Free Fabric Friday

on March 14 | in Contests & Giveaways | by | with 513 Comments

Happy Friday!  Last night I was helping my 5 yo daughter use her Hello Kitty Janome and thought, “this is better than my sewing machine.”  I realized that maybe the fall off the kitchen table to the cement floor did a little more damage to my machine than I had originally thought!  Time to shop for a new model.

We often get emails from people asking for sewing machine recommendations and there is usually a running thread in the photo pool discussion, so let’s talk sewing machines today.  (We’ve done this before, but it has been a very long time.)  If you want to qualify to win a yard of free fabric from Sew,Mama,Sew!, please tell us about your sewing machine.  What do you love?  What do you hate?  Any recommendations for narrowing down the options for those of us who are in the market for something new?  If you’re machine-less, or looking to upgrade what are your priorities or what questions do you have? 

We’ll randomly select four winners on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

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513 Responses to Free Fabric Friday

  1. WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..more wait .. …

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  3. Mavis Mekee says:

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  4. Sidney says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?Thanks

  5. Thanks for the fantastic post – I enjoyed reading it! I always enjoy looking at this blog. 🙂

  6. Mandy says:

    I have a newer pfaff which I use daily and is the best sewing machine ever. I love it

  7. CutieShelly says:

    i really like your writing style

  8. sajones says:


    I have a vicking 415. I misplaced my book and I forgot how to thread my machine.

  9. Sera Jahn says:

    I have been sewing since I was a child, my mother also has been sewing since an early age.
    For the most part my family in general including my uncle the tailor in europe come from a long history of sewers. Machines well it is easy, the older Singer Machines are great for almost any type of simple sewing and are inexpensive. But a machine with all the bell and whistles can also be a dream to anyone who sews and for any reason. I have a number of machines including a long arm by gammill. So I have experience in a variety of machines. I love Pfaff, Bernina, Janome along with my tfour old singer machines. I believe the choice is up to each individual and how much are you really going to use the machine and what for. If you honestly can afford a new high end machine go for it! They are not getting any cheaper.
    As far as the embroidery units, they are nice if you have the time to use them as it does take time. So here is to Pfaff,, Bernina, Janome and the old trusted Singers.

  10. J Jordan says:

    In response to Carol in Pensacola. Go to JoAnns. They actually know the Singer 9940 and can assist you in most cases.

  11. carol mathews says:

    I bought a sewing machine from hancocks before they closed here
    in Pensacola, fl and I still can’t work it right does anyone have
    a Singer Quantum 9940 cost me almost $900.00 and that was because
    they were going out of business to get it that cheap they said.
    I called Singer and asked if they could help me and they
    told me it was my problem.
    Desperate for a friend with knowledge. I am still using my
    mom from when I was in my 20’s when she died. I have no sewing buddies.
    It’s just me.
    In need of help

  12. Susan says:

    I have a Bernina MiniMatic that was given to me as a wedding present in 1976. In the intervening 32 years, I have sewn everything from tents to fine children’s clothing. It has had to be serviced once and that was recently. It is small enough to be portable.

    I don’t drool over the new fancy machines (it would have to be a Bernina for me) because the MiniMatic does what I need/want it to do.

  13. Jeanne says:

    I have a Pfaff Tiptronic 2030 and a ruffler attachment. I now have a granddaughter to go along with it. However, there are no instructions on attaching, let along how to make a ruffle. Can you help? Thanks.

  14. Grace Sulsberger says:

    I had a very basic Brother that was a work-horse. Would sew anything!! I received it as a Christmas gift from my mom years ago. It truly kept on going and going and going! I have since passed it along to my daughter. Then I got my mother’s hand-me-down Viking 980. It has built-in stitches that many others do not have, that I still go to when I need that stitch, but it has issues with the power cord! For a while I was sewing with a Pfaff 7570 (it embroiders also)… what a Wonderful sewing instrument! It is truly a Cadillac among sewing machines when it comes to the sewing part. And compared to the Brother, Viking, Singer, Kenmore machines I’ve sewn on it is an outstanding machine! Digitizing embroidery stuff was not user friendly! Now I have a Brother 8500 and the sewing is fine, the embroidery is fun, but it does not sew like a dream as the Pfaff did!

  15. Steph says:

    I have the Husqevarna Viva. My sis-in-law has the same one but we both have bad trouble. It jams up and the tension goes crazy. However, in all fairness, I should have taken the free classes for it b/c I am deathly afraid to use it. It is so intimidating. I had my first born right after I got it I really did not get to the learning. She has the same troubles with hers so……

  16. Yolanda says:

    I’m looking for a embroidery machine new or used, it would be my first, but I have received so many different opinions from dealers on brands etc. I do not want to go overboard on cost, anyone have any ideas

  17. JunieBug35 says:

    MommyKat …Go to e-bay. You will find a lot of “those cogs” for your Elna SU. What I am looking for is the feed dog cover plate for my Elna SU which I bought in 1977 and it still works like a champ, but cannot do free-style stitching without it.

  18. Carol says:

    I’ve been using a pretty basic Kenmore sewing maching that has roughly 20 or so decorative stitches and an automatic buttonhole function (which I LOVE). It can be tempermental at times with the thread tension, but on the whole, has done a great job helping me to create random items such as purses, little dresses for young family members, blankets, etc. And, although this machine has served me well for almost 10 years and has only had to be serviced once, I recently invested in Husqvarna 715 that has many more functions and stitches than my Kenmore. I like that it has a darning function and will allow you to do mirror images of certain stitches. The one drawback (well, not entirely because you can purchase it) is that it does not come with a button sensor foot like the higher-end Husqvarna Platinum 735 and 755 models do. I do like the fact that if I decide to upgrade within the next year, I can apply the FULL amount that I paid for my machine to purchase a better model. Either an embroidery maching or a serger with be my next purchase.

  19. Bonnie Hill says:

    Wow! I’m surprised at all the different brands that people buy. As for me, I am a true blue, Bernina fan. I purchased my first sewing machie (a Bernina 830) in the early 1970’s when I was still in Jr. High. It has been a workhorse for me thru the years. Never had any problems with it. Several years ago I got into quilting, and two years ago I purchased a Pfaff Grandhobby with a quilting frame so I can quilt my own quilts. I am looking to purchase a new machine right now, so I can have a machine that will do a blanket stitch. I am considering the Bernina Activa 230. I know they are pricey, but the quality of the machine makes it worth it to me!!!

  20. Christine says:

    I have a Elna Supermatic, circa 1953, which I LOVE. I got it for next to nothing at a rummage sale, and put $120.00 into having it serviced. It works like a dream. Knee lever operated, cams for all the stretch stitches, powerful. Lovely. At my community college they have beautiful Berninas, such a dream to sew on. Usually they are serviced every semester, not this semester. I was quite happy sewing along on my Elna while many students had jammed, inoperable, expensive Berninas.

  21. Jillian Weston says:

    I have 2 machines, a Janome 10000 that I absolutely love embroidering on, (my first machine ever was a Janome 2100 (which is still going by the way, at approx. 24 years of age!)) and my second machine that was purchased only weeks ago, is a Huskylock 936 5 thread overlocker with coverstitch, which so far I find fantastic, my only gripe is that I haven’t yet found any sewing ideas or tips for the use of some of these stitches in an alternative way to the regular use for them, and I know that they can be used in other ways!! If anybody can point me in the direction of a website or anywhere that would be useful it would be very much appreciated, Thanks!

  22. jo ebisujima says:

    I have a Brother machine, one of the Innovis models, love the self threading needle and the fact that I can see when the bobbin is about to run out of thread. It has 12 stitches, nothing too fancy, i would have liked some fancy stitches but it was out of my price range :o(.

  23. Kathy Wheeler says:

    I am looking for a new machine, probably an embroidery/and quilting machine. I’m tempted by the Babylock Ellageo. I will probably test the Berninas since they get such great reviews. I have used Singer machines for the past 45 years with no major problems. I had a Singer Golden Touch and Sew last for more than 30 years. Finally, it was no longer sensible to replace gears again. I began picking up used machines in thrift shops and cleaning them up. Now I have several old Singers that need various repairs, one Singer 635 that works great, and a Singer Professional that needs a new thread guide. I LOVE my Bernina Serger with dual feed. I have an old industrial Brother serger that I don’t know how to thread.

  24. Winnipeg says:

    Pfaff is No. 1 in my books – could not sew / live without Integrated Dual Feed -& Needle down – makes quilting and sewing so much more efficient and effortless.

  25. Steven says:

    I just purchased a new Viking Scandinavia 400. I was shopping for several weeks before settling on it. What sold me most was the customer service where I purchased the machine. The place that sold the other machines (which I’m sure are very good machines so I won’t mention names) was horribly snotty to me and I’m not into all that.

    I’m not sure I’ll use the embroidery features but it’s nice to have. So far, my favorite features have been the needle up/down and that I can set the maximum speed for the stitching. It helps me keep under control, as I’m mostly a “by the seat of the pants” crafter. Oh, and I’m very much a fan of not having to unthread the needle to wind a bobbin. That’s awesome.

  26. Bonnie says:

    I am a Bernina lover!! I have had my machine for almost 20 years and aside from having it serviced every 18 months or so, I have never had a thing done to it. It still runs like a charm. I also have a Brother embroidery machine which works fin but it’s new to me so I don’t have much to say about it and a Bernina a serger which I also love.

    I would suggest you find a dealer you feel comfortable with and take your time picking something out. They often have great deals on pre-owned machines, if you are so inclined.

    Good luck to you!

  27. emily says:

    Well following the weekend I’m now up to 3 sewing machines. I added a Montgomery Ward machine from the 40s or 50s, in cabinet, straight stitch only, and a Kenmore 158.17550, same 60’s model I owned previously. It has an electrical short that my dad’ll help me sort out, but appears to be in mint condition mechanically. There aren’t words to describe how clean and shiny its guts are.

    Later today I’m expecting a Janome coverstitcher, and at that point I’ll have 3 sewing machines, a serger, and a coverstitcher. 🙂

  28. Blakely says:

    I have two machines one is a Kenmore that my parents got me. Not the best, but they thought I wouldn’t sew much and they didn’t want to invest a lot. The other is a Baby Lock Quilters Addition. I got it two years ago right before I got married. We had a yard sale of all of our duplicate stuff, and since most of it was my stuff I got to decide what to do with the money. So I purchased a new sewing machine of course. I like both machines, but I am not completely satisfied with the Baby Lock. It doesn’t like to sew thick fabrics without the safety coming on. It sews nice stiches, and has more stiches than I could ever use. I know that if I worked with it more I would enjoy it. I have to admit that I don’t use the Kenmore much anymore, but it is my back up for when my Baby Lock has to go to be cleaned or fixed. I would one day love to have an old metal Elna from the late 60s or early 70s. Sorry for the long post.

  29. Larici says:

    Am I still in time? I have a basic Brother machine, although it is computerized. It was a present from my husband 2 years ago. I am a beginner so for me it was just what I needed to learn to sew. The machine works fine and usually when I had a problem it was my fault and easy to fix. At the moment I haven’t done anything fancy, just some bags, tablecloths and things like that. But I guess once I start to do more complicated stuff (I’m planning a quilt), I may need an upgrade.

  30. Kara says:

    I have an old 70’s Singer that I found on Craigslist. It’s been perfect for me to learn on, it is easy and very sturdy, but the more I am quilting the more I want to upgrade. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, but a quilting foot and the ability to do free motion quilting would be very cool. Thanks for bringing this topic up, I will read through all of people’s recommendations!

  31. Sarah S says:

    I have a Viking Interlude 435 that i bought a couple years ago. I started using it when i was just getting into quilting, but now that I have started garment and home dec sewing I use the decorative stitches more often. For me it is a perfect machine. Enough fun stuff to mess with, but not so much to be overwhelming! I have never had any trouble with this machine in the time I have had it.

  32. Beth says:

    Only Kenmore for me!! I’m a lifelong sewer and would not buy anything but a Kenmore. I learned to sew on a 1960’s model and have bought two more since.(over past 30 years). I own a singer and it does not compare. Happy sewing!

  33. Bag Lady says:

    I have and have had several brands of sewing machines. My current collection includes 1 Janome, 2 Singers, 2 Prodigi, 1 Brother Pacesetter 8500, 1 Brother Innovis 4000D, and 1 Brother PR600.

    My Jamone is one of the first computerized machines they came out with. I’ve used it almost daily since I bought it in 1984 and have never had a moment’s trouble with it. It has never needed to be serviced. It has built in embroidery stitches, but doesn’t have hoops.

    The 2 Singers are quite old – 1 more than 50 years old – and are great machines for sewing. The XL1000 has embroidery hoops, but doesn’t cut jump stitches, so I never use it for embroidery.

    I rarely use the Brother 8500 for the same reason – it doesn’t cut jump stitches. The Brother PR600 uses 6 threads, cuts all jump stitches, has hoops up to 6×10, and is in constant use. The Innovis 4000D has hoops up to 6×10, uses only 1 thread, cuts every jump stitch, and gets used daily.

    The 2 head Prodigi is a commercial machine, uses 12 threads, and cuts all jump stitches. I’ve had a severe shoulder injury and it is difficult for me to thread, so I’m not using it much right now. It is a great machine, but it is backed by a very understaffed company and it is nearly impossible to get training or service.

    I bought a top of the line Pfaff Creative Vision last October. It is a $10,000.00 piece of junk. The dealer told me that Pfaff would come out with a feature that cuts jump stitches. They have not done so and I’ve recently been informed by Pfaff that they have no intentions of developing this feature. The machine (when it works, which is rarely) stitches VERY slowly. It breaks threads constantly. It is difficult to program. My machine has been out of order since last December and the dealer still says he doesn’t have time to service it. A friend who bought her machine the same day I bought mine is having similar problems. The software costs almost $3000. The dealers insist that you need this software. You do not! You can do everything with Embird that you can do with 4D and do it much more easily for a considerably lower cost.

    My next purchase will be the new Brother Duetta, then the new Inbro.

    I have 45 years experience with sewing and embroidery. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at I’ll be happy to help if I can.

  34. Sam. says:

    I use a Singer (2950, I think) that I bought refurbished about a year ago. And boy, do I use that thing! It’s not a commercial machine but I’ve still used it daily since I bought it and it’s held up rather well. It’s ‘broken down’ twice, the first time the problem was simple enough for me to fix on my own (without the help of Singer customer service, I might add – they’re awful by the way) and the second time I just took it to a service shop (whose owners were awesome enough to give me a brand new machine to use while I waited on mine) and spent 50 bucks on a tune up.
    Singer used to actually have an online store but I’m not sure they do now. From there you used to be able to buy refurnished machines that were under a new warranty…it was awesome!

    All in all, I really do love my machine. It was fairly cheap (about 150 bucks), it puts up with all the work I make it do, and it’s held up well. If it weren’t for the abismal customer service (generic form emails about my problems with my machine aren’t helpful Singer, but thanks!) I’d highly recommend Singer 🙂

  35. Heather says:

    I have a Bernina 1008 that I purchased to replace a Riccar machine I had that was perpetually jamming. I am very happy with it. It has a variety of decorative stitches which are fine (I seldom use them) and makes an acceptable button hole (button hole foot makes this easier but it is not necessary). It can handle several thick layers without too much angst (good for making bags).
    My mother has several machines including a Pfaff 7530 Creative – if she is in a foul mood, I know she has been trying to use this one. It is extraordinarily difficult to set the tension on this machine and one seems to spend twice as long getting the tension set as one spends actually using the machine. She generally ends each session with the machine declaring that she should just get rid of it.

  36. Tia Curtis says:

    I have 2 Berninas. My first was an Artista 165 and my second it an Artista 640. I love them both very much. They are such well behaved ladies. I do have the embroidry thingies for each, but I don’t use them. I spend most of my sewing time quilting and making bags, not embroidering. They will both sew through just about anything as long as I am using the proper foot and correct needle. The tension is lovely, there are a zillion stitches to select from…I am a Bernina girl. Can’t say enough wonderful things about my swiss ladies. Yay Bernina!

  37. Kathy says:

    I have a Janome 4623LE. I love my machine, except for the fact that you can not move the needle to the left of the center position and it doens’t have the blanket stitch available. I would love to have a Bernina with the BSR.

  38. Sonja says:

    I have a very basic Finesse that I bought when I thought I would just be fixing something occassionaly, but then I discovered I actually really like sewing. Now I’m also looking around for something industrial strength I think because I’m so sick of breaking about 2-3 needles everytime I’m trying to put a zip in a handbag. I have been offere a Yamata FY5550. Anybody know anything about this machine ?

  39. Donna says:

    My 20 year old brother machine is perfect in every way. No computers, no magic, nothing complicated. Just plug her in and away I go.

  40. Astra says:

    I just upgraded from the really cheap Brother to a Janome and I am definately not looking back! I have to agree with a previous reply that talked about the speed adjustment being a great feature. Besides that the sewing is just so smooth compared to my olde machine. I did keep it arounf for the kids to learn on though.

  41. Olivia Joy says:

    I have an old Kenmore, it works really good, except the tension gets off really easily.

  42. Jody says:

    I have an old Pfaff and love it, but it doesn’t do all it should anymore. It lasted 30+ years though and was a real workhorse for me.

    I have a Brother Disney model, with embroidery. It has some great stitches and I love the automatic thread cutter, but it doesn’t have enough strength in the feed area. I’ve given this one to the kids and it’s perfect for them. The machine doesn’t require a presser foot and can be set very to sew very slowly, perfect for new sewers and ones whose feet don’t reach the floor yet.

    I have a new Pfaff and don’t love it. It’s very tempermental … I have to rethread it constantly and the tension is often not right. It does have nice stitches and I love the built in walking foot feature, but I wish I’d bought a Bernina and may trade mine in.

  43. Thea says:

    I have a Brother XL-3500… it has way more stitches than I use, but it has done good by me so far ( 1 year)
    It has one feature that I LOVE and wish I had on all the machines at the school I teach at: the bobbin loads flat, right next to the foot. I think production from my 8th graders would improve 30% with this feature, as I am CONSTANTLY reminding them how to properly load bobbins into their machines.

  44. jessi says:

    I have a Pfaff Tiptronic and I am fairly satisfied with it. My only complaint is that you cannot set it to stop with the needle down – it’s a fairly fancy machine and I’m disappointed that it doesn’t have this feature.

  45. ambre sautter says:

    i just traded in my walmart singer for a janome 6260 and i love her. her name is beth and i would recommend her to anyone! you can’t have mine though. you must get your own. 🙂

  46. Jenny says:

    I have my mom’s old Janome Limited Edition and it’s great. It’s relatively basic and sometimes I wish it had all the bells and whistles, but then I’d have to figure out how to use them so it’s probably ok that it doesn’t! I really want an embroidery machine next though, so I’m always looking for ideas- can we talk about that next?

  47. Annika says:

    I have a very basic Kenmore that I bought at Sears two years ago. I think it has something like 18 stitches, but I have pretty much just used straight and zig-zag. What more do you need? And the price was right. I would very much like to (eventually) have an older machine and/or a more industrial workhorse machine but I really love my Kenmore.

  48. Silver Ilix says:

    Well, I learned on my mother’s machine, but this past year I have inherited my own Kenmore! So it seems that not only is it a great begining machine, but it can see me through many things. i have always loved the idea of having a machine that could embroider, so I can do simple monograms. Of course my machine is not capable of such things…. i can dream.

    I think that I like the little things that my mothers machine has that make it easier for me to use, switching from straight to serger and this new machine does not have it… I have to get used to this one…. and I will.

  49. michal says:

    i’ve got a Singer 8280 that my husband bought for me for my birthday two years ago. it’s a great basic, with lots of functions for its size and price (i believe it was a Target special machine). it’s pretty sturdy too – i’ve abused it quite a bit in the learning to sew process. my only recommendation for it – clean and oil it frequently and change the needle for almost every project. i’d also sew (or buy) a new machine cover for it. the cover that comes with the machine has a hole in it for the handle on the machine, and it collects dust quite quickly.
    here’s my machine in action:

  50. Sara Hemmeke says:

    I have a Kenmore from Sears – pretty basic but I love it. Love it mostly because it’s not intimidating! And service shops are pretty easy to find and not too expensive. I don’t even use all the “fancy” stitches, but LOVE LOVE LOVE the one-step buttonhole feature. That is a must, whatever brand machine you buy.

  51. Claire says:

    I have a 1920s Singer featherweight! It used to be my great-grandma’s machine and it still runs perfectly. LOVE it. I do all of my sewing on it. These machines are really coming back-everyone says they are just little workhorses and so easy to transport because they are so small.

  52. Anary says:

    I have a Singer Ingenuity. I am in love with it. So far the machine has done everything and more than I could imagine. I love it. I just finish a bag, using heavy fabric and the machine did not complain a bit! This machine is so worth the money, and very affordable.

  53. kathi says:

    I have a Pfaff 2144. Of all its features, my favorite is the needle down. I don’t like the way it winds bobbins.

  54. peggyann says:

    I have no less than 6 machines + a serger: nothing newer than 25 years old!
    1. Sears Kennmore my parents gave me in 1974 as a grad gift. Now I loan it out.
    2. Elna Juliblee is the newest, which is my main workhorse. 12 stitches and I use 4.
    3. a 1950 something Piedmond in real retro turquoise stainless steel that weighs 50 lbs. I love that machine.
    4. My MIL’s in a cabinet and I don’t know what it is.
    5. A black Singer from the 50’s that I bartered for, just to get the feet!
    6. My grandmothers treadle, try as hard as she could, I couldn’t ever get the hang of it.

    I hope to inherit my mom’s 1950 black Singer—-I one I learned to sew on.!

  55. jodie says:

    I have a Singer Simple – my first.

  56. I have a Kenmore 19606 that I got two years ago for Christmas. It is the top of the line computerized machine they have. It is regularly $799, but I got a great deal. Someone had thought they were getting an embroidery machine and when they realized it wasn’t, they brought it back. It was still brand spankin new in the box, and I got it for $450. I cannot begin to say how much I love my machine. It has never given me any trouble, it sews beautifully and is so quiet and smooth. It has LOTS of pretty embroidery stitches, 7 buttonholes, and my favorite feature, an up/down needle button. I have always wanted a Viking or a Bernina, but could never afford one. However, I don’t think I could get anything better than my Kenmore. I do know that these machines are made by Janome.

  57. babelouise says:

    I have a Singer 301 long bed that was my husband’s grandmother’s sewing machine. It weighs a ton, is a pain to haul around, but has lots of different feet and sews beautifully. I love it.

  58. Jackie K. says:

    I create on Mom’s hand-me down machines. I’ve never gone through the process of choosing a machine for myself. First machine was a 1980’s kenmore workhorse, now I’m lucky to have her old Janome MC 9000 – complete with cabinet with motorized lift and smooth table top insert. I’m spoiled!! I’ve barely scratched the surface of what this machine will do. And I’m brutal with it – using it for quilting, mixed media work, general sewing too. In a box on the floor is another hand me down – an Elna serger I’ve never tried. All those thread paths to figure out – very daunting.

  59. Meghan W says:

    I have a Viking freesia. It’s a computerized machine and I can change stitches, stitch length and width all with the touch of a button. It has auto fix which is a locking stitch, which means no backstitching! It has a drop in bobbin with a clear cover so you can see when you’re running low on bobbin thread. Whoops you ran out mid project? No need to unthread your needle to load your bobbin. You can wind the bobbin from the needle.
    Must haves for me after sewing on a vintage machine would be the drop in bobbin and self lubricating.

  60. I have a singer touch and sew deluxe. It is awesome so far but I’ve only used it twice since I took it out of the box. I had a basic model by White. It was awful compared to this very awesome touch and sew… Can’t wait to do more with it, I just need to get more energy– I’m expecting baby #2 and haven’t had the energy lately! 🙂

  61. Jen says:

    This is almost the fifth time I have heard of sewing machines taking a tumble… that’s how my mom’s broke too! I have a Signer, and my Brother serger arrives on Tuesday for my birthday…. I can hardly wait!

  62. EmmyLizzy says:

    I currently use a Baby Lock 1550 that I got at a garage sale for $40. Before that I started off with an old old old Singer that my dad got for me at a garage sale for $3. That’s right – three dollars! No bells and whistles on either of them, but they get the job done. What I don’t enjoy about them is that they are an absolute beast with free-motion quilting. You really have to put your muscles into it!

  63. mikawendy says:

    I have a Bernina 145 Activa Patchwork Edition–got it about 9 yrs. ago, and it’s never given me a bit of trouble. I sew mostly patchwork and quilting, but I also do some garment sewing (woven and knit). I think the prices on the Berninas have gone down since then. Mine came with four or five presser feet, including the patchwork foot for sewing a 1/4 seam allowance.

    The features I love most about it are the needle down feature, stitch length/width memory, ability to lower the feed dogs, and the automatic buttonholes. I didn’t buy it with the freehand system (to raise and lower the presser foot, but I can have it retrofitted if I want). It came with a complimentary pack of about 20 fat eighths and 8-10 spools of Mettler thread (part of a promotion).

    It is a heavy machine (relative to Pfaff and other machines), so for someone wanting to travel a lot with it or to take it to a lot of classes, that might be a drawback. A lot of the other ladies who own Berninas that I’ve seen at the store have wheelie carts for them.

    I never have tension troubles except when I don’t have the right needle for the kind of fabric I’m sewing.

  64. Concha says:

    I have a Pfaff Hobby 1042. It’s pretty basic but it’s a great machine. I use it on a regular basic and I can’t complain!

  65. Christie says:

    I have a Simplicity “Denim Buster” that my husband bought me as a birthday gift a few years ago. I’ve actually never tried to bust denim so I don’t know about that feature. It is a simple machine for a beginner which was perfect for me at that time. I really have learned that I love quilting. I haven’t made many but I would really love to learn to free motion quilting and I’m pretty sure that I would need a different machine for that. But I can’t justify a costly upgrade just yet. I really have enjoyed this blog so much. Thanks.

  66. Dawn says:

    I have a Janome Jem Platinum 720. It is my first sewing machine and I bought it specifically so that it would grow with me. It has 20 different stitches which is great and it is also computerized. It’s also small which is really great for me since I live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of space. It’s really easy to use and is obviously a high quality machine so I don’t get frustrated all of the time and I can just focus on learning new things, not making the machine work. I’ve had this machine for several years and I’m very happy!!!

  67. Katy G says:

    I have a Viking Sapphire 850. I *love* it. Here are the things that I love the most:

    – It has an automatic presser foot, so to lower the presser foot, you tap the foot peddle. It also automatically adjusts to the thickness of the fabric, so it is very easy to go from two layers of fabric to thick layers of fabric and back. This feature lets me sew things that would have at least broken a needle on my other machine.
    – It has an automatic button hole feature, so you can set the type and length of buttonhole and then sew as many as you want and they all are exactly the same.
    – You can set it to stop with the needle down. When you stop this way, the presser foot raises a tiny bit to hover above the fabric which makes pivoting incredibly easy.
    – It has an extra long arm, so machine quilting is a bit easier.
    – It has a ton of stitches and I can go from doing intricate heirloom work to machine quilting without sacrificing quality with either.
    – All Viking presser feet are interchangable, so if you invest in extra feet and then upgrade your machine, you still have all the feet.

