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Thread: Sewing Machine Recommends for Beginner?

  1. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisanne
    Okay, so my next question is from Kirsten's post. What features would someone want once their skills grow? Because I'm not going to care about fancy stitches.

    The features prism99 mentioned seem to be things even a beginner would want. So my question is more what features, besides stitches, would a more advanced sewer crave?

    Thanks for the new answers! I'm collecting all these.
    I updated to a Janome 6600...they have one level up from that-that does embrod.! But, I have that w/my mom's so didn't opt for it for mine. Loooove it:)Good part of having both for me is I can set up quilting on one while piecing on my other...and my lesser janome does have needle down (good point someone brought up and so is everyone else's...Kirsten is right on too)you can pull up most of these online sites for the homepage of different brand sewing systems and see the different choices along w/what you want , etc.....great ideas in doing this...

  2. #27

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    oops...posted before I was finished (my flash of a finger!) I love my presser foot lifter w/my knee...great for doing appliques and you don't have to take your hand off your work to do circles...like the needle threader on it, espec love the thread cutter...like the drop bobbin...so easy to have it set in place..very easy to change out feet by a push of a button and they drop off...snap the new one on (and, they come w/many too)...oh, and the speed.....just to say a few things I like:)...whew, I need some water now:)LOL Skeat

  3. #28
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
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    Also look at sewvac.com -- they have really nice prices and quick shipping.

  4. #29
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    I think the needle down is nice when you are sewing say a corner / circle or angle and need to move (turn) the fabric without losing your spot. Does that make sense ?
    Sharon

  5. #30
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    Sharon, thanks, that is a useful feature of needle down (besides the safety factor).

    understand your financial restraints but even in your budget, you can aim for the best machine in that price range. Nowadays, even the low end machines have some bells and whistles.
    Mad, I agree 100%. That's why I'm trying to get a sense of what's important to look for in a low-cost machine.

    Mad and Prism, thanks for the tip about test driving. I hadn't known you could. I will never, ever sew stretchy material. I absolutely despise the stuff and one major reason I want to sew is because it's very hard to find anything these days that hasn't been made with the wretched stretchy stuff. But I'd like it to work for muslin, cotton, linen, denim, maybe thicker upholstery fabric.

    Prism, I'm saving your helpful info. Some of it is far over my head. What are tension adjustments?

    Skeat, thanks, you've given me even more to consider.

    sewjoyce. thanks for the link. I'll check it, but I rarely shop online. Definitely won't buy a machine or electronics online.

    mamaw, minstrel, anyone else I can't find, thanks for the recommends. This is all going to go into a Word doc, sorted through, etc. Seems like Sears Kenmore and Janome are the most frequently mentioned.

    There's a store near me that sells Janome and Baby Lock. The salesman strongly prefers the Baby Lock, even among models at the same price. Any thoughts about Baby Lock?

  6. #31
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    Another vote here for the Kenmore. I got mine in 1991. Eighteen years and still running smooth! It has 12 stitches, of which I've used 2 (straight and zigzag). No electronics. I mainly sew on cotton, but have also used it for heavy denim, upholstery fabric, and woven linen. Wide variety with no problem. I've machine quilted on it a couple of times, but the space between the body and needle area is not big enough for anything larger than a crib size. Fine with me since I prefer handquilting. DIdn't come with a walking foot, but not expensive to buy separately. Hope this was helpful. Good luck!

  7. #32
    basicfun's Avatar
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    I vote for a Kenmore also. My "Kenny" has been going strong for 40 years plus. My parents bought it when I was 11, not much "work" was done on it until the kiddies came along when I was 21 - and has been going every day since. All three of my kids sew - the 2 boys included! A true workhorse! It's specs are: Sears Kenmore 1400 ZigZag Sewing Machine, Model 15814001

    I also managed to find a walking foot for it - at our local Sears - for $20.00! :D

  8. #33
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisanne
    What are tension adjustments?
    The top thread and the bobbin thread have to work together to form an even stitch with the interlock buried in the fabric. To achieve this, the amount of tension on the top thread and the amount of tension on the bobbin thread need to be appropriate for the type of fabric you are working on and the type of thread you are using.

    For example, if you want to machine quilt with invisible nylon thread, you want to reduce your top tension because nylon thread is stretchy. Reducing the amount of tension on it makes sure it doesn't stretch too much while you are stitching and pucker your fabric.

    Or, if you are doing decorative work you might want to use a heavier thread on top and reduce the tension on it so it goes through the needle without too much drag.

    A heavier thread used in the bobbin may require the bobbin tension to be loosened so the thicker thread can flow easily.

    All of this information will be in the manual that comes with your machine. If you are always sewing on the same types of fabrics (cotton) with the same types of thread (regular weight), then you may never need to adjust tension.

    Oh, and I wanted to mention that the presser foot lifter (you use your foot to lift or drop the presser foot) is available as an add-on for most machines. I probably wouldn't make that a requirement for the machine you buy if you can add it on later. Not sure that machines in your price range come with it anyway.

  9. #34
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    lisanne, here is another thing to take into consideration: i have nothing against wal mart but they do NOT have a service department for sewing machines or anything else for that matter. i would never buy a sewing machine from any other place except a dealer who has a repair service available to their store. you would not want to have to ship your machine back to the manufacturer in no telling where with today's postage rates. i guarantee you would pay at least $50.00 in shipping one way and possibly more. so if you have a local quilt shop that sells AND services machines, you would be money and aggravation ahead to buy from them. all machines have good and bad features, some you would use and some you wouldn't, but all machines sometimes have a lemon in the bunch. i have 2 Janomes and absolutely love them both. one is a lightweight gem platinum, it was about $300 - only weighs 12 pounds and i can easily carry it to classes etc. then of course have the 6600 for home use that does everything but make your morning coffee.
    good luck in your search.
    donna

  10. #35
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    Thanks for the new posts, fokls!

