Free Pattern Friday

on May 4 | in Contests & Giveaways, Products | by | with 97 Comments

How are your skirts coming along?  Anyone need some inspiration?  How about a Barcelona Skirts pattern?

Barcelona Skirts

We’ll pick 2 winners from the comments.  This week, a request comes from a reader.  Tell us about the sewing machine that you have, that you love, or that you want.  Some information about good brands/ models is what we’re looking for here, so if you hate your machine, let us know that too.

Have you read Sew What! Skirts?  If so, head down to the previous post and tell us what you thought.

PS–Look at us on the Adorn Blog today!  Wow, how nice!

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97 Responses to Free Pattern Friday

  1. Pam Gifford says:

    I have a Singer 401A that my Mother got new in about 1958 or 1959. I also have a newer Singer that I got about 5 years ago, it is nothing to compare to the 401A. I got the newer one thinking it would be nice to have the newer one plus I could take it places where I was sewing. But give me my Moms old 401A anyday. But some where all the cams got lost , some of the feet,and the manual for it , but I was lucky to find the itmes at a reasonable price on Ebay. But I just love the way it sews,,,,,,,so thanks Mom

  2. c. s. says:

    I know everyone loves their Huskystar, but I hate mine. I have a 219 and purchased it because I was told that it was the closest machine to the one I had that was damaged beyond repair during shipping. It does a reasonably good job of stitching, the button hole stitch is great, and it sews multiple layers of denim without too much laboring, but the design of the machine is terrible. The presser foot lever, instead of being centered behind the needle, is offset to the right (making it exceptionally awkward to lift with your left hand). I’ve been sewing for years before I got this machine (and still occasionally work with an old domestic machine at work) and it is a huge problem for me.

    My particular machine has the button hole at stitch #1 and the straight stitch at #13. I have to click through all of the worthless embroidery stitches to get to the stitches I’m most likely to use. They may have fixed this on newer models.

    There are no additional feet for Huskystars, or so the dealer tells me. When I bought the machine, I specifically asked about the possibility of getting a walking foot, they said yes. My dealer retired and closed shop and a new dealer opened. Their sales rep for Husqvarna says no additional feet. My C&C invisible zipper foot doesn’t properly fit the machine, despite fitting “most” machines. The zipper foot that came with it is exceptionally wide on both sides (you snap the foot to the left or right to do the corresponding side of the zipper), making it near impossible to sew the seam below an invisible zipper. I did buy a 1/4″ foot from the old dealer, and it turned out that it wasn’t a perfect 1/4″… something I didn’t discover until I had assembled too much of my quilt to start over. There is no straight stitch foot, and I would be surprised if there was a straight stitch coverplate because I didn’t get one with the machine (this would have been nice to have when I was sewing silk this past week).

    The bobbins are non-standard sizes and they *only* come in plastic. You have to buy the Huskystar bobbins. I bought additional bobbins when I got the machine and actually considered reversing my purchase the minute I heard it. I really wish I had.

    There is no true control over the needle position. You can move the needle to the left by increasing the stitch width (so no narrow zigzag to the left). There is no way to put the needle to the right.

    The machine would probably be fine for someone just getting started sewing, but I can’t recommend it for anyone who uses multiple machines or is a bit of a power user like myself. I would never buy another machine by Husqvarna. Mine was on sale for $499 Canadian in 2005, overpriced for an appropriate price for an introductory machine.

  3. Aveen says:

    I’m a bit late to the party but thought I’d add my 2 cents!

    I have two machines. One is a Bernina 600 that I inherited from my friend’s grandmother. It was bought in 1961 and still works like new. It does straight stitch and zig zag and is my everyday machine and I wouldn’t part with it for any amount of money. It still has its manual and lots of feet and just feels so nice to use.

    The other is a Viking 1100 which is great, I love the different stitches and it’s so solidly built. And it does a great job of buttonholes. I do all my basic sewing on the Bernina and things like buttonholes on the Viking.

    I also have a Janome 9200D overlocker which is very nice but doesn’t get used nearly as often as it should.

    It’s so interesting reading about everyone else’s machines!