    I’m trying to think of cons and am having a hard time. I love this machine and I expect to use it for several years. The accessory box that holds the presser feet is nice, but it’s kind of a PITA to get the stored bobbins out. But that’s not really a machine issue….

  68. Lynn says:

    I have a Bernina 1230. I love the knee lift and the needle down features. I do a lot of machine quilting with it also. It has a great stitch. It has a lot of fancy stitches and things that I played with when it was new but I don’t use them now. I mostly use the straight stitch. I use the zig zag stitch sometimes and the serpentine stitch for patching jeans. I like that it has the removable bed so that you can patch pant legs.

  69. Somer says:

    I do love my Kenmore. Its easy to fix if I have a problem and pretty straight forward. I have had it for 17 years. I also have a Singer and it has the stitches I need for the more intricate sewing. I got it 2 years ago when I started heirloom sewing. Both are good machines, I have taken the Singer for service more often.

  70. Doreen says:

    I have a Brother XL-5130. It has never given me reason to complain, but then, I am still learning all there is to know about sewing and don’t really do anything very fancy at this stage. What I really want is a Serger, but there is so much I don’t know about them that I feel like I don’t even know where to start in trying to buy one. For instance, what features are important, and what features are just “nice to have”, etc.

  71. Liz says:

    I have a Bernina 150 Quilter’s Edition that is about seven years old and I love it! I love just about everything about it. I love the knee lift, the easy adjustments and threading, how I can sew a million miles an hour, or at a snail’s pace. I love the decorative stitches (blanket stitch most of all,) and the fact that I have never had it cleaned or serviced in that time and she is still going strong. I wish I had a stitch regulator on her like the new Berninas do, but I’ve lived without it this long, I can last a while longer.

  72. kerri says:

    I recently got a Janome DC3050 after having a Kenmore-y Sears brand machine for 18 years. This Janome is such a work horse, it sews anything I throw at it. It has 50 stitches though I don’t actually use them, but they are there if needed. I love almost everything about it. I never tried a Janome before, but after using this guy for a couple of months I would recommend one to anyone.

  73. I started in 1989 with a simple Brother machine and it still runs fine today! I use it now for scrapbooking (sewing paper and elements). I now have another Brother machine, simple model with quilting options that I use all of the time. My only problem with it is when I want to use the free-style quilting option…the feed dogs get stuck and I have to manually put them back into place, a big pain!!!!
    I am now looking for a different machine, because this problem is eating into my time! For all other sewing this is a great machine, just not for free-motion quilting!
    (I love seeing the other opinions!)

  74. Vickie says:

    I have a Bernina 1000 and really like it! Hope to win!

  75. Kirsten says:

    I’ve got a very basic Huskystar 207 – but after yeras and years of sewing by hand, I am finally starting to make friends with my machine. I can take the cover off and turn it on without my heart pounding nervously – and that’s a big step for me. I like it, but I know it doesn’t have all those bells and whistles. Maybe some day. Or I’ll keep sewing by hand. 🙂

  76. upstatelisa says:

    I have an 8 year old Bernina virtuosa which I absolutely love. One of its best features is the knee lever which operates the presser foot! couldn’t live without it!!!

  77. Deborah Fair says:

    I purchased a Bernina Aurora 440QE (Quilters Edition) about a year ago and I love it.

    In 1979 I bought a top of the line Viking that was supposed to last for the rest of my life, but last year one of the gears broke and couldn’t be fixed. I was heartbroken because I LOVED that machine.

    After looking at the new Vikings and many others, I settled on this Bernina. It comes with a walking foot and a stitch regulator for quiltmaking. It’s actually called a “sewing computer” rather than a sewing machine, so it’s taken some time to get used to the computer. But so far it’s worked fabulous. There are lots of extra feet that can be purchased for different techniques. And this model can add an embroidery module at a later date, if desired. I took the class on using the embroidery module and will probably add it at some time.

    It’s a pricey machine, but after my experience with my Viking (which was pricey at the time) I know that it is worth it to buy a really good machine if you sew a lot. My machines always pay for themselves many, many times over.

  78. Lil' d says:

    I have a Europro Shark, which I was given. Despite all the poor reviews, I actually haven’t had any problems with it and it has been a good machine so far. I saw a review for a Toyota beginner sewing machine, which sounded like a great beginner machine, but I’m not sure that they’re available in the States. I probably wouldn’t have chosen mine as I would have read all the reviews first, but I have been pleased with it. (Thank you grandma-in-law)

  79. Tina says:

    I have a basic Singer model that I got at a warehouse store for about $200. It does the job and seems to work fine. I’ve never used anything beyond straight stitch and zig zag. It didn’t come with some attachments that I now wish I had like a running foot. I don’t think it makes a satin stitch, which I wish it did, but maybe I just need to play with the zig zag stitch? It’s not a computerized model or anything like that. One day, I think I’d like a serger, but I’m not ready for that yet! For $200, it was certainly a good purchase, and I’ve never had any problems with it.

  80. Nichole says:

    I LOVE MY PFAFF! I couldn’t live without the intregrated feed system, or built-in walking foot. It helps everything feed so smoothly and come out just right. I have it engaged for all of my sewing projects, but it is especially easy and wonderful for machine quilting. I love not having to attach and remove a seperate foot when I am switching back and forth between quilting and regular sewing. I would advise anyone to get the best Pfaff they can afford with the integrated feed and needle-down functions, and they will be happy!

  81. erika says:

    My MIL gave me her old avacado green Kenmore which I believe is older than me (35)! I haven’t used it much but have enjoyed it when I do. I do wish that it had an auto threader but I don’t use it as much as I wish I did so… My thought is that when I start sewing a little more I’ll invest in a newer maching but then again if I invested I might start sewing more now.

  82. I have a Singer Featherweight which I love because it is so straight forward and simple to use. It is great for bag making and simple craft projects and utterly reliable. It looks wonderful being black with gold decoration and is easy to take around because it is so light. I also have a Brother 3000 which has the embroidery unit as well as ordinary sewing. It does everything except make my cups of tea!

  83. Michelle says:

    I have a few machines. However, I have sewn on a Bernina for years. I wanted to replace it with a machine with a built in walking foot – I tried the new Babylock Quest. There was no comparison to the way the Bernina sewed. So, I ended up with a new Bernina 440, which I love. That being said, I also love my Babylock Ellegante – which I primarily use for embroidery. I also have a Viking MegaQuilter that I use for free motion embroidery.

    Good luck with your decision.

  84. Kathryn says:

    I have a 30 year old kenmore. It’s strong. It’s been through vinyl cushions my mom made for my dad’s boat, countless kids clothes and me learning to sew. So it’s a tough machine. I love it’s ability to just keep on trucking, but it no longer has a button hole attachment, which makes buttonholes impossible, and it’s very basic. No fancy stitches unless you count zigzag. I will never part with this machine, but I’d like one with the ability to quilt.

  85. Bekah says:

    hhhmmm. what I love about my sewing machine are the memories attatched to it. My husband and I got married in late 2005, in a whirl wind of complication. Our wedding was scheduled and announced when hurricane Rita hit my hometown. So we went to stay in Dallas with his parents and ended up tying the knot there and living there for the next nine months. I missed my family terribly ( who remained in South Louisiana trying ot repair), but some of our friends got word of our “married state” and sent us best wishes and gift cards. Well, needless to say, we needed the money for things much more important than sewing machines but in the midst of my agony and distress my sweet husband went to Target and used a one hundred dollar gift card to buy a sewing machine that ended up costing EXACTLY 99 dollars!!! I was so thrilled and that sewing machine kept me busy sewing and kept my mind off soem of the difficult things I was facing… I got esspecially busy sewing baby clothes and burp rags when I found out one month after our marriage, that we were expecting a baby!
    Two years later, we have now moved back to Louisiana, only about six miles from my parents place and my childhood home, and now I have a buddy that likes to sit on my lap and “help” me sew but holding on to a corner of the fabric as it slides through the presserfoot. Abby is 20 months old and she is definalty a “seamstress in the making!”. I dont think I would have made it through that chaotic year with out my trusty ole’ 99 dollar gem!!!!

  86. Louisa says:

    I have a simple kenmore machine. It works fairly well, but it makes me sad that I cannot adjust the width of the zig zag stitch or lower my feed dogs. Both of which I think are pretty useful things to do. I would like to upgrade, but as mine is basically serviceable it is hard to decide to spend the money.

  87. Jaxz says:

    I have an antique Singer sewing machine circa 1930s that belonged to my late grandmother – I remember hiding under the table and swinging on the treadle when I was young! My dad has added an electric motor to it and it still serves the needs of the family… my school uniforms (as were my siblings’) were all sewn using it by my mum.

  88. Sarah says:

    I have a very basic Janome. I like it, but it needs a tuneup. My MIL has a gorgeous high-end Janome, it is fantastic. So I dream of upgrading one day. I have been very happy with the brand overall, though before spending a ton of money on a new one I would definitely do some research.

  89. Carolyn says:

    I bought a Bernette 80e last fall. It cost about $600 (Canadian). I really like the solid feel of the machine (some other brands in the same price range that I looked at seemed too “plasticy”), and the features are great! Nothing extraordinarily fancy, but useful things like drop-down feed dogs and one-step buttonhole. I’d highly recommend one.

  90. I recently got a used Bernina artista – still playing with the embroidery features but Ilove the ease of switching stitches on the machine. I also had a Viking Huskystar 224 that I loved – I would definitely buy that machine again – I lovemy Bernina but here was something about the huskystar – I miss it!

  91. I have a Kenmore that my parents bought me, OMG, over 10 years ago! It’s seen a ton of use. Not my favorite, but it does the job. I love the old machines with the metal cases. Those things are workhorse. I dream of owning a Bernina or a Pfaff.

  92. Melanie says:

    I too have been searching for a new machine for the past 6 months, and taking on the advice of my mother (who owns a fabric store in another town to me, and asks customers all the time what sort of machine they have and would suggest to me) and from myself working in a fabric shop with a lady who owned a sewing machine shop here in Australia for over 30 years I have only been advised to get either a Pfaff or a Bernina. I read through a few of the reviews on the way down to the bottom and I have to say, the reason that a Bernina and (some) Pfaff
    s are more expensive is that they are just built better. It is still assembled by hand, using METAL parts, which is unlike A LOT of cheaper machines which use cheap crappy plastic parts, which if you are a regular user of your sewing machine will mean that it will wear quicker than the other machines. The downside to the metal parts is that it can make the machine weigh a tonne!

    I personally currently own a Bernina 830 which I have had for 4 years and purchased second hand for $300. The only thing pushing me towards upgrading from this machine (which has been fantastic – the only time I have had a problem with it is when I used a bobbin that I wound on my mothers Bernina 1230 and for some reason the tension was stuffing up which is unusual because I have stolen many of her bobbins before) is that it is now well past the 30 years since its origonal production, it means that Bernina can no longer guarantee parts for it.
    I will be upgrading to a Bernina 430, which considering I am still a uni student is fairly expensive by my standards ($2000 AUS) but will hopefully serve me for the rest of my quilting life.

  93. linsey says:

    I have a Janome 405. It is very basic and I love it. I do a lot of hand embroidery and stitching so I don’t need (or want) one with all the fancy extras. Although I would love a serger! To quote my husband, “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.” It gets the job done and I love that.

  94. Lisa says:

    I was given a used Kenmore several years ago, but I could never get the tension right and it must have weighed 75 pounds. I bought a kenmore 16231 just over a year ago. It was on sale for about the same price as the next lower model, but seemed to be a much better machine. I did not know about all of the features when I bought it and thought I would not use them, but why not when it wasn’t going to cost more? I love that it has a speed control on it. It can turn the speed way down and I am using it on slow to teach my daughter. I love the needle up/down button and I can’t imagine having a machine without a needle threader now. I love my machine and am so glad I got her.

  95. Karen aka Grammy Mac says:

    So happy that the topic is sewing machines. I’m looking for a new machine too. Currently, I have two machines an old Kenmore (’74–got this one as a wedding present (it has lasted much longer than the marriage did) and a bottom of the line New Home. My oldest daughter informed me just last night that she would like my Kenmore when I get my new machine and I talked my youngest daughter out of her New Home by buying her a new machine. What I like about my Kenmore, besides it’s longevity is that it will sew through anything I ask it to. It’s a pretty basic model. The only extras I wanted then were a zig zag stitch and a button hole attachment. That is the only attachment that I have for that machine. I have bought a few extra feet over the years, but that’s about all. I love the machine. Only thing I don’t like is that it is very heavy.

    The New Home is a very basic, lightweight machine that’s easy to haul around. Sewing speed is quite slow, but,here again, does what is asked.

    I have done every kind of sewing on both of these machines (clothing, quilting, heavy-weight fabrics, etc) and put many, many miles on both of them and they keep coming back for more. I’m looking for a machine with more bells and whistles now.

  96. Susan says:

    I have an old Pfaff Tiptronic. It was the first big purchase I ever made–I bought it when I was 18. I’ve been using it for (cough) 25 years now (yikes!). I’ve sewn so much on it: clothes, quilts, gifts, curtains, my kids’ diapers and Halloween costumes. It still works great! It’s easy to use and obviously sturdy. If I could change something about it, I would love neater buttonholes.

    I’ve been thinking of buying a new machine–one with neater buttonholes and more suited to quilting. My 10-year-old daughter is urging me on, but not from love of her mother. She wants my Pfaff!

  97. nikole says:

    I have a Husquavarna Viva that i got a few years back for Christmas and I love it. I love that I can tap the foot pedal and the needle will go up or down, I love the bobbin winder too. I can wind a bobbin without undoing my thread and it loads super easy, just straight in, no metal bobbin holder (what is that thing called?) It came with a bunch of feet and a great manual and I got a couple lessons at the store I bought it from to show me the differences it had.

    Before that I had a Brother that was pretty good for a lot of years. My folks bought it for me used in 1984 and I still use it. They bought me this used one because it was metal and a lot of the newer ones at that time where plastic and more flimsy. It had an AWESOME buttonholer and I still pull it out for buttonholes because I haven’t learned them on my new machine. The one thing I didn’t like is I had to give the handle a roll to get it rolling each time. The machine is over 20 years old though so I’m sure that can be expected!

  98. wow, I have just wasted half an hour reading all these entries.

    I have a Janome Memory Craft 4000. It is about 10 years old. I service it regularly. I love it. It has worked hard. I keep thinking I will trade it in, but seriously, it has never missed a beat and Never let me down.
    two thumbs up,

  99. Tanya says:

    I bought a used Husqvarna Viking a couple of year ago, I believe it was manufactured in the late 70’s. Despite its age, this machine is an indestructible workhorse, very heavy, capable of sewing through almost anything. I was new to sewing when I bought this machine, so I didn’t really know what all I needed or should be wishing for in a machine. Today, I am so glad that I didn’t buy a brand new machine with “tons” of options and bells and whistles, it would have been overkill for me and my sewing projects. My old Viking is serving me well!

  100. Tammy says:

    I use a Bernina Activa 220 that I bought two years ago & I love it. It’s quiet, sews beautifully and I never have to fuss with it. For a long long time I had a Kenmore with 2 stitches and it was wonderful, too – my kids use it now & I do on occasion also. Finding a shop that will help me with my purchase and offer lessons if I needed was very important – something to consider.

  101. Cindy says:

    I, too would like to get another machine in the next year or so–Those dual feed Pfaffs are wonderful–Maybe if I save….
    The little GREEN My Kitty Janome I gave as a gift to my newly married daughter–I tried it out first–and really liked the feel and the stitch was even—It would be a great beginner or a machine for piecing at retreats and classes–very limited in stitches–but what it does do is sew a quiet smooth stitch. Doesn’t come with many accessories–so may need to get a few extra feet–basic Japanese snap on feet fit great!

  102. Meredith says:

    I have two, and I love them both! The first one I got about six and a half years ago. My grandfather had picked it up at a yard sale and got it back to working condition. It’s a 30 or 40yr old Singer. It doesn’t sew well any more, even after cleaning, and it has horrible tension problems. But it came from my grandpa, so it will always be special to me.
    My second one just came this past fall. My mother in law was looking to upgrade hers and let me take the old one. It’s a Viking Husqvarna 960, and has the funniest early 80s, late 70s model booklet. That thing sews beautifully! Finally I can move on to making clothes that I’m not embarrassed to have my kids wear! It has so many features on it that I never use, but it’s nice and quiet, and I love it.
    Good luck in your search for a new machine!

  103. Judy says:

    I think I learned to sew when I was about 12…at a Singer sewing class @ the local fabric store. For years I used my Mom’s Singer Featherweight, which I still have & love. But it can only stitch straight & I really wanted more features, so I recently bought a Singer Quantum 9910. I only wish it came with a sewing room!

  104. Paula says:

    I have a Pfaff triptonic 2030 that’s probably 6 or 7 years old. I LURVE it. Berninas are great too, but I really love my Pfaff. (The best part is the built-in dual feed system.) And the Pfaff has a new stitch regulator add-on that rocks.

  105. Joy says:

    I have an inexpensive Brother machine which I received as a gift about 7(?) years ago. It is very utilitarian but works well. It replaced the machine that my mother received as a college graduation gift in 1962. It was turquoise-y blue with a giant black case. It was so heavy I could hardly move it. When she received it in 1962 it was already old and had been rebuilt! I used it off and on for years.

    I have to say that while this Brother is easier to move, the old machine was a lot tougher
    and stronger. More power to sew through heavier fabrics. The pedal was less finicky, too. Wish I had the old one but at the same time, I’m saving for a newer machine with more stitch capability than straight stitch and zig zag! I told myself that once I started sewing more regularly and more skillfully, I’d get the new machine.

  106. Erica says:

    I have a Huskystar 215 and it works great. I would love a machine that has more decorative stiches & was easier to use for free motions quilting.

  107. I have a Viking 1+ and I got it used. I love my Viking. It’s sturdy. But seriously, my favorite site for sewing machine reviews is here –

  108. Heather says:

    WOW!! Look how much loved gets poured out when you ask us about our best friends…errr I mean sewing machines! This has been great reading through everyones opinions/suggestions!

    I have two machines. The first is an old Singer machine my mother was given as a high school graduations gift (try getting away with that as a gift now), and I adore it! It is heavy, sturdy and I don’t think there is ANYTHING that it cannot sew through.
    The second is a new Brother BC-1000. It’s pretty basic, made from plastic, definately not as sturdy but I really do love it too. It does nearly anything I ask of it and works well without fail.

    A good girlfriend recently purchased a Bernina and I had the opportunity (ok…I invited myself) to give it a test drive. WOW….now I’m ready for my third sewing machine! I just need to convince the husband that I REALLY DO NEED IT!!

  109. Christina says:

    I love my Bernina! Until two years ago, I used a Bernina that was originally my mothers from 1975. They are brilliant sewing machines. I love how heavy they are and how solid they feel. I am currently using model activa 220. It’s wonderful. I love how you thread it and love that you can keep the needle in the down position when sewing should you prefer. It’s also a nice size and not too heavy that I can’t take it with me on beach weekends. The only thing it doesn’t have that I wish it did was a stich regulator. When I upgrade later in life I will make sure to have that option.

  110. Sharon Gollman says:

    I have a New Home Memory Craft 7500. New Home is now Janome, and my machine is about 20 years old. I only used it for making Halloween costumes and hemming pants up until now that my sons have left for college. I think it is just fine for what I want to use it for, except I wish I had a machine that did different quilting designs. Do you need a long arm quilting machine for that? I am working on my first quilt, so have not done any quilting on a sewing machine other than sewing the pieces together. Before I had my children, I made all my clothes using a Kenmore machine. Then when my daughters came along, I made their clothes too. Suddenly sewing went out of fashion–there were fewer and fewer fabric stores and with a growing family and a job, I no longer had the time. I am so glad it is back in vogue and hope it stays. I have been checking machines on the internet and some cost as much as a car! I would like to upgrade mine, but first want to see what direction sewing takes me (besides quilting). I am so glad for this blog! Thanks everyone!

  111. Elizabeth says:

    I have two machines, a Brother CS 6000i that my husband bought me for valentine’s day, and a vintage Kenmore 1410 that I inherited when my Stepmom got a new machine years ago

    So far I absolutely love the Brother. It does everything I could possibly need it to do with my novice skills, it’s easy to thread, easy to change the feet, and even easy to take apart and clean (I broke a needle and part of it went down inside so I had to retrieve it). Only thing I don’t love about it – it’s almost entirely plastic. It’s actually kind of a love/hate thing for me, it’s very light, but doesn’t feel as sturdy as the Kenmore (which weighs a ton). Plus since it’s computerized I can’t use my magnetic seam guide, but a super-sticky Post-It note pad works almost as well.

    I also love my Kenmore, but it’s in need of servicing so only the straight stitch works right now. The local repair shops quoted me around $80 and 2 weeks to service it, so DH surprised me with the new one 😉

  112. Kate says:

    I use the Singer 301 handed down to me from my gram. She had a T.V. program in the 50s and this was one of the products she demonstrated. I thought it only did a straight stitch until I happened upon a box of accessories this Christmas. Inside, I found the zigzag attachment, so one of these days I will brave it all and try out this gadget. I do love that I can sew through just about anything with ease. I have just started using it for putting together patchwork pieces in the hopes of one day creating an entire quilt!

  113. Lael says:

    My husband bought me a Singer Ingenuity for my birthday this year and I love it! Enough fancy stiches to keep me occupied!


  114. Amy W says:

    I have my mom’s OLD Bernina–it’s about 20+ years old which is really great. It’s not one of those fancy bernina’s–although, I’m sure it was in it’s day! My other machine is a basic Kenmore which I’ve had 15 years. I’ve even let my boys use it. It’s almost indestructable! The Bernina is really quiet and smooth–I just hate how the bobbin has to go in a certain way and you have to clean it out all the time or else it jams up. It’s worth it though. I love to look at new machines especially ones that do way more than mine–happy shopping!

  115. sarah says:

    My mom got me a Necchi, it was a model they use in home ec classes in her high school. It is basic but very sturdy!

  116. Lisa says:

    I love my Pfaff Tiptronic 2040 that i have had for about 8 years. Once of the best features is tht it has an integrated dual feed that gives nice flat, even seams – no puckering! It also has dual voltage which was a definite plus for me as I bought it when I lived in USA but it works just as well Down Under too! All in all a terrific machine – I also love my Elna 654 Overlocker which was a Xmas 2007 gift from my family and it has amazing tension and is easy to thread.

  117. Andrea Heinz says:

    I bought a Singer because my Mom had a Singer. Mine is fairly simple. The one thing I love is that there is alot of metal in its construction. It is a model HD110 and is a grey metal color. It doesn’t shake at all when I am sewing. I had a Brother one time that would shake all over the place. This machine is heavy duty. It doesn’t come with alot of stitch selections. But i don’t need them anyway. It cost me about $250.00 at Sams club online. I wish I had a babylock imagine serger though. But they are majorly expensive.

  118. Kelli says:

    My main machine is a Bernina 1230 and I would HIGHLY recommend it. It just sews like a dream. My other machine, which I use to carry to classes an such is a Viking 250 which I also like, but I can’t free motion on that thing for the life of me.

  119. Kriszta says:

    Pfaff expression2036. Industrial quality, the bobin is NOT horizontal, and turns 360 degree. A real dream machine.
    I have a singer too, only good thingavou it,that it was cheep.

  120. Carol says:

    My mom had a beautiful vintage ‘Dial-a-Stitch’, turquoise, looked like a car and worked like a champ. We just sold it for a fraction of what it was worth, but it was a fine machine. Mom still has her Bernina 830 from the 80’s that is a workhorse and I’ve used it quite a bit. She also just got a new Bernina, the computerized 730E and so far we’re in love. We have questions on how long the computer aspect will live, but the mechanics are great. I think if I was getting a machine, I’d probably go for a non-computerized Bernina.

  121. Kim says:

    I have a very basic Kenmore and, as a sewer of 3 years, have only run into one project that it couldn’t handle. Once when I was making a handbag out of mini wale corduroy, I realized I couldn’t make the parts of the bag where the handles attached between the lining and front layers go under the presser foot. There just wasn’t enough space there to force it through, so I just had to skip edgestitching over those little sections. Other than that, it’s a great little workhorse of a machine with a clearly written manual for any of my questions. I might upgrade one of these days, but am definitely in no hurry.

  122. Marianne says:

    I love love love Bernina. It is the only one to have. I bought my machine when my daughter was 2 and she’s off to college this Fall. It sews super and has never needed servicing! I cannot say enough good things about it.

  123. Terry says:

    We all love our sewing machines, don’t we.

    I have a Singer Golden Touch and Sew that my father gave me mother as a Christmas gift in 1964. I’ve had it serviced twice. I had all the bells and whistles available at the time. I have a box full of discs that I can put in the machine and do tons of fancy stitches. It’s a heavy metal machine that works like a dream. I also have a Singer treadle machine that is just beautiful, black with gold stencils. I use it for decoration.

  124. Crista Cuccaro says:

    I have an electronic Singer that my mom gave to me as a Christmas present two years ago. It took me a whole year to muster up the courage to actually use it! I love it now. I think its best feature is the multitude of stitches (49, i think–which seems like a lot to me!). I have seen some Berninas in action at a a local fabric store and i am quite impressed. Maybe one day…

  125. Kelly Sales says:

    I learned to sew on my mom’s Bernina. I think my dad bought it for my my in 1950. My dad always said to buy the best made tool you can afford. My mom sewed for 5 kids on that machine and taught all of us (brothers included)and 4 of the grandkids to sew on it. It was indestructable. When I got married and had my girls, I bought a Necchi. I made all of my daughter’s clothes and I sewed the thing into the ground by the time my younger daughter was 5. The thing decided to die in the middle of a princess costume. I had to finish that sucker by hand or my daughter the drama queen would have died from the shame of wearing an ordinary store bought princess costume. Going back to my dad’s advice I found a Bernina dealer, told her what I was looking for and waited for a used machine (this was 15 years ago, before E-bay). The parts and service are expensive but I live in a rural area and it is important that you get your machined serviced. I have only had to get it serviced once, but I took the time to learn the machine and I oil and clean it according to the directions. My machine has sewed everything from canvas sails to costumes for the high school play. My 13 yr old son has started to sew and his 23 yr old sister seems to have got the the bug recently. I am looking again for another used Bernina for my daughter. In looking I have found that my 830 has not only held it’s value, but it is worth more that I paid for it

  126. Erica says:

    My first sewing machine that my mom loaned me was a Singer Genie and I hated it! It was loud and it was so hard to sew slowly. I gave up sewing for a while because of that thing. Once I had my first daughter, I wanted to sew my own burp clothes and bibs. I liked my mom’s Viking 960 (1980’s computerized model) and happened to see a used Viking 980 advertized in the paper. I bought it, had it cleaned and I sewed and sewed on that machine. I liked that it was quiet, feet were easy to change, it had some decorative stitches and a nice buttonhole, and felt like a solid machine. This was a computerized model that still had a lot of metal to it. Eventually the motherboard went on it and I bought a new machine (I had been outgrowing the Viking as my sewing skills increased). I did have a new motherboard put in the Viking too (I couldn’t bear to just throw it away). I still occasionally pull the Viking out for buttonholes and some decorative stitches that are different than my pfaff. I have also started letting my kids use this machine with supervision.

