Sew, What's New?

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Hi all,


I am finally getting my first-ever sewing machine but I am having a tough time picking one. Currently I am tied between these two:


The Brother XL2600I 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine




The Singer 4411 Heavy Duty Model Sewing Machine


I want to able to

-- Hem a bunch of denim jeans and trousers

-- Make some duvet covers of flannel

-- Make a winter coat of some heavy weight wool.


Do you think any of the above two models might work satisfactorily for me? If not, could you please share your insights on what I should get? I do have a limited budget - not more than $150. Can I get a decent machine that would fit my needs for this budget or is this unrealistic? Thanks for your time!

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I just swa your post.  I know that the brother is a better machine.  I am trying to buy one of these on ebay.  I worked with a Basic brother  3500 and it was a little workhorse.  My expensive singer  7642  is sitting in my closet and after 2 years needs repair that is more than the machine is worth.   The other thing I see about the Brother that is a great feature for the price is the one step button h*** maker.  Usually on lower price machines you get a four step.  I choose the Brother I hope this helps and Happy Sewing

Thanks Mary! Do you think this particular brother (XL2600I) can handle a winter coat with heavy-weight wool? I was all ready to buy the brother but the words heavy-duty stopped me and made me re-think about which model to choose... Would you consider any other machines were you in my position?

Go to your Sears web page.  Kenomore machines are now made by Janome, and as a sewing educator, that is where I would encourage my students to shop for a machine!  Kenmore 18221 ( ) is heavy duty and has the one step buttonhole maker, which you will love!  You can find a refurbished model of this, as a Janome model, on Overstock within your budget, or through Sears it is a little over your budget.


I have used most every brand of sewing machines. My students who bring to class current models of inexpensive models of Brother and Singer have a higher degree of frustration with their machines.


Good luck and have lots of fun!

Thank you, Kathleen! I really appreciate your help. I went and checked out the reviews for the Kenmore model you linked. People seem to like it a lot. Do you have any insights on some of the negative reviews there? Or have they just been unlucky, in general? How do refurbished models compare to the new model? Do you think I should expand my budget and go in for a new machine... or would a refurbished model be just as fine? Thanks!
I checked it out at Overstock as well. Did you mean this one:  A lot more positive reviews for the refurbished one and fewer negatives - compared to the Sears site...Interesting! Thanks for recommending this machine, wouldn't have been considering it otherwise.
I have a drapery workroom where I have both industrial and home sewing machines. I suggest you find a Brother dealer in your areal and try out the machine. Ask alot of questions and suggestion. I do not sew clothing but I do sew alot of fabrics from silks to Upholstery and my first machine in the business was a Baby Lock which I still have after 15 years. What I found to get a great feature is it ajusts the tension itself but I could also adjust it if if i need too. It also had a self threader and cutter which was a real time saver. My suggestion would be to research in stores and try out and alot of time they will meet the prices on line and give you a service contract so you have someone that is trained to service the machine. When I got my machine, they did not have internet yet, but I the machine in another town. When I went to my local dealer, he agreed to match the price and i got a 5 year free service plan where I could bring my machine in for service yearly free for 5 years. That was worth alot. I love my Baby lock but I got my daughter a Brother from Walmart that has alot of stitches and one step button holes, and it works well also but I can tell the difference in the quality although they are made by the same company. Good luck into your search. If you sew alot, also consider a used industrial basic machine. They are a real work horse and can handle alot of differnt fabrics. They do not have speciality stitches except some have zig zag stitch . I even found a all steel industrial machine on Harbor Freight web page. go figure! I am considering checking it out further.
This Harbor Freight machine is interesting!  Of course it is a boat anchor weight wise, which is great for industrial type sewing.  The person who wants to take classes and take their machine, or don't have the space to leave a sewing machine and table up 24/7, might find this cumbersome.  If you get one I would love to hear your review.

Thanks so much for your detailed reply!! I would love to check out sewing machines in person but unfortunately I don't have the time to test out a good number of machines to reach a conclusion. So I thought I would lean on the experiences of people from sew-whats-new. :)


The price match and 5 year-service plan deal is so cool - I wish I could find such a deal online. Unfortunately, retailers are not even offering the Janome 25 year warranty!


I will check out harbor freight - sounds very industrial. ;-)

Yes, this is the machine.  My experience tells me that when I read sewing machine reviews online, read  with caution. I have no clue as to the abilities of the person using the machine .  Did they read the instructions before use, or did they "assume" they could do it without instructions, correct thread for needle, correct bobbin use, etc. 

Refurbished is always the "luck of the draw".  I once had to return electronic refurbished product (not a sweing machine) from overstock and they paid the return cost and refunded me.


Janome comes with a 25 yr warranty, so you may wish to ask Overstock if they honor/send this warranty with their machine.


I hope you find a machine that fits your needs:)  Feel free to ask me for any other help.

Hi Kathleen, I checked with Overstock and they don't offer the 25 year Janome warranty. They have a 2 year replacement option for $21. Do you think I should get this 2 year replacement warranty - or buy the new one by Kenmore from Sears - that has a "limited manufacturer's warranty"?

I always try new first if I can afford it.  I noticed today that the Sears machine is 149.99 if you "buy online".


If you leave near a Sears store you may wish to see if they have one you can "try" or see...then buy "online.


I think Sears offers and extended warranty, you might check that out, also!

I really don't know I guess it depends on how much you know about sewing.  I've been sewing for 40 or more yrs. and sometimes still run into problems.  I just purchased two machined, both Brothers.  A Brother CE5500PRW Sewing Machine(Project Runway Limited Edition) with 80 functions and 50 different stitches and a Brother 4 threader Computerized Serger,   I'm excited, and to boot, I bought them both this week.  I hope things work out.  Try Wal-Marts that's where I found mine.


Happy Sewing



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