  4. Carol says:

    I have a Janome sewing machine. It’s a very basic model as my husband and I are just learning to sew and we didn’t want to get something that would overwhelm or intimidate us. We haven’t found anything we don’t like about it other than the light is a bit dim. It runs smoothly enough that I’m gaining confidence in my skills and not simply giving it all up in frustration. It doesn’t slow my husband down at all as he amazingly picks up a piece of fabric and whips out a skirt without any idea how to do it other than what it should look like completed! The one thing we learned quickly was not to bother with the 25 cent spools of thread as they just kept breaking and drove us both mad until we figured out it was the thread, not us or the machine causing the problem.

  5. Jill says:

    After years of sewing with any machine I could get, I finally have a Bernina 160. In the 3 years I’ve owned her, I have made everything from garments to quilts to custom covers for metalworking and woodworking equipment. She is simply amazing. Layers of demin? No problem. Ripstop nylon…like butter. One of my favorite features of this machine is the needle up/down button. Another is the variety of feet available for any application. They really do bring my finished projects to a higher level.

  6. Bee says:

    I bought a Janome a year ago. it is just a pretty basic model but sews like a dream compared to the old Brother machine I struggled along with for over 20 years (it was secondhand to me as well) I’m very happy with my new machine.

  7. Lisa Thoms says:

    I just bought a Viking Platinum Royal 775. It’s supposed to be a present for my 40th birthday in July but I got it early so I could learn how to use it before I take a class that I signed up for in June. It is my ultimate dream machine! I didn’t want a full scale embroidery machine because with 3 toddlers in diapers and a home based business, I really don’t have time to figure all those threads and attachments out. This machine has 2 alphabets and probably over 200 hundred stitches and it sews like a dream! And it’s a Viking, built tough to last. Who could ask for anything more?

  8. mira says:

    “she” would be my grandmother. oops.

  9. mira says:

    After finding out that my husband and I would be moving to Italy with our newborn, she happened upon the perfect birthday gift in Jo-Anne’s. A little tiny Janome that only does straight stitch and zig-zag and that “should be just what you need to mend your husband’s uniforms and make some diapers for the baby.” It is not the sturdiest machine out there (by far), but so far it’s done the trick and I enjoy using it. I’ll have outgrown it by the time our tour is up here, but by then I’ll be in the states and will be able to buy whatever I want! For now, my mini machine is just right.

  10. KBG says:

    I have two – a very simple Pfaff Hobby 1020. I love it – that thing is a workhorse, it’s the Volvo of my machines (not many bells and whistles but dependable and tough as nails). For smaller craftier projects I have the Brother CS 8150. This thing has lots of spunk and lots of extras (it’s more like a Volkswagon – cute and peppy and fun to take out for a drive as long as you’ll be on a smooth road).

  11. Laura says:

    I have a Singer 2517.I’ve had it for 3 years .I learned to use it last month. :) I’ve made napkins,pillow cases, and dish towels. I would say it’s easy for a beginner to use and very affordable.

  12. Nichole says:

    I have a Pfaff that is nice, but not too fancy. I love it so much, and it is a workhorse. I absolutely couldn’t live without the built in even-feed mechanism (walking foot) that makes sewing everything so much smoother, especially on quilts, silky, slippery fabrics, or anything with bulky layers. I love all the features and it is just right for me and what I do. My only regret is that it doesn’t have needle down positioning, but I can live with that.

  13. Kathy says:

    I have had a Janome 6600 for over a year – got it for the throat depth and the walking feet. Its great.
    I then finally broke (both down and no cash, lol)and got the Bernina 730E – for machine embroidery and for CQ work because of the width of the NEEDLE (9mm).
    No one machine will do everything is the problem. It took me quite a while to come to that conclusion and buy two.
    Plus when you do ME work you can’t use that machine anyway so might as well have another one.

  14. Jessica says:

    I have an ancient Kenmore – very basic machine. It gets the job done with just a little whining, but I really want to upgrade. I’m dreaming of a Pfaff =) I grew up using an indestructable Singer – one that was meant for school use. Sadly, that one still belongs to my mom.

  15. Mrs Figby says:

    Love my Janome. Best machine I’ve ever had. It just goes and goes and goes…

  16. Anita says:

    I learned to sew on an old Bernina. My first sewing machine was a Viking.

    And a few years ago I went on the hunt for a new machine to replace my old Viking. It was thoroughly disappointing and discouraging. I bought a Bernina and returned it. I test drove a Pfaff and it wasn’t quite right either.