    I tried a variety of machines. I was diappointed to find out the new Vikings didn’t sew like the older ones. I tried Brother, Pfaff, White, Viking, and Bernina which are the dealerships that are located around here. I ended up choosing the Pfaff 2054 which I have already had the computer upgrade to the 2056. I love all the bells and whistles! The IDT is wonderful; I rarely have fabric slip. It is a quiet machine with numerous embroidery stitches which usually look very nice. I can also changed the settings to create my own combinations and make the designs wider and narrower. The feet (and there are lots available) and needles are easy to change. I like the needle down and reverse options easily assessable. The stitch is very neat (I am really picky about that and not all machines I test drove had a really *nice* stitch. This machine can also stitch a 9mm stitch where most non-embroidery sewing machines only do 6mm. I really, really wanted the 9mm stich width. My complaints are minor in comparison to how much I like this machine. There is a lot of plastic on the machine, but most comparible models were very similar. The sensor to let me know a bobbin is low doesn’t work the best. Sometimes it goes off continuously; next time it goes to shop I will mention that as this is just since the computer upgrade. The zipper foot took some time to get used to, but I like it now. The needle position is also movable. The manual could be better. I think the manual does a better job advertising rather than explaining. I have not been able to produce a nice buttonhole on this machine. I did start using snaps more about the same time I bought the machine so I haven’t tried a lot. If I really want a buttonhole, I usually pull the Viking out.

    I really think it was important for me to test drive the machines before I chose. I wanted to like the Brother, but I didn’t. The Bernina did sew very similar to my Viking, but the pfaff had more extras. There was another pfaff that just had a sloppy looking stich and the owner could not get it to look better. I think at the time, Bernina included a number of feet in the cost of the machine, but pfaff just sold the basics. I was able to purchase additional feet at a discount on that day. I also tried out a number of different feet which was fun!!

  127. sarah says:

    Love my Pfaff creative 1473. My mother-in-law bought it used for me for $600, 6 years ago. I love that I can machine quilt with it (lower the feed-dogs and put the presser foot half way down), and that it has a blanket stitch. That’s all I need

  128. Laura says:

    I have a Singer Touch & Sew Deluxe Zig Zag Sewing Machine /Model 645. I think it was made in the 1940s or 50s. I absolutely love it, mostly because it was my wonderful gradmother’s. When I first got it I had some trouble with the zig zag stitch and using certain threads. Then I broke it. Actually one o the gears just wore out. I had it fixed and now it is amazing. It runs like a new machine. It also has these things called fasion disks which I am told are probably in a closet at my grandfather’s house. These disks are for making many different decorative stiches. I hope I can find them and try it out one day. It is a wonderful machine

  129. mel says:

    My mom got me a cheap one for 100 bucks at Joann’s.
    It has different stiches and is great for a beginner like me
    The bobbin is a little confusing though.
    It’s a New Home HF 106

  130. alison says:

    My Janome is around 20 years old and I love it! I’m hoping that it lasts forever. I would like to get a serger and I started looking around for a used one, but my sewing machine dealer told me that you can’t often get parts for sergers 10 years old and over. I’m saving to get a Juki serger, everyone I have talked to raves about them.

  131. Erin says:

    About a month ago, my friends surprised me with a large gift in the mail. They had all pitched in and bought me a new sewing machine! My old sewing machine was a hand-me-down from my mother, and it’s older than I am, and I had only really used it once, when I was 12, to sew a pillow cover for a Harvest Festival auction at my elementary school.

    So, flash forward a decade later, I’m married, moved out, and now I want to teach myself to sew. (I like to blame this sudden desire on my addiction to craft blogs, and my inability to resist watching Project Runway – a fact my husband bemoans.)

    Anyway, I get out the old, ridiculously heavy sewing machine, only to found out it doesn’t work anymore! I was sad for awhile, but decided that it was for the best, after all, I had knitting to occupy myself with, right?

    So much for the knitting, my friends conspired against me and bought me a sewing machine, so now I have my hands full. It’s a Brother, very basic, nothing fancy: the LS-2125i. And just today, I got in my very first shipment of fabric. So excited! And let me tell you, you guys sure are quick! I think I ordered it on Tuesday or Wednesday, and here it is in my hands on Saturday! Thank you Sew Mama Sew, you guys are awesome. It looks like I get to take my Brother for her first run today. I’m making a pin cushion. 🙂

  132. Sarah M says:

    I have a brother sewing machine I got for christmas from my in-laws (most likely their store of choice was ebay). It is VERY user-friendly (i.e. for amateurs!) and has over 25 stitches. All of the pieces are labeled with numbers and there are even numbered steps to threading the bobbin. So nice for people who had no idea how to sew before!

  133. Lynne in Hawaii says:

    I have a Kenmore. My old Singer kept needing repair and finally died after only about 20 years of not very hard use. (a plastic piece in the bobbin feed kept breaking…so I agree that metal is better). We got the Kenmore after we moved and it has worked terrific. I have worked it hard doing piecing and quilting for the last 2 years. I grew up on my mothers old singer which ALWAYS did the job and never gave any trouble.

  134. Carrie says:

    I have a Kenmore that I received from “Santa” about 15 years ago when I was a pre-teen. I used it for a while, and then it sat unused for probably close to ten years. Then my little sis took a sewing class in highschool and I had babies and sparked my interest in sewing again. It is very basic but has worked well for what I need…I’ve never had any problems with it. I pretty much just use basic strait stitching and the zig-zag. We are looking at moving in the next couple of years, and I am demanding that I have my own sewing room, so I will probably look to upgrade at that time. I would love to have a machine that does some embroidery…would love to be able to monogram my little girls things myself. I probably will always keep my kenmore though…it is very simple and durable and will make a great machine for my daughter to start out on someday!

  135. Lalie Hoaglund says:

    I sew on a Pfaff from the 1970’s. It was given to me by my husband’s grandmother. It works great :).
    My next machine I would love a babylock that can be switched to an embroidery machine. I would love a surger but feel weirdly intimidated by them. I make purses, quilts and all sorts of other things with my machine.


  136. Heather says:

    I got a new sewing machine–a Janome–one that was a special deal with Hancock’s and I love it. It is very sturdy, yet quiet and easily sews thru all manor of fabrics. My daughter recently left for college and I made her room into my sewing room and treadmill room—I did leave her bed up so that she can return home when she feels like–and does often, with loads of laundry.

    I hope I win the fabric–thanks

  137. Amanda says:

    I have a Kenmore 15208 (if that # really matters!) that my husband bought me for Christmas about 3 years ago……, I basically wing it when I sew and I never really know what I’m doing until I’ve finished a project, but it’s a great sewing machine. It has been a bit tempermental, but that’s usually when it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m frantically trying to finish a project that I wanted to wear or use the next day. So, I’m sure it’s my fault and not the machine! It has all the basic stitches, and really, unless you’re really experienced and have fancy things to do, that’s all you really need. No need to spend more money on one if you just need one of those 10 stitches. 🙂

  138. Jennifer H. says:

    I have a Janome DC3018 that I love! It is a computerized machine, but very simple. I got it as a complete beginner and learned to sew with it. It is very easy to use, no problems, the options gave me room to grow with it. I also have a Kenmore serger, which I love. Just a little tip…Kenmore brand is made by Janome, and is much more affordable (wish I knew that before I bought mine.)

  139. Karen says:

    I have a Husqvarna Scandinavia 200. It has been perfect for all my various projects from bibs, quilts, to bags. One feature I can’t live without now is the different needle positions (left to right). Overall, it is the best thing I’ve ever bought for myself … and we don’t do that often enough, do we?

  140. Heather K. says:

    For the type of sewing I do, I like to keep things simple. I have a Singer now. My first machine was a White Jeans Machine. Both have a one step button hole. The Singer is quite a bit quieter than the White which I like. I am a crafter and I make children’s clothes so I am not concerned if the machine can sew through multiple layers of heavy material or if it has all of the latest embroidery stuff added. I have a hard enough time picturing what a finished project will look like and getting the steps down to get there without dealing with extra buttons and knobs. For me, simple is better. I want a one step button hole, a good light, and a quiet machine. I am pretty easy to please.

  141. Rose says:

    I just got a new machine a month or so ago, and I LOVE it. It’s a Juki HZL-e70. I was looking for something a little step up from my old mechanical White. Features I wanted: needle-up/needle-down, lockstitch, precision stitch length and width, speed setting, stretch stitch and buttonholes. It is DC instead of AC which makes a *huge* difference to how well it starts, especially on thick fabrics. It just sounds steady and solid. I do clothes and quilting, and it works well for both. It even included an extension table. For the price range I was looking at (~$500), it was definitely the best I found. By best, I mean, the closest to the set of features I wanted without a whole lot of extras. The brand has a good reputation, but mostly as industrial machines, I had a hard time finding out about domestic machines other than the straight stitch ones. But so far, at least, I’m very very impressed and would wholeheartedly recommend it to others.

  142. Kirsten says:

    I love love love my Janome Memory Craft 4000. (So Battlestar Galactica sounding.) I bought her second hand 2 years ago to make my wedding dress (first sewing project ever, What was I thinking?!) I’ve used that baby through the ringer and she’s still going strong.

  143. Lindsey says:

    I have a Pfaff, (2100 series??) i think its great! Has a nice manual, so anything I don’t understand how to do it shows me in photos! Really easy to thread. I don’t like my pfaff store though, owner is rude! But this is th eonly machine I’ve ever had and used, so i have nothing else to base it on hehe

  144. Elizabeth Clemens says:

    I just started sewing last year and everything I’ve made so far came from the Sew Mama Sew blog! First I used my MIL’s old Kenmore but when the pedal caught on fire, my husband finally saw the light and said I could get a new one. I have the basic Kenmore now and love it just because of the problems I had with the old one. Someday I will upgrade, but right now the basic one suits me fine. I especially like the easy threading process as compared to the older model. Back to work on those Denyse Schmidt coasters…

  145. Tammy says:

    I have a basic Janome and I love it. I love the needle up/down, the auto buttonhole feature and how quiet the machine is.

  146. Kelly says:

    Janome 8080. Great machine. It has 50 stitches to chose from. One of them is an overcast stitch. LOVE that! It also came with a walking foot. LOVE that, too! My favorite function is the speed control lever. At one end of the lever there is a picture of a turtle, and the other end is a rabbit! Keep in mind my other machine is Singer Featherweight.

  147. Lindsey says:

    I have a Brother CS-6000 (or is it 6001?). I love that it has many different stitch options, variable speed stitching, a 1-step buttonhole and it tells me which foot I need for the various stitches. All of that for less than $200! It is not the best, however, when working with very heavyweight or thick fabrics. It doesn’t like it, even with a heavy weight needle. Other than that, I enjoy the machine much more than my old Kenmore! Someday I’d like to have a machine that can handle heavyweights without trouble, but for now, my little Brother is great!

  148. I currently have a Janome, and I love it! It’s a bit above bottom of the line, and totally adequate for everything I want to do. Before that, I had the BOL Kenmore, also built by Janome, and I loved that one, too. It was a total workhorse, and took everything I threw at it. :p I love that they are both made with all metal gears, too…SO much more solid.

    Continuing with my Janome theme, when I finally bought a serger, I ended up picking another Janome, too, lol.

  149. Amy says:

    I have an early 70s old Bernina that I bought at a garage sale. I cleaned it, and used it for a couple of years, and just took it in for a tune-up. It came back an entirely new machine. I’d always wondered if I’d made a good choice buying it, now I know that I did. It used to sew only super duper fast. Now it sews whatever speed I want — I can do free motion sewing now, and learned that it has all sorts of pretty stitches. I loved the machine before, because it was strong and would sew through upholstery grade leather, but it’s so much MORE wonderful! I want to do almost nothing else.

  150. Susan says:

    I have a viking and I love it! It is easy to use and it isn’t electronic. I’m a simple gal with a simple machine…LOL!

  151. Karie says:

    I got my sewing machine a few years back. I had a kenmore machine before that it was my moms and she probably got it in the 70’s it worked awesome, we had a fire and lost it in that. so I had to get a new machine, its a White model 2037, it does the job, I do wish however that it had a one step button hole, as I still have yet to figgure out how to make a button fast and good… it takes me a few tries to get it right, it could however be operatiors error, lol. I would love to upgrade machines some day, I love sewing, and find it very relaxing and a great break from my children. For basic sewing my White is great, it does an awesome job on thick fabrics as well as several layers stacked together. I have had no problems with it. And I have put the machine to the test. I have made clothes, purses, diaper bags and other things and it still works as good as the day I got it.

    This is a cool topic, I cant wait to see what everyone has to say and what machines they recommend!

  152. Ruth says:

    I love my Janome, but I would have a function where the needle stopped automatically in the down position when the machine stopped.

  153. kerri says:

    I have an Elna Decorator’s Touch. It’s been delightful, until I tried quilting, and the feed dogs are rather loose, not very grabby. It’s a wonderful machine otherwise–light but sturdy, goes through massive amounts of fabric esp. with a walking foot, easy to use controls, lots of stitch options. Before that I used a Kenmore older than I was…when I made the switch (a gift from my husband!) the new one felt like flying a jet as opposed to riding horseback! I love the Singer featherweights as well & hope to find one someday. I highly recommend my machine as well as Janomes I have used.

  154. heather says:

    I use an old Singer 9020 that I got when I was 15. It has a few decorative stitches but it is a real workhorse. I also use my mothers old Elna SU that I simply LOVE- that machine is worth its weight in gold, it even sews quieter than my Singer. I’m all for the older solid metal machines. My singer has a bit of plastic on it but the basic machine is metal.

    If I upgrade it will be to get my OWN Elna and a nice serger…

  155. Missy says:

    i love my sewing machine. One reaseon is we just moved to Seattle from our home in Montana, and the new house was a moldy 2 bedroom dump, the realtor said it was awsome(?) and I got so deressed and one day my husband brought me home a gently used Brother Ult2002!~I parked that machine in front of the foggy window and sewed everything. I still have it and love it.

  156. Heather Sinkler says:

    I have a hand-me-down from my grandma, it’s a 1960’s Kenmore. I’m emotionally attached to it, and it is a workhorse (sews through layers of denim like you wouldn’t believe). I’ve thought about getting a new machine, but I think I’ll probably wait until this one just can’t do it anymore.

  157. Amanda says:

    I have a Kenmore from Sears. It is quite basic, but it does have five straight stitches and five zig-zags and one “heartbeat” stitch (don’t know the real name). I’ve had it for about a year and a half, and it has been great. I did recently have to have it serviced after I tripped over the cord and it fell, hitting a kitchen chair. I miraculously caught it before it hit the floor. 🙂 It is great for beginners, but will do if you don’t have much cash on hand. I think it only cost $100-$150.

  158. Aimee says:

    I have two machines that are both older than I am. The first is a Husqvarna that my Mom found at an auction. It is a great machine, lots of stitch options. The only bad thing is it weighs a ton so it isn’t very portable. The second is my husband’s grandmother’s old singer that is in its own sewing table. Although I haven’t used this one, I look forward to getting it up and running. It is very basic but my sister uses my great-grandmother’s from the same era and loves it!

  159. Nancy says:

    I miss the fabulous old battleship of a Kenmore that we picked up at an estate sale–this was 20 years ago and it was old when we bought it (for $15!). A few years ago it finally gave up the ghost and I bought the simplest Singer I could find at Target. It’s already gone belly-up and I’m in the market for a new one, so these suggestions have all been really helpful. I’m also thinking of trying to repair the crummy Singer myself–I certainly don’t have anything to lose, right? It came with only the most rudimentary of manuals, but I’m thinking that if I take digital photos of the works every step of the way, I might be able to coax it into running again.

  160. Rae says:

    Oh please there is really no debate here: BERNINA is by far the best brand of sewing machine out there. I’ve gone through two Singers and finally got a Bernina because I got so sick of monkeying around with those two machines (it seemed like one was always broken). Even though I got one of the simpler models (Activa 220) it sews like a dream! Save yourself the wasted money on cheap machines and get a Bernina!

  161. Deb says:

    I don’t have a machine but would love to own one. My daughter has a Bernina that she’s been quite pleased with, but she will take it with her one day to her own home. I’m looking forward to reading through the comments above and getting some tips to help in my decision.

  162. Robyn says:

    I’ve had a Brother XR-65 for about 3 years now, which I purchased at Wal-Mart for about $150. It’s a relatively simple machine, but it did come with a ton of different feet (including automatic buttonhole), and it has about 25 different stitch options (decorative). Nothing computerized, nothing too fancy, but it’s been a great machine to start out on. I’ve made garments on it, and also quilts, and about everything in between, and it’s been a workhorse and never failed me! Can’t ask for much more than that from a pretty cheap little machine!

  163. Grace Sheppard says:

    I bought a Kenmore in 1985 with babysitting money – couldn’t stand to use my mom’s machine anymore (where you had to hit the wheel several times to get the motor started). It is basic, basic, basic – but it has worked very well despite years of use and not a whole lot of cleaning or maintenance. I did take it all apart two months ago to oil it (couldn’t stand the screeching anymore) and it is purring along happily once again. The only thing I would want for this machine is a handle – it’s heavy to haul it up and down stairs.

  164. Kristin says:

    I have a Brother Pacesetter nx 400, this machine has been pretty good, is computerized and can do alot. It has alot of fancy stitches which I have utilized alot. The only thing i think I would like improved is that I wish it would handle thick fabric better….I feel like it doesn’t sew through layers well, as when making purses or heavier weight items. i have heard others say their sewing machine sewed through that like butter… not this one, it will but it doesn’t like it, lol!

  165. Alli says:

    I have two machines. The first is a cheapie Kenmore that I got for Christmas a few years ago (I believe it was about $150, on sale). It certainly isn’t the best machine ever made, but it works great for me (most of the time, at least!). I know that few people recommend low-end machines, but I love my little Kenmore. We sometimes have disagreements, but it is generally my fault. My “new” machine is my grandmother’s vintage Kenmore. I just got it and haven’t gotten it working yet, but I think it will be wonderful when I do. My Kenmore’s biggest problem is sewing through heavy layers, and I’m told that the singer will fly right through them.

  166. Tina M. says:

    I love my Janome Jem platinum. It’s just the right size for toting to a friend’s house for sew-alongs and it is computerized so I don’t have to fiddle with too many buttons. This has helped me make a bunch of quilts, purses, alterations, etc., and is still going strong after 2 years. 🙂

    Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  167. I have an amazing old Kenmore machine built into a desk with drawers. It was my Gran’s and she kept it in her bedroom. The drawers always full of fun things to play with, it was something I would return to as a child when I grew bored with my toys. She kept beautiful buttons on lenghths of string which I would play with endlessly, and strips of fancy edging, fasteners, and other mysterious discoveries. Since her passing I have kept the machine and conquered my intimidation of sewing by creating a sewing category in my home-based company Babymakes. The machine has never failed me, and my lack of experience as a member of the sewing entourage has been cushioned by my Gran’s presence that I’m sure is with me as I sew.

  168. Sandy says:

    I have a Janome 6500 and I love it. It’s very intutitive, very easy to learn. I’ve done buttonhole applique and it’s a breeze. It’s also great at free motion quilting, something I’ve just started to do.

  169. Anita says:

    I have a Brother PQ1500s… light industrial that just does straight stitch and I LOVE it. I love that it is simple and it has great stitches. I also own a Viking Designer II which I have yet to learn to appreciate. I rarely use it unless absolutely necessary. I have a really hard time with the computerized sewing machines. Even though I’m only 40 and feel like I’m 30, I must have the mindset of a grandma because I just can’t seem to find the love for those computerized sewing machines. The old basic sturdy ones seem to sew so much better. 🙁

  170. Lu Lu M. says:

    Santa left me a Bernina 730 last Christmas and I love it! It does everything that I need and is quite easy to use. Bernina has a foot for everything and it makes tedious tasks much easier, such as making piping, ruffling, attaching embellishments, etc. I love my Bernina.

  171. Johanna says:

    I have a Babylock Ellageo and I love it! It is both a sewing machine and an embroidery machine. With the embroidery arm attached it is completely computerized. I have software that allows me to make any .jpeg or .btmp into an embroidery design – what fun! Without the embroidery arm, this machine still has hundreds of stitches – utility and decorative. It came with over 20 feet including a walking foot. The drawback is the price, but even with that, I am so glad I bought it! I have had it since Sept. 2003 and I have had to take it for repair once when the tension mechanism got messed up. Other than that, I have been able to keep it maintained on my own. At first it freaked me out to take my machine apart myself, but the dealer taught me how to do it all!

  172. I have an older Kenmore… and I have to tell you.. I’ve used it more for sewing scrapbook pages than crafts!! Ãœ But I LOVE IT!!! Ãœ

  173. deb says:

    I have a Baby Lock Quilters Choice.
    I love my machine.
    The things I love about it are:
    Automatic Needle Threader
    Needle up and down button
    Automatic Thread Cutter
    Adjustable Sewing Speed
    Lots of decorative stitches
    Sews on buttons
    Longer throat for quilting
    Lots of feet come w/this machine and a knee extension
    Sews so smooth and even and it’s just a pleasure to sit down and sew with
    Also, got it for 1/2 price as it was a demo model at a quilt shop that was a Baby Lock dealer.

    I also have an older model Kenmore, nothing fancy, but a good basic machine that has never given me problems

  174. mj says:

    I have an “industrial” Singer that I like because the body is metal so it seems more heavy duty for some reason. What it doesn’t have is an automatic button-holer, and I’m definitely in the market for some new feet (rolled hem, walking foot, etc). I grew up with Singers, so I could thread it in my sleep, which definitely helps, too.

  175. Katie says:

    I had a Kenmore that lasted for about 8 years and I loved it. However it died and I wanted something with some fancy stitches on it, so I got a Singer Ingenuity and so far I love it! I never could figure out the buttonhole on my Kenmore, but I made a perfect one on the first try on my Singer. I can’t wait to work with it more!!!

  176. Beth says:

    I have a Janome 6600P. Love it. This is my second Janome. My first was a 9000 and I called it Martha because it did EVERYTHING!!! Don’t have a name for this one yet but it is wonderful. Sews thru anything and is very easy to learn and use. Wouldn’t trade it for any other machine. I too was given a Singer for my high school graduation back in 76. I still have it and occasionally use it. I also have a Janome 521 for classes and a 350e. Love the Janome machines and all the different classes, lessons and attachments the dealer I go to has. To me the dealer has everything to do with what machine I would buy.

  177. CArol says:

    I have: BabyLock Imagine, Bernina 135 – Patchwork Edition. Learned to sew in the 60’s on a horrible nameless inexpensive machine. Until I got the Bernina tension issues ruled my sewing.

    Love both of these machines, but am lusting for embroidery features.

  178. Fee says:

    Argh…everyone else has such simple pleasures!

    I have 3 sewing machines.

    A 1908 Vespa Handcrank. It does’t work very well, but it is pretty!

    A Singer Starlet (Technically, this belongs to mum, but i love it more!) This is the best sewing machine i have ever used. I had a more modern one, but i turned back to the starlet as soon as i needed to do anything beyond the basic. It’s been served about 4 times, and still works like a dream!

    A 1953 Singer (201K i think). I love this baby, but haven’t used it yet because it needs a really good service!! And i need to figure out how to use all the feet that came with it.

    I really love singers. The older ones especially were made to last – the Starlet and i have been through so much fabric, and so many different densities ad layers and it still keeps going.

  179. Michele says:

    I love my sewing machine! It is a Janome, The Heart Truth model HT2008LE. I’ve only had it four months, but I’ve put lots and lots of hours on it! I’ve been quilting a little over a year and decided to upgrade from my basic Singer machine. I had trouble finding quilting feet for the Singer. I made inquiries to a reputable sewing shop and the owner recommended my Janome. I love everything about this machine, but my favorite things are: needle threader, thread cutter, needle up/down button and ease of use. It also has 50 decorative stitches that are kind of fun to play with.

  180. ohelene says:

    I just traded my “old” sewing machine in for a brand new Janome 6600Pro. Before buying it I thought I might miss the free arm a bit, and I did – the first day. The machine sews beautifully and has more stitches than I’ll ever use, what a delightful thing to know, always something to explore. I love the needle threader not beeing automatic. The automatic thread kutter is also an option I use a lot. Finaly I’d like to mention the working table that comes with the machine. I don’t think I can do without it from now on. I love my Pro!

  181. Tori says:

    Wow, finally my first FFF,
    I have a Singer Ingenuity and I love it. I was saving for a Viking but settled for this Singer and I really like it. It has 70 different stitches, 3 button hole types and came with an extra huge sewing surface.
    I love my machine and it was totally affordable.
    My Singer Ingenuity is a great machine and it does everything!

  182. Stephanie says:

    I just got my Brother xl2600 last year after using Grandma’s “400 lb” Montgomery Ward machine that someone commented about earlier. I had to smile when I read there was another one out there. It was fine but not good if you plan on toting your machine around at all. I know there are a lot of anti-Brother people out there, but I truly love my little lady. A bunch of decorative stitches, automatic buttonhole, super quick bobbin winding, and I’ve never had a problem with it. I don’t like that the manual doesn’t refer to oiling the machine, so I am very nervous about winging it but afraid if I don’t do it, it will just stop working one day. My daughter is only 2 and I can’t wait to buy her her very own machine for “sewings” as she calls it!

  183. Anna says:

    I have a Brother machine that I bought at Sears. I’m not a master sewer, but it has been fine for my needs so far (including making my first quilt – it comes with a walking and a quilting foot and an extendable plate). The best thing about it is their customer service. When I bought the machine, the box was missing a whole bunch of parts. I called them, and no questions asked, they sent replacement parts overnight mail. Amazing. The worst thing to happen to the machine is probably me, messing it up with my inexperience. It’s in for repairs now b/c I somehow messed up the bobbin.

  184. Kathi D says:

    I have several machines and like them all for different reasons. For plain old sewing, I like my Pfaff 2056. It’s reliable, fairly simple, and has a lot of built-in stitches.

  185. Red says:

    I use a 1950’s Fleetwood, I bought it in a garage sale for $10. It’s a big hunk of mint metal and a bit quirky sometimes but I love it. One reason why I love it is that it’s so simple, which means that it’s easy to fix. Of course, I do know a little bit about machinary in general, so I don’t mind taking it apart and finding the problem.

  186. Leah says:

    I love my Janome I got 7 years ago. Its great, a real work horse, with lovely the decorative stitches and small enough to take to class or the cabin. I love its automatic buttonhole foot – great for making many identical button holes. It has an automatic tension setting that I rarely need to override. The only problem is I’ve once again bent the automatic threader… this time I was able to bend it back into position, but its not in perfect alignment.

    I have an older (1970s) Bernina at the cabin that works fine, but a little clunky to sew on. I also have my mom’s 1950s straight stitch Singer that I’ve used for emergencies, it also works great going through many layers of denim or 6+ layers of berber fleece.

  187. Amy says:

    I have an Elna 3007. I have had it for 9 years and it meets most of my needs. Sometimes I wish for a few simple things that are now standard like a lock stitch and needle up/down button. I have a smaller 1970’s Elna Stella that just purrs and is light and little for classes.

