I was at a sewing center not to long ago and they had one of these machines in thier shop for sale. I bought it for $75.00 and was glad to get it.

  5. #25
    Senior Member fien777's Avatar
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    As long as you've never had a computerized machine you don't know if you are missing something I suppose.
    I myself am sewing on a mechanical one and bought a second one ( exactly the same but much less used) as a reserve.
    I can sew and eat and sleep with the old one so I don't want to have a computerized, and that is even more easy as I can't effort one that is strong enough as my old one...
    So look at the amount of money you have and find out which machine you can buy with the features you want on it.....and be happy with it even when it's a secondhand mechanic again!!!!
    greetz, fien
    http://quiltfien.blogspot.com/

  6. #26
    Senior Member skothing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    I would take the $400 and buy the best mechanical refurbished machine I could. I received a 401 Slant-O-Matic Singer for Christmas in Original case with original manual and original box with feet and accessories for $198. Just think what you could buy with $400!!! Go to a 2nd hand store or a sewing machine store that deals in used machines!!
    I like this idea also try a repair shop. Often they have great deals on used machines.

  7. #27
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    I think it's really important to know what you want out of your machine. I notice that the newer, less expensive models have much smaller work areas between the needle and the motor than older machines. If you want more area, then you have to spend beaucoup bucks to get that larger area.

    I have a late 60s Singer FashionMate and LOVE it! It is a work horse. I was taking a dart in my jeans waistband the other nite, and it sewed it like it was a piece of cotton. My machine straights stitch and zig zags, and I can move the needle L/R.

    If I did a lot of machine embroidery, I can see the advantage of the computerized machines.

    Personally, for $400, I'd be looking at CraigsList and dealer for trade ins to get the best of a vintage model that i could fine. I am not sure $400 would get me much on a new machine.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  8. #28
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I love my old ones and I love my new ones. Gee, I am not much help.

  9. #29
    Super Member HillCountryGal's Avatar
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    I too thought I wanted a computerized sewing machine. Even tried one out. Then got to thinking how there's no way I can service it when something goes wrong. No doubt the newer machines can do more. Ended up making a list of what I actually want and will use in a machine. Yep, bought another mechanical one.

    To each their own.

    ** Smiling about the car reference. My sweetie built me a 1939 Ford pickup. V-8, 5 speed manual transmission. He can work on it when something goes wrong.. which is rare. Our F-150 pickup with all it's fancy computer stuff is nice.. but we have to pay $$$ to have it worked on.
    Last edited by HillCountryGal; 12-28-2012 at 03:26 AM.

  10. #30
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    First of all, you get what you pay for. If you buy an electronic for under $400, it will most likely have poor quality parts that break easily. I have all Vikings that I paid well over $3000 for. I love them all. I also have antique Singers that I rarely use. But they are there if I want them. I have a treadle for power failures. I love everything about the electronics, have them cleaned yearly, and never plan to change to any other brand. They have embroidery capabilities, which the Diamond is set up for all the time. I use the Topaz 30 for my quilt constructing, love the larger harp on it and the Diamond. I keep the walking foot on the SE. The nice thing is that they all take the same feet, and can go from one layer of fabric to a very thick seam without ever bogging down. I love the needle threader, thread cutter, etc. Viking has a new machine out that has those features too, not the large throat though. But it is $800. So I suggest you save a little more money and get a machine that may cost more, but will be longer lasting. I was told that any machine under $400 is considered a "thow-away", WalMart machines being an example.

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