    Prism, thanks again for your wonderful explanations. I so appreciate these. I don't want to hope this info will be in my manual. I want to know ir beforehand so I can decide whether to consider it in choosing a machine.

    Dojo, your point about buying from a place that will service the machine is something I've been thinking about. That's what I want, because I'm hard on any kind of machine (computer, car, toaster...). it's soooo tempting to buy the $79.95 model, which sounds just fine, but I know for a fact that I'll run into problems.

    One thing you didn't mention, but I can see it'd be a big help, is to have a kitty who will hold down the material. :)

  11. #36
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    oh i know, can you believe that kitty? she is a pest for sure. she can just hear my sewing machine running and here she comes! i rescued her from the street - (homeless and hungry) and look at her now - she's 3 years old and weights in at 14 lbs 8 ozs. she's very smart - she will give you FIVE (when she wants to of course) and knows how to play PENCIL, she gets on the table on top of my newspaper and grabs the pencil and throws it on the floor and i have to say UH OH, pick it up and give it back to her to throw again - u know - kinda like a baby in a high chair when they learn how to do that with their spoon.

  12. #37
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisanne
    What features would someone want once their skills grow? Because I'm not going to care about fancy stitches.
    Sears should give me a commission. Some of the stitches on mine let me fix bras, edge t-shirt knits, and other stuff. It also does heirloom stitching, which I didn't think I would use, but it makes quick work of darning my roommate's jeans. I don't create a lot of clothes from scratch, but I do a lot of alterations of thrift shop finds. Works fine on any task I've asked of it.

    I also like to do some home dec stuff, and it did a great job on lined Roman Shades. Another feature I love is the jam-free bobbin. It will stop and beep instead of developing rat nests, so I think in the long run, that will result in less shop time.

  13. #38
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I bought my Singer at wall-mart 12 years ago and it's still going strong!!

  14. #39
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dojo36
    lisanne, here is another thing to take into consideration: i have nothing against wal mart but they do NOT have a service department for sewing machines or anything else for that matter. i would never buy a sewing machine from any other place except a dealer who has a repair service available to their store. you would not want to have to ship your machine back to the manufacturer in no telling where with today's postage rates. i guarantee you would pay at least $50.00 in shipping one way and possibly more. so if you have a local quilt shop that sells AND services machines, you would be money and aggravation ahead to buy from them. all machines have good and bad features, some you would use and some you wouldn't, but all machines sometimes have a lemon in the bunch. i have 2 Janomes and absolutely love them both. one is a lightweight gem platinum, it was about $300 - only weighs 12 pounds and i can easily carry it to classes etc. then of course have the 6600 for home use that does everything but make your morning cofd luck in your search.
    donna
    Good point about repair service. If you decide on a Kenmore, Sears does do rtheir own epair/tune-up service.

  15. #40
    Super Member sew cornie's Avatar
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    Oops . . . please excuse my little hiccup there. :wink:

  16. #41
    Senior Member GiGi's Avatar
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    I bought my grandaughter a $39.99 Janome on sale at Hancock's. That thing is amazing! It has variable stitches and goes and goes! She loves it and if anything happens to it, not much money out. She made a purse and wallet the first day she had it! GG

  17. #42
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGi
    I bought my grandaughter a $39.99 Janome on sale at Hancock's. That thing is amazing! It has variable stitches and goes and goes! She loves it and if anything happens to it, not much money out. She made a purse and wallet the first day she had it! GG
    $40? Wow!!!

  18. #43
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    I recently upgraded to a "good" machine and it has made all the difference in the world with my machine quilting. (My new one is a Bernina- it was expensive for me- about $2000, so it took a long time for me to have the money to buy it.)

    I WISH I had bought this machine 5 years ago. I know they do financing and I wish I had done that. I can't tell you how many headaches I would have saved myself. I had a machine from Sears- about $250- and it broke within 6months and I would have had to pay for shipping and parts to fix it. They would have covered only the labor because I didn't buy the extended warranty. I ended up "borrowing" a different Sears machine from a non-sewing friend whose husband gave it to her and she had never used it. It worked pretty well, but I wore it out in about 4 years. It just stopped working. I took it to an independent repairman and he said that I got as much out of it as I was going to. Not worth fixing. So I bought the person a new one and returned that.

    Then, since I had no machine, my sister let me borrow her extra one that she got at Walmart last year during the Black Friday sales. It was way better than the Sears one, in my opinion! It had needle up/needle down, sewed a fairly nice stitch and get this- she only paid $40 (or maybe she said $50) for it!!!! Maybe since you have time you could check out what they are doing this year. They usually have a machine of some kind for Black Friday. And some of the couponing websites get the lists of Black Friday loot ahead of time.

    If I had it to do over again, though, I would buy the good machine in the first place and just finance it if I had to. I do have a vintage machine that I use regularly- an old Brother from the 50's. I got the machine for free and paid about $100 to get it cleaned and rewired. This is what I was using in the months before I got the Bernie and for the money, it really was the best investment. All metal parts, goes through anything, NEVER breaks. However, things like needle up/down and needle threaders are invaluable, and I really missed those. Hope this helps some.

  19. #44
    Senior Member dojo36's Avatar
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    Good point about repair service. If you decide on a Kenmore, Sears does do rtheir own epair/tune-up service.

    reply to sew cornie - Sears DOES NOT repair their sewing machines at their local stores that sell them. you can take it to Sears if it breaks and they will send it off for you to their repair center (wherever that is) and if you're lucky you'll get it back in a few months.

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