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SMS Sewing Forum
on: November 11, 2010, 11:09:19 AM
I am only here for one reason. That's to buy my wife a sewing machine. I have done a lot of research and that only led to confusion. She doesn't know how to sew but wants to learn. I am looking for someone to teach her.
My question is what would be a good starter machine? I don't want to spend a lot of $$$$ but I also don't want to buy junk. I'm looking for the best quality at a fair price. I'm sure it would only be used occasionally. I know everyone will have their own opinion of whats good but any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated. Thanks
Re: Beginner machine
Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 03:36:48 PM
Here's the thing. Everyone has a different definition of a lot of money, so I don't want you to spend more than you can afford, obviously. However, I'm on my 3rd machine and let me tell you what I have learned.
It helps to buy quality the first time. If you don't, your wife will be frustrated with her machine and she won't know if it's because she isn't any good or doesn't like sewing or if it's the machine. Lower quality machines may not sew straight, the stitch quality isn't as good, it may have tension problems, etc.
You definitely want to get a machine that comes with lessons. If you buy one from a dealer, they will not necessarily teach her how to *construct* something but they will teach her how to use each of the feet, how to thread, oil and clean fuzz out of the machine, that sort of thing.
There are many brands that people like and are loyal to. You should make a decision based on what is available in your area. I like my Bernina but if I had to travel 100 miles the Bernina dealer, I may have rather had a Pfaff.
My parents got me a Kenmore to practice on. I loved sewing. I hated that machine. I wanted to chuck out the window when it would nest up (the thread would loop on the bottom and get caught around the bobbin) so badly it would tear through my fabric and ruin my project.
I bought myself (what I now know to be) an overpriced $600 Brother. It had all the features - auto needle up and down, push button thread cutter, embroidery.... but it refuses to sew in a straight line or sew through more than 4 layers of fabric. It would just stop and not sew any more, if I gave it what any other machine would fly right through. It is happy as an embroidery machine, but not as a sewing machine.
Finally, I got a Bernina 230. The 3 series Berninas just came out to replace these, so they are on sale right now. I think mine was around $800. It does NOT have all the bells and whistles. For that, in a Bernina, you must spends thousands. However, despite needing to cut my own thread, it does *everything* I ask it to do. Sewing is a dream. I've used it every day for a year now, just sent it in for service and it came back better-than-new.
My first two machines, in the end, cost more than my new machine.
If you see that $800 and cringe, I would recommend finding a good, new-ish (3-5 years old) used machine. Many quilters trade up for a larger machine (to make larger quilts), and they take loving care of their machines. You can find these for sale, sometimes even at the dealer (because they take trade-ins). Also keep in mind that if you wife ends up hating sewing, a quality machine is going to have a decent resale value. Also, sometimes buying a sewing machine from a dealer is like buying a car. It's hard to find out what the "MSRP" is so you should call different dealers and try to pin down a price. Sometimes they will throw in extra feet or extra lessons to get the sale. Give the place closest to you (assuming they are nice) the best opportunity to make the sale, since they will be the ones performing the service. I just got my first year of cleaning for free.
Thank you for doing your research first, because it will make a huge difference in her experience!
Re: Beginner machine
Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010, 09:09:38 AM
I have an ultra low-end Brother sewing machine (LS 2125) that I got about five years ago for less than $80, and I think it's an absolutely fabulous beginner machine. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of higher end machines, but it does all the basics and it does them well. I've used the machine regularly for everything from bags to quilts to clothing, and it's really never given me any serious problems.
It came with all the basic presser feet (standard, zipper, and buttonhole, I believe), and over time I've purchased several additional feet for it (mostly quilting ones). All the additional feet were very affordable and easy to find, which is certainly not a guarantee with every machine.
I will say that I don't plan to sew with this machine forever. Now that I know I'm serious about sewing, and aware of the features I'd like a machine to have (and the ones I don't so much care about), I'm considering upgrading to something nicer. However, this was a wonderful machine to learn on and grow with, and I'm glad that I didn't shell out big bucks up front for a hobby that I wasn't even sure I'd stick with.
Re: Beginner machine
Reply #3 on: March 08, 2011, 08:15:24 AM
This is probably too late of a reply for your gift for your wife, but maybe it will help someone else.
I have sewn on & off since I was 12, but in the past year I've sewn almost everyday. For Christmas 2009, I got the Brother CS6000
from Amazon. All I have to say, is that I've been an Amazon shopper for at least 10 years, and have NEVER seen 534 reviews on anything that resulted in 4.5 stars. That speaks for itself.
I love this machine. It's fantastic for the beginner sewer and only costs $169 with free shipping. It comes with a good number and selection of foots - 6? Super easy to get started, but has some nice bells & whistles too.
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