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Thread: Sewing Machine

  1. #1
    Junior Member Brandi's Avatar
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    Sewing Machine

    I am wanting to buy a new sewing machine, but I don't know which one I need to purchase. I think I would like a Brother. I am a beginner sewer and I don't know hardly anything about machines and I don't want to spend a lot of money. I am learning how to quilt. So can anyone offer suggestions?

  2. #2
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    In my opinion, the first step is to determine which features you want in a machine. Figure out which are must-haves; would like; sky is the limit. Determine your budget. Let your fingers do some walking through the internet and see which machines seem to have the features you want. You probably won't get much in the way of pricing except those carried by say Walmart; Amazon. If you have 1 or more dealers local to you, go test drive the ones you think you might like. Take samples of YOUR fabrics; sandwiches; etc. Even home dec and garment stuff if you do that. You'll want to see how the various machines behave with YOUR fabrics - not their tiny little sample pieces. Get pricing from the dealer(s).

    When I was machine shopping ages ago, I made up a spreadsheet of features. Having used a variety of machines over the years I had already determined the brand of machine I wanted. It was coming down to model/$$/features only. If I had been looking at a variety of manufacturers I would have been making notes along the way as to likes/dislikes.

    Take your pricing and notes home and study it for a while. Don't let any dealer pressure you into 'buy it now for x but if you want to wait, it will be y'. Stick to your guns on budget. They'll give you the same pricing a couple of days (and most times weeks) later.

    Searching for a machine can be as much of a process as is quilting. Do you want a machine that you'll grow into? Or one that simply fits your needs for the immediate future?

    Probably more than you wanted to know about buying a machine. Hope it helps, though.

  3. #3
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    It is really hard for us to help you. When I didn't want to spend much money I bought machines for $700 and $800 dollars. You may think that is a fortune or not enough! Machines go all the way from really cheap - $99.00 to $10,000.

    You got some good advice above.

    After you have settled on a couple, use the internet to search for reviews on the machines.

    Also, search this board. This question comes up at least a couple of times a week.

  4. #4
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I would suggest a Janome Jem machine. They are portable and very user friendly and sews great. I have an older Jem Gold bought years ago and it still sews like new. Not one problem. It will be a great back up machine when you are ready for a more advanced one .
    Got fabric?

  5. #5
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    I agree with BellaBoo. I would get a Janome Jem or would look for a vintage Singer. The older ones are all metal and make beautiful stitches.

  6. #6
    Senior Member pyffer3's Avatar
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    I bought a Brother CS6000i after Christmas due to some suggestions from this board. I absolutely love it. I had some problems last week with the walking foot jumping, but I think I fixed that and am sewing right along. It was only $145.00 on Amazon and came with loads of attachments. I still haven't tried out all the decorative stitches. I love that it has a button I can press to sew and not use the presser foot. Using this has helped when I want to keep a steady pace going and not have to rely on my foot holding down a specific presser on the presser foot. As others have said research on the internet before buying. That's what I did. Good luck.

  7. #7
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I would look for a vintage singer, they make lovely quilting machines. For $200-300 or so, you can get a featherweight in good working condition. If your budget is less, I would check with the local classifieds, or craigslist. But first, do go machine shopping, at Joann's or Hancocks, or what every you have in your area. Hands on is worth its weight in gold. Good luck.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  8. #8
    Super Member Minnesewta-sam's Avatar
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    I would check with a few sewing machine dealers. Often they have really nice machines that have been traded in for new ones. These have been gone over and are in good working order...plus they may be able to even help with some classes if it is a brand that they normally carry. Good luck.
    Confirmed fabric-holic seeking 12 step treatment program or a storage building.

  9. #9
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    When I decided I wanted to learn to make quilts some 30 years ago I bought a cheap brother at wal-mart.
    It did some 20 stitches and cost me around $200.00 it is still going although I did retire it this last year. I do have several singers old, as in 301as and featherweights and a few 15 models and a berdinna embroidery machine and a gamill quilting machine. Who knew I'd love making quilts sew much, LOL
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
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  10. #10
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    I would go with vintage Singer. If you will only be quilting all you need is straight stitch. We bought a vintage Singer model 14-91 in a cabinet for $35.00. Brought it home dusted it off gave it a few drops of oil and now it is one of my favorite machines for piecing. Ask on the vintage section of the forum. You'll get lots of good advice.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  11. #11
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Brothers make a nice machine but as they say you can spend 99-10,000 and what might be alot of money to you might not to another person. I got my brother sq-9050 at walmart, love it, used it today to work on a project cost me 180. It is lightweight use it for all my classes and travel. There is a brother pc-420 on amazon for 400 that has a lot more nicer features, made of more metal, a machine that is inexpensive but you can grow into. I had a babylock espire(brother qc-1000) cost 1800, had everything a quilter will need and then some. Its very awesome machine with many features. Then you have my dream baby or as I call it my car, cause thats how much it cost. What features are you looking for. You can find most well loved features in the pc-420, has many features of the espire without costing as much. Its the model of brother I recommend for those on a budget that want something a little nicer than the SQ-9050 type models. The pc-420 has needle down/up, automatic thread cutter, drop feed dogs, advanced needle threading system, the ability to adjust presser foot pressure, knee lift, all the feet for quilting that you need, a metal frame, and lots of decorative stitching. The harp is small but more generous than your sq9050 type models
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D, Juki MO-2000QVP

