Author Topic: Looking for a sewing machine  (Read 7475 times)

billc

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Looking for a sewing machine
« on: November 21, 2012, 01:11:44 PM »
I'm looking to purchase a high quality sewing machine.

It needs to be in decent shape and no older than 10 years or so.

Anyone know of a good lead?

Budget = $500 or less.


TLV

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 03:50:10 PM »
Don't limit yourself to 10 years - a 30+-year-old, all-metal-parts machine will be better than a brand new one with plastic parts.

MusicMom

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 08:08:48 AM »
Are you watching Craigslist?  I scored an all-metal Necchi with 30-minutes of use, in a cabinet no less, for $50 a couple months ago.  These things can be fleeting, so check every day and be ready to pounce.

Worsted Skeins

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 11:45:41 AM »
I have a bottom of the line Husqvarna Viking.  While I had no need for a programmable embroidery machine or one with lots of quilt options, I wanted something that could sew canvas and repair camping equipment as well as sew garments.  This baby does the job. 

What are your sewing desires/needs?  My son, the college student, has an all metal student Singer that he found for $5 at a thrift shop.  He uses it to patch jeans and mend clothes, a service he performs for friends as well as himself since apparently he is the only kid in the dorm who knows how to sew.  Older machines can be great but again consider what you require from the machine.  I like my easy buttonhole maker on my newer machine and how it sews knits, finishes seams, etc. 

Zaga

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 06:47:16 PM »
You can get a solid new machine in the $200 range that will suit a basic sewer quite well.  There are several brands that make good basic machines such as Janome and Singer.

Another idea is to go to an independent sewing shop that takes trade ins, you may be able to find a screaming deal on a 1-2 year old machine.  That's how I got my serger for $250 several years back (2003 maybe?), it was $900 new and only 1 year old, it's an awesome machine still!

jwystup

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2012, 08:51:36 PM »
I have to second the older-machine recommendation. I have a craptastic machine that my grandma had before she passed away that was relatively new and never used and it *sucks*!! My mom has an amazing machine that she's had since my parents got married (32 years ago) and I steal that whenever I plan on doing a larger project. My sucky one works for quick fixes and basic things (sometimes). I need to steal my mom's machine to do curtains soon...

Welmoed

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2012, 08:11:20 AM »
I've found great deals on sewing machines at estate sales. I bought a Bernina 930 Record (one of their last all-metal mechanical machines) in a Horn cabinet for just $125 (talked them down from $150). The cabinet alone could be resold for about $750 and the machine goes for nearly $1K on eBay.
Newer machines are made to be disposable, with plastic gears. Older sewing machines will last a lifetime as long as they're kept properly cleaned and oiled. Also, newer machines tend to have a lot of bells and whistles thrown in that the average crafter will never use. I'm much more in favor of getting basic machines that are designed to do a specific task, and do it very well.
I do most of my sewing on an old industrial machine, which I got for $400 on Craigslist. Its speed makes every home machine seem sluggish.

dorothyc

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 08:45:39 AM »
Again, I would second the recommendation to look for a solid, older machine. The newer Singers and the ilk available from Walmart are shoddily built and the tension won't hold over the long term. I learned to sew at age 7 on my grandfather's Singer treadle - yes, it was he, and not my grandmother who did the sewing.

When I came over to the US from the UK in 1991, I brought my German built Pfaff Creative with me, and I hook it up to a step up converter to run on US power. I love the continual feed function which is great for fabrics that tend to creep during sewing, and for keeping stripes matched. It has some simple electronics, but touch wood they are still going strong.

I also bought a new Viking Husqvarna Sapphire a couple of years ago which I wanted for the bigger harp space for sewing larger projects. I like it and it sews a bit faster than the Pfaff, but it can be a bit tetchy sometimes with needle or thread choices and the self cutting feature can be a bit hit or miss. I have a goal to sew all my own clothes - I have about a 30% me made wardrobe right now, including underwear and lounge clothes. Jeans are going to be the next project. This is mostly because I don't like buying sweat shop clothes that have traveled half way round the globe, and that fall apart after a couple of months.

