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Thread: I'm excited, but I need your help...

  1. #1
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    I'm excited, but I need your help...

    Our 27 yr. old granddaughter contacted me from Charlotte, NC asking for assistance in choosing a first-time sewing machine. I am excited that she is finally interested in my favorite hobby, but I want to make the right suggestions. She said, "I want to learn to sew, Grandma, but I need help choosing an inexpensive sewing machine to see if I like it." I have a Pfaff 7570 with an embroidery unit which is my travel machine. I could allow her to take this home with her when she visits in May. But perhaps it has too many features to confuse a beginner. I don't want to discourage her before she begins. I also thought I could research what dealers are in her area. Just not sure where to begin. I would appreciate hearing any suggestions you might have. This is the first of 4 girls who has shown any interest.

  2. #2
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    How low budget? If you can go about $250 the Bernette 46 is a good basic machine. On the other hand if under $200 you may end up with one of the Brother or Singer models that will teach the basics but leave a lot to be improved on. I also like the White Jeans machine from long ago. Any machine that is in good working order, has a manual and someone near at hand to help will work. The Bernette has a dial stitch selector that you turn. The manual has a lot of tips and of course if there is a Bernina dealer there will normally be classes available. Best wishes to her on this new adventure!

  3. #3
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Suggest going to a dealer to see what trade-in's they have available. A nice basic machine. Does she want to start with quilting, or does she want to start with garment making? If quilting - pretty easy as all she will really need is a straight stitch machine and not a whole lot of extra presser feet. If she wants to make garments she will a need a little more (especially in the way of feet). Also check Craigs list, but I would start with a dealer as those machines have been serviced and she'll get some (albiet limited) support. I was at my dealer yesterday in fact and they had three nice old machines for $75 - a Kenmore, a White, and something else I don't remember. They were cleaned, serviced and ready to go. If she's coming in May (and is willing to wait that long for a machine), research the dealers now and if they don't have one available "today" leave your name and number with them if anything should turn up.

    If she spends less now on a machine to see if she likes it, she can spend more on other needs (fabric, thread etc), and if she likes it and wants to jump to a machine with more bells and whistles, she can keep this one as a backup (we all need a backup machine!).
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  4. #4
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I think it will depend on budget and what she wants to do with the machine.

  5. #5
    Super Member glenda5253's Avatar
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    That would be a sweet gesture for you to send her home with your machine, but I do think it would be overwhelming. She needs a basic machine to start out on. I sure didn't know you could get anything in the Bernina line for $250.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    Suggest going to a dealer to see what trade-in's they have available. A nice basic machine. Does she want to start with quilting, or does she want to start with garment making? If quilting - pretty easy as all she will really need is a straight stitch machine and not a whole lot of extra presser feet. If she wants to make garments she will a need a little more (especially in the way of feet). Also check Craigs list, but I would start with a dealer as those machines have been serviced and she'll get some (albiet limited) support. I was at my dealer yesterday in fact and they had three nice old machines for $75 - a Kenmore, a White, and something else I don't remember. They were cleaned, serviced and ready to go. If she's coming in May (and is willing to wait that long for a machine), research the dealers now and if they don't have one available "today" leave your name and number with them if anything should turn up.

    If she spends less now on a machine to see if she likes it, she can spend more on other needs (fabric, thread etc), and if she likes it and wants to jump to a machine with more bells and whistles, she can keep this one as a backup (we all need a backup machine!).

    What wonderful advice! So many people buy too much machine in the beginning and never get the hang of it. Classes can be too overwhelming to someone who has never made an apron or such (like we did in Home Ec. thousands of years ago).

  7. #7
    JT
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    I think she might surprise you as to the bells and whistles she can handle. Yes, she may not need them all now, but remember she likely grew up with computers, and can do more on a computer and cellphone than most of us. Kids today are very tech savy.
    JT

  8. #8
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    You're right about the kids today being a lot more tech savvy, and with a comfort zone surrounding all things computerized. Still, this will be her sewing machine. I really think you need to know more about what she wants to do with it, and then help her make a good choice. Once you know her intentions, you can line up several machines for her to look at and try out. Would any of us buy a machine without giving it a test drive? Especially when it's so important that she like it and is comfortable with it? I wouldn't make the decision for her. Take her around and let her try out several machines, and let her decide what she's comfortable working on. The best thing you can do to help ensure success here is to involve her in the decision making process.

    Anyway, that's my 2 worth.

    Cheers!
    MacThayer

  9. #9
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    I bought this machine for my daughter while visiting her in San Antonio, TX. I fell in love with it myself! It is an excellent first machine for a beginner and I would buy it for myself actually! Lightweight also so she can take it with her places if she decides on lessons.

    http://www.hancockfabrics.com/Janome-3128-Sewing-Machine-Standard-Sewing-Machines_stcVVproductId81913199VVcatId539684VVview prod.htm
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  10. #10
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I have love my basic cheapo brothers forever, learned how to piece on them and still use them to this day. You don't want to spend a lot of money and find out she doesn't like it. Also if its just an occasional hobby these machines will last for years. I have one 19years old that still works perfectly as it did the day i received it for christmas as a child.

