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Sewing with Style Message Board › sewing machines

sewing machines

Austin, TX
Post #: 29
hi friends, i'm looking for a little advice... I purchased a beautiful, old machine for $50 on craig's list, but got it home and it didn't sew a stitch. I had it repaired for $55, got it home, and my husband dropped it and now...dun dun doesn't sew a stitch. At this point u'm really thinking about buying a new machine. Any recommendations? I heard Brothers are good and inexpensive. Should i buy online or at a store? Do newer machines fit in old tables? I HATE to be wasteful and really wanted a used machine, but just don't feel like I should take any more chances. Thanks for any help.
Shauna S.
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 10
Here is an email that I send out to my students periodically that says what to look for in a sewing machine... I don't usually recommend any one particular machine because most brands have as many good models as they do bad. I do know that there is a Brother machine out there that I use in class that I have been very happy with for light weight fabrics. It's the Brother EX660 Sewing Machine. It runs about $140. My favorite machine to sew on is the Pfaff, but be wary of the Pfaff dealers in this town.

Dear Students:
I hope this email finds you all still sewing! In response to the many requests I receive about what to look for in a sewing machine, I have compiled this list. If you already love your machine and don't plan on buying another one, feel free to pass this message on to someone else you know who might be interested in knowing what to look for in a sewing machine.

Here are the main things I would look for when shopping for a sewing machine:
1- Stitch length AND width modulator!!!!! (one knob to change the stitch length and one knob to change the stitch width)
2- Feed Dog Adjuster (not cover)
3- Variable needle positions (infinite needle positions is best)
4- The more feed dogs the better (if they tout 7 feed dogs, yeah!)
5- Differential feed (which is a function of the number of feed dogs) is great to have if you plan to sew on knits.
6- Stretch stitches / special stitches (SS)
7- Nice and heavy. Light-weight machines don't stay in place well.

1- appearance
2- bobbin location - top loading or front loading. (I like front loading because the bobbin tension is easier to adjust.)
3- vertical or horizontal spool holder (I like horizontal, but all of my machines are vertical)
4- computerized or not (computerized machines tend to run smoother and have more features, but mechanicals have less "bugs" and last much longer)

Good to have:
1- A good warranty.
2- A case or dust cover.

If you are buying used, avoid machines with excessive wear marks on the table or foot controller as this is a sign of heavy use. Make sure that you get the manual and all of the attachments that went with the machine. If they aren't all bundled together, someone obviously didn't care too much about the machine.

If you are buying new, a factory refurbished machine is a great choice. They usually have the same warranty as new but they come at quite a discount.

Have fun!
Austin, TX
Post #: 30
thank you my dear. I actually just nabbed that brother a few weeks ago! Yeah, so far so good.
thanks for the silk screening. it was such good fun!
A former member
Post #: 20

I have been shopping around for a sewing machine and read your post. Shauna, you mentioned heavy duty and so I was wondering if a heavy duty machine is right for a beginner. I've been searching for a good machine for me as a beginner. I really like the heavy duty ones and would like some advice for if it may be a good first buy! The one I'm looking at is the Singer 4423 and the Singer 4411.

Thanks for any advice that would help,

Anna N.
Austin, TX
Post #: 9
Shauna, you mentioned heavy duty and so I was wondering if a heavy duty machine is right for a beginner. I've been searching for a good machine for me as a beginner.
I will try out my ESP prowess and divine what Shauna is going to say :) . Seriously, Shauna said "heavy" not "heavy duty" which are different things. I don't think they are necessarily related. I don't know if a "heavy duty" machine might can be light, or lightweight machine can be a "heavy duty" machine.

Anyway, she said: "Nice and heavy. Light-weight machines don't stay in place well." and I concur.

In any case, I took a quick look at the two machines that you are considering, the Singer 4423 and 4411 and IMO they would be good for a beginner. They have straight and zig zag stitches and am automatic 4-step buttonholer. That was all I needed & used when I started out sewing. Apparently they have a metal frame, which is good, I guess.

I can't say whether they are heavy enough or too light. The 4423 weighs 15 pounds. My only reference is my circa-1970 Singer which weighs 30 pounds, and that's about 10 pounds too heavy in my book!
A former member
Post #: 22
Thank you for your input. I have never owned a sewing machine, so I have no idea what's going on with them. I RSVP'd this Sat. and I will be a lost puppy with a sewing machine I have never used. Maybe someone can help me out and get me started on my function on the machine???????

Austin, TX
Post #: 4
Hi - I'm sure lots of people will be willing to help. I will be happy to answer any questions and lend any help I can. This is a good group to get encouragement will be fun.
Shauna S.
Tucson, AZ
Post #: 37
Hi there! Just returned from a little vacation where I had the opportunity to ride the most perfect sewing machine: The Universal DeLuxe zig zag. Here is a picture of one:­.

Andy is right, heavy and heavy duty may not always equate. As far as that singer goes, I'm sure it will work for you and I am sure you will love it. Honestly though I have been seriously underwhelmed with the lower end "heavy duty" Singers from this past decade. They have small wimpy feed dog teeth, non standard feet, noisy motors and are just plain clunky compared to others in that class that you can find from other companies. I don't know what happened with them. Singer used to be a trusted brand of quality but now it's a crap shoot. Those machines do look heavy duty and straight forward though.

I still stand by the computerized Brothers in the $100 to $200 range for beginners:­

I hope you enjoy the meetup tomorrow!

A former member
Post #: 26
Thanks for the help. I ended up purchasing the singer, although I did look at the Brother cs6000i, this one is very nice as well. I like all the help I can get. If I have any trouble with the one I purchased, I will have no problem returning it and giving the brother a try. My budget is low and I'm "just" a beginner and don't need nothing fancy smanchy!

My sewing machine did not make it today so I will be without tonight!
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