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Thread: Machine Help for a Beginner

  1. #1
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    Question Machine Help for a Beginner

    Hello Everyone! I am a new all of this. I would say I have basic sewing skills. However, I have an opportunity to purchase a used "like new" Husqvarna 500 for $220. I know that is a "vintage" machine so I'm wondering if it is worth it. I have seen a few Janome MC9000s for $500. When I searched on the internet to try to determine what would be a good machine that would last for many years would be, the answer changed several times. So....I thought I would ask the expert here for opinions and suggestions. Any and all help/advice would be immensely appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I would try/test a used machine before buying it. Always.

    "Like new" - it could still be a lemon.

  3. #3
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    Absolutely

  4. #4
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    If you become a member of patternreview.com, you can look up posted user reviews of specific models to find out more about price paid, pros and cons of each machine, etc. It really helps. Do pay attention to date posted as that often is associated with price paid new. To get approximations of price used, you can do a search on eBay and click on “completed listings only” to find out whether a machine sold and, if so, for what price. Sold prices mean much more than asking prices.

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    Recommend strongly you ask for a manual

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    Awesome! Thank you!

  7. #7
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    Be careful!! I bought a Viking Husq. computerized one several years ago. The feed dogs broke over a couple of years and no repair guys would touch it. They said it would cost more to fix it than it was worth. I offered to give it to them free to use for parts. No one wanted it... even for free!!

    I did a little research and found that this was not unusual for Vikings. It sure cured me. I bought a mechanical heavy duty Singer from Walmart for about $100. I love it. Not fancy, but it does everything I need. I'm a little old lady who has been quilting for years and years!

    That price sounds like it probably has some problems... Maybe unfixable ones. They cost much more new~!
    Last edited by SillySusan; 09-09-2018 at 11:19 AM.

  8. #8
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    definitely try it out first and maybe check to see what to expect in future repairs from a sewing machine repair tech. I bought an older Janome (1980's) from a person in my guild that was downsizing and guaranteed it worked. Well, it did--for a day. Then the motor started smelling like it was burning up so took to repair shop and they told me parts were not available anymore. I worked out to leave the machine for parts with them and avoid the diagnostic charge. Since I didn't bother to plug it in and check it I felt like I couldn't get my $50 back.

  9. #9
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    Do you have a sewing machine dealer or repair person near? My dealer sells and repairs and sometimes takes a trade in, services it and guarantees them for a year. I've bought several machines from him, the last one was a used Quilter's Pro Dream, which I love, but it was considerably more than the $200+, but have never regretted it. Personally though, I would stay away from the "new" Singers, actually wouldn't buy any Singer newer than late 70's, but this is my opinion.

  10. #10
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    Huskys are great machine - BUT - you need to try it out. Take over a bit of cotton, something heavier (denim) and something slinky and give them a try. Sew straight, backstitch a bit and try a special stitch (even if just a zigzag). Bring a spool of your own thread with you and wind the bobbin. Not only watch and feel, but listen. Did it stitch ok? does the tension look ok and did it make any weird noises. If it did these things ok, then buy it. If they don't have the manual, google it yourself and print out the pages that have the threading info and the cleaning info.

  11. #11
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    honestly, $220 would get you a pretty nice new machine. A Walmart brother would be a good option for getting your feet wet, there are lots of models and quilters report very good luck with them. A Janome 13512 is $130 on Amazon and it's a full mechanical, good basic sewing machine. Janome 2212 is another good mechanical and it's 189. Nothing wrong with used machines but I'm wary of them after seeing various buddies get screwed on parts and computer boards.

    A friend got one of these for her daughter and ended up liking it so much she bought one for herself.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...hps_bw_c_x_3_w

  12. #12
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    Some quilt shops sell used machines that have been traded in for higher end machines. Our local shop services them back to factory specs and sells them with a limited warrantee. That might be an option.

  13. #13
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    I love my Viking/Husqvarna Designer Topaz - and everyone I know that has a Viking has loved it. But one thing I have learned about machines, they are either wonderful or they are lemons - nothing on the MFG just it happens, so be sure to test it. If you plan to quilt with it - take a quilt sandwich with you to test it.

  14. #14
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    I just bought a new machine and I did a lot of research. Used might be good to save the money, but definitely look for reviews! And I agree, test drive it!

  15. #15
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    I just wanted to say Welcome to the board and have fun!
    Maria
    Always be true to yourself!

  16. #16
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingcandy View Post
    I love my Viking/Husqvarna Designer Topaz - and everyone I know that has a Viking has loved it. But one thing I have learned about machines, they are either wonderful or they are lemons - nothing on the MFG just it happens, so be sure to test it. If you plan to quilt with it - take a quilt sandwich with you to test it.
    Ditto on Viking...I have an SE from 2007 and I wouldn't go w/any other brand...I also have a Viking Lily from 2000. I have never had any serious problems with either other then reg cleaning via a professional yrly.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abryantbunch View Post
    I know that is a "vintage" machine so I'm wondering if it is worth it.
    First, what do you want to do with your sewing machine? Is your goal to quilt or make garments or do basic repairs to clothing, make drapery or "whatever"? to me, that's the first step in choosing an inexpensive machine. For most of these applications, you need a straight stitch and, at the most, a zigzag stitch. These days, most people who make clothing have a serger as well. That will "overcast" the seams to make them more "finished", although I made lots of clothing before everyday people had sergers. So, my suggestion is to figure out what you want a sewing machine to do.

    Vintage sewing machines fall into two categories - mechanical and electronic. Electronics have a "life expectancy", for lack of a better term. Electronics die with age. they just do. They go faster if they are not kept cool and dry. After a few years, many electronic parts are no longer available/replaceable. The defective part is generally not repairable at a price you are willing to pay.

    Mechanical machines go back to the 1800's and most can still sew a stitch. All metal mechanical machines were made until about 1970. They are abundant, cheap, work well and generally don't require a $150.00 trip to the sewing machine repair guy. They are available on Craigslist, Ebay, OfferUp, etc. You can find an old black Singer that only does straight stitch for $100. and they will last forever. All you have to do is oil them. They might require some internal cleaning, which is no problem for the average person who knows which end of a screwdriver to use. It will take a few hours. The colored Singers usually have some capacity to make decorative stitches (zig zag variations). My personal favorites are the Singer 401, 403, 501 and 503. If you have a choice, take the 403 or 503 as they are easier to clean internally. The only reason I suggest Singer is that they are common (millions were sold) and replacement parts and accessories are readily available at a reasonable price.

    Just in case you take my advice and look at some older vintage machines, stay away from Singer (all machines, not just Singer) machines that were made after about 1965. Many have internal plastic parts that shatter with age.

    I have other caveats, but this is already too long. If you have questions, post it on the vintage sewing machine group on this board. The regular posters there have vast experience with vintage machines of all types. They are happy to share their knowledge with everyone.

    bkay

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