  12. #12
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    This is a great idea, except that she is a beginning sewer and has no idea what features she wants in a machine!

    100% agree with staying on budget, though, especially for a person new to sewing.

  13. #13
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    Look at the Brother machines in Walmart. I have no idea what your budget is, but when I was just starting out, I purchased a very inexpensive Brother. That way, if it turned out I really didn't like to sew, very little money was lost on the machine. It worked fine, I learned how to use a sewing machine with it, so (unintentionally) wasn't kind or easy with it. It broke this summer on our travels to see 'grands' when it was either dropped or something was dropped on it. Such is life.

    I replaced it with a Brother SE-400 for $423 on Amazon. It's also a good machine, and I do notice that it is smoother and somewhat easier to work with. It has embroidery capability, although I'm not sure I'll ever use it.

    I got my niece (9) and nephew (10) a Brother for $49 at Walmart just before Christmas. They're both interested, and that was a good way to get them a machine of their own. It'll probably be noisier than the more expensive sewing machines, but they won't care about that at all!

    Good luck on your journey!

  14. #14
    Super Member slk350's Avatar
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    I also got a Brother from Costo which was their model of the CS6001i for my daughters Birthday in 2011. Nice little machine for a beginner. I just got myself a HV Topaz for $2000, which is a bit high, but not anywhere's near the high end of $10,000. Like everyone said, figure how much you want to spend and test as many as possible. Also, sewing machine & vacuum repairs places have used machines pretty reasonable.

  15. #15
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    The newer the machine the more plastic components and fragile electronics. Decide what your needs are in the short term- straight stitch, zig zag, and maybe a few decorative stitches? Buttonholes? I love the almost indestructible workhorse vintage machines which can be found for $50 or less on Craigslist and Freecycle. Maybe there is a QB member nearby with advice or a machine that needs a new home? Many older machines have cams that snap in to do fancy stitches. Once you are comfortable and know more about what you'd like to do, then go for a fancier machine. If new- be sure the warranty is good locally since many WMart and mail order machines may require mailing away and You pay postage both ways and a diagnosis fee! I bought a Brother CS6000i several years ago on Craigslist from a quilter who was upgrading and it has 60 stitches. It's worked well, has a few minor quirks as the default stitch is to the left instead of center or right so I have to remember to set it to "37" for my stitching. Doesn't especially like heavy denim seams, but I have my 70's Kenmore for that. Avoid all Singers from the mid 70's onward. Generally the quality is poor.

    It is difficult to find beginning sewing classes aside from local adult ed, but you can probably find almost anything you need to know about most machines by web searching. Good Luck- folks here are willing to help if you need recommendations about specific machines you are considering- new or vintage.

  16. #16
    Super Member nygal's Avatar
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    The fun part for me when wanting a new machine is the "research" I did online on the various machines. Read what each machine has to offer and the price and then go from there.

    I bought all three of my Brother machines including my embroidery machine from www.allbrands.com
    They have FREE shipping and FAST delivery and their prices are good. I have never had a problem with any of my machines.

    Try and buy the best machine you can afford. It doesn't have to be a big name or super expensive to be a good machine.
    When it seems like the world is falling to pieces remember that the pieces are falling into place. We are nearing closer to the End Times.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Scraplady's Avatar
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    Do you know anyone who sews or quilts and might be willing to tag along machine-shopping? Sometimes it can be overwhelming and even intimidating when you just know very little about what you're looking for. If you buy from a dealer they should offer a basic class to help you get familiar with your machine, but not usually full on sewing classes. You might try a local quilt guild. There are always folks willing to share the love of their craft and help you get started, no matter how much you know, or don't know.

    Having said that, my advice would be to go with an older basic machine, used, from a local dealer. Sewing machines are like cars, they depreciate the minute you walk out of the shop with them. And new technology will be out of date in a year. Unless you just object outright to it not being new, you can get more machine for your money this way. There is nothing wrong with these machines, they've just been traded in for one with more bells and whistles. You'll get the dealer's support and you'lll know that it's been serviced and they almost always come with a limited warranty. I am all for saving money, but I've learned the hard way that nothing beats the support you get from a knowledgeable, trustworthy dealer. My two cents.
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