Sew, What's New?

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Hi All,
I had a really poopy brother machine for about $100 a couple years ago. I was disheartened when it jammed and consequently died. I have renewed urge to begin sewing again (spawned from all these beautiful textiles I bought along my travels in asia) and I'm back in the market for a machine! Any advice on something around the $250-$350 range for entry level? I'd love to have a computerized one but that is expensive, I know. I'd love the ability to tie off and have a sewing on/of buttom vs just a foot pedal. And any machine that promises to be jam free! I don't need anything fancy, really. Just good enough for altering clothes, easy buttons, maybe some light quilting (but no embroidery), shams & sheet & pillow sets, drapes..... I looked and Janome, brother, bernina but now it seems I'm even more confused then ever. Have pity on this beginner and offer some good advice! (-:
Cheers!

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Comment by Nancy Mattison on July 23, 2009 at 6:48am
Oops I see I left out a word. I meant to say that anything new at $250-$250 price range might not be as sturdy as you need. Let me add that buying from a local shop is probably better than ebay because the shop should provide an initial warranty. A good machine will last for decades.
Comment by Nancy Mattison on July 23, 2009 at 6:45am
Everyone has her favorite machine, so you'll get lots of suggestions. I have had Singers (beset with bobbin problems) and now Pfaffs--wonderful things.

A basic Pfaff, used, would be perfect for you and should be within your range. Anything new at the price might just be asking for trouble. Pfaffs are highly reliable and have a second "foot" behind the needle that helps pull the fabric through and keep seams straight. I sewed on something else recently and was amazed at how much more difficult it was to keep a seam straight without that second foot!

I use my Pfaffs--the basic one and a very fancy computerized one--to make and alter clothing, quilts that I sell, and various household furnishings--drapes, etc. The only problem I have had is that the computerized one sometimes unthreads itself. This results in some mummbling on my part, but it is rare and really quite minor.

I hope you find what you need!
Comment by Phyllis on July 23, 2009 at 6:38am
This venture is a very personal choice. MO, first & formeost know you dealer. You specify brands but w/o mentioning how you came by the choices.

The ability to test run a machine is very very helpful. I have & use Kenmore's since circa 1958. Have a New Home (Janome - 1993) that's held up well. A Singer 500A from the '70's. It too fills a need for me. Issue of course is these models have all been replaced.
Point to consider with this brand is you need to send away fro service should it become necessary. Whereas with another dealer, you might have better access.
Hopefully you've a SEW/VAC store near.
MO, lean to the Janome. Bernina's can fill the bill. Though price wise they're usually upper end. Brother's? Opinions will vary to be sure. There are sewists who have one & "love" it. Other's unhappy with the purchase.

Best I can repeat - Test Run!

Which ever you choose, follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance faithfully. Vital in MO.
If you can, please post your results. nepa
Comment by Catherine on July 23, 2009 at 6:28am
Try your local dealer for used machines or demonstrators. Sometime you get the benefit of an excellent machine for a much lower price, plus a limited guarantee should something go wrong with it. I used to work on cheap machines that didn't sew well and I when I finally bought a basic quality machine, I was amazed at how much happier I was. Computerized isn't always better. My favourite machine (and I have five at the last count) is a Brother 1500 straight stitch mechanical industrial style for the home sewer. Best of luck.

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