Sewing Machine Suggestions

Updated on May 10, 2010
B.D. asks from Lincoln, NE
16 answers

hello ladies, i am interested in purchasing a sewing machine. I have NO experience with using or buying one so i need something EASY to use and not expensive...i will just be using it to make little things for my girls, hopefully dresses or skirts. anyway, any advice would be appreciated. thanks

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answers from St. Cloud on

I will just tell you two things. I LOVE my Bernina which was a little more on the spendier side. I bought my mom a machine at Target which was on the cheaper side (a Shark I believe) and have used that one so much for "fun" stuff as it did little embroidery stitches - about 150 different stitches. Letters, numbers, roses, leaves, etc. You do get what you pay for but sometimes for the money and for the little amount that it gets used it is better to have a "fun" machine!



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with Nanette- the older Singers are great , but the newer ones are junk. I bought a new Singer when I graduated from high school in 1982. It lasted 26 years and was great- I used it for everthing from from lace to heavy denim. When it died I bought another Singer and that was a big mistake. After 2 times using it I had to take it to the repair shop & spend 100.00 to get it fixed- The repairman told me that Singer is no longer a great brand like it used to be. I hope you found something great to use. I don't sew much anymore. When I can afford to buy a good machine I will
start sewing again.

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answers from Indianapolis on

OK, so here's my opinion as a woman who CAN sew a lot but doesn't lately, a woman who has a degree in fashion design, a woman who has made wedding gowns...don't go cheap. You totally get what you pay for. Anything cheap is made of plastic and easily breaks.
I suggest going to a Sew-and-Vac shop and purchasing a used machine. Any place that fixes machines probably sells them as well. You can get a good Viking, Pfaff, or older Singer for between $100 & $200. New singers, unless you're buying high-end aren't worth it, and you don't need all the extra stuff a high-end machine can do. You need a simple machine. Also, check classifieds, Craig's List, garage sales. If you can get one for $50, you can always have it fixed up if it needs it.

Good Luck and happy sewing!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Please do not go to a big box store and buy a machine. You will get no support if there is a problem (and there frequently is). I paid a little more for my machine (got it from a sewing store but a sew and vac place is just as good) but I got a lifetime of free lessons on it and someone who knows how to fix it if things go wrong. I remember spending an hour with someone, trying to 'fix' their walmart special. It wasn't worth it. Spend more on a used machine and get it cleaned...than a cheapo that is new. One of my machines is 50 years old and the other is a decade. I love Bernina. The old singers are good. My sewing friend loves elna.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

Great advice from a lot of the posters. I just wanted to add that the Sewing Center and a few other places offer free lessons if you buy from them. Also check with adult ed and see if they offer beginning sewing. My mother in law taught me how to sew and I use to make a lot for my daughter when she was young and make a little bit now for my granddaughters. I have a kenmore that I got 26 years ago and use it for most of my regular sewing. I also got into machine embroidery and have a Brother that is 2 years old and a used Bernina that I bought a year ago. They are both sewing/embroidery machines and easy to use. I have used the Brother for regular sewing and it does great. If you think you would like to get into embellishing the dresses and such, you might think of going with an sewing/embroidery machine.



answers from Tulsa on

I looked up sewing machine stores in your area and Bernina is a VERY good brand of machine. It is more expensive but it is a good quality machine that should last a lifetime.

But if you are wanting something very simple and not complicated then try looking for a Singer machine sales place. They have many levels of complication and can be simple like sewing straight and zig zag.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I have a Brother sewing machine that my grandma bought for me when my daughter was born four years ago. I just opened it last year in attempt to make a halloween costume. I was pleasantly suprised at how easy it was to use. My daughter's Dorthy costume turned out amazing! I love using it! Good luck and have fun! :)



answers from Minneapolis on

Stay away from NEW Singers!! I grew up on a Singer and it was awesome. The new singers are absolutely no good. I purchased one 7 years ago and knew right away it was not a 'true' Singer. I recently looked for a new machine and purchased a Janome. I love it. I found it helpful to call a sewing machine repair store and asked for advice. Who would know better what a good machine is when you're not sure ? It worked for me and I am very satisfied.
Nan G.



