Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Hi All! I am new in here, because I have decided to re-learn how to sew. First off I will be needing a new machine and I really don't want to spend a whole lot...around 400 to 500 euro. I live in Austria, that explains the euro bit.
I'll be sewing clothes for my brand new granddaughter! I am also teaching myself with aid of videos, how to hand smock. A friend in San Fransisco sent me her pleater. How cool is that. Anyway...I don't need the machine to do lots of fancy things, but it should be able to also handle things like hemming jeans.
Any advice?

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Comment by Elizabeth Quinn on August 18, 2010 at 7:50pm
Here in the US, Walmart is selling inexpensive Brother and Singer machines, which do have a number of features, but I have personally never sewn on one. I have found White to be sturdy and reliable; I have a basic White that has given me excellent service for about eighteen years. As many other people have mentioned, buying from a local dealer is likely your best bet. That way you can test out several models before deciding which to buy.
Comment by Sharon South on August 18, 2010 at 4:32pm
I started with an old Singer (Touch and Sew) that lasted many years while I learned to sew. Once I decided I had enough confidence to make things beyond curtains and pillows, I bought a Brother. I am still with Brother sewing machines . I enjoy making quilts, clothes, totes, cushions and purses. In other words, I enjoy making whatever pattern I can obtain! My inexpensive sewing machines carry me through!
Comment by Kathleen on August 18, 2010 at 3:32pm
As a sewing educator, I get to use many types, vintages, and brands of machines. Here is what I have noticed. For the money Janome seems to be the affordable machine that requires less frustration! They back up their product quite well, especially if you buy from a dealer. Don't let yourself be oversold, you need basics, and I think you would like the built in automatic (one step) buttonhole option (not a 4 step buttonhole). You may wish to check out this model MS5027 (

Enjoy that new GRANDdaughter..they are the best!
Comment by Edie on August 18, 2010 at 3:30pm
Buy from a dealer, and ask lots of questions. You may find that going with one that has the extra stitches is really what you want when sewing for a little girl. If you use a dealer they should gladly trade up when you are ready for a little fancier work. I have several Janomes and love them, but started on my Mom's old singer and then a Kenmore, all good machines if you have some one to work on them when needed...Have fun!!
Comment by Patricia Compeaux on August 18, 2010 at 1:59pm
If you are just learning how to sew for the first time, I would recommend that you buy a simple sewing machine without to many fancy stitches. All you need is just basic stitches. And when you hem jeans, remember the hammer. Flatten the seam with a hammer and then you can ease by better.
Comment by Betty Creel on August 18, 2010 at 1:33pm
i have a brother also. two yrs ago i deciced to re-learn sewing, i bought a brother CE4000, and a yr later bought a sewing combo embroidery machine brother innovis 900D. do buy one from a dealer. i know here many dealer's offer free sewing and embroidery classes. make sure your dealer is able to repair your machine at their shop if you have problems. good luck and happy sewing.

p.s. try the pillowcase dress patterns. easy to sew for a newbie and you really don't have to use a pillowcase. i use fabric. you can find many free patterns on-line.
Comment by Nonette Ungureit on August 18, 2010 at 1:26pm
The older Berninas are very simple yet versatile. They can handle thick fabrics very easily. You may be able to purchase a used one through a dealer, but also check Craigslist. I own several and I love them all - models 807, 840, 1090, 1260.
Comment by cyndi on August 18, 2010 at 1:16pm
I like Brother they seem to work really well for me.

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