  188. Michele says:

    I have a EuroPro that was a wedding gift two years ago from our Target registry. It came with a variety of feet and numerous stitch options…plus a quilting table. So far it has been a wonderful first sewing machine for a newbie like me! I’ve learned a lot on this machine and I haven’t really run across too many problems that I haven’t been able to solve by re-adjusting the tension etc. I think that in the future (after I have more projects under my belt) that I would like to up-grade to a more advanced machine and maybe even purchase a serger.

  189. Kate says:

    I just recently (less than a month ago) got a Janome Sewist 509 and i couldn’t be happier. It’s quick and it does lots of layers and it feels so sturdy, yet light to carry around. My mom has a Janome 9500 with embroidery and everything and I love it too. I’ve definitely been converted into a Janome girl.

  190. emily says:

    I have a Kenmore that’s about 30 years old or more. It uses standard needles and bobbins, has a free arm, several built in stitches and dozens more on cams. It sews smoothly and is all metal and all mechanical. It is reliable and easy to use, and doesn’t have tension or other problems. I can’t say enough for a machine that’s consistent and strong. I also like the character that older metal machines have. Oh, and the relative cheapness of accessory feet!

    My serger is a Juki MO-654DE. It’s my 4th serger, the others being a Babylock Protege, some sort of Gemsy, and a Juki MO-134. The 654 has a lot of convenience features not seen on my 134 (one of the first home sergers on the market) and doesn’t have the feed problems I experienced with the Protege. On the Protege, the differential feed dogs were too far apart, and thick layers tended to stick in the middle instead of feeding smoothly. And it uses universal needles, which is dandy since I can buy in bulk for both of my machines.

    I am expecting a Janome coverstitch machine Monday. I hope I love it, I think I will anyway. I am really looking forward to it.

  191. Oiyi says:

    hahaha…my sewing machine is the Hello Kitty Janome one that your daughter has.

  192. Frieda says:

    I have a Pfaff 1475. I think I got it in 1992. I love this machine. I never have to tinker with the tension no matter what the fabric. The dual feed is great for all kinds of sewing. It is easy to clean and maintain.

  193. Mel says:

    I have a Viking, and I absolutely love it. It’s about 10 years old, but still going strong. When I ever replace it, I’ll still get the Viking, just the fancier one with even more options.

  194. Stacey says:

    I have a mechanical Husqvarna that is almost 20 years old. It’s not that great for piecing quilts, but great for free motion quilting and basic kid clothes. I’ve been wanting to buy a new one for a few years now (but of course want the most expensive ones). What I would like is a computerized machine that is not too fancy, can do free motion quilting, metal bobin unit, needle up/down, 1/2 speed option, but with more room for quilting. I liked the Elna 7200, then they discontinued it in Canada(only drawback was it had no free arm). Not sure if there is a machine right now that fits the bill.

  195. Lissa says:

    I have two machines I use, the #)($%&$ Janome that likes eating thread and my 45++ year old singer sewing machine that has the bestest 1/4″ seam ever.. I love this machine as it was my grandmothers, then my mothers, then mine and now my 10 yo daughter sews on it. So I like the fact that 4 generations of one family have used it… It does sound like a lawn mower but its never ever given me any stress!

    Kind regards,


  196. Joyce says:

    Bernina. Nothing sews like a Bernina. Nothing. That’s the commerical I remember from years ago. My advise to you is to decide if you want a machine that just may last for life or if sewing is something you can do or not do. I knew I would sew forever. I shopped for the best built machine. Then, what came next would be the features I could afford.
    I bought my Bernina 930 many years ago. You probably wont find one for sale. I saw one at the shop once – $1,000. I have stressed with my daughter that this Bernina – the old 930 – is the most valuable asset I can pass down to her!
    A few years ago, when I retired, I wanted an embroidery machine. I bought the Bernina Artista 180. I never embroider anymore, but sew or quilt still. The Bernina quilting machine – 440 I think – is owned by a friend who knows machines and she praises it. Wish I had it now instead.
    There is a Bernina to meet your needs and preferences. That is the manufacture I highly recomend. My old 930 has NEVER had a tension problem. That was my #1 complaint about sewing before Bernina. I love the knee lift, the ability to do what I want with the needle hands free, the perfect stitch EVERY TIME through every type of fabric. Button holes on the old is fine, but button holes on the Artista 180 is awesome. The ease of switching feet. A walking foot is a must for any long seam.
    Quality metal in the Bernina makes a difference. The shaft that goes up and down – real fast and hard – must be of the highest quality you can afford to keep those stitches and tensions all lined up. Did I mention the Bernina 930 always has given me a perfect stitch? I used to do French hand sewing on the 930 – perfect. I sewed through vinyl, canval, and burlap AND hemed jeans! This machine has the power to go through the ultra thich layers of denim, it has the strength and power to handle anything!
    I love my Bernina! It is truely the “Ultimate sewing machine”!

  197. Anne says:

    I just got a Bernina Activa 220, which is quiet and reliable and way too fancy for me (but does zigzags and buttonholes), but my true love is my Grandmother’s 1945 Singer Featherweight. It only goes forward and backward, but it’s been a true workhorse for over 60 years and it’s beautiful to boot.

  198. Kim says:

    I have a nechii machine and I love it.I has a built in serger.Great for first time trying to sew.

  199. Liz says:

    I received a very basic Brother model two Christmases ago, as did my sister. (they always like to keep things even) Sad thing is…her’s is still in the box in my parent’s basement where she left it that Christmas! I’ve put mine to some good use with simple mending and little projects here and there. I’m just beginning to use it more frequently and I haven’t been disappointed as of yet. The only complaint I have is that the bobbin doesn’t always wind evenly, but it just might be the fact that I’m a novice at all of this!

  200. Sara says:

    I own two machines. I have an old Singer I bought in college off the JoAnn’s repair table (when people left their machines and never came back for them.) It is a total workhorse.
    Than I saved a hefty sum ($700) to buy a Viking Interlude, and it has been a total and complete disappointment. Customer service hasn’t been helpful and I have real problems with it putting out correct stitch lengths. BEWARE, Viking only gives you a pro-rated amount back if you don’t like your machine. There are NO REFUNDS. It’s kind of like buying a car and being stuck with it if you aren’t happy with it. I would STEER CLEAR OF VIKING MACHINES. I have two relatives with Berninas and they LOVE theirs. Good Luck!

  201. april s says:

    I have a Kenmore that I received for Christmas from my mom probably 10 years ago. I never got it out until a year ago and now I’m addicted! I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it can sew through the thickest of Timtex which is all I need at the moment!

  202. Char says:

    Wow–what a lot of time it must take to read all that good advice!
    I bought my first machine about 6 months ago. Before that I had a Necci from the cold war era, a machine my loving mom shared with me. When I realized that I had quickly outgrown the old machine, I knew what I needed: dual feed and a walking foot, plus a machine that could withstand LOTS of use.
    I chose to pass on all the down-loadable models with embroidery options; I had a feeling I would never use them. I found a sale one day on a Pfaff machine (Classic Style Quilt, 2027). It was around $860 with tax. I love the dual feed for almost every project I’ve made, and for free-motion quilting, this machine is dreamy (just shy of a long-arm, I suppose–my next splurge at some point). I love my machine! I smile just thinking about it… I’m going to go play with it now!
    PS I’m a big fan of buying stuff used, but in this case buying new gave me access to free classes and a variety of service perks. Plus I could find exactly what I wanted.

  203. Dana says:

    My dear hubby got me a Janome Heart Truth machine for Valentine’s Day, clever right??? It runs like a dream! I love the threading–it’s so easy! The stitch options are printed clearly on the front. I also love the quietness of it. I can sew during naptime and my baby doesn’t even know mama is sewing! I would highly recommend the Heart Truth! I would love a yard of free fabric to run through it…hint, hint!

  204. claudia says:

    I have an old Singer Class 201 machine and I LOVE it! It was made in the 1940’s sews beautifully. It only sews front and back stitches but I hope to purchase a zig-zag attachment for it soon; I hear they work great!

    In the meantime I’ve decided to purchase a Bernina Artista 230 and really enjoy sewing with it! It feels solid and sews very nicely as well. It’s a big investment for me but worthwhile for the sewing I do and plan to continue doing. It’s a machine I know I’ll be able to keep for a long time.

    A simple piece of advice for someone looking to purchase a new machine. . . beware of plastic! If you are considering making sewing a part of your life for many years to come, then consider spending a little bit more money on a good machine with metal parts. A key part that should be metal is the bobbin hook. Make sure it’s not plastic and you’ll save yourself lots of headaches and money. Janome and Viking have lower-priced machines that have all the basics and sew very well!

  205. Samantha says:

    I have a Viking 550, and I like it for the most part. It’s easy to use and has quite a few stitches. Since it was a hand-me-down from my grandmother, and the manual is nowhere to be found, I haven’t figured out everything yet, but I’ve had good luck figuring out things on my own.

  206. Kristi says:

    I started on a Necchi. Never had and still don’t have any probems with it. It’s a great machine. But my DH decided that if I liked sewing so much that maybe I should have a new machine. He bought me a Husqvarna Viking Designer SE. I love, love , love my sewing machine. I love to embroider with it. It runs beautifullly. I also have a Pfaff Grand Quilter that is on an inspria quilt frame. I haven’t used the Pfaff enough to give a review on it. It has a few issues. But, I think that is operator arrear.

  207. I have a BabyLock and I love it!! So much better than the Singer that I grew up using! I still have the very basic model, and one day I would like to upgrade to a fancier model with the digital screens, etc., but this one sews well and hasn’t let me down yet!!
    (I really hope I didn’t just jinx myself!!)

  208. Kris says:

    I have a 1967 Singer and a Montgomery Ward sewing machine. I really like the Montgomery Ward machine as it has great even stitches, but the bobbin winder doesn’t work. I like the singer but it doesn’t have a buttonhole function. So I go back and forth with them.

  209. amberly says:

    I am currently in the market for a sewing machine and I would love to know a great machine that has the regular stitching but also the unique stitching patterns! thanks amberly atamai_uso at yahoo dot com

  210. shannon says:

    I have a Janome Platinum 760. I just got it last year and previously I had another Janome Jem Gold. These little machines are great! They weigh like 10 pounds and are a really reliable machine. I love my new machine because it has 60 stitches and fun features like always stopping with the needle in the up position or the down position.

  211. natalie says:

    I inherited my grandfather’s old Singer sewing machine when he passed away last year. We were very close and having his machine means a lot to me. He was a tailor by trade and though he retired 15 years ago, he still used his machine on a regular basis. He told me before he died that the machine sometimes ‘acts up’, but he never explained what exactly is wrong with it. I’m new to sewing, but I hope one day to get it fixed properly.

    There’s still quite a bit of life in this sewing machine and I can’t bring myself to have it replaced. I just hope I can get it fixed. It’s no so bad – it’s a bit wonky once in a while, but it reminds me of my grandfather – rebellious, occasionally misbehaving, but always exciting to be around.

  212. Trina says:

    I absolutly love me EuroPro.
    It will go thru six layers of denim!
    Which came in great when I recovered my MIL’s entire living room suite.
    It has all metal gears, runs like a dream!

  213. shelli says:

    I have an Elna 2110.

    I can free-motion quilt, make clothes for my daughter, and I just LOVE it. Really, truly. it’s a work horse, and has been very loyal to me.

    I think, when I upgrade next, I’ll try to stay in the Elna family. I’ve become quite a fan.

  214. Kirsten says:

    Hi there,

    I have a Bernina 830 record. It’s approximately 30 years old…so a couple years older than myself. I really do love the machine, and think it can’t be beat for mechanical simplicity. It is such a workhorse that it sewed through my latest project, Amy Butler’s weekender travel bag like a champ (although I had other issues with the pattern).

    For buttonholes on really important garments sewn for competition, I still go over to my mom’s to borrow her 1943 Singer, with buttonholer attachment….it does the most gorgeous keyhole buttonholes ever.

    Now, my dream machine…would probably be one of the Pfaff Creative Vision machines. But that will have to wait a few more years.

    I also have a serger that I love, a Babylock Imagine with Jet Air threading. What a joy to sew with.

  215. min says:

    I’ve got an old Bernina and I use about 10% of the functions. Having gone from a Singer to this, the first thing I noticed was the steady STEADY stitching. I also like little features like having the needle always end “up.” For quilting, this is great. If I had to do another type of stitch besides plain old “straight ahead,” I don’t know if it’d be good or not. Probably….?

  216. Emily says:

    I have an old Kenmore that does the job, but not much more. In my (rich) dreams I own a Janome or a Pfaff, sewing machine, serger and coverstitch machine.

  217. Shannon says:

    I have the entry-level basic model Kenmore from Sears, my dad go it for me a few years back when I decided to learn to sew…it’s fine, but I will probably move up to a more versatile machine in the coming year – I’d love to try free motion quilting and the feed dogs don’t drop on what I have now. I also have an old one from my husband’s g-ma, but am just now starting to get comfortable enough with sewing machines to tackle fixing it up. 🙂

  218. Megan says:

    I’m a huge Viking (Husqvarna) fan. I love, love, love my machine and have used a Viking for 19 years (got my first one when I was 15). A good sewing machine is a worthy investment, in my humble opinion!

  219. Rebecca says:

    I use a Bernina 440 QE which I won in a contest last year. Before that, I had a Kenmore that sewed more wonky stitches than straight!! I’m hooked on Bernina, can’t help it…

  220. rohanknitter says:

    I have a Janome, not a “fancy” one but it is sturdy and a workhorse and I love it. Sometimes I do wish it could do embroidery though, at least simple things like initials.

  221. Tammy says:

    I have a Singer “Slant-o-matic” which I’m pretty sure they don’t make anymore! 😉 Yes, it is quite an old machine, but I do love it in spite of all it’s quirks. It is a little workhorse, I’ll tell you that! I could never “hate” it, but it would be nice to have a more updated machine, possibly one with embroidery features. 🙂

  222. Brenda Miller says:

    I have a Husquavarna Viking SE and Love Love Love it. I bought it last year after sewing on an older (second-hand) basic Husquava for 15years and taking out a second mortgage to pay for it (only kidding!) I love that it cuts the threads (call me lazy!), has an Ott Light in the unit (so the lighting is really easy on the eyes) and does all the embroidery work anyone could ever dream of doing. I have no complaints about it so far. If I were in the market, I would do just as I did before and decide what features were most important for me and look accordingly. The beauty of Husquavarna is they allow you to trade up within a year of your purchase (which I did).

  223. Lisa says:

    I have an old (ancient, really–I’m pretty sure it’s older than I am!) Bernina that I inherited from my aunt soon after I got married. I LOVE it! It only does the basics, but it does them well and it’s never given me problems. I guess the fewer features there are, the fewer things there are to break!

  224. Good luck in your shopping.

  225. Jennifer Johnston says:

    I have a Singer Confidence machine. Pro’s are that it has lots of useful stitches, tons of decorative stitches and can even do monogramming. It’s got a needle up or needle down option, extra high presser foot lift, the feed dogs can be lowered for darning or free form sewing, and it will remember all your settings until you turn the machine off. I can also use all previous singer feet and bobbins on it. The down side is that as of yet I have been unsuccessful in locating a quilting table that fits its body and the non automatic button hole setting is hard to understand, although the auto setting is a breeze. All this for a machine under $500 was quite the bargain. I got mine on sale for about 350.

  226. Jessica says:

    I would say that for most projects straight stitch, zig zag, backstitch [to backtack] are really about all you need for the basics, unless you want to get fancy. So it would be good to do a posting on the breakdown of different stitch needs for different levels of sewers … let the beginner know what they should look for in a machine if they’re only looking to get their feet wet.

    My machine is from 1998 and I hope it lasts another 30 years.

  227. Kristin says:

    I have a Pfaff Hobby 1132 which is a great beginners machine. It comes with a variety of different stitches and is very reliable. There is nothing more frustrating than having your machine break in the middle of a project. The only time it pooped out on me was when I was on the tail end of finishing a denim circles quilt. I suggest that if you are getting a new machine to look into the extended warranty program only because it often will include free servicing and that will cover the cost of the warranty itself.

  228. Amy Ashley says:

    I have a BabyLock Decorator’s Choice. I bought it at Christmas to replace a cheap Brother that was not holding up to daily sewing and my expanding skills. I LOVE THIS MACHINE. The variety of stitches and functions is amazing for the price, and the manual itself is so helpful! It is easy to use and has challenged me to try new things every week. I drooled over the Berninas, but they just did not offer the same options for similar prices. I was able to get lots of amazing features, high speed sewing, and a sturdy reliable machine without taking out a loan. I am glad I got a fancier model since it inspires me to do more.

  229. LadySnow says:

    I love my Janome! I couldn’t live without it. 😉 I love the automatic buttonhole….it makes life so much easier. I have a terrible time with button holes, and this makes it so much easier. I love how easy it is to thread also. Plus…I purchased it on sale…so I got a great deal. ;D

  230. Katie says:

    I have a Bernette sewing machine, which is a cheaper-end version of a Bernina (it’s designed by Bernina, but made in the U.S. instead of Switzerland). My hard-core sewing grandmother was encouraging me to shell out for a Bernina, but when I was at the Bernina dealer, I saw the little Bernette which had many of the same nice features of the fancier Berninas for much less money. It was originally about $500, but I got one that the quilt shop had used for classes and paid closer to $250. I’ve been sewing a ton for the last six months on it, and I love it–very even stitches, and rarely has a problem with tension or the bobbin going all wonky (which happened all the time on my old Simplicity machine). It’s small and easily transportable, too, and has a wide enough space to the right of the needle to machine quilt a sizable quilt (I’ve only done a twin size so far, but it was fine). It doesn’t do a ton of fancy stitches or embroidery, but that’s fine by me!

  231. Stephanie says:

    I have an old mechanical Bernina. I love my it! It is totally reliable, sturdy, and easy to use. While sometimes I wish I had the embroidery options, I would never want to give up my Bernina. I started sewing on the one that my mom got when she was in high school, and then my husband bought me the same model for one of our first Christmas’s. 🙂

  232. Lisa says:

    Janome MC 3000 which is a basic electronic machine, was pretty inexpensive and has been solid and dependable. I also have an old Viking that is great for heavy duty sewing.

  233. Molly says:

    I had a heavy duty Singer that was a hand-me-down from my mother for years. I had it serviced a few times and the last time it broke I couldn’t find one person to work on it anymore. Sewing machine repair is a dying art. I found out that out local fabric superstore would send it out for a $90.00 fee and then any repairs were on top of that! I ended up buying a simple Brother at Wal-mart for less than that and it’s OK but I miss my old faithful. I hate the way the new bobbins are though. So complicated!!

  234. Yay! I’m entering the Free Fabric Friday! It’s a wonderful way to start the weekend..

  235. Gen says:

    I have a Singer sewing machine from 1990. It works great.

  236. Christina says:

    I have a basic Brother machine. I love that it’s simple enough for a beginner like me, but still computerized and can do a lot of things that I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. I only dislike that the neck isn’t longer for machine quilting, but I guess I can’t have everything!

  237. jenny says:

    I have a basic beginner machine – Kenmore. The size of the stitches varies if you change the sewing speed. And, it’s LOUD. So, eventually, I’ll upgrade. 🙂

  238. Jordan Durbin says:

    I currently have a Singer 7640. I go it about a year and a half ago and am mostly happy with it. Not crazy about the buttonhole mechanism, and the foot pedal is a little . . . delicate.
    Had a 35 year old Kenmore and I miss it terribly, That thing was a tank! It did everything, too. But the motor died and I mistakenly bought a new machine instead of fixing it. sigh.

  239. Becca says:

    I have a Brother Pacesetter. I got it for Christmas probably about 5 or 6 years ago from my mom. It took some getting used to because the foot release is in the place where the foot-lifter (that’s a technical term ; ) ) had been on my aunt’s machine which I had gotten used to using. So for about a year, every time I went to lift or lower the foot, I ended up taking it off! Now I love it…even though whenever I don’t use it for a while I have to do some calculations to figure out which line (marked in mm) is 3/8″ and 5/8″. Oddly, my favorite thing about my machine is that the take-up lever is quite set back in the casing. On my aunt’s machine, it sticks out further and tends to knock me in the forehead because I often get really close to my work!

  240. Mellissa says:

    I have a Kenmore and I love it. It is so quiet and the price was great.

  241. Tammy Mattox says:

    I’ve got a Bernina Artista 180. I’ve had it several years and overall have been pleased. I had issues with the automatic button hole (just my machine) but that’s been the only problem. I take it regularly for cleanings and it still runs like brand new. I don’t quilt, just sew things for my girls and little gifts. I also do monogramming with it. I love my little Bernina!

  242. Jeannie Crockett says:

    I have a BabyLock Esante and it is perfect for me! It runs beautifully, does everything and seems almost like a personal friend. I couldn’t imagine replacing her!

  243. Sarah says:

    My grandfather purchased my machine on the Home Shopping Network, thinking he would use it to mend his own pants. The mending never happened and he passed the machine (a simple Europro) on to me. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s gotten me through countless children’s pjs, dresses, quilts and even a beefy suede-backed faux-fur cape! And of course, it always makes me think of him 🙂

  244. Katie says:

    Hiya! Great discussion. I have a KENMORE and so far so good! I really like it because I can easily do maintenance (not that I’ve had to) and order parts between Canada and the USA, which is great since I’ve been doing, and will be doing, a lot of travel between the 2 countries. Ordering parts is pretty easy except shipping is an outrage. My machine has never let me down. My mom had a Kenmore and still has it. It’s been going for 35 years and she only decided to buy a new one because she wanted a drop bobbin. Other than that, it still works just fine! I really like my machine just the way it is. Even if I had a vast option of decorative stitches, I honestly don’t think I’d use them!

  245. Tracy says:

    I have a Brother CS6000I that I got at my wedding shower and I love it. It is my first sewing machine and it was so incredibly easy to learn how to use. I’ve made some really great projects with it and I absolutely love it!

  246. Andrea says:

    I have been shopping for a machine for the last few months. I made the mistake of buying a boxed Singer from the store. The first time I tried to hem some jeans POP! Totally busted! I’m saving up to buy a nicer model, and reading these comments is helping me choose what model that will be!

  247. Christine says:

    I have a Singer that I bought at Walmart. It does a good job. Sturdy but no bells and whistles. I used a Bernina once. It was so nice. It was the least expensive model (about $350.00), but it was sooooo nice. One day I’d like to own a Bernina.

  248. Jill says:

    My husband bought me a simple, bottom-of-the-line, Singer machine when I was in a creative funk during my second pregnancy. I grew up using my mom’s old Bernina, which I loved, but I am now a fan of the simplicity of my Singer. I learned how to do a button-hole on my machine and that endeared me to it all the more. I love that there are a few options for decorative stitching and it came with zipper and button-hole feet, but as one rediscovering sewing for the first time in 15 years, the lack of options is what I love most.

    Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have my eye on a serger…a girl has to look to her future. And her seams.

  249. Nicole says:

    I have a kenmore 19110. It is a pretty basic machine, but it has been great. The only thing about it that I would really love to change is that there isn’t much throat space, so it makes quilting a bit challenging. (I wouldn’t turn down a few more stitch options either!)

  250. Misty says:

    I have two machines: a Janome Jem Gold 2 and a Viking Emerald 183.

    The Janome is great because it can sew through several layers of fabric without any trouble. It’s also very lightweight. I bought it for piecing at home and to take to quilting classes. The biggest drawback is that you cannot adjust the sewing speed on the machine itself. I’ve had trouble with my machine running at only one speed (incredibly fast!) and despite using a surge protector and swapping out a new foot pedal, this continues to be a problem in my apartment (but not at the shop I bought it from, where it ran at a lower speed). You can lower the feed dogs for free motion quilting and the walking foot works fine. Because the machine is so small, it only works well to quilt smaller projects.

    My Viking is really nice and I enjoy it a lot. It has a number of embroidery stitches and a fantastic button hole foot that does almost all of the work for you. It quilts well with both the free motion and walking feet. I like that it has three adjustable speeds and I love the needle up/down feature and the needle threader. Sometimes I wish that I could get a straight stitch plate for it because the fabric corner can get dragged down with the needle and caught when piecing from corner to corner on the bias. The manual that comes with the machine is rather vague, so definitely take a class from your dealer on how to use various features. My dealer also gave me a handbook for the machine and it offers practice projects to learn the machine’s features and provides additional details (which should have been in the manual).

    Both of my machines have the drop-in bobbin (lays horizontally) which has worked so much better for me than the other (oscillating?) vertically positioned bobbin. I know there is debate about which one is the best, but for me the drop-in bobbin is preferable because it is easier to place in the machine, it has a plastic window so you can determine when the thread is running low, and I never have the problems with the thread getting caught underneath the throat plate as I have had in the past with the other type of bobbin.

    I think the best thing you can do is try out a number of machines to learn about which features will work best for you.

  251. Elizabeth says:

    I have a Janome DC2007. I love it. I used to have a very bottom of the line Brother, but I never used it because it never worked right. So when I went to look for a new machine, I decided I wanted one that was computer-controlled. There’s definitely less guess work involved in taking care of it, and it sews like a little champion. I’m not big into embroidery, so it doesn’t bother me that there are only a few decorative stitches on it. It has enough for me.

  252. Heather says:

    I have a Bernette 715 by Bernina that my mum gave me for my 21st birthday.

    She said, “I’d like to get you something for your birthday that every woman should have!” I didn’t know what in the world she was talking about so I replied “What? a box of tampons?!” Looking back I can tell you I’ve gotten much more out of the sewing machine than even a jumbo size box of tampons could have provided.

    One of the best things about it? Despite my rabbit partially chewing through the extension cord, it still sews when I ask it to. ~H

  253. Deb McCleary says:

    My Viking Quilt Designer has kept me quilting thru five years of living with fibromyalgia. The old mechanical Singer (I had before the Viking QD) made my sore neck and shoulders hurt even more. I almost gave up on learning to quilt! DH bought the Viking machine new for me and it is so easy to use, I do not have to reach back and forth to turn the wheel for getting needle up/down or raising and lowering the pressure foot. Even better is the floating foot senses the fabric thickness so I have never had to use a walking foot for bindings or machine quilting, the fabric does almost float under the foot. The only tiny thing to not like is a little concave slit in front of the bobbin case–> it sometimes makes the underneath seam flip the wrong direction but a piece of tape fixes that. The Viking Quilt Designer is no longer produced but Viking has come out with newer models with the floating (sensor) foot system. Do test drive a new Viking machine to see what I am talking about. (Or you might be lucky enough to find a used machine like I did- my second back up Viking Quilt Designer).

  254. wendy says:

    I have my mom’s old Brother machine. She bought it back in the early ’80s I believe. It functions. It’s loud. It gets things done, if you know how to work around its quirks. I’d love to have a new one, but…

  255. Beth says:

    I have the Singer Prelude-I just started sewing again in Nov. 07. Birthday present from the family. I LOVE IT. VERY Basic. But that is all I needed. I want to get my 5 year old the Hello Kitty Janome for her 6th birthday though…love it.