    I ended up buying a Brother PQ-1500s for quilting. All it does is straight stitch and I love it! But I also sew clothing and out of desperation I went back to Viking and bought a computerized one – only to be able to make buttonholes, have a hem stitch, zig-zag, etc. But I’m not in love with the Viking. It does funnly little quirky things that annoy me. I just haven’t found a machine that will let me make the adjustments that I need. These computerized machines try to think for me and basically set limitations on what I need them to do.

    If both my machines weren’t new, I’d check out the top of the line Pfaff and Janome. I know a lot of people who have recently purchased either of those and love them.

    But I really love the old work-horse machines of my mother’s era. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore!

  17. Shorty says:

    I have a very plain, no frills kenmore. I have had no problems with it and seem to be able to do everything I need to do. I am not sure what I would do with a fancy machine;)
    Shorty

  18. Carrie says:

    I have a Singer Simple which is just right for me, a beginning sewer. I think I’ll probably upgrade in a few years, but this really does everything I need it to considering my ability level.

  19. Christina says:

    I have an old Bernina 800-model sewing machine. I think it’s from the early seventies. I love it because:
    1. it’s my first sewing machine
    2. it was given to me from my mother-in-law (I had never tried sewing before, it totally opened new crafting opportunities for me)
    3. it’s sturdy and sort of “boxy” in shape, so unlike today’s machines…so I guess it’s “unique”
    4. it’s simple in use, does its job and I can maintain it myself
    5. because it’s sturdy, I can sew through many layers of fabric and also I don’t have to treat it like a fragile/expensive machine
    6. oh yeah, and I love the old manual: it’s written in a very polite/old fashioned way, addressing stay-at-home mums and teaches you how to mend socks and other garments using the machine

    The only thing I would want extra for the machine would be: an automatic button hole maker function (though I guess it’s good to know how to do it properly yourself…) and maybe a walking foot to do quilt with my machine (but I think I could possibly buy that somewhere).

    Otherwise I am very happy with my machine:) a good, sturdy, reliable working horse, easy to maintain and just what I need.

  20. robin says:

    I have a vintage Singer and my mother’s Kenmore – they both work fine but, before I got either, Santa brought me a Brother (I hear he bought it, of all places, at Wal-Mart.)

    I know that in the world of Janome and Bernina I shouldn’t love it but I do. It’s easy (threads itself) and although it has its limitations (the whole self-feeding thing doesn’t work for some thread (slippery or heavy) and there isn’t (to the best of my knowledge) any manual option) it’s served me very, very well.

    I think it was a great value for the money. I don’t really use the decorative stitches but there are a ton and the optional walking foot (about $35) was a great investment. It does what I need (mostly cotton garmet and bedding sewing).

    I must say though, I have my heart set on the Hello Kitty Janome – for $60 it’s almost worth the ‘fun’ value!

  21. Sharon says:

    My newest machine is a computerized Pfaff 2056 and it is wonderful. I tried a lot of machines at a sewing expo and narrowed down my choice to this one. It sews easily through thin fabrics as well as multiple layers of denim (think jean hems), and the buttonholes are great! I would recommend it to anyone. I kept my Elna 8000 as a backup as well as a 25-year old Kenmore.

  22. kirsten says:

    i have a kenmore. we bought it while we were in college – right after i finished my sewing class. it’s pretty basic, but works well!

  23. mj says:

    I have a Singer “pro” model (that means the case is metal and a little tougher). I got it on the clearance rack at Sam’s club, and since my mom has a Singer I was already used to the way the bobbin and needle thread. It came with a full set of feet and an extension table for large amounts of fabric.

  24. Diana says:

    I have a Brother CS6000 that I love!! On a very happy(lucky) note I scored a Singer Featherlight machine in mint condition for free!! That is also becoming a machine that I enjoy sewing on.
    Dee

  25. Kimberly says:

    I have a Viking Interlude 445. Its no where near their top of the line, but not at the bottom either.
    I LOVE it. It handles heavy fabrics and leather like a breeze. And was very easy to learn different techniques on.

  26. Amy says:

    I love this !…as I have been testing out new machines and am on the verge purchasing one… I have a mechanical Kenmore that my Parents purchased for me 22 years ago. It works great, but I have fought with tension for all these years. I have adopted a Singer 7432 Electronic Machine, and it works well for me….but it is not mine, and one day soon it has to go back to its real Momma. So I have been testing out the Bernina, Janome and Pfaff…love them all so it is hard to decide. I am leaning towards Bernina, and am going to make the purchase next weekend at a Quilt and Sewing Fair…as I have heard there are some deals..can’t wait !!! Would love the Barcelona Skirt pattern as well…Thanks Kristen for putting out this request on sewing machine info…so very helpful to all !!

