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Thread: Sewing Machine Help!

  1. #1
    rayone's Avatar
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    First let me apologize, as i'm sure this is a very much repeated topic (but i'm desperate and need advice now). I was working with my MIL's sewing machine, it was a Singer she bought on sale at the base exchange (i don't know the model). Well, it broke it last night, the handwheel stopped turning. We took the whole thing apart and can't figure it out. Instead of getting it fixed we have both decided to just get a new one.

    Now welcome to my problem... where the heck do I start? Do you have any suggestions on a basic sewing machine for a new quilter who doesn't want to spend lots of money. I haven't decided if this will become a full-time hobby or not, i'm thinking about one quilt a year. I haven't decided yet about machine quilting or having someone do it for me.

    I'm desperate for a machine right now too! I'm about 3 blocks (out of 45) away from having all my blocks sewn together and i'm just itching to put together the rest of my first quilt!!! I'm willing to spend a little bit of money, obviously the cheapo machine doesn't work and i don't want to have to keep buying a new one, but my pockets are not that deep so i need a very affordable one.

    Thank you so much if you have any suggestions!!

  2. #2
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    a few questions, was it a new machine? no warranty?, does the light come on?, is it computerized? does ANY part of it work? would you consider taking it to a sew/vac repair shop for an estimate? mine charges about 60.00 bucks
    I have a Singer that was bought for me about 25 years ago, still works fine I just wanted a new one, I gave up on wearing that one out and I wanted more bells and whistles! I have a White that I bought online last year, very simple, less that 100.00 including shipping and it's great for a nothing special machine. Not much commitment in the pocket book in case you decide you don't love sewing.

  3. #3
    mamatobugboo's Avatar
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    I just went throught this same process and it totally depends on how much you are willing to spend and whether or not you plan on quilting your own quilts or sending them out to be done - as well as the size of the quilts you plan on making!

    I piece with a Kenmore and have quilted with it too, but have upgraded to the Janome 1600P for quilting.

    Great to Excellent brands include Elna, Janome, Brother, Bernina, Pfaff, and others. But, you will pay more!

    You also can't really go wrong with a Kenmore for the price - they are solid machines more for piecing than quilting your own.

    I'm sure you can get more extensive advice from others on the board! Good luck!

  4. #4

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    Good advice Mama.
    Rayone, your going to get all kinds of answers and advice on which machine to buy.....so here's what I did. Went to Sears and got a Kenmore....mid pricing range with some quilting, embroidery, decorative & applique stitches. Quilting attachments like the hopping foot, 1/4" seam foot and a walking foot makes it a convenient machine. Needle up and down positioning and needle threader is nice too. Before buying, do some research on machines with features you really want....make a list of them and take that list with you when you go to purchase your machine. And don't let a sales person talk you into features you'll never use so you'll end up spending more than you need to. :wink:

  5. #5
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    well here is my take on your machine question i have only been quilting for about 4 years now on and off i have made 8 quilts and done many other sewing projects i started out on a old singer and was happy with it but my husband went to saers and bought me a kenmore sewing machine (under 200.00) for christmas and have been sewing on it for 3 years now it has the turtle speed on it the up and down needle position the differant feet attachments and style selector for diferant sewing he had also bought the extended warreny and renewed it every year so that when and if something happens i call sears and they take care of it but have had no problem with it i love it also with the warrenty i get to have it taken in once a year for a good deep down cleaning they get in spaces i cant reach and it doesnt cost me anything
    but then again that is my preferance till i can afford and get good enough to need a machine with all the bells and whistles on it
    good luck and happy sewing on what ever you decide !!!!!

  6. #6
    rayone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathy
    a few questions, was it a new machine? no warranty?, does the light come on?, is it computerized? does ANY part of it work? would you consider taking it to a sew/vac repair shop for an estimate? mine charges about 60.00 bucks
    I have a Singer that was bought for me about 25 years ago, still works fine I just wanted a new one, I gave up on wearing that one out and I wanted more bells and whistles! I have a White that I bought online last year, very simple, less that 100.00 including shipping and it's great for a nothing special machine. Not much commitment in the pocket book in case you decide you don't love sewing.
    Thanks. My MIL bought the machine three years ago, but we just took it out of the box about a month ago for me to start working on this quilt. So no warranty, she bought it at the base exchange. She tells me she didn't pay that much for the machine to begin with and would rather just buy a new one rather than pay to have the machine fixed which would cost her more to fix than she paid for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by auntluc
    Good advice Mama.
    Rayone, your going to get all kinds of answers and advice on which machine to buy.....
    I unfortunatly knew that before i posted the question. I just have no idea where to even start, i don't even know what to look for in a sewing machine. At the moment i just want it to sew.


    Quote Originally Posted by mamatobugboo
    I just went throught this same process and it totally depends on how much you are willing to spend and whether or not you plan on quilting your own quilts or sending them out to be done - as well as the size of the quilts you plan on making!

    I piece with a Kenmore and have quilted with it too, but have upgraded to the Janome 1600P for quilting.

    Great to Excellent brands include Elna, Janome, Brother, Bernina, Pfaff, and others. But, you will pay more!

    You also can't really go wrong with a Kenmore for the price - they are solid machines more for piecing than quilting your own.

    I'm sure you can get more extensive advice from others on the board! Good luck!
    Thank you. I don't even know where to start, heck i don't even know the brands of machines to start looking at. I don't know about the whole machine quilting thing, right now i just want to finish piecing my first one and then go from there. I do know my second quilt will be sent out to get quilted, its a very special present.

    Thank you for your help ladies (and anyone else who can help my crisis). I just started quilting three weeks and and haven't touched a sewing machine since junior high, so learning how to even thread my bobbin was a learning experience. I have no idea what makes a good machine or bad machine or what attachments. Heck, right now my sewing machine (the one that just broke) I had my teacher help me set during my class, b/c that is really over my head. I just know how to sew in a straight line and what pieces go with each other.

  7. #7

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    I have a little Elna that I love using. But that aside seriously listen to what these quilters are saying about the Kenmore. Currently Kenmore is being made by Janome, which has a higher price point and they have also bought the Elna name so all current Elna's are being made by them as well.

    What does that mean to you? That means great features that we love in other brands like snap-on feet, and drop in bobbins are avail. as standard features in the Kenmore sewing machines.

    What Penski is explaining about the maintence and up keep is the extended warranty that you can get on appliances from Sears. Considering you'll want your sewing machine checked and cleaned every year the extended warranty pays for itself and if your machine breaks or wears out while under the Sears extended warranty (even 10 or 20 years from now) you get to go to the store and pick out a new one. Can't beat that with a stick.

    Welcome to the board!

  8. #8
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    well if I were you I think that I would go to WalMart and get one that I could afford so I could get home and start sewing! Good luck

  9. #9
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    another suggestion coming from me to head over to your Sears store. i got my Janome there several years ago (they've since quit carrying Janome because they make Kenmore now). they were very helpful and i've been tickled! my other older machine is a Kenmore. it's a real workhorse!

    if you can afford a little more, aim high on the options. if you've just started quilting, there will be things you will want to do as you get more comfortable with it. so pay a little more and get more machine than you think you'll currently use.

    features you'll want to consider -

    needle threader
    up/down needle button
    speed setting (the 'turtle' option mentioned above)
    even feed foot
    free motion quilting foot (sometimes called 'darning' foot)
    1/4" foot
    some decorative stitches
    extra bobbins (sewing machines are very picky about their bobbins)
    i think buttonholers are pretty standard these days

    have fun picking out your machine!



  10. #10

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    Wow!
    Sears should pay us for the infomercial we just did for them! :wink:

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