  256. Jean says:

    I just love my Pfaff Hobbymatic 955 that my parents got me 14 years ago for my 16th birthday- talk about a gift that keeps on giving! It is electric (not computerized) and I love that about it. It needed a tune up about a month ago and was in the shop for what seemed like forever as I waited for the diagnosis as I wondered whether I would have to let it go and get a new machine. I was so glad when it was fixed because I wouldn’t change it for anything. If it sounds like I am over the top about it- I am!

  257. Belinda says:

    My first machine was a Janome which was a real workhorse, it still sews beautifully after 15years with little TLC. I can probably count on the hand the number of times I had it serviced on one hand- naughty I know!

    I’ve since purchased a Husqvarna Saphire which is a dream to use, It has a bucket load of features that you will find on similar priced machines. But the thing that sold me was the 10 inch free-arm. I think you have to think about not just now but where you want to go with your machine. Especially if you want this one to be a keeper for the next 10-15years if not longer. I really would like to extend my quilting. And with the trend for manufactors to increase arm length I didn’t want to be to be left yeaning for a longer arm in years to come. I also wanted a free-arm as I also want to develop my dressmaking. The other machine I was considering was the Janome 6600P which had the long arm but it wasn’t a free arm.

  258. Amanda says:

    I have a White sewing machine. My parents bought it for me when I was in middle school and was just learning to use a machine. It is pretty tough. It has lasted all these years. (I am in college now.) It is pretty basic- it doesn’t do anything fancy, but it works for what I sew.

    I am actually looking to possibly buy a new machine so I am interested to read all the other comments. I want something that can handle heavier weight fabrics better. I recently sewed a corduroy skirt and it was a little tricky in a couple of spots where there were multiple layers of fabric. I would also love something with a few more options when it comes to decorative stitches. And something where I am not totally confused about how to adjust the tension. (I have trouble getting it right, but I think it is me and not the machine!) Something not too expensive too- I am after all a college student!

  259. Rebecca says:

    I am friends with a sewing machine repairman, and he says that Kenmore models are the best. He says they’re built to last and rarely need maintenance. As an owner of 6 sewing machines, I can attest to the fact that my 30 year old Kenmore has never been to the repairman, and only requires a bit of oil now and then.

  260. jenclair says:

    I love my Bernina, a Virtuosa 153. I’ve had it for about 3 years and just love it.

  261. Libby says:

    I have a Singer that is about 20 years old. I love that it is simple and sews whatever I have requested of it. (Which has been fairly simple straight lines.) I am looking forward to other people’s suggestions for future reference.

  262. Jennie C. says:

    I have a Singer that I bought just about ten years ago. We were poor and moving to Germany, and I bought the best one I could, which was only one step above the basic model. 🙂 It’s served me well, though, and I’d like a PLACE to sew more than a new machine, I think. Then I wouldn’t have to do all that lugging out and putting away just to sew a few seams when I have a few minutes. I’d do a lot more sewing. Of course, once I got to sewing on a regular basis, I’m sure I’d be able to think of lots more things I’d want in a new machine!

  263. I bought a very basic janome a couple of months ago and I love it. I love the see-through bobbin window which let’s you see if your thread’s running low. Before that I had an top-end computerised singer which I ended up hating because when it went wrong the bill to repair it was obscene precisely because it was computerised.

  264. Jody says:

    I bought a basic Brother last year. It’s lightweight and was relatively inexpensive and does all the things I need it to. Button holes, fancy stitches and a nice bright light are the features I like the most.

  265. Annette says:

    Before I state what machine company I prefer, since most of their machines I like, I’m sure you’re more than aware that choosing a machine should be about what you need as well as what you can afford. I chose my first machine based on my needs and the quality I could afford, as well as liking a particular brand because I was familiar with their reputation. Things change.

    My suggestion is make a list of what you want — fancy stitches? computerized or not? upgradeable? embroidery? letters? quilting feet? stitch width (6 mm – 9 mm?) touch-screen or not? positionable? programmable? durability? sew through thick fabric (how many layers)? buttonholes? automatic threader and/or cutter?

    Ask yourself this as well: What type of sewing do you plan to do — quilting (freehand capable, even feed [IDT or foot], or in the ditch stitching), making clothes, home decor sewing, small craft projects, baby clothes (maybe those fancy stitches might be nice after all)?

    If this is your second machine, what do you hope to be able to do 5 years down the road with your machine? Yes, I think this far ahead. I want a machine that will grow with me, not one I have to trade up. Check the feet available for the machine you are looking into buying — does it freehand embroidery feet, stitch in the ditch feet, 1/4″ feet (love that thing), star feet (let’s you see where you are going), cord foot (had fun with embellishing toy pants with this). Again, think ahead. Planning on a family, maybe now is the time to buy a better machine, because you may want to make clothes or embellish items, or well, you get the point.

    So, here’s the dish on my machines:
    The first machine I ever bought in graduate school was a small simple Husqvarna/Viking 170, which has no computer parts. I could afford it, less than $400, and it did what I wanted at that time. In about 8-9 years, I outgrew it. I was at the point in my sewing where my machine just wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, like sew on slippery fabric evenly (I was making a craft bag with plastic mesh and having difficulty sewing through 4 layers of fabric, including 2 of mesh), without pulling out the even feed foot (hated that thing), or freehand quilt with a foot (no foot on the Viking).

    After outgrowing my simple machine, I looked into more expensive Vikings, but ended up with a Pfaff after trying my mom’s 2054 (quilting machine; same company I think also owns White and Viking). I have a Pfaff 2134, embroidery sewing machine. I love it. I’ve sewn with the quilting machine (the 2054 I mentioned earlier) and the fancier Pfaffs as my mom (cough) also has the new vision Pfaff and the Pfaff 2170, and both are awesome. They all sew wonderfully.

    I like my 2134 as it does everything I want a machine to do and it’s also in a cheap enough price range (almost the same as some of the quilting only Pfaffs) that you aren’t investing huge amounts of money for a machine that is of good quality. I can freehand quilt on it easily (smooth as butter); I can switch and do embroidery on it, which I love; Pfaff technology has this wonderful even feed called IDT, without adding extra feet. I love that part. When I sew on thick fabric or plastic mesh (the problem I had with my old machine), it sews so easily. No slippage, no gathering, just smooth stitches. I love that!

    I’ll mention my mom’s sewing machines again — she also has a Brother Innovis (can’t recall number), but her machine has had thread problems and she no longer sews with it. I think it’s fixable, but I would not suggest a Brother any more.

  266. Tricia says:

    This is all so helpful. Thank you. I was contemplating the bottom-level models of a couple of high-end machines (Janome and Husqvarna) when a used Brother fell into my lap for free. So far so good with the Brother. But my 5-year-old might need that HK machine!

  267. Heather says:

    I received a Husqvarna Sapphire 830 for Christmas. I love it. It sews better than my other machine a Huskystar 224. It has some cool stitches and other features that the other one didn’t have. I most especially like the power and how seamlessly it sews.

  268. Tamra says:

    Had a brother PS-53 and it did okay. I’ve had it for 4 years. but I just got a Huskystar c20 by Husqvarna Viking. I LOVE it!! Sewing is FUN again.

  269. Katrin says:

    I got my first sewing machine (the one I’m still working with) when I moved out of my parents house and couldn’t use my mum’s anymore. I got a Pfaff “Quilt Style” which I love. She i not to complicated, but has all the features I need.

  270. Gina says:

    I have a Bernina Activa 145 and love it! I’ve had it for almost 7 years now. I sew a huge variety of “stuff”–clothing (satin to denim), home decor (including 4 layers of heavy upholstery weight fabric), purses, quilts (including free motion quilting), and even paper. It works on all this without major adjustments in tension. I do get regular servicing (at least once every two years) and it runs great. I was afraid of the computerized model, but it is so easy to use and doesn’t require oiling! The dealer I bought it from also offers free customer classes so you get to learn how to take advantage of all the features-which is a must! I also have a Bernina 1200AD serger which is a great compliment to the machine. Bernina is an investment up front, but the time I’ve saved not messing with my machine (I had a old Singer before) is worth it!

  271. Lily says:

    I just got the computerized Brother XR7700 from Costco and LOVE it. It has tons of stitches and even came with quilting attachments. It threads super easy and feeds so well and is quiet too. It has changed my life. Seriously. It came at a great price and is really lightweight. As a novice sewer, it has demystified sewing for me. I love it.

  272. jackie says:

    i have a viking computerized machine and i love it. i have never had one single problem with it. the tension is always perfect and it runs like a dream.

  273. Jan says:

    Hope that you’ll consider looking at Bernina models. My first model (from 1970) was the 830, which I still have and love. I bought a 153 QE which is so easy to sew on, and then happily added at 640E which I’m just learning to use. Obviously, I love Berninas! Jan

  274. mary says:

    My mom gave me a BabyLock Denim Pro for my birthday last year and I love her! Previously I was working on my mom’s 1955 Singer which is so solid and dependable but only goes back and forth–it didn’t even zig zag! I wish the Denim Pro had more fun stitches but it was expensive enough as it is (and it was on sale almost 50%).

  275. Megan says:

    I have the Pfaff 200C, which is their basic computerized machine. My husband got it for me for Mother’s Day a few years ago and I absolutely love it! It will power through tons of layers of fabric without hesitation and has more stitches to choose from than I will probably ever need. My only complaint is that the lightbulb burnt out and my local Pfaff dealer doesn’t have any for that machine. I’ve been waiting over a year for the new one to come in, but I think that’s a problem with my local dealer… Anyone know a good Pfaff dealer that wouldn’t mind a little mail order business? 🙂

  276. Alisa says:

    I have had a basic Janome (school model) for the past 9 years. I’ve almost worked it to death so soon I will be buying a new machine. I am currrently researching the options but have pretty much decided on the Janome 6600 which I am thinking will take care of my needs quite nicely 🙂 I am so excited! I wish you luck on finding just the right machine.

  277. Emily says:

    I have a 20 year old Bernina that I love because it is a workhorse. A lot of people ask me for recommendations for a starter machine and I tell them to go to a sewing machine store mechanic and get a used Bernina, Pfaff, Janome, etc versus getting a brand new Singer at Target. (Nothing against Target!)

  278. Alissa says:

    I have EuroPro and while it’s certainly not what I would pick out (gift from my mother in law at my bridal shower – SUCH a nice gift!!) it’s really served my purposes. Because I’m new to sewing, I have no fear about making mistakes (no one to tell me I’m making them) or shoving and number of layers through the machine and no problems so far aside from a few broken needles. I’m excited to read what others recommend though because I will have to upgrade at some point… Free Fabric Friday is FUN!

  279. Arnikka says:

    Singer! Singer! Singer! Knock on wood, lol. My machine is a Singer special courtesy of Sears before they merged with Kmart and became Sears essentials. My machine has seen me through a fledgeling clothing line launched in my early twenties and five years later is still going strong and here is my deepest darkest secret. I have NEVER maintenanced it! Yes I know, I deserve the proverbial seamstress back hand slap(with a fabric bolt) for that but I just get behind the little dear, put the pedal to the metal and away I go. It does a wonderful overlock stitch on knits, makes nifty little buttons with a fair amount of ease, and works easily on a variety of fabrics. I have used her on LAYERS of commercial grade sailing canvas and denim(a crazy avant garde)—–doesn’t get more heavy duty than that! Now my business has been retired in order to allow me to devote myself to raising little wee folk and I’ve taken said machine out, dusted her off and used her to sew their garments as well. One last note: if you ever look through Craigslist, the Penny saver, and /or visit the flea market you will notice that the predominate portion of sewing machines that make it to antique status (50 years or older) are Singers!

  280. Amy says:

    I have a Kenmore Ultra-Stitch 8, which I love. It is an older machine, maybe 25 years old, which I got second hand last year. The sewing group at my church no longer does much machine sewing at their meetings (members piece the quilts and comforters at home, so the meeting time is spent on hand-quiting and comforter tying). So they decided to get rid of a few of their machines. They only wanted a donation, and specifically asked for garage-sale prices. They even tried to take less than the $25 I gave them!

    This machine is SO much better than the cheapy White I was using before. I had bought it for around $100 new about 10 years ago, and it never handled thicknesses well. And the tension was really picky. And the bobbin door broke off for no reason. And….. well, you get the picture.

    I do wish my Kenmore had a few more stitch options, but that’s really my only complaint. It sews like a dream, and acts as if it will go on forever if I ask it to.

  281. Hedgehog says:

    I have a Bernina, purchased in 2004 to replace a Brother. Things like like and wouldn’t be able to live without now? Needle up with my heel and great free-motion quilting (no stitch regulator). When people ask me about buying, I usually tell them not to buy too much machine – I think I probably did, although I do really like my machine.

    Thanks for your great blog!

  282. Cami Paul says:

    Hmmmm, fell off the table onto the (tile) floor. Sounds familiar. I had a Viking that bit the dust this way and I limped along for about a year with it. My hubby bought me a Janome 6600 for Christmas. Wow and Wow. It does all I need and more. I’m doing more adventuresome things now just because I can.

  283. I have a Janome 659. I don’t think they sell that model anymore. I like it okay for what it is – a no frills, no computer machine with a buttonholer. What I don’t like is the foot pedal – it isn’t sensitive enough for me. The machine also seems a bit loud. My mom has a Bernina (computerized, but very basic) and it is much quieter. But naturally, the nicer machine is more expensive!

  284. Stacy says:

    I have a Pfaff. The basic Smart 100. But I love it. It’s been great and easy to work with! 🙂 I’d love to see you do a post on sergers, too, as I’d like to know who has them and what kind they have. Thanks!


  285. Jocelyn says:

    I have a 37 year old White that my mom bought new when I was a tot. It was top of the line then and does many different stitches. She gave it to me years ago but just last year I took it out and learned how to use it for the first time. Now I’m hooked, even though I am a beginner. It does terrible button holes and is not to great with a lot of heavy layers but otherwise it is durable and is running well. These problems could also be the unexperienced user!! I would love a new machine but I’m kinda attached to this one.

  286. Kate says:

    I recently inherited my mom’s Bernina 1260 (after she got a fancy new embroidery Bernina) and LOVE IT! I was using an $80 Babylock that was just ok (no fancy features, it didn’t really like going over seams in quilts, I was often frustrated with it) and now that I have a really nice machine there are a few things I have quickly gotten used and would really recommend when buying a machine:
    needle down – this is extremely handy, especially if you do freemotion quilting or are stopping and turning the fabric a lot
    lifting the needle by pushing the back of the pedal – sewing goes SO much faster with this feature, it takes a while to stop yourself from turning the wheel on the side, but it quickly becomes second nature
    different needle positions – my machine has 5, where you can move the needle over just a “smidge” left or right, really handy went you need a seam a little smaller or bigger than the usual quarter inch or half inch marked on the plate
    The only thing I wish i had is a stitch regulator (again for freemotion quilting) but only the really new, really expensive machines have them.
    Bernina’s are quiet, sew really smoothly, and don’t choke on seams like other machines I’ve used, I highly recommend them!

  287. Georgi P. says:

    I have a question for anyone out there that sews with a Juki industrial 5550 machine, old school with the green/grey paint and table top. I love it but I need an online source for spool thread for it. I live in a remote part of the world (= Yukon) so it’s a bit of a challenge to find thread! Thanks!

  288. Sara says:

    My machine is an old green thing from Montgomery Wards. It came to me well used but still works great. It has those cam things to do decrotive stitches. I’ve thought about upgrading but there are too many choices and other than weighing 400 pounds there isn’t anything wrong with my old one. I love reading about everyones machines.

  289. Liz says:

    I have a Singer 7442. It’s the only sewing machine I’ve ever owned, so I’m not one to ask. However, I do love my machine. It’s very simple to use and has tons and tons of different stitches and options (including using two needles). I can’t say anything bad about it. I love my machine!

  290. Originally I used my mother’s Singer Slant-o-matic (“Rocketeer”) model until it jammed one too many times for my patience. Now I’ve got a Viking #1. This is not a machine in the Designer series, one that does embroidery designs, but a run-of-the-mill machine that also has a blanket stitch. I love me the blanket stitch.

    It also has needle up/down, feed dogs that drop down, three levels of speed, and a basic alphabet. I wish I could say I looooove my machine, but it squeals if I go too fast.

    I also have a Singer Featherweight. It runs quietly and smoothly, but it’s got a tiny little short. If I touch the ground with my bare toe (I sew barefoot) while I have my hands on the bed of the machine, I get a real good buzz. So, that’ll have to go into the shop first.

  291. Elizabeth says:

    I’m giving my niece that Hello Kitty machine for her seventh birthday in June!

    Chiming in with my machine recommendation, but I shouldn’t be considered for FFF, since I’ve already won once. 🙂 I LOVE my ten year old Janome, which has the old-school mechanical controls and a mostly metal body. It’s been forced to sew through all manner of fabrics, all kinds of paper, cardboard, foil and all kinds of adhesives, and I haven’t managed to kill it yet (there have been close calls). I would highly recommend Janome.

    I’ve been told by the people who service my machine that, when buying a Janome, you should try to get one of the models manufactured in Thailand. They’re supposedly superior.

  292. Nancy says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Bernina 440…..It does a wonderful blanket stitch and a great quilting stitch.

  293. Becky says:

    My machine is a 28 yr-old Kenmore that I got as a wedding gift from my mom. I love it because it has never failed to do everything I have asked of it. I have never had it reparied for any reason. It never makes a wierd sound or movement. It is made of METAL.

    I have shopped for another that can machine quilt and has all the whistles and bells, but got offended when the saleswoman I was speaking to insulted my machine. She has no idea what they used to make.

    Old faithful. Which is not to say I’d turn down a new machine that can do it all. I just don’t want to have to pay for it 🙂

  294. Katie Middlebrook says:

    I recently received a Janome Sew Precise from my in-laws. It’s my first sewing machine and has been great to learn on. It’s simple, sturdy, has a couple dozen stitches, and, after purchasing a quilting attachment kit,is perfect for trying out all of the projects in the Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts book. I’ll have a certificate to teach K-12 art soon and couldn’t resist immediately diving into the color wheel quilt!

  295. Wendy says:

    I have a 30 year old Viking that works like no other machine I have ever tried. I have never had to replace anything on it and love the selection of stitches. I’d buy a brand new one, if (heaven forbid) sometihng were to happen to this one.

  296. Elspeth says:

    I have a Bernat 56, a very basic machine whose primary use is quilting and bag making. What I so adore about my machine is that is perfectly accomplishes my basic tasks while including a few interesting stitches to expand my creativity. If I were designing it for myself, I’d add a wider range of needle positions and make it a little lighter (dedicated craft table? hah!) but on the whole, I consider it an excellent first machine.

  297. carrie says:

    I have a Kenmore that my sewing instructor tells me is built by Janome…it is almost identical to the Janome I use in class. I bought it last Spring for around $250 and it is a great machine for a beginner like me. It can handle so many things and I have had no problems with it. I expect that it will last me for a long time- hopefully well into my intermediate sewing years!

  298. AJ says:

    I have the Singer Stylist that my grandmother gave to my mom. I don’t know much about machines because I haven’t been sewing all that long. I do know that this little Singer is good because it’s pretty basic. Not like the $3,000 Bernina my grandmother has. (Then again, she’s a professional.)

  299. Melissa says:

    I have a Bernina 1230. It is probably about 15 years old and works great. I love my Bernina, it is reliable, sturdy, and easy to use. I learned on this sewing machine, and it has been great for me.

  300. Natalie Edwards says:

    I am a beginner sewer so I don’t know that much about sewing machines but I researched mine out for almost a year before I picked it. It is a Kennmore. I have loved it but like I said I don’t know how to sew very well so for a great semstress it probably wouldn’t be what you are looking for.

  301. karissa says:

    i have kenmore and I love it. It has about 20 or so stitches, just enough for my fairly basic sewing. My favorite features are the button hole function and the needle threader.

  302. Ellen says:

    My Singer 257 is old, but I love it and it makes beautiful stitches.

  303. Polly says:

    I LOVE my sewing machine! My husband bought me a Pfaff Tiptronic 2040 8 years ago as an anniversary present and it has been the best machine. No problems and I really appreciate the integrated dual feed. I can’t imagine sewing without it. Also compared to the other machines I’ve had(Singer & Brother) it is very quiet to sew on- doesn’t shake the table or wake the baby . Just 2 things that aren’t really problems but aren’t as user friendly to me(and probably it is my ineptness) but the zipper foot is shaped weird and I don’t find it as easy to use as a more tradtionally shaped one, and the automatic buttonhole. Yes, once you get your settings for the right one you can make unlimited amounts of identical buttonholes, you just have to fiddle a bit to determine your size. On an old Brother machine I had the buttonhole foot attached and you put your button in the back of it and the machine automatically stitched the right size! I liked that. But all that said I LOVE my Pfaff and wouldn’t trade.

  304. Sara says:

    I have a Singer 7462. It was 199.00 when I bought it and I believe that is still the price. I like it a lot. I had not sewn since high schoool (10 years) so I wanted a machine that wasn’t too complicated but still had some advanced features.

  305. Helen O'B. says:

    I’m in Australia so I hope it’s Ok to enter FFF. I feel your pain in having your machine fall off the table to the floor. I did this to my beloved and very well used Janome a few years ago. I got my leg caught in the cord and pulled it off the table when I got up to go to the ironing board. I just stood there and burst into tears. It was fixed but it was never quite the same. I had bought it just after I was married and it was a mid range machine then. Never gave me a problem……serviced a couple of times, and was used constantly after my first son arrived. Not long after that my girlfriend wanted to upgrade her machine so I bought her Janome 9000. I’ve been useing it almost daily for the last 3 yrs and it’s never missed and beat. It does both embroidery and normal sewing, although I’ve never played around with the embroidery attachments. I don’t think they make this model anymore though. I also have a Janome overlocker(serger) and it’s also been a fantastic workhorse. As for deciding what to buy all I can say is make a list of the features that you use most for the type of sewing you do and go to the dealers and say this is what I want. This is how much I have to spend show me what best fits my needs and give them a test drive. Around Mother’s Day is a good time to this as they often have sales and really good deals…….well here they do. Good luck with your search.

  306. Ann says:

    I just read Irene’s comments. My machine is also a Janome DC2007LE. I agree whole-heartedly with her comments on it. Love the overlock stitches too!

  307. Marilyn says:

    I could thread my mom’s 1950’s model Singer faster than I could say my name. Now with the singer I have (economical tabletop) it takes several minutes to thread–if I remember how! Do you think it has to do with the age of the operator?

  308. I have a basic Riccar that is a great sturdy machine, but I’m looking to upgrade so I can have more stitch options as well as an automatic buttonholer. I’m reading everyone’s comments with a lot of interest!

  309. Ann says:

    I bought myself a computerized Janome with 20-some stitches for myself for my 30th birthday last year. I bought it because I was sick of having to go to my grandma’s house to hem my fiance’s pants or make any other repairs. Her machine is old and has a lot of miles on it, and I’m sure it hasn’t been maintained properly as it has numerous problems. I’m so happy with my Janome! What a world of difference! It got me excited about sewing, and sewing has become a great hobbie for me now. After my mom saw what my machine was capable of and how easy it was to use, she bought herself the same model just 4 months after I got mine. Now sewing has become a great bonding experience. What we love about our machines is that they are very user-friendly, strong, and require minimal maintenance. Now if we could just convince Grandma that she should get a new machine!

  310. carmell says:

    well i don’t know if i really hate my machine but i do knot i don’t love it. but then again i have not tried everything on it. what i am in the market for is a quilting machine… though my Singer 5160 is aiight it is supposed to quilt… i don’t know how but whatever.

  311. Audrey says:

    I have a Kenmore from the early 70’s that my mom passed down to me when she got her embroidery machine. I wish it had more stiches, but I love that it is all metal and heavy. It doesn’t move on my table when I am sewing. It is a trooper! I hope it lasts forever. I would love to get a long arm sewing machine for quilting, but that will have to wait.

  312. Myra says:

    My first machine was an old (1970-ish) Kenmore bought for $15.00 from a yard sale & it worked well for awhile, but started to have some problems, probably a victim of years of non-use, as one posting mentioned above. My husband surprised me with a Bernina Patchwork Edition 140, a rebuilt machine about 10 years old. It is great! It will stitch real tiny, great for finishing on kids clothes, and has a few embroidery stitches and free-motion quilting. Also has the knee lever for the presser foot and an extension table. I recommend looking at rebuilts; he spent about $400 for it, when the current edition (called activa quilters edition, I think) costs much more.

  313. Doris says:

    I have had my singer for 37 years but recently decided to upgrade. I bought another singer that has computerized stitch choices. It is a singer confidence and I love it!!

  314. Michelle says:

    I don’t have a machine!! I’m looking for a good somewhat basic one that I won’t have to worry about. One that can handle quilting too.

  315. Teddi says:

    I have a very simple Brother machine that we purchased several years ago from Costco. Works great even though it’s nothing fancy. I’ve done all my sewing projects on it. I dream of getting something fancier someday – especially with embroidery or serger capability! But for now there are no complaints. I grew up sewing on my mom’s Viking – cams and all! She still has it and it still runs smoothly! I can’t remember a time without a machine at my beck and call – bought my daughter a ‘kid’ machine that is no good – need to look into the Hello kitty one for her before stepping her into the full size version. Thanks for all the tips ladies!

  316. Linda says:

    I have a Bernina 440QE and I love it. Until I got this machine I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting trouble shooting with my old one. I was always spending tons of time adjusting the tension. My Bernina has never had tension issues. It has a needle stop up/down option that I really like as well. Oh yeah, the built-in needle threader and the stitch regulator are nice, too. It’s pricey, but so far has been worth every penny. :o)

    Great for everyday sewing and quilting.

  317. Donna says:

    I have a Singer. It’s a very basic model but since I have just gotten serious about this quilting/crafting thing I haven’t had the nerve to really look for an upgrade. I guess maybe after a couple of years with this model I can start “hinting” about wanting a new model…..or I guess I could just drop it one the floor and “hope for the best!!!!”
    Donna in NW Ohio

  318. sarah miller says:

    I was given an 80s era Brother for my 9th birthday. I sewed through everything on that machine. It would sew whatever I thought up. Only recently (20 years later) I purchased a new machine – another Brother – an inexpensive machine that could help me finish my Christmas projects after my original machine needed repairs (I finally asked too much of it). The new machine proved better than a quick fix and I will be putting the money saved for a new machine towards a serger! I can only imagine what I might run through that machine!

  319. Andi says:

    I have a Kenmore machine which I received as a Christmas gift two years ago. I love the large variety of “feet” (including a walking foot) and the ease in changing from one to another. I also love the one-step buttonholer and the variety of stitches. Other great features are the thread cutter and needle threader. Up until I received the new machine I was sewing on my mother’s 1974 avacodo green Kenmore and it’s still working and has never seen the service shop! (but I am happy for the bells and whistles of my new one). My one complaint is that I do find that it does not handle several thicknesses of fabric very well. I discovered this when trying to sew a quilt this past week with tiny pinwheels (think lots of seams piled on top of each other). For everything else (including other quilting projects), it’s been great!