  11. #11
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    I am a brother lover too. My first machine was a brother and I've just stuck with them over the years. You can get them pretty inexpensively and it's a great no fuss - user friendly beginning.

  12. #12
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenda5253 View Post
    That would be a sweet gesture for you to send her home with your machine, but I do think it would be overwhelming. She needs a basic machine to start out on. I sure didn't know you could get anything in the Bernina line for $250.
    A Bernette is NOT made by Bernina. It's made for Bernina...completely different than Bernina made machines. Personally, I'd wait and see how she likes sewing on your Pfaff and then go from there.

  13. #13
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    all of the kids in my family learned to sew with brother machines from walmart- priced between $89 & $139---they were great beginner machines- easy to learn even had speed control- and 3 of them are still years later loved & used- not wanting to upgrade
    it makes sense to me to spend $89 as apposed to $250 for a machine that might be used for a few months then go live in a closet for years---and the brothers from wally world held up to lots of different kids using them---ages from 5-23. i always recommend them for anyone who is just learning to sew- if they get the (sewing/quilting bug) and really start sewing all the time they will hold up and give the person time to save up for an upgrade- machine with more 'bells & whistles'
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenda5253 View Post
    That would be a sweet gesture for you to send her home with your machine, but I do think it would be overwhelming. She needs a basic machine to start out on. I sure didn't know you could get anything in the Bernina line for $250.
    The Bernette isn't a Bernina and they will tell you they don't support it if you call them.
    Judy

  15. #15
    Super Member coachmatthewsvhs's Avatar
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    I bought my daughter a Brother ... think it was a runway model for about 150. Does a great job and has enough stitches to entertain also.
    If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours!

  16. #16
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    I have a brother used it for years bought my Gd a $76 dollard machine at Walmart and it sews beautifully

  17. #17
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    Charlotte's Craigslist is usually full of nice used machines. I live about 4 hours from there, and have driven to Charlotte to pick up things because they have been such great bargains. I would suggest looking there for a machine, because I am definitely a vintage machine lover.

  18. #18
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I just have two basic machines. A Singer and a Brother. Both have served me well. Now, if she intends to do some FMQ, she will need a more advanced model.
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  19. #19
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    I would purchase her a used Bernina, a 1090, or QE150. User friendly for beginners.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacThayer View Post
    You're right about the kids today being a lot more tech savvy, and with a comfort zone surrounding all things computerized. Still, this will be her sewing machine. I really think you need to know more about what she wants to do with it, and then help her make a good choice. Once you know her intentions, you can line up several machines for her to look at and try out. Would any of us buy a machine without giving it a test drive? Especially when it's so important that she like it and is comfortable with it? I wouldn't make the decision for her. Take her around and let her try out several machines, and let her decide what she's comfortable working on. The best thing you can do to help ensure success here is to involve her in the decision making process.

    Anyway, that's my 2 worth.

    Cheers!
    I agree, have her test drive a machine or two to get the feel of it! Best way to go!
    Maggi Taffi

  21. #21
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    If you can send your pfaff home with her I think that would be wonderful, the 7500 series are work horses. You don't see all of the stitches until you open the lid to change thread and don't have to use them until you are comfortable. I have several machines that do all kinds of things and have never used 90% of those stitches. Personally what I think would be more discouraging to her would be to get a cheaper machine that is much harder to use for the basics or has issues and is frustrating.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliP View Post
    How low budget? If you can go about $250 the Bernette 46 is a good basic machine. On the other hand if under $200 you may end up with one of the Brother or Singer models that will teach the basics but leave a lot to be improved on. I also like the White Jeans machine from long ago. Any machine that is in good working order, has a manual and someone near at hand to help will work. The Bernette has a dial stitch selector that you turn. The manual has a lot of tips and of course if there is a Bernina dealer there will normally be classes available. Best wishes to her on this new adventure!
    I have a White's Jean machine and love it. In fact I had it serviced with the idea of giving it to my GD who is showing an interest in sewing. It is a work horse and would be perfect for a beginner.

  23. #23
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    My friend has a new Brother that her DH bought for her at Walmart several years ago. when she needs something sewn she calls me and I use her machine. It is really a nice machine. Easy to thread and sews nice and quiet. don't know why she won't try to do any sewing with it. I have a lot of Singers, 1 Brother, 1 German made Dressmaker, a Sphinx, FW, 301, 1 Futura, and I forget all the others. Need to get my place set up so I can use them when I want. Forgot to add I have a Brother commercial that sews many thousand stitches a min. also a Juki serger, Singer serger and have tables for the Brother and the Juki. so need lots of room to set them up.
    Last edited by amyjo; 02-13-2012 at 07:33 AM. Reason: addition

  24. #24
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    If you can spare the machine, I'd let her take it. Kids ( and I consider 27 a kid!) are pretty technology savvy, so I'll bet she'll master that machine before you know it, and will be hooked. It will be great for her to learn on a good machine, so she can see if she wants to spend more money for that kind of machine when she chooses her own.

  25. #25
    Member annasgirl's Avatar
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    I just upgraded to a Singer Confidence Quilter, and taught my 29 year old DD how to sew on it. It was easy for her to use, and she enjoyed using it. I paid less than $250 (New in box) with free shipping via Ebay. Oh, and I love the machine, too!

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