  27. Cory says:

    I have the Elna Quilter’s Dream Pro. I absolutely love her. but then, I upgraded from a Kenmore 24.

    I love the variety of stitches, the smoothness of the machine, the ease of use, the needle up/down feature, the thread cutter, the presser foot lifter. I guess you could say I’m in love with this machine.LOL

    Even my kids love it and they have had their turn at using it and creating something.

    It is the best sewing investment I have made in a long time.

  28. tonya lemos says:

    Sewing machine: I love it! I am a fairly new Necchi model 3610. I have always heard good things about Necchi models and I am thrilled to have one!

    Sewing a skirt is next on my list

    -t

  29. Stacey says:

    I’m new to your blog, and LOVE it!! I have a Pfaff 2046 and LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It just purrs along. My husband wants to know why it’s in bed with us…but he’ll get over it. wink.

  30. Samantha says:

    I grew up sewing on my mum’s Janome work horse, which she then passed on to me. Two years ago my lovely husband bought me a Bernina Activa 230 which I love. So easy to use, smooth, quiet and easy to cart around. I have sinced passed the Janome onto my sister. I am sure the old work horse will stay in the family. I loved reading all the 63 comments before mine. It is interesting to see what people use.

  31. I LOVE my Bernina QE, but soldiered along quite nicely with a White for many years. It made all the window treatments in my house and many clothing itmes and even a few quilts. I’d highly recommend getting a $100-150 model and really using it a lot to see what features you might want in an expensive machine – and also to make sure you’ll sew enough to “earn” a big whopper machine.

  32. Bron says:

    I just borrowed Sew!What Skirts from my library and I feel inspired – so many to choose from and fun to read to boot! It makes me look at my stash in a new and crazy! way.

  33. Eve says:

    I just have a base model Brother (whichever one they sell at Costco). I do a good amount of sewing and I think it’s a good machine. I could see paying more for a nice serger (My inexpensive Singer make me want to scream), but a sewing machine with all the bells and whistles would be a waste at my house.

  34. Christy says:

    I have a Kenmore (no idea which model) that’s about 15 years old. It is a pretty basic machine. I’ve never loved it, but it’s what I could afford at the time. I have been shopping around for a new machine and am leaning towards a Berninca Activa 220. It has 50 stitches, an alphabet and a needle threader. My local dealer is having a sale on Bernina’s next week, so I just might have to pick one up! :)

  35. Angela says:

    I have a Brother NX400 (I think that’s the number) — lower end of the computerized models that are sold at a machine dealer versus a big box store. It’s computerized, it does an accurate 1/4 seam and does much better than my old machine. I’ve had it for a year and 1/2 and am loving it.

    Dream machine? Oh — I love gadgets. Probably a Bernina with all the bells and whistles.

  36. Tammi says:

    I have several sewing machines- including a treadle machine! I learned to sew as a teenager on a Singer machine that I had a complex love-hate relationship with. When I began sewing as an adult, I first purchased a very basic Babylock machine. OK, but the stitches weren’t as nice as I wanted. I scrimped and saved and bought a Bernina Virtuosa Quilter’s Edition that I love. The stitches are beautiful, and there is a good variety of novelty stitches for applique work. It isn’t as complicated as some of the computer machines. And I love my Babylock serger, which I highly recommend if you do much garment sewing.

  37. sarah says:

    just last week i ‘upgraded’ my impossibly fussy brother xl-3500 (purchased oh so hastily in a late-night 8-month-pregnant fit of must-sew-something-for-the-baby right-now) with a reconditioned necchi 535fa. it’s like i’ve entered a whole new world of sewing – one where i spend more time actually sewing than i do ripping out irregular stitches.

  38. Amy says:

    I have a Singer school model that I’ve had for 8 years and it still works great. I’m interested to read everyone else’s response because I wonder if a fancier machine is in order and what I could do that I can’t do with my basic model.

  39. Kristi says:

    I have my eye out for a computerized Brother sewing machine. Right now we have an itty bitty sewing machine that will hopefully be replaced soon.