  320. I have recently bought a new sewing machine. first I had a Toyota, which was good enought but didn’t have a needle positioning adjustment and so it was difficult to sew the perfect 1/4 inch seam in patchwork.
    I mentioned it to my boyfriend and he said “buy a new one”.
    so I did
    I bought the comuterized huskystar C10 (of husqvarna viking).
    I love the decorative stiches, the speed- adjustment so I can sew really really fast or realllllly slow and in the middle of course. it is much quieter than the toyota and because the thread spool lies down instead of standsup it never happens that after sewing fast the spool continue to roll (it did happen with the toyota)
    I already sew thick fabric and several layers fabric, quilted en did applique. it is also a beautiful machine to look at *in love again*
    I recomend!

  321. alison says:

    What a useful post! It’s been very interesting reading all the responses and hearing what machines everyone has and loves. I’ve got a basic Bernina Activa and it’s been just fine. It’s my first machine ever and the only one I’ve ever sewn on, so I can’t really compare it to anything else but I don’t have any complaints. Buying all the special quilting feet has been pricey, but I didn’t know that I’d start quilting when I got the machine 5 years ago, so what are you gonna do?! I certainly don’t feel the need to get any other machine for my quilting.

  322. Audrey says:

    I have an old Singer–I love that it does the basics and it was free (part of my uncle’s estate.) Thanks Uncle Pete!

  323. Janice says:

    Janome Memory Craft 6500. Love it, but I’ve no experience with others either. Comes with a multitude of feet and has a large throat space. It is heavy so if you need to move your machine alot it can be very cumbersome. If you keep it in one spot and rarely move it, I think you would love it.

  324. Hashi says:

    I got a Brother NX-450 for Christmas 2007, and I love it. It’s my first-ever electronic machine and I don’t think I could go back. My favourite feature is the automatic thread cutter.

  325. alicia says:

    I have a hand me down Husqvarna Viking and it is great for what I use it for (learning to quilt, making purses, fun crafts, etc.). If I was in the market for a new machine…I would get one with a stitch regulator. I wish my machine had that!

  326. Staci says:

    I have a basic singer that my husband bought me about 6 years ago , but recently a friend let me use her 12 year old Elna (a model that I believe was actually manufactured by Janome) and boy is there a difference. Even though my machine is newer, the Elna is so much smoother and quieter. I fell like a whole different sewer on the machine, it makes me feel good to see a finished product that turns out well and was easier to make in the process. I am glad for all the great advice today because I am in the market to buy after borrowing this machine.

  327. rachel says:

    My Brother CS-6000 rarely leaves it’s spot on the living room table!

  328. Dawn says:

    I love my Janome MC3000!!!!!!!!
    The buttonholes rawk! I just got this machine two months ago after using a Bernina….
    Thanks for sponsoring FFF!

  329. Pamela says:

    I have four machines. A Elna Lock serger, an Elna basic model, a Bernina’s Deco 600 embroidery machine and a Bernina Virtuosa 153 QE. I Love my Virtuosa 153! Fabulous machine.
    You might want to visit the link below for more ideas.

  330. Beth says:

    I have a Brother cs-80 right now. Her name is Frannie. She has been a very good machine but is starting to show her age. I will soon be bringing home the Brother QC-1000. I can’t wait for her to join the family.
    My little girl has the Hello Kitty Janome. It has also been a good little machine. We are still working on sewing a straight stitch. I see her doing a quilt soon.

  331. Helen Gillis says:

    A couple of years ago I bought a Viking, mid line (not computerized) – and I LOVE it!! It has a few decorative stitches, up/down needle (which I love) and several button hole options. I had been wrestling with an old Necchi that really made sewing a chore. So if you are thinking of upgrading – do it!! You don’t have to go really over the top in terms of price to get a good machine – I paid about $1,000.00 for mine brand new – and its been worth every penny.

    Good luck!!


  332. nettie says:

    i just bought a pfaff 2127 and have been really happy with it. It always takes some adjustment, but the price is pretty reasonable, and it works like a dream

  333. Hjordi says:

    I have a White brand sewing machine. I got it 10 years ago from my inlaws. Although I do like it and it has served it’s purpose well, I would love to upgrade it. I have heard nothing but good things about the Juki. Amandajean has one and raves about it. Mine is very basic, but ever since I tuned it up -it works well. The only downfall is the cord to the foot pedal is too short. I am always messing with it.

  334. Karen says:

    I have an Elna Quilter’s Dream II. I love love love it. I sewed on an old and hardy machine for years and loved that one, BUt this one is SO much easier to use.
    Features I love? The abundant feet are simple to interchange. There’s a thread cutter (for someone who HATES to waste thread like me, this is SO awesome!). When I do free- motion quilting I can unplug the foot pedal and just press start and stop with my hands…. this allows the speed to stay constant (and speed is also adjustable). The neck is wider than most machines, allowing more space for larger quilts.
    Those are the best features IMO.

  335. Debbie Kenny says:

    My first machine was a Singer, which I purchased with my own money in 1974 at age 14. It was great for garment construction. At the turn of this century, I bought a Baby Lock Ellageo. At first, I didn’t think I needed all the bells and whistles, but now I don’t know how I lived without them(especially the automatic needle threader and the thread cutter). Plus, now I love to embroider! My advice is to test out as many makes and models as possible and buy the best you can afford – you won’t regret it 20 years from now.

  336. Katie Mitchell says:

    I have a Bernina (model Bernet 65). I love it. I have had it for a year now and so far no problems. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have a satin stitch or a very good button hole maker. It’s a good machine for someone who does basic sewing.

  337. Sequana says:

    I have two Janomes, no bells and whistles, but they do the job for me. One of them – the 405 – has a larger arm area for quilting, so i really like that.

    It’s tough to think of anything I don’t like about them.

  338. Amy says:

    I’m on my second hand-me-down machine. First from my mother which went to goodwill when I could no longer figure out the tension (probably just needed to be serviced). Second from my mother-in-law which has so far sewn a straight stitch perfectly well. Sometimes I long for something new, fancy, computerized…but honestly, I don’t have that much time or space to sew or learn much new, so the old one is working just fine.

  339. Jenn says:

    I have a Kenmore – great basic model, nothing fancy. It works great, although I wouldn’t be against upgrading in a couple years! I would like something that could handle quilting a bit better.

  340. madilyne says:

    So my machine is a Kenmore with digital programming that does lots of fun stuff…like sew by it’s self…no really sometimes you take your foot off the petal and it keeps going. It also likes to sing to me in a high pitched whistle, it’s so loving. It sews nice though and is pretty easy to use. : )

  341. Ashley says:

    I have a little starter kenmore machine my mom bought me almost 2 years ago for my bday. I like it. It does what it needs to do, but going to the fabric store and testing some of the upper models makes me drool and encourages to save money to buy a new machine someday…and a serger…mmmmmmmm

  342. Christy says:

    I have a Pfaff Hobby 4240, it’s a tough machine that is incredibly straightforward. It does great button holes, and can handle heavy denim, with little fuss. It’s been a real trooper, and I have had it for years, after buying it at a yard sale for $50!!! But, I am “looking” at purchasing a new machine or even just a “newer” one. I like how strong my current machine is, and the fact that it really can take a beating! LOL, and believe me it does, my husband is a Logger, and many patches have been added using my trusty Pfaff. What I am looking for now, is something that offers more creativity, some funner stitches and has the capacity to do more, ie, quilting, embroidery (maybe), and still be all around a strong machine! I have been looking at “Singer Confidence 7470”, but as I am not sure what is what….some recommendations would be appreciated!

  343. brianna says:

    Wow! So many old Kenmores! I have one too…passed down to my mother in law, then to me. My only complaint is that I have trouble sewing through many layers, like when making bags, so I may upgrade in the next year or two. Oh, and it’s just ok with knits. So I maybe need two new machines…lol.

  344. Emily V. says:

    Melanie, I’m pretty sure I have the same Singer model you do, and mine does the same thing when I thread the machine! I always sew on a little scrap to test it, and usually have to rethread it before I can get going. Very strange, but I feel so much better knowing someone else has this issue and it’s not just me being dumb. Other than that, I love my machine. It’s very basic but I’ve been able to do just about anything I want on it. The only time I’ve been nervous is sewing through multiple layers of towels, but I’d probably feel that way even more if I had an expensive machine. The only thing I would like would be a longer arm, I think. Or maybe a serger if I ever started sewing more clothes.

  345. Tina C. says:

    my machine was my husband’s grandmother’s. i inherited it, even though we weren’t married yet (they’re such a nice family of in-laws!) and i love it. it’s a rust-colored, heavy metal Husquvarna, and when i brought it to Jo-Ann’s for cleaning/servicing, all the sewing ladies gathered around because it was so old and beautiful. it has gears which you put in the back for the different stitches and it’s so much fun doing that because it’s like a real machine with its cogs and turnings — i love trying out different stitches…i wonder if ii could order more cogs… It’s very sturdy and tough — i think I could sew through anything with it.

    Anyway, it also came with its original manual and receipt, and a bunch of notions and thread which were hers. she must’ve loved orange cause i’ve got a lot of shades of orange thread.

    i love using it becuase although i never met her, I feel like i know her cause i get to use her awesome machine.

  346. Megan says:

    My husband got me a Pfaff Quilt Expression 2048 for Christmas a few years ago and it’s the best present I’ve ever got. I love everything about it — it’s simple to use, a real workhorse, has lots of good stitch options, etc. I especially love the half-speed option and needle down option for various kinds of quilting where I need to be especially careful. I don’t think I could manage without needle down.

    Only thing I wish now is that I’d thought about a machine with a stitch regulator to help me learn to freehand quilt better.

  347. Kate May says:

    I currently do not own a sewing machine. My twin sister Amanda^ has a little sewing machine, but she has said many times that it does not work very well, so I have never tried it! I really like the Brother XR 7700 as well! It seems like a waste to have two, so maybe we can share it if we get one for our birthday! That would be very exciting! If anyone has this sewing machine, a similiar brother sewing machine, or has heard from someone else that it is good, please don’t hesitate to tell my what you think of it! 🙂

  348. Wendy says:

    I use my machine for quilting mostly- both piecing and machine quilting, and occasionally for clothing, bags, etc. I have a Janome 4623 LE Plus. It has a lot of decorative stitches that I never use – most used stitches are straight, zig zag, and the auto button hole. I’ve had it for over 5 years and love it. My favorite features are the see-thru, drop-in bobbin, the auto button hole, and the best thing ever is the needle up/down position button. It came with a foot that allows you to do a zig zag stitch right on the edge of the fabric, which I find really useful for finishing clothes as infrequently as I do. I also purchased a package of quilting feet some time ago that included a “perfect” 1/4″ foot (which is not so perfect at all!), a walking foot, one fore free motion quilting, etc. Also, the controls for adjusting stitches and tension are very straight forward, no special instructions needed. I highly recommend Janome.

  349. Celeste says:

    I have a Singer too, that I bought last year after almost going nuts trying to work with my grandmother-in-law’s old mini machine for awhile. 🙂 It works well enough, though I do still sometimes have tension troubles. And I wish it had a bit more juice. But it survived its first year of Christmas crafting allright, so I think it was a pretty good buy.

  350. Heather t says:

    I have a cheeeeaaaapp Brother machine, super basic, that I picked up on Black Friday at Wal-Mart 5 and a half years ago. It works pretty well, does zig zag and double-needle stitching, but nothing fancier.

    I am kicking myself for not picking up one of those Hello Kitty Janome’s when Target had them on clearance after Christmas!

  351. Amanda says:

    I have a mini rex sewing machine ($15). So yeah…it kind of stinks! It does one basic stitch very poorly, so I haven’t really made too many things yet. I’m hoping to get the Brother XR 7700 Computerized Sewing Machine by august 15th (my birthday). I’ll talk about this sewing machine a bit, considering my other “sewing machine” is not really worth talking about. It has 100 stitch functions, is very light, durable,easy to use, and is very well reviewed. It sounds like a perfect, easy sewing machine for a beginner like myself! I can’t wait until I can start sewing more often and start sewing bigger and better things! 😀

  352. Fran says:

    I have a Pfaff Classic Style Quilt machine that I LOVE! I bought the Pfaff fabric mover at Christmastime as a present from my husband. It makes FMQ much easier. I LOVE my machine. I don’t do machine embroidery, so I didn’t feel a need to purchase a machine with that. The machine is easy to use. I love the IDT, because I’m always working with several layers of fabric and it’s good not to have to put on a separate walking foot. I also love that it’s easy to thread with the needle threader.

  353. carrie says:

    uh… i have a brother ls30. it was a Christmas gift and it’s my first sewing machine. it has worked great while i’m re-learning to sew, but i hope i get good enough to need a better sewing machine soon! 🙂

  354. Wow so many sewing machine comments! Great idea! My first and only machine is a “Brother CS8060 70-Stitch Function Computerized Free Arm Sewing Machine.” It was refurb’d when mh DH bought it from, FYI. Pro’s: Very easy to use for beginners. Offers a speed control. Very, very easy to to change settings, stitches and presser feet, as well as wind bobbin (see cons), thread and use accessories. Manual is very helpful! Cons: Speed control can become a crutch and prevent you from sewing faster. Also I initially had problems with bobbin winding- I realized that you need to hold the flip-up door in place while winding or else it bounces and causes the thread to feed poorly. Now it winds great. Also I feel that because so much is automatic (threading, etc), it means you will not be familiar with more manual type machines if you ever need to use one. Overall: I really love this machine. I have had it for probably 2 years. Occasionally jams but this is probably because I need to have it tuned up and cleaned or some other thing I’m doing wrong. Not a big problem though. Happy Friday everyone!

  355. Stacy A says:

    A few years ago I decided I wanted a little sewing machine to do little odd jobs. My mom got me a Janome 415. I havnt tried machine quilting with it yet but so far it has been perfect. Very easy to maintain and figure out. It does 16 stitches and a button hole. It is the perfect machine for me right now. Maybe when I get better at quilting I will upgrade but not now. It was also under 300$. Sweet!

  356. Michelle says:

    I have a newer Singer (model 9217, something like that?) that my husband bought me new in 1999, I think. I like the fact that I can wind the bobbin easily, and don’t have to remove it to rethread or anything like that. But I wish it had a needle down function!

  357. I love my sewing machine because it is the one I learned to use as a kid in the late 70s early 80s. My mom admits she still misses her old Bernina that is now in my possession. Unfortunately it is on the fritz right now and I am taking it in to get repaired.

  358. Karmela says:

    A Singer 9940. It’s great in many ways and drives me crazy in others. I bought it online as a refurbished machine, which shaved a great deal off the retail price. It’s been defect-free for two years. The variety of stitches is great, as is the auto-button hole feature. It came with all the feet I could dream of (except the teflon foot, which I bought separately). My only complaint is that it looses its stitch length when it comes up on thick seams. The stitches become labored and visually, the get shorter. Once the machine makes it past the thickness, it returns to normal stitch length. My dream machine would be able to power thorough those spots with a consistent stitch, have all the bells and whistles my machine has, and keep a reasonable price. I know, the last throws me off, but it’s nice to dream, no?

  359. lauren says:

    I used a Brother junker for almost 7 years…until I borrowed a friend’s Janome. That thing sews like smooth milk chocolate! It even has “dummy-proof” (meaning ME) suggested tension and stitch dial settings for each kind of stitch. I feel like I’ve been living in the dark ages! When it comes to buying one soon, I will definitely be getting one like this.

  360. Debee Campos says:

    Hello 🙂
    I just bought a Brother basic model at Target for Christmas- very basic but I’m just learning. I’ve normally just tried sewing on my scrapbook pages and I LOVE it. I know. What am I doing telling you about this crazy sewing on paper? Someday hope to learn to sew with fabric- right now, I’m loving this learning part so much. Nothing like being creative and gettin’ crazy with the sewing machine 🙂

  361. Anne says:

    I have a new brother 270D. I bought it originally for doing bits of machine embroidery but have been using it to sew alot lately. It purrs like a kitten! I highly reccomend it.

    does the hello kitty machine have a bobbin? I bought the Singer kids machine for my daughter and it does not have a bobbin therefore it does not actually sew. Pull the thread and it all comes out. 🙁

  362. renee says:

    I had a basic low end Brother bought at a walmartish store for $68. I bought it because i didn’t know how to sew and wanted to learn but figured i’d only do it occassionally so a simple machine would be fine. I hate the thing. It stinks. I spend more time fussing with it than sewing which stinks when you have limited time to sew. I love quilting and sewing and try to sew at least once a week. A few weeks ago at an estate sale i found an older bernina and a singer golden deluxe touch and sew. I realized while playing with these why i hated my machine. I simply outgrew it and so quickly. It was such an intimidating thing when i pulled it out of the box new and it took me the better part of two days to get sewing on it (my son was 1 at the time…that might have had a little to do with it!). But this is my only piece of advice since i’m so new at sewing. Buy a machine that you will grow into, not out of. My Bernina can handle everything i can do and it will last me for years to come and i have much to learn from it. Quality is important too of course. I don’t think i can outgrow this machine and sewing is much quicker now. It’s a real pleasure to sew on.

  363. Caroline says:

    I have been sewing daily on a Janome 6600P Memory Craft for over two years now and I love it. It has a walking presser foot, more stitches than I will ever have time to use, a table and several feet. You can control the speed with a foot pedal or a slide on the machine.

    There are really only two things I don’t like about it. First is that I have outgrown the speed on it and want something that sews faster. The other is that is does not have a free arm. I am looking at trading it in for an industrial grade straight-stitch machine to satisfy my need for speed.

  364. Kabira says:

    I have an older Kenmore – a few special features but nothing way too fancy — and it totally does the trick for me — I expect that if I invested in a way fancy machine I’d not use many of the features….

  365. Regina says:

    DH and I took all our returns from wedding gifts and bought a Singer – which is now 14 years old. It sews straight and zig zag – and button holes – that is about it.

    I love that I know exactly what it can do – and that the needle can move from side to side.
    As I get into quilting more, I wish it could do free motion.

    It’s made a lot of things- and will never be replaced -just maybe have a companion in my sewing room sometime soon???

  366. Phoebe says:

    I have a Janome 6600P and I love it so far (bought it last October). It’s far more powerful than my old cheap-o Brother, and the accufeed system is nice (it’s like a built-in walking foot, so quilting is a lot quieter). The only downside is that it doesn’t have a free-arm, but so far I haven’t missed it.

  367. Ginger says:

    Great topic!
    I have a basic Elna–no embroidery stitches. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve never had to have it serviced beyond basic maintenance. I use it mostly for craft sewing, but I do a little quilting and sew some clothing too.

  368. Amanda says:

    I have a Huskystar 215. My first machine. I believe it was about 350.00 It is about four years old. You can drop the feed dogs and adjust the presser foot these are very useful advantages. I must say that it survived lots of cloth diaper sewing, which requires you to stretch and pull the fabric a lot. I have had it serviced twice as the stitching gets a bit wonky after I abuse the crap out of it . It always comes back to me working like new. My mother has a inexpensive brother machine and I love the drop in bobbin my huskystar lacks.

  369. Jane says:

    Machine shopping is very dependent on what you will be using that machine for… embroidery, clothes, crafts, etc. Since I use my machine primarily for quilting (my kid clothes and curtain making days are over!) I have narrowed my machine search to those that ‘specialize’ in functions that quilters love. To me, the most important factors in a new machine are: 1) large throat or harp space (ie, space between the needle and the metal casing on the machine on the right) 2) ability for the machine to keep the needle down when stopped, 3) great straight stitch 4) needle threader/thread cutter and last but not least, 5) really great service from my local dealer! From looking at numerous message boards on the ‘net, buying ‘cheap’, sometimes costs you in the long run. I’m limiting my search to companies like Bernina, Janome, Husqvarna-Viking and Pfaff. Pricy, yes… but great quality machines. Good luck to both of us in our search for that ‘perfect’ (to us!) machine.

  370. Lindsay says:

    i’ve got a trusty little singer machine. definitely not anything fancy but she’s does her job well and hasn’t failed me yet. she’s stashed away at the moment sort of peaking at me from under the table. hoping i’ll win the “free fabric friday” so i can dust her off.
    my mother had a singer machine. it’s still chugging along as well. i wish the newer machines were still metal instead of this plastic stuff. just seems so much more sturdy.
    thanks for doing this,

  371. kim says:

    My mom bought me a used Brother machine from a flea market to start me out. Once I realized I loved quilting and would keep at it then I bought myself a Viking Emerald 122. I love it and have not had any trouble. I have only just ordered a free motion foot this week. I hope it works and there aren’t any issues! I had the worst time trying to figure out what foot would actually work on my machine. I wish that the Husqvarna Viking site would just spell it out for you and make it easier.

  372. Karin says:

    I use my great-grandmother’s Singer featherweight, so I am afraid I would not be able to give legitimate advice on new machines. I have a 1997 Singer that I use when the Featherweight is not in working order, but it is just ok. New machines are a bit scary to me- all those buttons to push. I rather like doing things the old-fashioned way.

  373. Linda C says:

    I bought my Singer sewing machine used when my daughter was little. I decided I wanted a sewing machine like the one my Mom had when I was growing up and like the one I learned to sew on in high school in the 70’s. It has now been almost 20 years since I bought it. I had it serviced one time, a couple of years ago and that’s all. It doesn’t do anything fancy – I just like the way it sews and how “solid” it is. IT IS VERY HEAVY !!!!

  374. Lynn says:

    I have a Janome 6600 and I love it. It sews through anything. And the harp area is great because I quilt my own quitls. What I don’t like about it is that it doesn’t have a free arm, but I also have a Janome Jem for that.

  375. irene says:

    I used to have a no name machine that was a tank and sounded like one too, but last year I bought a Janome DC2007LE. For $399, this is a great machine. The pros: it’s electronic stitches which sets the stitch width and length for you, the needle up/down button (love this!), automatic locking stitch, and speed regulator. The cons: it doesn’t sew well through thick layers of fabric such as bags and it doesn’t have an adjustable pressure foot. My old machine had an adjustable pressure foot and I really miss it. I don’t have a serger so I love the overlock and overedge stitches which make sewing clothes alot faster.
    My sister got a basic Singer for Christmas and thought it was a great machine until she came over and used mine. My mom has a basic Pfaff which I learned on and is a great machine as well, but it has always has tension problems.
    If budget wasn’t an issue I would absolutely love a Bernina Aurora, but for now, my Janome works just fine.

  376. Andrea says:

    I wanted to get a Kitty Janome for my daughter and found one on the internet. pity that they do not ship to the UK!

  377. amy says:

    I have a Bernina and absolutely love it! The reason why I chose a Bernina is for its shelf life, they are supposed to last forever…and I intend on sewing forever : )

  378. Fanny says:

    I have a Janome Memory Craft 10001. It’s rather obvious as it is permanently out on a table in the kids playroom (what was once our dining room!). Whenever we have people over and someone asks, “What’s that?” my dear husband always replies with “Oh that’s just my wife’s remote space shuttle launcher.” as he thinks it’s capable of a bit more than a sewing machine should be.
    That said, this will probably be the last standard machine I ever buy. I haven’t had a moment’s trouble with it in over 5 years. I also have a Pfaff serger that’s about 20 years old (and I couldn’t live without it).
    Prior to my Janome, I had a Pfaff which served me well through high-school, college and my bachelorette days.
    I do long for a long-arm quilting machine but that will have to wait until the day I have an actual sewing room instead of a sewing corner.

  379. Char says:

    I have a very basic machine – I just don’t need all the bells & whistles. if anything they just throw me off task when I spend too much time experimenting!! 😉

  380. Maribeth Sala-Gietzen says:

    I had sewn for almost 20 years on a Kenmore. Last year I traded up to a Bernina Activa 240. I love this machine-needle up/needle down, knee lift, enough fun stitches and amazing stitch quality. This was an investment, but I hope to have this machine for a long time.

  381. Laura Smith says:

    My sewing machine is a hand me down from my mother. She is an avid quilter and wanted a new fangled digital machine. I adore my machine because I know it was responsible for sewing all my and my brother’s baby/childhood clothes and is now sewing my children’s clothing. It is a Husqvarna Viking from the 60s. It works perfectly still and I am still learning new techniques on it daily. 🙂

  382. adrianna says:

    I have the Singer Esteem… and let me just say, it works.. but not very well… unless I’m doing something totally wrong. BUT, I have been sewing for about 10 years now and have NEVER EVER broken a needle until I bought this machine. I broke 4 in one night! I don’t know if it’s me or the machine, but I like the blame the machine! =) Prior to the esteem, I used my sister’s SInger, which she got in the 80’s or early 90’s. And that one was awesome!

  383. Katie says:

    I have a Brother 2125i. I love it! It’s a very inexpensive, beginner-type machine. It seems very sturdy and it’s so incredibly easy to use! The only thing I don’t like about it is it doesn’t sew really sheer fabrics very well. It’s like the presserfoot and feeddog need thicker fabric in order to move the fabric. But, overall, it’s a great little machine!!

  384. Susan Duane says:

    I have a Bernina 153, I really love it. My husband actulally surprised me when I went to take a class at the sewing center here. There was a brand new Bernina waiting for me! I was sewing with a Bernette at the time. I guess this model isn’t available anymore but they have alot of models to choose from.

  385. Lindsey says:

    I have a Brother CS-100. That we bought at costco. I love it. and ive lent it to a few friends and I get nothing but wonderful words about it. I know they have newer models now. But it does some embroidery which ive used on a few dresses. And it makes buttons a since. I just have to put the attatchement and it basically does it itself. Im new to sewing and I figured it out great. My MIL is a “seasoned” sewer and she loved it too.

  386. Angela says:

    I have a Husqvarna Viking 425 that I bought at a GARAGE SALE!! It’s a great machine and what I was wanting when I ran across it one day at a yard sale. It was $400 and I didn’t have that much on me or want to spend that much w/out talking to my dh, so I left it there. But the next day, late in the morning when I went back….it was still there and it came home with me! 😀

  387. Amanda says:

    I used to have that Janome Hello Kitty machine. But I had the one that only did straight and zig zag stitches. I actually bought it for myself because, quite honestly, bigger sewing machines scared me. And I figured, I won’t be using it much, so, who cares? Well, I CARE! I used it for about three weeks and then I upgraded to a Euro Pro Intelli-Sew. It has something like 400 stitches and can embroider little letters. I love it. It’s much smoother than the previous machine and I use the embroidery stitches all the time. The Janome was a wonderful jumping off point and I don’t think I will ever go without a sewing machine ever again.

  388. denitza says:

    I have a Brother that I got 2 years ago for Christmas. I love it! I’m new to sewing and the Brother is very easy to use. I also started quilting few months ago and so far so good. Also the machine is very light wight and has some decorative stitches that I have yet to use. The only thing that I don’t like is that I have hard time quilting larger size quilts-right now I’m working on a twin size quilt and it gets a little harder to rich the middle. Can’t wait to read the rest of the comments!

  389. Mrs. Pear says:

    I have a Bernina – it was a special treat with some inheritance money, and I love it. It sews through very thick stuff beautifully. I wanted it to be able to handle my quilting demands, which many machines hesitate at, to be reliable and sturdy, and I wanted a variety of decorative stitches if possible.