Edited to add: I tightened a screw under the throat plate of the Husqvarna and now it is sewing and thread trimming great again.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2013, 08:39:29 AM by dorothyc »

dorothyc

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 08:52:38 AM »
If I was in the market for another machine, that could only do straight stitch, and would be suitable for smaller living quarters, I would try a Singer Featherweight - singer-featherweight.com has mechanically tested, no reproduction part verified ones for sale all the time. You could go through EEbaayy also but would be much more of a crap shoot

billc

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2012, 09:45:06 PM »
I got a machine. I'm not sure I feel great about the decision.

The machine is a gift for my wife for Christmas and I don't have lot of time between now and then (lots of work and other engagements).

I got a new Bernina 215 for $500. I would have rather found a good deal on an older machine, but I just didn't think I'd have the time to find a deal between now and the time I need it. (Working life can be a drag)

Anyways, Bernina should be a good machine. That model is $1,100 MRSP - not sure what it typically sells for.

Like I said, I have a little buyer's remorse, but I think it'll be fine.

Thanks everyone for the input.

MusicMom

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 09:44:46 AM »
I got a new Bernina 215 for $500.

What a wonderful gift!!!  My first sewing machine was a gift from my husband when we were married.  That clashes a bit with modern sensibilities, I suppose, but it was perfect for me and I'm so grateful that DH respects my domesticity. 

Anyway, I've never heard anyone complain about Berninas, though I have no experience with them, myself.  I should be a great, long-lasting machine.

Care to share where and how you got this price?

skandrae

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 10:21:36 PM »
I have a Bernina 230 which I've been using almost constantly since April 2011 with no problems. In some ways, I like it more than my mother's Pfaff, which I learned to sew on. (Although I'm still planning to abscond with the Pfaff at some point.)

I hope your wife likes it!

watzzupsport

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 05:20:18 PM »
I will assume you are looking for a domestic sewing machine, as a Shade sail manactuturer here in Australia you are talking about toy machines :-) but in the attempt to add some value in this comment, most sewing machines require mechanics and if you ask around often you can get a lead on trade ins or liquidation type sales

billc

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2012, 01:35:07 AM »


Care to share where and how you got this price?

My mother in law recommended a shop near Lancaster, PA. No website. They had one on special for $500 - less than half of MSRP. Everything else in store was within 10% of MSRP. Not sure why it was on sale. New Berninas are only sold through authorized retailers, so there's probably a bit of luck involved in finding a new machine at a good price.

Like I said, I wish I had more time to wait out the right deal, but I feel alright about this one.

Thanks all for the help.

zug

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 12:30:39 PM »
For future reference, I can't walk into a Goodwill/thrift shop without tripping over high quality sewing machines for under $20.

Fillip

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2018, 04:12:59 AM »
Old machines are often more reliable than new ones. Some of the most beloved machines of the sewing community are old machines that will never be made again.
But many of these machines do not come with manuals.

Psewer

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2018, 05:06:50 AM »
Four quick things - never pay the MSRP for a sewing machine.
Also, floor models of machines can go for even cheaper and normally have the same warranty as a brand new machine. And always try out a machine before you buy it.
Also, find out about where repairs take place. Some dealers have someone on site to do cleanings and repairs, and others have to ship the sewing machines somewhere else. That costs more money, plus there's the risk that something happens during shipping. I only take my machine somewhere where there's a repair tech on site. I figure it's safer.
Also, many interesting you can see here http://bestsewingmachinesguide.com/best-sewing-machines-for-beginners/.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 01:07:27 PM by Psewer »

Lady Stash

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2018, 02:15:48 PM »
I have a 40+ year old sewing machine that works like a charm.  I found it in my garage when I bought my house 20 years ago.  $2 for machine oil and this baby can thread!  I went to a free quilting class at a church to learn how to use it.   It's simpler to maintain than newer machines.  I've churned out many a quilt with this bad boy.   At this point I could easily afford the new plastic ones from Costco but the newer ones seem to jam up more often.  I'm rather fond of mine.


Sugaree

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Re: Looking for a sewing machine
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2018, 02:41:09 PM »
Don't limit yourself to 10 years - a 30+-year-old, all-metal-parts machine will be better than a brand new one with plastic parts.

I totally agree with this.  I have an old-school Singer that is so much more substantial than the newer models.  I think I picked it up at a church rummage sale for $50.  I also have an even older Brother that's nice, but it only does straight stitches.