  40. sharon k says:

    Very Funny Story… Used a rental at local quilt shop for class. Loved it I asked to buy one did not ask the price. It was $500 gasp from me but it does decorative stitches brought it home did not tell my dh what I spent.Figured I would hide it in the bedroom for awhile. Finally came clean pulled out the machine only to find no decorative stitiches.Hmm I purchase the Janome Jem Platinum 760 and was given the 720. Bad girl I should have been upfront with dh. The store exchanged it for me.. I love it so little so cute…and smooth..
    Sharon

  41. Melissa says:

    I have a Singer that my husband got me for Christmas last year. It is a great machine to learn on but I am going to want to upgrade soon.

  42. Rachel says:

    Nine years ago, I purchased by Bernina 130. At the time it was bottom-of-the line computerized Bernina. I really like it. It runs like a champ. Even though it is an expensive entry-level sewing machine, I’d recommend the equivalent machine that’s available.

  43. chelle says:

    I just have a Kenmore .. until I sew more I can’t ask for anything more … although oh my a serger would be dreamy!

  44. I have a very basic Singer that I bought back in 1993. It’s always served me well, but I want something a little fancier someday. I also have a serger that I love.

  45. Jody says:

    I have an older (1970’s) Pfaff – great workhorse but showing her age lately, and a new Brother with embroidery. The Brother is nice, but gives me fits on occasion … lots and lots of stitches, easy to thread, just a bit tempermental.

  46. Karen says:

    I have a Phaff custom home it’s a mid line mechanical( not computerized )machine. I bought it last summer when my 1980 I Singer died a long slow death. I love it. I sew almost every day sometimes for hours on end and it is fast, quiet and a very straight stitcher. I haven’t found a fabric it won’t handle. It does not have any fancy stitches, but does what I need it to do and that is sew sew sew! I can’t believe how much my sewing has improved since getting this machine. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time trying to keep my old dinosaur alive.

  47. Leigh Ann says:

    I have an old Singer Featherweight. It doesn’t do much but straight sewing but it does it well with out any complicated adjustments. I would love to get a new machine with all the bells and whistles. I just worry about the learning curve.

  48. Zoe says:

    I have a Necchi. I like it. I saw that someone else has one and I agree, it does work like a horse. I don’t really LOVE it though. I drool over the Vikings everytime I go to the fabric store. I really want to upgrade as my sewing maching only has about 10 stitches. :( I am grateful to have a sewing maching though!

  49. Karmela says:

    I love reading these! I think ppl get attached to a machine, and unless you get a chance to “drive a BMW” as someone said, you love that machine! I started with a ’97 kenmore. pretty basic, but I never had a mechanical problem with it. I got frustrated with its performance on thick stuff, though. uneven stitching. Then I went and got myself a refurbished Singer 9940 that has some fun bells and whistles. I have been very happy with it for the near year I’ve had it, the one-step buttonhole, the fun stitches and alphabets, etc. No problems with it at all!

  50. Kristine says:

    I’m using my mom’s Singer 6105…it’s super old. I think it used to be white, but now it’s yellow-ish tan-ish. I really need to either 1) buy a manual as we can’t find hers (we couldn’t remember how to make a button hole the other day!), or get myself a new machine. My boyfriend won’t let me go out and buy one because he wants it on the list as a potential gift idea for him. *sigh* Well, maybe I’ll invest in a manual in the mean time :) So far it’s worked fine for me…normal stitches and zig zag stitches. I’ll figure something else out when I have to make a button hole. We also have some mysterious serger in the closet, so I might whip that out and learn how to use it during skirt month!

  51. Jennifer says:

    I have a Huskystar (bottom of the line Viking) and I love it. Well, I loved it. I was so cheap, and I have done SO many things on it, from makcing quilts to sewing clothes. Now, even though the machine still works great, I want to do more things, including more garment sewing. So I have my eyes on a Janome CK1200 (that is the model in Japan, but the 6600 is the comparable model in the U.S.) But first I plan to get a Babylock serger this summer. Can’t wait!

  52. Jen says:

    I have the Janome My Style 28. It’s reliable, not a top of the range item, but it has all the functions that keep me happy. I have successfully quilted on it, sewn denim and leather, stretch, and normal everyday. It has a basic array of stitches but it’s not a computerised or specific quilting machine which would have cost me significantly more $$.
    In short it was inexpensive, dependable and doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use.
    My advice it to also go somewhere they’ll let you try it out, different machines fit different people.
    Good luck with your search!