    I am now pining after an embroidery machine, but that is many years away……

  390. Kristin L says:

    Mine is a Bernina Aurora 440. It’s sturdy and stable and feels like it will last forever. I’ve sewn through leather with it as well as organza and it handles each without complaint. It has just enough fancy stitches to entertain me, but not so much I’m overwhelmed. I LOVE the knee-lift for the presser foot, and the raising (or lowering) of the presser foot with a tap of my foot on the pedal. It means I never have to let go of my fabric — great for tricky curves or fussy piecing. I don’t hate anything about it, but it can be a tiny bit fussy if it’s not threaded just right. Re-threading fixes any complaints though. The stitch regulator was great at the beginning when I was starting out, but once you’ve clocked enough hours free-motion quilting, you can actually be better than the BSR. My advice to someone getting a new machine? Buy a machine with the features you aspire to, rather than a machine that just meets current needs. That way, when you are ready to grow, your machine will be there to support you, not hold you back.

  391. Hannah says:

    I have a very simple Singer which is about five years old and has been used non-stop. It works great for just about everything. I’m not thrilled with its button holer and when I tried to reupholster our sofa, I couldn’t get the foot to raise high enough to fit three layers of fabric underneath.
    My mother has the fancy serger and embroidery machines and she’s gracious enough to let me use those when I need….

  392. Anne says:

    I got a refurbished Janome Decore Excel 5024 last Christmas and couldn’t be happier. It is a sturdy little thing; nothing fancy (no computer lcd panel, no embroidery), but it serves me very well. If I do embroidery I like to do it by hand anyways with ribbons 🙂

  393. Alicia says:

    My current machine is a basic Brother, purchased at a classic “Mart” discount store. I like it just fine. I’ve never had a single problem with it that wasn’t my own fault. It’s insanely easy. Cost $150 and even makes any size button I need at the push of a button. I’ve been using it on and off for almost 10 years.

    I fantasize about upgrading, but it’ll probably never happen. I’m happy with what I have.

    Also just fyi to any sewing machine shoppers out there, I HATE Singer. My mom and I have had several over the years, usually purchased used because the original owner hated it too! They always have issues, and seem to need CONSTANT fixing. Even doing the most basic tasks always seemed to screw it up. When I hear someone has a Singer and actually likes it’ I’m truly surprised!

  394. Crystal says:

    I have a Quilt Designer II by Husqvarna Viking. It is so user friendly even with all its fancy bells and whistles.

  395. Sarah says:

    I love my Huskystar C20. It was reasonably priced, sews through many layers of fabric (or paper), has plenty of decorative stitches, but most importantly it is always ready to use! No fiddling with thread tension all the time.

  396. Amanda says:

    I use a vintage (1950’s) Domestic. It’s my pride and joy. Don’t tell my kids. I also have a Singer but it’s a hunk of junk. The Domestic is old faithful, she can sew through anything and always hums along. The bobbin winder is busted though. I do have a real soft spot in my heart for vintage machines, the metal parts just don’t ever clunk out on you. I wish it had more stitch options though, that would be my only beef.

  397. Ellen says:

    Kenmore Computerized Sewing Machine with 110 Stitch Functions
    Sears item# 02019110000 Mfr. model# 19110

    Have had no problems with this one and am enjoying all the different stitches.
    I also have another basic Kenmore that’s been great, my mom’s 1950’s Singer that I learned to sew on, and I lucked into a Featherweight which I haven’t tried yet!

  398. shawnee says:

    i bought a White model # 2037 at joann’s about 4 years ago and *knock wood* it still works well – just a few burps and skips here and there.

  399. Marianne says:

    I have a Quilter’s Companion (Janome.) I really love it–I do mostly quilting/patchwork, and it is worlds better than my 70’s singer! I also have a Singer Featherweight from 1948, which I also love–only does forward and backward but so cute and small and lovely.


  400. Sandy says:

    I love my Bernina. Not only because it’s a wonderful machine, but I love the store where I purchased it. The store offers many free classes to “get to know” your machine. I’ve also had a very basic Singer. I often feel the model/type of machine you need depends on how much you use it.

  401. Shelley says:

    I have a Brother with a ton of fun stitches, buttonholes etc.. It’s my first sewing machine and has been great so far. I only started sewing a year ago and wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it so didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I’ve been really happy with it, but will probably upgrade eventually.

  402. nicolette says:

    I have a Janome MC 6600. Wonderful powerful sewing-machine with lots of options. I love the thread-cutter and the knee-lift, the endless possibilities to make stitches and some alphabets. It sews easily through thick layers, like leather and canvas. You can programme stitches you often use. It has a long free arm so quilting is more easy!

  403. Emily says:

    I just bought the Costco Brother sewing machine. Prior to this, I’ve always sewn on older machines. I have a circa 60’s Singer that had been a workhorse, I took it in for a tuneup and it never recovered. I also have a 2nd 60’s machine that I used for back-up. Well they both needed over hauling, so for slightly more than a tune-up, I have a machine that does all kinds of handy things. I love the needle up/down! I’m still adjusting to how it works. The biggest adjustments have been that it is so small, I fell like I have to crouch to see the presser foot. Also, it is very light weight. I am going to try changing my seating height relative to the machine and see if that helps my ability to view what is going on down there! I sew sporadically, so it will take me a few more project to adjust. I really wish I had the budget for a big, sturdy new sewing machine. This Brother really feels like a disposable to me after working on the older machines for so long! It really does seem to sew just fine and hasn’t been tempermental, I think once I adjust we’ll get along fine! It really has a lot of features – who knows if I’ll use them?!!

  404. Rachel says:

    I have a Viking Emerald 116 and I absolutely love it. It can sew through 14 layers of upholstery fabric! I have made everything from clothing to bags to quilts on it with no problems. The owner’s manual has a wealth of information and there are many presser feet available. I highly recommend getting a machine that has an available walking foot. Free-motion quilting has been a bit tricky for me, but that may be user error and not the machine at all. Overall, I would suggest this machine for anyone looking to go a bit more powerful than the beginner machines.

  405. Jill Douglass says:

    I have a singer I bought ~20 years ago for about $250. It’s okay, but I really can’t seem to get the stitching tension right, ever. Yes, I’ve gotten it tuned. I think I need a new better machine!

  406. Kari says:

    I just bought a Husqvarna Viking Saphire 870. It is top-of-the-line for viking that doesn’t cross into embroidery machine. I LOVE IT every little tiny millimeter of it! It was a dear investment but there is no other standard sewing machine out there with such a long arm which, if you even do a little quilting, will really really appreciate. Everything about it is fancy, the 200+ stitches, automatic tension settings, a feature that cuts the thread and pulls the top thread down to the other side (for those of you who do free motion embroidery or quilting!) It’s smooth, powerful, comes with a lot of accessories. If you sew a lot and know you will use many features, this is a really good investment. They have lower models of the Saphire so you can get the long arm for less money. I promised my husband I wouldn’t have to buy another machine if he let me get this one!

  407. Keri says:

    I got a Singer for my high school graduation in ’91. It was nice, but always a pain in the butt to use. Had to have special bobbins, it didn’t like sewing denim or through lots of layers. It was just a pain! After it broke the second time I opted not to get it fixed and just went down and bought a cheap $100 Simplicity machine from Wal-Mart. I’ve been using it about 6 or 7 years now and it’s doing great. Would love a Bernina, but it’s out of my price-range. 🙁

  408. Michelle says:

    I have a Bernina 1008, which is a cheap model (less than $1000). It’s basic and I like it. Unfortunately, something broke and the feed dogs won’t lower, which is sad because I want to do some free-form machine embroidery. Other than that my machine is good, basic, functional and seems like it will last a long time. I just need to get off my lazy butt and have someone fix it. Also, I could do without the 80s swoosh graphics in pink and gray.

  409. ana says:

    I dreamed of having a sewing machine!! Sometimes i could use my grandmother´s and ocasionaly i borrowed a friend for some free hours! But when i arrived to Italy, one year ago, i found an old Adler owed by my boyfriend´s grandmother! It´s a very simple machine, just does one type of stiching (although it gives me the chance of play with they size) but has a big history to tell since his grandmother was a dressmaker!!! I fell very honored to use it and to have the oportunity to bring to life so many wonderful projects!!!

  410. I have a 2-year-old Kenmore, with a buttonholer and about 50 stitches (maybe 5 of which I use). I like it, but as Amy (first comment) mentioned, it’s occasionally a little feisty. I do quite a bit of quilting, and sometimes I think my layers are too much for the dear. I hate it when the needle does that “stuck in place” RAT TAT TAT TAT thing.

  411. Lorajean says:

    I have a janome sewing machine and a janome serger. I love them both. The sewing machine has 15 or so stitch choices that I punch the number in for. My favorite feature is that I can pick the speed of the petal. Just amazing. I wish I had that feature on my serger, but I’m getting better about not being a lead foot!

  412. Sibyl Scott says:

    The sewing machine I use on a daily basis and sew on it for at least 4-5 hours daily is my Singer 401. it is a workhorse. Yes it is 55 or so years of age, but I would not part with it for the life of me. I learned how to sew on one that was my mother’s. She still uses hers and it was brand new to her. My mother n law also had one, but my sister n law got that one. So about 3 or so years ago, I was fortunate to stumble across one and had to get it. I have since been able to get the sewing cabinet/desk just like my mom’s and mother n laws (identical). It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin. Now I also have 2 Brother embroidery machines one is embroidery only (PE750d) and one is embroidery/sewing (innovis 4000d). Love them all. I have them running almost all day long as I am in there sewing on my other machine.

    If at all possible I would go with a vintage machine if you are looking for a sewing only machine.


  413. Jen Coyle says:

    I bought a singer xl2600 about six months ago, once I decided to get back into sewing. I am now looking to upgrade to the Kenmore 19110, and hoping (fingers crossed), that I will get it for my anniversary at the end of the month.

  414. Lera says:

    Don’t buy a Brother. You will regret it.

  415. amandajean says:

    I have a JUKI TL-98Q and it is fabulous!!! I highly recommend one.

  416. Emily says:

    I’m very excited to have just found your blog. This topic was made for me. I’m just learning to sew (working on tote bags that each get a little more complicated). I’m using my neighbor’s machine, that he got from a friend of his mom, that SHE got from her mother. It’s been around the block and I’m loving my new hobby enough to want to spend some cash on my very own machine.

    But I’m not really even sure what I should be looking for in a starter machine. I want the basics to be simple to use (bobbin winder, etc). I think I’d like one that does cool embroidery, but I wonder how often people actually use it?

  417. Laura says:

    My MIL just gave me a Pfaff 2140. I love love love it, although I don’t have much to compare it to, since I am a new sewer. Her constant refrain when asked about machines is to make sure you buy the best one you can afford. Another random bit of advice she gives is that when teaching children to sew, it’s better to have them learn on a newfangled machine than become frustrated with older, more cumbersome models. Get them right into the art without having to grapple with the mechanics. Not sure why I posted that, but maybe someone will benefit from it! Thanks.

  418. Nicole says:

    I have a Pfaff Hobbymatic 907. It was a gift from my parents 18 years ago. (It says “made in West Germany” on it:). I love it because it is sturdy, reliable, and easy to use. It has no electronics or fancy stitches-but since I’ve never had a machine like that I don’t miss them. So far I’ve had no reason to go looking for a new machine-though I do need a zipper foot as mine is MIA. I have a cheap Singer serger and it’s crappy. The cutting blades don’t stay aligned so it would jam and skip stitches. I’m borrowing my mom’s fancy Elna serger but it’s very hard to thread. I covet the babyLock sergers that have automatic threading. Some day…

  419. Tex says:

    There is nothing I hate about my sewing machine. I love my Bernina 930. I bought it with money I took out of my “retirement” acount when I stopped teaching junior high school–I didn’t think I’d ever go back to that, and I was right.

    My mom tried to teach me to sew but the tension issues were the death of my enjoyment of sewing. When I bought my Bernina, it was as if all tension, both sewing and personal, went away.

    Another thing I love about it, and this seems pretty insignificant, but I love that I can hold my fabric as I lower the presser foot with the knee extension,

    I know there lots more sophisticated Berninas–but I could never never part with my basic machine.

  420. Sarah says:

    I am a beginner sewer and bought a low-end Janome last year. It has probably 20 stitches. It has worked well for me and is lightweight. I can’t vouch for it as far as quilting goes. But I’ve made pillows, curtains, purses, and baby gifts and haven’t had any trouble with it so far.

  421. Maggie says:

    Free Fabric Friday, how exciting! I am drooling over some of the florals to make a bag for my friend’s birthday.

    I had an old White machine that I bought at a goodwill for $25. Not sure when it was from but it was solid steal and weighed about 50 pounds! It was great for the simple sewing projects I used it for. My mom and husband pitched in last Christmas to get me a new Singer and I have had more problems with that than with the ancient thing! After using it about twice the threader stopped working (don’t need that), but I also have trouble with the needles staying aligned. I am tempted to go back to using the old White machine.

    On a side note, when my daughter gets a bit older, I am TOTALLY getting her that Hello Kitty machine.

  422. Kristan says:

    I have a 28 year old Singer that cost me $100 on my twelfth birthday. It goes forward and backward and zig-zags. I can sew heavy weights on it without a worry. I also have a Riccar that I bought for $10 at a yard sale. It is probably 30ish years old, and is a bit more fancy, but doesn’t do heavyweight as well. I also have a serger. I love both of my machines and use them a TON! When I was asked what to buy while working in a fabric shop, I always recommended finding an older machine made of metal. They are virtually bomb proof. Just be sure to take it to be serviced before you try to use it.

  423. dianne says:

    I learned to sew on my mom’s WWI Singer and my little White machine seems so bouncy compared to her giant black beauty. But it’s basic and it works for me as I try to figure out what I’m doing. My 6 year old wants a machine of her own now . . . any suggestions?

  424. britt says:

    I have a kenmore that my husband got me for xmas and it works for what I do. It has enough stitches for everything I do (not embroidery). The one gripe I have is that one part on the top of the machine that you put the thread through right off the bobbin tends to pinch the thread causing some annoying tension issues, but I founda work around for now. My mother has a bernina minimatic(or something) and I would love to get it from her. That machine was a work horse like no other.

  425. Alice Stephenson says:

    I’m using my mother’s old Kenmore sewing machine which was purchased in 1971 I believe. Its older than me, but working very well. It does everything I need and I’m pleased with its operation and outstanding durability.

  426. Megan says:

    I have a basic singer model (it is actually a school model) but is is really durable and works great but very basic features. I dream of an embroidery machine with lots of decorative stitches, my aunt has a Pfaff Creative 7570 and I am in love with it! I am hoping a new machine will be in my budget in the next year or so, until then I will be creative with what I have! Meg

  427. Angela says:

    I have a cheap, simple Brother machine. It is about three years old, has been cleaned & serviced once, and is still going strong! I would highly recommend it to a beginner – it has been worth way more than the $80 I paid for it – but a more experienced sewer (my current self included!) would probably like something with more features, or maybe even a serger.

  428. Kathleen says:

    A couple of Christmases ago my husband got me a Husqvarna Scandinavia 200. I love it! It has a bunch of fancy stitches and I’ve loved sewing with it. It’s a computerized model but a fairly basic one. If I remember, it was around $1000 and well worth every penny!

  429. Denise says:

    I have a Bernina which I’ve sewn everything on with no problems. I’m thinking about getting a Bernina with the stitch regulator. I’ve love to hear from those who have it.

  430. Shar says:

    I have a Bernia virtuosa 153 it sews like a dream love it! Also a Juki TL-98Q which is a real work horse!(for me it’s heavy so it isn’t one I’d want to lug around much! A Bablylock for embroidery. I’ve had no problems with any of these machines.

    Happy Quilting

  431. Melissa says:

    I have a Brother with 25 stitches. I am a novice and I enjoy the ease of this machine. Threading and doing the boppin are very easy. I haven’t tried anything fancy so I don’t know about it’s more advanced capibilities but its great for a relatively inexpensive machine for a beginner like me.

  432. Mommykatt says:

    I have an old Elna SU from the 60’s. I absolutely LOVE it. It’s all metal and sews through the heavier fabrics like nobodies business and deos well on the thinner fabrics as well. I do wish I could find the cogs that go into the top of the unit to give more stitching options. Maybe someday…

  433. Suzanne says:

    I have a basic Kenmore machine from Sears that I got a few years ago. It’s been working pretty good but it’s pretty hard to quilt a large quilt on it. If I ever bought a new one I’d love a bigger one with an attachable table for quilting. It’s not anywhere in the forseeable future though 🙂

  434. Mary says:

    I learned on a machine very similar to the one in the picture, which my mother still has!! The first machine I bought for myself was a (very) basic Singer – I’m talking less than $100. It still works like a champ and I love it. However, I was at an auction this summer and found an old Singer for $10! It’s an old slant needle (404). It’s straight stich only, but came with the zig zag and buttonholer attachments… the thing runs like a Cadillac!! Best $10 I’ve ever spent!

  435. Sarah says:

    I have an Elna my parents bought me for my birthday, which I’m happy with so far. But I’m a very beginner sewer and haven’t tried anything at all tricky yet, so my opinion is far from informed. My sister, who is a bit more experienced, also has an Elna that she’s very happy with.

  436. Christine says:

    I have some sort of limited edition Janome. It’s nothing fancy–just your basic, sturdy machine and I really love it! Before my Janome, I had a Singer machine that was computerized and had some really cool stitches, but I think the Janome is nicer, and much more well-made, even without all the fancy-pants stuff my Singer had.

  437. Jen says:

    I have two machines. The first is a hand-me-down from my mom. Dad bought it for her for Christmas in 1974. It’s a Kenmore, and a workhorse! The thing is still sewing great! I learned to sew on it, but never was brave enough to do button holes or anything other than straight stitching. Just recently, like in the last 6 months, did I start playing with the different decorative stitches.

    For my birthday, Hubby got me a Baby Lock Ellure. I LOVE IT! I’ve been doing some fun things with the embroidery function, and sewing… oh it’s wonderful. And Button holes… oh so easy! I’ve actually been brave enough to attempt real clothing (with buttons and everything) because of it. It’s very easy to use, rather intuitive for me. The one thing I’m a little sad about is the decorative stitches. Not as many, or as cute, as the ones on my Kenmore… but I still have that one, so it’s all good.

  438. misha says:

    I love my Janome Jem. It’s my first sewing machine and I have been having a great time learning on it. I have some 3 baby quilts on it so far!

    I like how easy it is to use… it’s a very uncomplicated machine, and despite the fact that it is very small, and very light, it feels sturdy. I suspect that I will have it will me for a very long time.

  439. Toni says:

    My first machine was (I still use it) was a Bernina Bernette 50. It’s sturdy – but doesn’t move the way it used to. It’s been in the shop about a dozen times in the last 10 years because it just shuts down. I think I used it too hard. I believe the original price to be about $100 – but I’ve probably put in about $500 in parts and maintence. Gotta keep it to give to my daughter when she’s ready to sew!

    I just got a Janome Heart Truth 2008. Great machine. Has about 50 different stitches and runs well. It doesn’t handle the heavy stuff though – and I think it already needs some maintence – and I got it in December 07!! Not bad on the price though – $300-$350.

    I also have a White Serger I got on Ebay. Not too bad – but doesn’t do what it should. It’s cheap and parts bend that probably shouldn’t. It too has cost me a bundle on repairs and cleanings. But it does what it needs to do!!

    I think I’m out of the market for a new machine – but I always like to drool at the nicer ones 🙂

  440. mollyinn says:

    I have an old sewing machine — really old. But I love it because it was our neighbor’s growing up, a lovely old lady by the name of Eleanor. Now it is mine. It is a White, not sure what model, and since I am a beginner, it has more than enough features for me. Plus it has a great table that closes up when I am not using it. A huge plus in a small house. Maybe there are some features I would like, but since I am still new to sewing, I’m not yet sure what they are.

  441. Katherine says:

    I have a Brother XL-5500, which they don’t sell anymore. What I like about it, but many people wouldn’t like, is that it doesn’t stitch too fast. My mom’s Singer goes really fast, and it always freaks me out. I feel like I have more control with my machine.

  442. yvonne says:

    i have a kenmore sewing machine, which i actually really like. it’s very basic, but it gets the job done. my mom has a couple of machines, one of which is a singer she’s had since before i was born (i’m guessing it’s maybe 40 years old?) and it’s still going strong.

  443. kristena says:

    I just won last week, but, hey, I can still tell you about my machine! I had a super-simple Brother machine from Wal-Mart that did absolutely nothing special. But it was all I needed for a long time, and it was a good model for a beginner. Then this past Christmas, I decided an upgrade would be a nice luxury. You know, more options, smoother sewing… So I upgraded to another Brother from Wal-Mart, and I love it! It’s model CE-4000, and I think it was about $120. It’s computerized, does several decorative stitches, and is a breeze to operate. I haven’t had it for very long, so time will tell just how great it is. But right now, I am satisfied with my new, inexpensive machine.

  444. Collins says:

    I have had my kenmore for 12 years. It has been a great machine. My 10 year old daughter is starting to sew, so I would like to upgrade and give her my kenmore. I will be reading what other people have to say about their machines to get some ideas.

  445. Nicole says:

    I got a heavy-duty Singer (HD110) about a year ago. I wasn’t looking for tons of stitches (this one has 10, I think), but wanted something sturdy and basic. It’s been working great for me so far. However, I went to the “upscale” fabric store nearby and when I told the owner I had a Singer, he was like, “Well, when you are ready to upgrade, let me know!” Surely there are better brands, it just depends on what you need in your machine!

  446. floribunda says:

    I love my Pfaff, especially the integrated dual feed — which makes both layers of cloth move together so you don’t need a walking foot when quilting and everything stays aligned. It is also really easy to adjust the tension, unlike machines with drop-in bobbins. I wish it had a knee-lift for the presser foot…

  447. Beth says:

    I have a basic singer fashion mate machine that I’ve had since graduating high school. I’ve used it for everything including quilting full sized quilts but sometimes the stitches can look a little ratty. I would love to find a good solid machine that I can use for quilting. I think all I really need is straight and zigzag stitches, a walking foot and the ability to do free motion quilting.

  448. Carolyn says:

    I have a Bernina, probably 15 years old……but it is a work horse! When I take it to be cleaned they always try to see me a new Bernina, I told them “you can’t have mine as a trade in even if I bought a new one.” Sure all the new fancy stiches would be nice, but I LOVE MY MACHINE 🙂
    The best advise I have for purchasing a sewing machine is to buy the best one that you can afford…….you will not regret putting money into a good machine if you are going to use it !! Saves lots of time and frustration…..HAPPY SHOPPING !

  449. Rebecca says:

    I recently got a Janome. I love it. It is straight forward, quiet and consistent. It has around 50 stitches and some other fun features. It works great and makes sewing painless…..unlike my previous machine, a White. The White worked great for really basic things…but definitely wasn’t as user friendly as my Janome.

  450. Crisanne says:

    I have a fairly basic Bernette 60. It’s ok…It sews reasonably well, but it’s no super machine. It is very obvious in the stitching when you speed up and slow down. And it is quite difficult to go slow-like through curves and stuff. I’m anxious for the next season of our lives when I can afford a better machine.

  451. Karen says:

    I have a Singer Esteem that my Mom got me for Christmas. It’s a pretty budget machine, so I don’t know how long it will last, but so far it’s been great. I’m just learning how to sew, so I probably put it through a lot, but I’ve sewn bags with thick straps and quilted thick, heavy potholders with no problems (now that I’ve got a walking foot, which helps immeasurably – I use it for everything). It has cute decorative stitches, a zipper foot, and a buttonhole maker (which I haven’t used yet). I don’t like the fact that there’s no way to control the speed, because I learned on a Janome at the Etsy Labs that had a dial from “turtle” to “rabbit,” so it was easier to keep from zooming off at breakneck speed by accident.

  452. sara says:

    My husband gave me a Kenmore for christmas works well for my needs. then my MIL gave me one of her extra sergurs

  453. Valerie says:

    I’ve just started taking a beginner’s quilting class and sewing at home little bags and things like that. My sewing machine, a White 1409, just couldn’t handle it. The stitching quality is really bad. When I brought it to my quilting class it was so bad that I just used one of the store’s machine, a Pfaff ClassicStyle Quilt 2027. It was pure heaven. I just loved their IDT (integrated dual feed). The next day I tried their Select 3.0 and I just love it too. I’m saving up my money so I can buy it when they have some back in stock!

  454. Mandy says:

    I have 3 Janomes: a small portable Platinum 760 (60 stitches, auto buttonholer), that can sew through 6 layers of denim if you go slowly, no sweat; a 6600 quilting machine with a built-in walking foot and many stitches (beyond awesome); a 300E embroidery machine. I got the last two for 40% off at a once-a-year sale, which cost less than the 6600 at full price. I have been sewing with all 3 for the last 2-3 years, and love them all. I have taken several classes using the Bernina Artista and a couple of other that I don’t remember the model of, but really didn’t like the feel of the motion of the machine–it seemed “clacky” compared to the very smooth action of all my Janome machines (purchased after using Berninas), and it felt that way across the board. I didn’t know about the obsessive following of different types of sewing machines until I started doing research! Compared to my 6600 the Berninas were also quite a bit lighter than the 23 lb 6600, and it also has a 9″ underarm space, but no freearm. I love my 760–super easy to take to classes at 11 lbs, and it can sew the same stuff that my 6600 does, without the underarm space and built in walking foot. There’s a great and very helpful yahoo group for the 6500 (which includes the 6600), and I know there are some for the other brands. It may be useful to join up and see what they have to say, since so much of your choice will be based on personal “feel”. good luck!

  455. Shana says:

    I have the stripped down basic Viking Husquvarna machine–it is the best gift my parents ever got me and one that was a complete surprise on Christmas Eve when I was twelve. I guess my mom was tired of me breaking her needles and sewing when she wanted to. Anyway, that was in 1991 and it’s held up pretty well and through many moves. It doesn’t have any fancy stuff just the basics but that is all I really need. I’ve made curtains for every house I’ve ever lived in, dresses for myself, clothes for baby and tons of gifts. It needs to be serviced now, because I’m having trouble adjusting the tension when sewing through multiple layers. . .

  456. I have a Singer Quautum XL1000, it’s computerized, and has an embroidery attachment that’s pretty cool. You can buy little cartriges for it to add different stitches. It was passed down to me after my mom died. I like it, haven’t played with all the functions, but it does quite a lot. I’ve been happy with it so far, the bobbin area is really sensitive, you have to keep it really clean or it doesn’t want to sew, but besides that I haven’t had any problems with it. I love the thread cutting function.

  457. Heather says:

    I have my mother’s Singer Merritt! I love it!! It does everything I need for now! I love the few different stitches it does and the ease of switching to those stitches! I also have my grandmothers Sears Kenmore which is still running and sews excellent!!! I have all of the stitch discs!! And it does some fancy stitches my Singer does not!!

  458. I have a Kenmore 16231 which I believe is Janome-Built, and it’s fantastic. I bought it last summer for around $250, mostly because it had a reputation for gracefully handling thicker materials than are generally recommended for non-industrial machines. In the year since, I’ve sewn vinyl, thick decorator fabrics, InsulBright, and tarpaulin – all with no problems. Also, it’s one of the few machines in the price range that has a needle up/down button, which is a really handy little addition.

    My complaints are pretty minor. The measurements printed on the bobbin case are a little off so you have to use the guides on the needle plate. Visually, I don’t like the pastel colors combined with the curvy shapes of this machine- it comes off looking more plasticky than it needs to. And I wish it came with a cover included in the price.