answers from Kansas City on

I sew a lot in the fall (ren fest and halloween costumes) and I have a brother from Walmart. It was a college graduation gift and has lasted for 6 years, I even made my wedding dress with it.



answers from Minneapolis on

I purchased a Janome about a year ago and love it. I used to have a singer that I got in high school that still runs after 40 years but I know they don't make them like they used to. My Janome is easy to thread and runs smoothly. I sew mostly for my granddaughter and household things



answers from Toledo on

A quality used one is worth more than a cheap new one. I used to sew alot, and I still have my trusty old Sears Kenmore in the cabinet in my office, ready to pop out at a moment's notice to fix a seam or make cut-offs. It has to be over 30 yrs. old, because my first husband bought it, and he's ancient history! Before that, I had a Singer that belonged to my mom when I was a kid.


answers from Dallas on

We just bought my daughter, 15 and beginner a Babylock. We bought the style that is in the school system here in Plano. My idea was....if the students can't destroy it, neither can she!!

We did spend a little less than $400 and we got a student discount. She practiced on 2 other models, slightly cheaper but went with this one because it did some things automatically.

I agree with the earlier poster........YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

You can find a cheap new machine but if you really get into it, you'll be looking for a better one. Our theory is to buy the best we can afford when we are looking at purchases like this.

Our daughter has no sewing experience. She drew up a design from her imagination and made a shirt already. She loves it.

Good luck to you.



answers from Madison on

Since you are a beginner, I suggest a basic machine. You will want one that has straight, zig-zag and blindstitch. A few stretch stitches are nice. and a buttonhole setting is handy too.
I have been sewing for 50 years. my best machine is my Kenmore from Sears. Singer Machines are great too.
Go to the fabric store( JoAnn Fabrics) and ask for some advice.
Start out with easy patterns using cotton fabric. Don't be afraid to use the seam ripper if it doesn't turn out the first time.
Good Luck




answers from Minneapolis on

I bought my machine at a garage sale for $40 & it works great! I had never used a sewing machine in my life with the exception of 7th grade Home Economics class. The brand is White & the lady got it at Joannes in 1999. I agree with the previous poster about going on Craigslist. You'll get a good deal this way & can decide later, once you figure out how it works, if you will want to invest in a better quality machine. Let's face it, if you end up not enjoying or like making clothes, you'll likely never use it again & it'll be one more thing around your house. This way you won't have paid out a lot to find this out. Making clothes is sometimes more time consuming than you'd think, even with a pattern.

If you're looking for more modern & hip styles, you can find a lot of great stuff online for free. Patterns you find in box stores are many times just too old fashion or strange looking for today's fashion. I have a 2 year old & have found that if I simply look at some of her clothes (the kind of seam & style) I can just about duplicate them myself after messing around on scrape fabric. Another thing you'll probably end up doing (I do anyway), is buy fabric online. For some reason, I cannot find a good fabric store in the Minneapolis area. The box stores simply don't have a huge selection of modern/hip fabric!



answers from Columbus on

I would look for an old Singer, one without the bells and whistles so that it is simple. I like the ease of threading with the singer myself. Also like the rear presser foot lever, instead of the side one, and you can find this on an older, used Singer machine. The vaccum repair in your area will probably also sell used sewing machines, and they can do a great job getting an old used one in shape for you too. Hate the new plastic ones!




answers from St. Cloud on

As my mother, I am a total Singer fan. They are easy to learn to use and the company stands sooooo behind them. Any problem, give them a call and they will help you out over the phone or is there is a dealership in your town, they'll help you. I have a portable and I love it. I have had it for about 9 years now and not a problem. I had a really old one before that that I picked up at a flea market in Hawaii and the dealership helped me fix it up to working condition. They are also very reasonable in cost.

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