  53. LeeAnn says:

    I just found out about your site a few days ago. I loved reading through your posts, especially since this is skirt month! I am a new sewer of clothing. I just finished my first skirt from Sew What? Skirts! and had a great time. Very easy to follow. And my first commercial patterned dress is on the sewing machine now. I would love the Amy Butler pattern for my next project. And its a funny thing about my sewing machine. My husband just surprised me with the Pfaff 2038. Man, do I love it! I didn’t know what I was missing!

  54. holly says:

    the machine i us the most is my brothers ex-660. its very portable and, what i consider, very no fuss. for budget or traveling seamstresses, this machine ROCKS! it can handle most anything i put into it and has given me very little lip about it.

    i actually bought this machine at costco of all places and for less that $140. i didnt really plan on using it a whole lot, but thought our household needed a sewing machine. now i use it everyday.

  55. My sewing machine is a Brother XL-3500. I like it alright, but I still hope to own either a Janome or Bernina someday.

    (Oh and I really want that skirt pattern! So cute:)

  56. Jen says:

    Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what kind of sewing machine I have. I think it’s a Brother. It’s pretty basic, pretty old. I bought it second-hand from a sewing and vacuum repair place where they promised me it would run like a top for a long time to come, and I have to say, it runs pretty well. I’m still building my sewing skills, but someday I’m sure I’ll be ready for a fancier machine.

  57. Joanna says:

    I have a singer 2732. My mom got it for me for Christmas and it works fine, although I have been making bags and I could use a bit more power. I was planning on using one of the many skirt tutorials from the blogging community, but the Barcelona skirt would be mighty nice!

  58. Ali says:

    I have an inherited Elna from the 1970’s. It’s not fancy at all, but it’s really compact and has these natty little flaps which fold up to keep the dust out.

    I’m not that experienced a sewer, so I’m just intimidated by all the bells and whistles on those fancy-pants machines.

    I would love to improve though, perhaps by mastering that Barcelona Skirts pattern!

  59. Sarah says:

    I learned to sew on a Singer, probably from the 1980s. It lasted me 18 years and was a wonderful, if heavy, machine. My new machine is a Janome Sewist. I researched quite a bit before I bought it, and in my price range ($200-$300) it is a fantastic machine.

  60. Ellen says:

    I have an Elna 2003 – and it’s fair to say we tolerate each other. I think I’ve outgrown it but it does the job (most days). Still, perhaps it knows that I’m dreaming of a Pfaff…

  61. roberta says:

    I came to your blog by way of Randi at I Have to Say. My sewing machine is a Pfaff, bought new in 1998. It’s a “no bell’s and whistle’s” model, but does everything I need it to do. Easy to thread, tension is consistent, works well with all fabrics, which was helpful as I was very much a beginner…I love my Pfaff.

    Thanks for the fun contests!

  62. Shannon says:

    I have a Singer that is very old. It was a 16th birthday present for my mom and was used then. I learned to sew on it and she gave it to me when I moved out. I use it along with a base line Kenmore that I picked up at an estate sale. I plan to teach my daughter to sew on the Singer and hopefully pase it on to her. I am saving my money to buy a Janome or Bernina as I would like more features.

  63. Stephanie says:

    I have a fairly basic Kenmore that I’ve had for about ten years. I’ve been perfectly happy with it and definitely recommend it. Very easy to use, no problems.

  64. Shannon says:

    I have a Singer taht is very old. It was a 16th birthday present for my mom and was used then. I learned to sew on it and she gave it to me when I moved out. I use it along with a base line Kenmore that I picked up at an estate sale. I plan to teach my daughter to sew on the Singer and hopefully pase it on to her. I am saving my money to buy a Janome or Bernina as I would like more features.

  65. Caroline says:

    my first sewing machine was a Jones (British made machine) that my parents (Father Christmas) bought for me one Christmas when I was about 13. It was simple to use and basic although it was incrediably noisy but I loved it – it was a real work horse and very rarely let me down. So much so that I still have it but it is now in semi-retirement as I now have a Brother but nothing will ever live up to my first machine.

  66. beki says:

    I dream of owning a nice machine one day, but for now my el cheapo Craft-N-Sew by EuroPro has been serving me well. I also have an Riccar industrial, but it’s only a straight stitch machine, so el cheapo still has to step in from time to time.

  67. ellen says:

    I have an old Brother that has seen it’s better days and love all the info here for buying a new one.

