Hey! I am extremely new to sewing. I know how to hand sew but don't have a sewing machine. I'm looking to get one but wondered what kind of machine I should get for just starting out without a lot of money. Any particular brands? I would like to make things like pillow covers, aprons, tea towels...ya know very simple stuff. Thanks!
Last Christmas I got a Singer machine that we found at Target in the US (we're in Canada), on sale for just under $100. I thought I was getting a good deal. It worked fine until a couple of weeks ago, when the clutch went on it, out of the blue. Super expensive to have repaired, and the repair guy I spoke to said that the new Singer machines are mostly plastic parts. Oh, and because I live in Canada but bought it in the US, they wouldn't honour the warranty.
Anyway... I digress LOL My point was, I couldn't afford a new one right away, so I checked my local Kijiji want ads (like Craig's List), and found an old Singer machine. I mean old, like from 1953. It was $25. I figured it would hold me over until I could afford another new one... but after using it for a few weeks, I don't think I want a new one. The lady I bought it from had it serviced every year, and it works like a charm. It's a heavy bugger... because it's got all metal parts. The good thing about Singer, too, is that all the accessories I'd bought for my new one work in this one, except for the bobbins. Needles are the same, and it fits the new feet (quilting, etc) I'd bought.
GO to a local sewing machine store and see what they have. A lot of stores get old school machines which are the best because they aren't used all that much. My mom has a Bernina and that is how she got a it is a great machine and mostly metal. The heavier the machine the better. I used my Great Grandmother's machine and it's a singer and I love it! So if you can get an old singer go for it! You'll love it in the long run. If you want specialty stitches your going to have to spend more. Hope this helps and good luck in the machine hunt!
Thanks everyone! I will definitely look into all of these options. I just don't want to spend hundreds if I don't have to...especially since I don't think I'll be using it all THAT much. Thanks again!!!
If you are just starting --- I would recommend checking into a used one. Check your classifieds, or as others suggested check your local dealers for trade-ins. I bought a BabyLock machine several years ago. They advertised a display model sale. The machine I got was originally $800 and I got it for $503 including tax. The best part ---- the owner had trouble finding all the parts for the display model ---- so he sold me a brand new one --- still sealed in the box! I have been very happy with it. I made draperies for several rooms and figure I saved enough money by making them that it paid for itself.
I also got a Brother embroidery machine last year for Christmas ---- and I'm also pleased with it. Very easy to use & understand ---- I'm still playing around with it --- trying out the different options.
I have a White brand machine I bought about 12 yrs ago for $70.00...AWFUL machine. Has neer worked right. Tension doesn't stay, bunches up at the bobbin, skips stitches, etc. Just horrible.
I am borrowing my friend's Husqvarna right now and it sews like a dream (althouhg I cant figure out the bobbin winder LOL).
My dad is supposed to be bringing me my grandfather's Singer Featherweight machine. I HOPE HOPE HOPE it works- it's beautiful! And my gradnparents owned a couple of menswear stores back in the day. My grandfather did all the alterations, on this machine!!
I LOVE my Singer, it is an older one that was my Mom's. It's a 1954(dates are on back of the machine on a metal plate) But she had gotten it as a wedding gift. In recent years while Mom was still using hers, I had bought a Kenmore at a thrift store which seems to work great for everything but polar fleece($15). This one is mostly plastic , Mom's is mostly metal. I had another garage sale purchase that worked well for years but I gave it away already ($30).
This is how I have found a good machine at a yard sale...if you don't see one ask, if they have a working machine to sell. If they say yes ask how old,what brand and the price. Then if all goes well, ask if they can plug it in, and test it. I even used to travel with some scraps of fabric to try if I found one. Most people will allow you to test it if there are no problems. If you decide this may be the one for you, ask if they have the owners manual for it, any bobbins or thread for it. There are places you can get a manual for machines with the brand and model #( I paid $6 for the Kenmore manual), so don't pass on one that is good but does not have a manual.
I hope you find just the one you are looking for! sewing is so fun!! Be prepared that once you find one, you are going to see ones all over the place
Edited by catzscrapper on 01-20-13 11:21 PM. Reason for edit: Needed to add one more detail!