    Still, these quibbles don’t reduce my enjoyment in having a reliable, capable machine that is able to rise to the occasion when I make unusual demands.

  459. Marina says:

    I inherited my grandma’s Singer in January. She had talked about giving it to me in November, but I never got a chance to pick it up before. Anyway, it’s a model 9020. It’s the machine I learned to sew on, so it’s got to be at least 15 years old. I love it. It doesn’t have a lot of extras, but it has 12 stitches (or so) and it’s easy to use. It sews really well, though I definitely need to get it serviced, and it reminds me of Grandma every time I use it.

  460. cally cruze says:

    i’ve got a brother. it haunts me in my sleep. maybe i just don’t know enough about tension, and proper needles, and walking feet? but this machine insists on taking an hour to do a 20 minute job. the thread breaks, all the time. the stitches are short, then long, then not there. the bobbin gets tangled. the needles break. etc. i wanna break up.

  461. IamSusie says:

    When I got my Husqvarna Lily 550 about 10 years ago, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. previously I’d owned a few hand-me-downs including an old Singer and a Necchi. I find it to be fast, reliable, easy to clean, easy to thread, easy to load up bobbins, and easy to adjust stitches. It handles all kinds of fabrics including thick bulky layers. It was an expensive purchase for us at the time, but not a week has ever gone by that I don’t sew something with her. In truth, I’ve never really tried other high end machines, but I feel the Viking has lived up to it’s reputation.

  462. Katie b says:

    I have a Kenmore that my mom picked up at a garage sale for $20. It’s probably from the 70s-80s. It works pretty well, but it does have some drawbacks, i.e. I can’t drop the feed dogs or sew through a lot of thick layers. Other than that it’s a great machine!

  463. Julie Lueck says:

    I bought my bernina 15 years ago to sew for my then newborn daughter. I love it and it still runs great. I purchased it new and it is a mechanical machine. I really wanted a computerized machine that I just had to press the button to make a certain size button hole but I could not justify the extra expense. My only regret is that I wish I had bought used. Dealers have GREAT deals on their trade ins all the time. You have to be patient but my friends took my advice and got great deals.

    I tell people to try not to get too caught up in the number of stitch designs that are available, I really only use the straight stitch, zig zag and hem stitch. I do have a lot of really fun feet… pintuck, edge stitch, walking foot etc. Classes, service and support are more important than the brand. One of the biggest reasons I chose bernina was because I needed more than five stitch widths to choose from… some of the cheaper brands of computerized machines had only five widths. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal until you want something just slightlty smaller or larger than the five offered!

  464. Tara says:

    I have a Brother, basic model, that my mom got me for my birthday last year from I really like it. I don’t do much fancy sewing and this machine offers exactly what I need and want. It has a button hole maker, about 20 different stitches and is easy to thread and maintain. My mom has an old Bernina, probably over 25 years old, that still sews great. It’s so well maintained, has all metal components and is as smooth as silk. The only thing that bugs me when I sew on her machine as opposed to mine is that I can stop my machine with the needle down, to pivot or whatever. Her machine automatically lifts the needle so you have to manually put the needle back down to pivot.

  465. Ritz says:

    I bought a used Viking Lily 535 last year. It’s a great machine with a good amount of stitches and an automatic button hole foot (yeah!). The computerized panal helps to guide you according to what type of fabric you are sewing and the thickness. I did push its limits this last Chistmas–the machine is tough and sews leather nicely–but several layers is just too much. Only the tension was off a bit and luckily I had a 1 year maintenance which it was still under.

    A good used sewing machine from a reputable dealer is a great option. The store I bought it from inspected it and made sure that it all worked well before I bought it and I think I got a deal.

  466. Story Girl says:

    I have a four-year-old Viking Freesia 415 and it’s perfect for the type of sewing I do (mostly garments and bags). It has all the basic utility stitches and an electronic screen (that I love), but not a lot of decorative stitches, which is ok because I don’t need them. I love that it never needs oiled and that it’s jam free. Sews like a dream. I also recently purchased a Viking Huskylock 936 five thread serger/coverlock and OH.MY.WORD. I don’t know what I ever did without it. I’m sew in love – 2, 3, 4, 5 thread overlock, 2, 3, 4 thread rolled hem, chainstich, coverlock – I’m completely digging this machine and cranking out garments like never before.

  467. Jennifer says:

    I have a classic old kenmore. It still works great and does everything I need.

  468. Chris Warner says:

    I have 2 machines, one I just splurged on back in November, I felt guilty because I used my Christmas money but hey I had a new sewing machine to make presents on and I did. My new machine is a Babylock CraftersPro Series. I just love this machine, its everything I could ever want in a sewing machine. It is a manual (vs not computer) but I wanted it that way, something about turning the dial to change settings reminds me of my childhood. The ladies at the sewing store were shocked that I did not want a computerized machine. It has a small table attachement and a darning/embroidery foot; I just love that free motion foot, I used it to make a jacket for my niece and traced all the flowers on the fabric with colored thread she just loved it. My second machine is a 1929 Singer sewing machine, this machine was given to me by my husband and mother in law, it was my husband’s Grandmothers’ machine and she was a seamstress, I save this machine for special projects , it sews great and has a beautiful stitch. When I am sewing on this machine I feel as if she is standing near and guiding me along.
    Happy machine shopping, Chris

  469. Mikaiya says:

    I have two machines- a Singer 503 (the Rocketeer), given to me by my aunt when I graduated from college. It’s a workhorse- sews denim with ease, can handle some serious sewing, but it’s a bit tricksy for satins (of course my first big project consisted entirely of slippery fabrics… ugh). I learned a lot from the machine, and it’s still going strong- it has only very basic stitches, but it does them well. 3 years ago, my mom gave me her Singer Athena when she upgraded and decided 5 machines might be a bit excessive. The Athena is now my machine of choice! I don’t sew as much as I’d like to, but this machine can do anything. It has a really fantastic button-holer (my Mom misses it already), and it’s blind hem is a dream. I gave it a really solid tune-up a year ago and it sounds and feels as good as it did when purchased new.

    As I’m getting interested in learning to machine quilt, I’m pondering whether I should actually buy a newer machine that could handle it, but I love my current machines and don’t plan to purchase anything else unless I get a lot more quilting under my belt. I vote for older machines when you can get them- they’re powerful, and unless you really use all those fancy stitches, will do just about anything you need.

  470. Jennifer says:

    I have a Bernina 165 and Janome 6600P. I enjoye both of my machines. The Bernina is easy to use for free motion quilting and it also has an embroidery unit. It also sews beautifully and has alot of decorative stitches. This is my second Bernina. The Janome has a larger throat and I use it on my quilting frame. I like that the Janome had all the feet you could want and also has the built in walking foot. I like the walking foot; however, when I quilt on a frame it gets in the way. Because the Janome is big it is heavy. So it isn’t practical for classes…unless you are strong or have a carrying case on wheels.

  471. Liz J says:

    I love free fabric.

  472. Melanie says:

    I learned how to sew on my grandmother’s Singer. It was a model from the 40’s. Back in the days, the machines were all made in metal. When I went to fashion school I could use the school’s industrial machine as much as I wanted. So it’s only after university that I bought my first machine, a cheap (100$) Brother, made from plastic. I bought it because my grandmother’s machine was broken, and it would have cost me the same amount as the new Brother to get it fixed. I thought the Brother was a better deal. I hated that machine. I was used to really powerful, really heavy machine, that one felt cheap in comparison. I never got used to it. So I started looking for a Singer Slant-o-Matic, or a vintage Morse in thrift stores. As years passed, I was starting to think that I should buy a new one, because I couldn’t find the vintage finds that I wanted. I really wanted a Bernina, but I was having a hard time finding the model that I wanted in Canada. Last Christmas, my fiancé made me a nice surprise by offering me a Singer Futura. It’s a sewing machine, but it doubles as an embroidery machine. At first, I wasn’t too sure, but now, I have to say that’s an awesome sewing machine, and I love it so much. Much better than my old Singer. I will never stop looking in thrift stores though!

    I shared this piece of my life to make you realize one thing: if you have a cheap machine, you will most likely hate sewing. Owning a good machine just makes you want to sew all the time! And new is not necessarily better than old. It doesn’t matter if it’s old or new; just find one that will suits your needs. You might not need all of the fancy stitches like my Futura does (I have to tell you that I don’t use them all that much, but it’s a really nice addition).

    If you buy new, evaluate what are your needs, and what you will do with it (are you a quilter, do you want one that does embroidery, do you really need the fancy stitches, etc.). To be honest, I don’t think a 100$ machine is worth it, because you will eventually want to update it, and that would be like wasting 100$. I have not tried every machine in the world, but in my opinion, you need to pay a little more in order to get a good one. Janome and Bernina are really good machines. Go to a store where they have a lot of models on display, and ask if you can try it. Most places will offer a free course on how to use that new sewing machine.

    If you decide to buy a vintage machine, you’ll pay a lot less, but keep in mind that a machine that has been sitting in a attic for many years, see decades will need to be serviced and it can add a lot to the price. It can cost you between 50 and 80$ to get it serviced. More if it’s damaged. Back in that time, sewing machines would last a lifetime though, and it will probably be worth the investment. Look for great brands like Singer. My best piece of advice would be to carefully inspect the machine at the thrift store, if it looks in good condition, buy it, but make sure you can return it. Then, take it home and clean it as much as possible. If it didn’t come with the manual, look for it online. Oil the machine. Check if the electric cord is in good condition. If not, replace it. Carefully try the machine. Take it to a place that specialized in that kind of machine to get it serviced. Ask for an estimate. If that’s too much money, you can always return the machine.

    You don’t buy a sewing machine just like you would buy a pair of socks. It’s pretty much like buying a car. You need to evaluate your needs and your budget, compare all brands and models, decide if you’ll buy new or used, find a good dealer, etc. You will have to spend the time it needs in order to find the best machine for you.

    Good luck!

  473. Bethany says:

    I have a Kenmore that my mother-in-law found for me at a yard sale. What is wonderful about it is that it’s there. I know that sounds silly, but before, I didn’t have a sewing machine. Therefore, I didn’t sew. Now, when I think a project looks interesting, I don’t have any excuses. My sewing machine has all the basics, but I do have a question: if I were to buy a new sewing machine, what upgrades are most important to people? Do you really need all those do-dads or can you do without some? Just curious.

  474. Sara says:

    I have a basic mechanical Bernina that I absolutely love! My now husband got it for me one of our first Christmas’s together, about 5 years ago. It is BY FAR my favorite gift he’s ever given me because so much thought and love went into thinking of it as a gift and finding the perfect machine. He did his homework, found a dealer, and found the perfect machine without me ever even saying that I wanted a new sewing machine. People laugh when I tell them my favorite gift from him is a sewing machine, but it means so much to have him know what I will really love before I’ve even thought about it. As a bonus, the machine is so sweet! It hums along with perfect little stitches, and after a recent tune-up, it’s as perfect as they day I got it!

  475. Kelli says:

    I have a Singer, much like Sara R., I picked it up from a clearance sale in college. It just does the straight stich. It has been with me for years. I have just started researching newer machines now that I am in the midst of creating a craft room.

  476. Karen L says:

    I have a Bernina 153 QE now and pretty much love it. I use to sew on an old Singer which worked fine, I thought, but after buying the 153 second hand, I realized how much better this ran and sewed all kinds of things. It just hums along. I was particularly impressed with how it machine quilted free style. As long as your foot is on the pedal, it just keeps sewing over everything whether there is one layer on the machine or numerous layers. The two big negatives that I have noticed are 1) that there is not much space both vertically and horizontally in the sewing area of the machine to fit much in especially when trying to machine quilt and 2) there is always a fair amount of expense for annual servicing. My dealer says that Bernina does not have any plans to enlarge that space so I have just bought another machine for doing the quilting. It is a Pfaff GrandQuilter which I also bought second hand. (Just like cars, they are so much cheaper that way if you can find them.) Have not had the chance to set it up yet so I do not know personally how it will be … although I have tried one at a quilt show and it worked like a dream. You do have to keep them well oiled though. Really, though, I think the most important thing to take into consideration when buying a machine is whether there is a dealer/ service person near by. If you cannot take you machine to someone locally for service and/or repair, it will be very frustrating if the machine starts acting up. So, find out what is sold near you and check those machines out. OK, that’s my 2 cents for what it is worth … about 2 cents, I guess. Karen L.

  477. anna says:

    I have a necchi, not sure what model… my mom gave it to me a few years ago for christmas {side story: like five years ago I had desperately wanted to get a sewing machine for christmas–I had been asking for one for a couple years–but my mother ended up giving one to my brother! who uses it all the time, actually to make paintballing accesories. anyway, my sister said the look of devastation and disappointment on my face when he opened it up was so sad. a couple years later I finally got one. I just couldn’t believe he got a sewing machine before me! he’s a boy!} anyway, I love my sewing machine but dream of the day I can upgrade to something fancier. I’m excited to read everyone’s recommendations. and hopefully win some free fabric! 🙂

  478. Valerie says:

    My machine is a Huskystar 224, and I love it. I got it about 6 years ago, and I have never had any issues with it. I wanted one that was simple to use — at the time it was one of the nicest models that wasn’t computerized. I was afraid to get a computerized model because I thought it might be confusing or break down or something. My Huskystar has lots of stitch options, but I only use the straight and zigzag settings. 🙂

  479. ariana says:

    I have a Kenmore. My mom swears by them and it’s pretty basic. I like it a lot and got it at the scratch and dent outlet. 🙂

    To be honest, though, I would LOOVE a Janome!

    I want to see if Janome owners love theirs. 🙂

  480. Lori Kay says:

    I have an Elna 3500, which was a big step up from my original Singer sewing machine, purchased when I was 16 yo. Once I had it though, I experienced immediate buyers’ remorse. Sure, it has some fun decorative stitches and is a LOT quieter, but it didn’t come with the “needle-up/needle-down” feature. I didn’t realize how important that feature can be until I used someone else’s machine at a quilt guild meeting. The “needle down” feature (the needle moves down and holds the fabric in place when you take your foot off the pedal) held my quilt blocks exactly where I wanted them while I adjusted the fabric. I’ll definitely get that feature on my next machine.

  481. Elizabeth says:

    I saw that Hello Kitty machine… so cute.
    Up until recently I was sewing on a 30-year-old Kenmore that used to by my mom’s. It sewed, but I wanted something more.
    Now I have a Singer. I was going to get a Pfaff, but I couldn’t justify the nearly $700 expense for the model I wanted. My machine works pretty good. There are some things I would change: where the presser foot up/down lever is, that plastic-y-ness of it. But other than a few things, I like it fairly well. It has 36 different stitches and I hear they’re making a darning foot for it. So, for the money (just under $200), this is a good machine. It’s easy to use, easy to thread, has all those stitches, sews through several layers nicely (I’ve used it to “straight”-quilt two quilts already), and has a decent sized throat. I’d recommend it.
    But if you have a bigger budget, I’d go for the Bernina. My mom let me borrow hers and it. was. a. dream.

  482. Joanna says:

    I got a Singer for Christmas 2006. It’s alright. My mom picked it out. I wish it had a bit more juice. It came with all these decorative stitches, but I haven’t figured out how to use them. It seems like it should be pretty straightforward, but when I try them, they don’t work. I am jealous of the owners of Berninas and Janomes. I someday would like to get a serger. I imagine that as my daughter gets older and doesn’t grow out of her clothes every 3 months, I might start making more for her and a serger might be nice!

  483. Shelly says:

    I have a Janome QC4800. They’ve closed these out, I think so they are pretty reasonably priced. I previously had a Janome and wanted to upgrade to a few additional features and it was quite worth it. My new machine has adjustable presser foot pressure, lots of stitches and handles heavier seams better than my previous machine. It came with every foot I could want (except maybe a teflon foot and a ruffler.) It runs smoothly and I have had no problems with it. I really wish I could have bought something higher up the food chain, but for what I paid, it certainly has been well worth the investment.

  484. Sarah says:

    I love my Janome. It’s basic, but it works like a charm. I also love my old Singer, which sews over vinyl (without a special foot) like a tank.

  485. Liz says:

    I have a Brother LS-2125i. I love it! I’m not a “hard-core” sewer, so it has everything I could need without a lot of crazy extras, and it’s an inexpensive machine. The buttonholer is particularly easy, as is the bobbin winder. The only thing I have to complain about it is the manual; it’s not the best-written or most detailed, and I often find myself having to reread something several times before I understand what they’re telling me to do.

  486. Erin M. says:

    The thing I dislike the most about my sewing machine is the tension settings. I have been working with oilcloth and I can never get the tension set right. One thing I love about my machine is that it has a handle, which makes it easy to move around the house with me..

  487. Cheryl says:

    I love free fabric fridays. I haven’t won yet but there’s always a first. As far a a sewing machine goes, I have a Singer Quantum 9920. It’s okay and gets the job done. I bought this machine 1 1/2 yrs ago w/a desire to sew but no idea how to do it. I bought the machine from the Singer store on sale for $700. I had no idea what a Bernina, Elna, or Babylock were. In fact, I couldn’t have justified spending that much on a machine when I didn’t know how to sew. So, that being the case, I did ok. The machine gets a little funny when the layers get a little thick on items like a bag…sometimes the seams can be a little wobbly. I found a titanium needle helps though. My best friend for awhile was the machine manual! Thank goodness it’s clear & easy to follow. You hear good and bad about Singers now a days, but all n all it’s ok. But….next I’ll have a Bernina! Have a great w/end.

  488. Mom2fur says:

    I used to have a Janome, with something like 149 stitches. My sister said you could press a button that said “Christening Gown” and one would come out the other end, LOL! I ran that baby into the ground sewing for my four kids–mostly girly girly things for my daughter. For a while, after it kicked the bucket, I didn’t do much sewing at all. Then I got bit again, and I asked for a simple machine for Christmas a few years ago. It’s just a Kenmore. It has about 20 stitches, nothing fancy. This is why I love it. It does the job, and it’s all I need. I’m back in the swing of sewing again, only without the fancy embroidered duckies and daisies.
    I am, however, trying to get brave enough for a serger!

  489. Debrah says:

    I purchased and Elna Quilters Dream 3 years ago and the more I use it the more I love it. It did not cost me and arm and a leg and has the ability to stitch beautifully through many different fabric types and thicknesses. On the negative side, the presser foot lever is located in an awkward position and the needle postion has to be moved for a 1/4 ” stitch when making a quilt. Minor issues for a great affordable machine.

  490. Ashley says:

    I got a Babylock DesignPro for Christmas, and I love her. Prior to that, I had an old Kenmore given to me by an exboyfriend’s generous mama. It was older than I was, and needed a lot of work. So I love my new sewing machine mostly because it works well and has a really nice manual. She was also only $250, which felt like a lot of money to me, but I know there are so many out there that are much more expensive. We made a bunch of cute totebags for Christmas presents, and are wrapping up the binding on our first quilt. She is definitely pulling her sewing weight around here!

  491. Andrea says:

    I have the Shark Intelli-Sew and it is nice. It was a gift a couple years ago and I think it is a good machine for a beginning sewer. It is pretty simple to get started but also has a lot of extras (like different stitches and stuff) that you can experiment with as you feel adventurous. I think my biggest complaint would be that the arm is not very long. It makes any bigger project pretty difficult.

  492. Sarah says:

    I have a Viking Platinum 770. I love it!! My favorite feature is that I can move the needle position left and right. Very very handy!

  493. Jen says:

    I have a Singer sort-of industrial model. It was sold to me at a fabric store by a Singer rep. It has an industrial grade engine, and is gray, but is pretty standard. It just goes really fast! And it can sew through multiple layers pretty easily. It’s basic … no fancy stitches. Just gets the job done …

  494. Christi says:

    I have a Huskystar C10 its simple to use, which is all I need to learn with. I hope to see a lot of great information here, I didn’t know what to look for when I started shopping.

  495. christa says:

    I have a brother CE-4000. It is really easy to use, came with a bunch of quilting options, like a larger switch-in-able base plate and a walking foot. My only problem with it is that you can only use a certain type of brother bobbin. If you order the generic version with the same part number, it is too short, so it doesn’t work on the winder and the bobbin thread gets all wonky. Now that I have figured this out, however, I LOVE my machine.

  496. Bikini says:

    I have a Singer circa 1992, which I call “ol’ reliable”. It’s been with me since my grandmother bought it for me as a high school graduation present, and it was considered “fancy” because it had buttonhole settings.

    I’m lusting after either a long-arm quilting machine or a machine that does embroidery. Alas, neither are in the budget right now!

  497. Holly C says:

    I have sewn with (and abused) a janome of my mom’s for many many years, and it’s still purring!

  498. Brandy says:

    I have used a number of models in the past mostly Singer but right now I’m working with a basic model Brother. Hubb knew I was wanting a machine of my own instead of borrowing my mothers all the time and so he surprised me with it.

    Things I like.
    Its lightweight and sews efficiently.
    It so far has handled an array of thickness and styles of fabric. I’ve yet to find a fabric I can’t sew with it even without changing the foot. (Think faux fur, blue jean, packing tape attached to yarn for doll hair)

    Things I don’t like.
    The limited stitch style. I’d love some more decorative stitches, but I can get that by going for a different model.

    Other than that I really like my machine. It’s not an overly expensive one (Though I drool over those often!) and its made it through 3 years of my crazy sewing habits so far!

    *Oh and its fairly easy to maintain. I haven’t had to do much to keep it running smoothly.

  499. Melanie Williams says:

    I have a very basic Pfaff and I really like it. It’s just very reliable and I’ve never had a problem with it. However, I do know that the delux models are capable of much more but if you want something durable, then I’d highly recommend mine.

  500. Lucy Johnson says:

    I have the cheapest singer sewing machine available. It is the first machine I’ve owned, and so far is great. It has survived travelling in luggage from America to Sudan (where we live), copes with vast quantities of dust and extreme heat, and generally does very well for what I use it for; making clothes, bags, quilt tops, repairs etc.

    My machine sewing skills are basic and I usually just use straight stich and zig-zag – I am so glad I didn’t get a more expensive one (that would also be more hassle to try to fix if it broke.) My criticism is that there could be more troubleshooting instructions included. I love that it came with a ‘stitch ripper’ which I had never encountered before (I said my machilne skills are basic!) and a little brush to help (and remind you) to clean it. That possibly sounds stupid but for a beginner they are both very useful.

    OK, so yes I drool over the expensive do everything machines, but for what I need it for, and my skill level it is perfect.

  501. Monique says:

    That is the CUTEST! sewing machine ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If it wasn’t because I have 2 boys and 2 sewing machines (already) I would buy one for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can’t help you narrow down the choices but I love my Janome! Any Janome is good for me (both my sewing machines are janome and so is my embroidery one) Yay JANOME!

    That’s it

  502. April M. says:

    My singer was 10 years old and not performing like I thought it should, so I bought a new bottom of the line singer. After using it for about 4 months, I realized it was no better than the last one. It’s not that I don’t like Singer, or that the machines were bad, it’s just that with the amount that I’m sewing now I needed a “real” machine. I bit the bullett and bought a Bernina 440 – love it!

  503. Jacquie says:

    I have two…one is an Elna from about 1960 that was my mom’s. I also have an old singer that I bought for about 70 dollars when I first got a job. (It was used then.) I love that I have them…I wish they had a walking foot.

  504. anita says:

    I have a Viking 555, which I use mostly for quilting. I really like my machine because it has a large variety of stitches, it is easy to clean as well as change presser feet, and it has a fairly strong motor. I wish that you could easily adjust the bobbin tension on Vikings. I had the bobbin tension adjusted at the sewing machine shop where I purchased the machine. It didn’t really help much with the particular project and I actually ended up having to buy a new bobbin case a year later. I think that Bernia makes about the best machine for quilting, especially free motion quilting.

    Good luck and happy shopping.


  505. Aimee Davis says:

    I have a Pfaff Tiptronic that was the first machine I have ever owned. I love it and it does everything that I need it to do and more…that doesn’t mean I don’t dream of getting a new fancy one that does 10 million other things that I’ll probably never use!

  506. Melanie says:

    I have a Singer 5062 that I bought from Costco probably 6 years ago. It is a great basic machine, has extra decorative stitch modules that I’ve never used, love the 4 step buttonhole, and has really worked out well for me. The only problem I have with it is sometimes when I change thread, the bobbin tension gets wonky and I have to completely rethread the machine, which seems to fix the gremlins. Weird. Looking forward to hearing about everyone’s machines!

  507. Anina says:

    Very appropriate. I just got my new sewing machine yesterday. It’s a Juki TL-98Q and I love it. It’s a straight stitch machine only. I got it because I was worried about wearing out my Bernina with all the quilting I do. This is a semi-industrial machine. It comes with a walking foot and darning foot (and a bunch of others) and doesn’t have any computerized parts. It is very, very sturdy. Free motion quilting is, for some reason, 10 times easier on this machine. I love the big foot pedal that I don’t have to chase all over the floor all the time. The thread cutter (which has a button on the machine as well as on the foot control so you don’t have to let go of the fabric) is great. You can use big spools of tread because it has a raised thread guide which allows the thread to feed smoothly. There’s more but I just can’t think of it right now.

  508. Sara R. says:

    I have a crappy little Singer — Fashion Mate! — that I bought on sale at Mervyn’s when I was in college. No embroidery stitches, no button holes, just straight and zig-zag, but hey, 12 years later, it’s still going strong. I’ve sewn everything on it — from Halloween costumes, to my wedding dress, to baby quilts, and it has handled everything. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t love a fancy Janome or Husqvarna, but my trusty Singer just keeps going and going.

  509. Helen says:

    I have a Toyota Quilt 50 – it’s part of their quiltmaster range. It really is fantastic – my husband bought it for my 30th birthday and it’s been the best present ever. There are 24 stitches in total. It also has 5 special quilting stitches, and came with a walking foot and quilting table bundled in. On top of that it’s a great machine for all kinds of sewing work – dressmaking, bag making etc. It copes really well with multiple layers of fabric and interfacing. No complaints at all! Best of all, it’s not an expensive machine – slightly above entry level, maybe, but really good value.

    Lisa at U-handbag wrote a great post reviewing a beginner’s Toyota machine recently if anyone’s interested:

    Those Hello Kitty machines are so cute!

  510. froghair says:

    love that old sewing machine

  511. Denise Powers says:

    I received a Singer sewing machine as a Christmas gift from my parents in my senior year of high school. That was the Christmas of 1975 and I am still using the same machine. I have had it serviced a couple of times and it still works great. I don’t do a great deal of sewing but it has served me well. It doesn’t do the fancy stitches that the new machines do but for my purposes it is a good machine.

  512. Denise Powers says:

    I have a Singer sewing machine as a Christmas gift from my parents in my senior year of high school. That was the Christmas of 1975 and I am still using the same machine. I have had it serviced a couple of times and it still works great. I don’t do a great deal of sewing but it has served me well. It doesn’t do the fancy stitches that the new machines do but for my purposes it is a good machine.

  513. Amy says:

    I have a Kenmore that my mom got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. It’s not the best machine around but it does the trick. I like that it’s basic and intuitive but I hate that it’s a bit tempermental. Eventually I would like to upgrade so I’ll looking forward to reading other’s comments!

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