  68. irene says:

    I’m not sure what I have because I picked it up for $35 at an Estate Sale and there’s no name on the machine. It’s got a lot of issues, but I’m not an experienced sewer so we work it out. I would LOVE to get a Viking, Bernina or Janome!

  69. Cici says:

    I have a Viking/Hus…300. Fairly basic. It’s a good machine (had it for about 6 months) but I think if I could have a do over I’d go a little bigger/heavier.

  70. Carrie says:

    I have a Bernina 165, and I loooooooove it. It can sew through multiple layers of very heavy fabric without the stitches wavering or the needle breaking (assuming I use the right needle. I don’t use the embroidery module very much. My next machine will be a Bernina with the stitch regulator, but that’s a long way off.

  71. Jill says:

    I am really a sewing novice, but I have two vintage machines, a singer and a Kenmore. I have used the Kenmore (we’re talking from the 60’s) pretty successfully but, my husband has recently announced that he wants to buy me a new machine. I’m thinking about getting one of the Husky stars, but looking forward to reading the comments here for suggestions.

  72. sally says:

    Right now I use a Singer sewing machine. It is about as simple as Singer’s get. I picked it up (from Walmart of all places) knowing it only does about four different stitches. The idea was I would learn on this machine and then buy something with a bit more options. I think it is great for beginners because this machine is as simple as it gets. I would love to upgrade but I still consider myself a beginner.

  73. Marlana says:

    I have an old Brother XR-35 (it’s so old it’s not even on their website anymore). I got it in 1999, I think, and I love it. It does embroidery, it quilts, it automatically does button holes. And it was dirt cheap (got it on close out). I’ll keep it forever, if it lasts that long.

  74. Stephanie says:

    I have a Singer 7462. It’s a pretty basic machine, but does jobs well. I’ve had it about 1 1/2 years, in which I’ve sewed a lot and haven’t had any problems. I haven’t tried out the higher end/expensive models, but I have heard the reference that getting a good machine is like getting behind a BMW after driving a ford for a while. I think someday I’ll upgrade to a better model, but for now I’m happy with my machine.

  75. Emily says:

    I’ve got an antique Singer that I don’t use much and a Kenmore Ultra Stitch 12 that’s pretty old too, but I really like.

  76. anna says:

    I have a Kenmore that is about 7 years old. It’s not super fancy, but I don’t think I am an experienced enough sewer to need more. I’ve used it for some basic sewing projects and for some machine quilting.

  77. Katie says:

    I have an old old Kenmore sewing maching from a garage sale. It’s ok and does the job. I love my SIL’s which is a Viking and I’m dying to get one of those.

  78. Tammy says:

    My machine is a very vintage Singer “Slant-o-Matic”. I love it, though in time I’d love to get a nifty new machine! This one works just fine for me though! I’ve only had it worked on once in the 6+ years I’ve had it. To see a picture of my machine, click here.

  79. liz elayne says:

    i have a necchi…i am still learning how to use all the features but i love it. it is a work horse!

  80. Lynn says:

    Hurray! I love sewing machine discussions! I started out with a Janome Jem Silver, which is a 3/4 size machine and I love it. In January I bought a Janome 6600P after MUCH research. I had my heart on a Viking, but the Janome won me over in the end. I love both of my machines. They are such a dream to sew on and I don’t even know how to use all of the options yet! They have been put away for the week, but I think it’s time to take them out and make some skirts…

  81. Christy says:

    I have an old, heavy Kenmore, but it’s very reliable and simple. It is the same model that my mother has, and that I learned on, so I’m very attached to it. We bought mine from our neighbor at a garage sale.

    I’m going to dust it off to make some skirts!

  82. mamafitz says:

    i have a janome 3000, and just love it. it was the bottom of the line electronic machine at the time (2001?). i paid $700 for it, and LOVE it. it has a drop in bobbin, needle up/down, beautiful straight stitch, and a gorgeous one step buttonhole. i bought an even-feed foot for it, but have never needed it, because it feeds evenly on its own (even on velvet). i do everything on this machine: silk chiffon/charmeuse wedding gowns, heirloom sewing, knits, denim, free-motion quilting, everything! did i mention i love it? :)

    my mother and i just bought a mechanical janome for my SIL, paid $300 (sorry, i can’t remember the model), and it’s very nice too (drop in bobbin and one step buttonhole).

