Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 68

Thread: Buying a sewing machine

  1. #1
    AthenaNabi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Ellicott City Md
    Posts
    6
    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
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    La Grande, OR
    Posts
    2,458
    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
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Lima, Ohio
    Posts
    186
    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
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    4,590
    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
    klc is offline
    Senior Member klc's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    583
    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
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Grants Pass, Oregon
    Posts
    3,558
    Blog Entries
    6
    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
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,114
    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
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Western Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,890
    Blog Entries
    1
    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
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    1,114
    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
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Graham, WA
    Posts
    652
    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. :)

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    88
    I was in the same boat a few years ago. I looked at reviews online and bought a Kenmore from Sears for around $90. It is super-basic mechanical, but I learned how to sew on it. It look a lot of user error and never was fussy with me like a computerized machine can be. Last year I bought a $800 machine with bells and whistles, but kept the Kenmore as a backup. I don't feel like I wasted money since I got 2 years of sewing for $90.

    Good luck!

  12. #12
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,010
    Please start out with a used machine. By chance, does a relative have a machine that they would be willing to give or lend to you while you are learning? Save your money for a good machine for after you have learned to sew and see if you like to sew. Tell the dealer that you are interested in a low cost used basic machine for now since you are just learning how to sew. You could even tell him that you want to hold off buying the better machine until you have gotten the basic steps down and know what you are doing. Tell him you want a just basic starter model and a lot of lessons.

  13. #13
    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    state of confusion
    Posts
    4,775
    Blog Entries
    4
    Honestly, if you've never sewn before, I'd start out with a cheaper machine. I got a Brother for about $80 off Amazon.com and it's a great machine.

  14. #14
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,068
    I'm going to swim against the stream here a little. It will probably be hard to find a cheap used machine that is in good working order, or at best it's a matter of luck if you don't know what you're looking for. There are some to be found, but it's hard to know without having it checked out by an experienced person. A bad machine, old or new, might sour you on sewing.

    Whatever you buy, do your homework. There is a lot of information on this site about various kinds of machines, and you can also usually find a yahoo group for devotees of specific machines or brands and vintages. If you are considering something new, there are reviews on sites like Amazon. User feedback is not always reliable - sometimes the user is quick to blame a machine for something that resulted from user error, but it still might be an indication of how user-friendly a machine is.

    If you have the wherewithal to afford a more expensive new machine, it should hold its value enough to offset much of the cost when sold in a few years if you decide you just don't like sewing after all. Good luck, and let us know what you decide!

  15. #15
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,216
    One thing I have always liked about the Viking Galleries at Jo-Anns is their trade-in policy - I think it is 100% if you trade-up within a year. This might allow you to start out with a lower level machine to find out if you really enjoy sewing, and yet be able to trade up with no loss if you find out that you would like a more complex machine later on.

    Possibly, the other dealer might offer something similar, but try to get it in writing if you can.

  16. #16
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outer Space
    Posts
    9,839
    One caveat about buying machines from the Vikings inside Joannes, is that many of them are closing!! Mine closed here a few months ago and many folks have posted about their's closing too. I'd stick with buying from a local dealer(I bet they have quality used machines there). Buying from Craigs List as a newbie would be very risky in that you simply won't know if it's a good machine or not. Your local dealer should be able to give you options as used machines with warranties and classes.

  17. #17
    skippitydodahquilts's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Lima, Ohio
    Posts
    186
    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    One caveat about buying machines from the Vikings inside Joannes, is that many of them are closing!! Mine closed here a few months ago and many folks have posted about their's closing too. I'd stick with buying from a local dealer(I bet they have quality used machines there). Buying from Craigs List as a newbie would be very risky in that you simply won't know if it's a good machine or not. Your local dealer should be able to give you options as used machines with warranties and classes.
    I agree, a lot of dealers have good quality used machines that the customer trades up with. Many of them are only a year old and are in great working order. The dealer will clean and service the machine before it's sold too, so that's a plus.

  18. #18
    Super Member Pam H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,122
    We bought my mom a cheap Brother from Jo-Ann's. She has never complained or had any problems with it but I used it last weekend and what a piece of crap! It is such a chintzy machine!
    I would buy a basic used machine from a sewing machine shop where you can get some lessons. If you like sewing, you can replace it in a few years and get all the extras that you might want.

  19. #19
    Super Member frarose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    St Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,005
    Good advice

  20. #20
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Cadillac, MI
    Posts
    6,583
    Blog Entries
    19
    I'd start with new from a dealer. Something like a Babylock Gracie or a Brother from a dealer, not a discount store. That way if anything goes wrong, you have a person to help.

    I love my vintage machines, but I'm not sure I'd recommend one as a first machine.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    El Paso Texas
    Posts
    966
    Go with Babylock...I know two people with Emeralds and they are wishing they had purchased up, after only 6 months. Just my .02. Michelle

  22. #22
    Senior Member Just-Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Middle of nowhere on a hilltop :)
    Posts
    508
    Blog Entries
    3
    Less than 2 years of sewing...

    If I could do it all over again, I would have bought a reliable brand used machine cheap, or a cheap new Brother, Kenmore, or something. Better yet, before you even buy one, take a beginning sewing class where they let you use their machines, just to make sure this is your thing! That will save you some bucks and you will walk out with something you made! I learned all of the basics on sewing.about.com, way before a class at my dealer came available. I highly suggest checking that site out, as well as the millions of youtube.com videos if you buy a machine.

  23. #23
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    North Carolina - But otherwise, NOTW
    Posts
    8,073
    Blog Entries
    9
    I HIGHLY recommend that you start out with a lower level machine...i.e. a Brother for less than $200 from WalMart!! They last for a few years, and you can get one with extra functions that you probably won't even use at first.

    I absolutely would wait to buy a high $$ machine until you have some experience (at least 2 years!) so you know what you REALLY want in a machine. Don't be hasty...you could end up with a machine that you don't really want.

  24. #24
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,216
    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    One caveat about buying machines from the Vikings inside Joannes, is that many of them are closing!! Mine closed here a few months ago and many folks have posted about their's closing too. I'd stick with buying from a local dealer(I bet they have quality used machines there). Buying from Craigs List as a newbie would be very risky in that you simply won't know if it's a good machine or not. Your local dealer should be able to give you options as used machines with warranties and classes.
    I've had good luck with used machines from other local dealers - just no where near such good deals on trade-ins. In fact, most of the other dealers seem to strongly discourage them. Our local Jo-Anns just remodeled, for the worse, and we still have our Viking Gallery. Of course, we don't have any other Viking dealers, which probably helps.

  25. #25
    Super Member calla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,590
    Blog Entries
    7
    Well sounds like you want to take a beginning quilt class......which if I were teaching I would discuss fabric, grain lines, one way prints, rotory cutting, and than continue with the project. You didn't say how many weeks it met.........keep in mind that it isn't a machine class. Therefore, I would consider purchasing the machine who offers machine class..................perhaps more than one as I am not familiar with either machine. Just my suggestion.........calla

Page 1 of 3 1 2 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.