  83. Mike says:

    We have a whole ‘family’ of sewing machines at our house. A fancy, fairly-new, computerized Kenmore (made by Janome I think) and then a Singer 401, 403A, Touch-n-Sew (all slant needles) and a Singer Fashion Mate. The Singers are pretty much all metal workhorses and are gear-driven (no belts); they really do a great job. They were made back in the 1960’s and 70’s. We love them all!

  84. Jessi says:

    I have a fairly new Pfaff (about five years old) that I love. It is steady and sure and I would highly recommend it. My only complaint is that it can’t be set to stop with the needle down.

  85. Katrine says:

    I wish I had some advice for a sewing machine. My machine is a little basic one that my husband bought for me 10 years ago. It has served me well and I still use it everyday. But it lacks some higher functions that I would like. So, I am also researching machines because I want enough options in a machine, but not so many it goes unused.

  86. Kathleen says:

    I have a Kenmore that is about 10 years old. As a novice sewer learning as I go, I am still slightly intimidated by it. My Kenmore can also be tempermental with certain stitches and fabrics. I’m determined to finish several projects with it! One day, I’d love to have a Bernina machine, but I want to learn as much as possible with what I’ve got.

  87. Kathleen says:

    I receivedmy new machine as a Christmas gift from my hubby in ’05. I love love love it! It’s Husqvarna Viking Scandinavia 200. A base-ish computerized model with some fancy stitches! Great for embellishing on my daughter’s clothes!
    Previously I had a very basic Janome which easily carried me through 10 years of non stop sewing. I keep it around as a spare or for my kids to use.

  88. Bean says:

    I have a computerized Brother that I bought myself for Christmas a few years ago – it works waaaaay better than the hand-me-down I inherited from my best friends MIL! That’s all the review I need, hehe :)

  89. susie says:

    I have owned my Viking 1100 for almost 14 years, and I absolutely love it. It is heavy, so doesn’t vibrate and scoot all over the table. I used to do a lot of heirloom sewing for my kids, and this machine has many pretty embroidery stitches, including an entredeaux stitch. It is not still on the market, but I highly recommend Viking. Oh, and it has only been in the shop ONE time and that was a year ago because I broke a needle sewing over a thick seam and the belt jumped off inside the machine. It has not given me a minute’s trouble other than that.

    That said, I also love my industrial Juki machine that I bought last year. It sews anything and it sews fast.

    I have also used the Janome quilting machines at the quilt shop where I teach classes, and the upper end machines are very impressive. They are also nice and heavy and make beautiful stitches.

  90. Jeannine says:

    I have an old Singer that basically does the job. I would love one of the Baby Locks with all of the attachments. I have read in multiple places that once people buy one, it rarely goes into the repair shop.

  91. Lesley Anstatt says:

    Last Christmas my husband bought me a Kenmore Elite Embroidery Sewing machine. When I was on maternity leave, I embroidered everything. I love my machine and found it very easy work with. It came with a VHS tape and a good instructional manual. Did I mention my husband got it at the Sears scratch and dent store (kicked in box) for nearly 60% off?

  92. Meegan Blue says:

    I have a Janome (Harmony 8080) and I love, love, love it! I do everything with it, from cotton Cute Skirts (my favorite, Favorite Things pattern…) to thick wool purses, and everything in between. It also had some great overlock/serge stitches, so while I don’t own a serger I can still play around with that look. Janome rocks!

  93. lera says:

    I need some skirt inspiration! I’ve been making the same skirt pattern for too long.

    I have a Brother SE270D with embroidery. The machine is okay. We (the machine and I)have had our issues. I love the embroidery part though.

  94. Necia says:

    I have a Brother BC-1000. It’s a computerized model and I love it so. The only annoying this is the blue light. It’s totally useless, and I ALWAYS need addtional lighting. I like the fact the machine is light, and I can take it and go.

    Necia

  95. Jan says:

    I love my sewing machine, an old Viking (Husqvarna). Nice and heavy and red(!)…a real workhorse.
    I’ve recently spent some time test-driving machines with an eye toward eventual replacement and I’ve been very impressed with the Janomes. I’ll be interested to see if anyone else has had good experience with them.

  96. pungsnotded says:

    I have a Kenmore and I absolutely love it!

  97. rohanknitter says:

    I have a Janome and I love it. It is very study and well-made. It’s not their most expensive model, but it sews like a dream. It just purrs compared to what I had before (Singer from Walmart) and it sews through thick layers easily.

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