Sewing Machine Help?
Hi! So I have always wanted to learn how to sew, so I am thinking of taking a sewing for beginners class at a local college and am totally excited about it! So I have begun my search for a good sewing machine for under $100 so what are some good sewing machines? What should I look for in quality and such?
Also, I would need one that would have the ability to hold a needle that can go through a thick patch so that I can sew on my husband's military ranks and name tapes, plus I like to sew on patches. A machine could make this task much easier!
It's very unlikely that you'll be able to find a machine for under $100 that actually runs and does what you want it to. I've been sewing since I was 6 and no sewing machine I've ever used has been much less than $200 at the least.
For sewing through thick patches, you'll definitely need a heavy duty machine. I swear by my Singer Heavy Duty. It was around $200 and it runs like a champion. Sewing on patches with a machine can be difficult though, especially if you're not entirely familiar with how the machine works and moves. Practicing on scrap fabrics similar to what's going to be used on the real thing will help hone your technique and make mistakes much easier to deal with.
As far as quality goes, I'd recommend you NOT get a machine at Walmart... they look junky and are usually much cheaper than a well-tuned machine from a fabric store. Cheap price usually means cheap parts.
Look for stitch patterns that you like. Some machines might only have a few if they're basic, but more advanced machines can have upwards of 40 stitch patterns. An intermediate level machine will typically have between 10 and 20, making sewing easy for a beginner but offering more stitch types for different kinds of fabric.
Classes might be a good idea. Usually if you buy a machine from Jo-Ann's, they'll offer you classes. It would probably be a good idea to take classes there if you opt to skip the college's course.
Since you're a beginner, I'd recommend reading the manual on any machine you buy. Just knowing what your machine can do and how it does it will help you sew a bit better right off the bat.
DON'T get a Euro-Pro (Euro-plus?). I have it and I hate it so much. I'm going to smash it and burn the pieces. I've read through the manual and fixed everything but it still messes up after a few stitches.
I can tell you from experience that any good quality machine will be over $100. Make sure that when you start searching for a machine, you read the details too. Most of them tell you what it's designed for (quilting, heavy duty, embroidery, etc..), and parts that come with it.
Singer has always been the most popular brand around where I live and the one I've used most. However, a friend of mine let me sew on her Kenmore machine--and let me tell you, there was a HUGE difference. Not only did her machine stitch better, it ran smoother, sounded quieter, and had more stitch options. My Singer was bought at $100 from Wal-Mart as a birthday gift to me, and it tends to jam up and make lots of noise. I love the thing (It is my first official sewing machine, having stole my mother's Singer previously), but I had some serious envy for that Kenmore.
So, if you happen to be at a store that will let you test some machines, look for a machine that
one: is meant for heavy duty projects
two: Does the machine feel right to you? Is the pedal really sensitive or do you have to slam on the thing to make it go? Does the fabric glide underneath the foot, or does it get caught? three: easily available parts (if you happen to lose a foot, can you buy another at a store or does it need to be special ordered it for that machine?)
four: has good reviews from others who have that particular machine.
Monika couldn't be more right in saying to read the manual. Sometimes it tells you what the stitches are used for, which is really helpful. Also, have fun when you do get a machine! Test out all the stitches on some scrap fabric. Make an experimental project like a bag or a pillowcase!
Good luck finding one!
Kenmore machines are pretty nice, especially their sergers. I haven't ever used a regular Kenmore machine though.
Both sides of my family have used Singer sewing machines... we have one of my grandma's old Singers that was made in the early 50s before either of my parents were born and to this day it still runs just fine.
Also, starting out, you'll want a good, low-maintenance machine. Getting a cheap one means you're going to spend more on parts in the first year or two than you spent on the machine alone.
For my 10th birthday, I got a Singer Scholastic machine that was about $200. It ran perfectly without needing much maintenance until I got a Singer Heavy Duty machine for my 20th birthday. My Heavy Duty machine isn't just great for Heavy Duty, though... I'm able to pretty easily sew on tulle and other really light fabrics. Your manual will probably show you what tension settings to use on different fabrics to make it even more versatile of a machine.
It's important though to keep the inner workings free of lint. Lint accumulates fast when you work with fleece, fur, and unwashed fabrics, so popping off the bottom plate and gently sweeping it with a soft brush will keep it clean. Reading the manual will tell you how to check the oil and when to replace it.
One of the most important things to get after you get your machine is a table and chair that are comfortable for you to work at. You won't want a table and chair to be too high because it will make it hard to keep the pedal positioned. You don't want a setup that's too low because you'll just wreck your back with bad posture.
Being comfortable while you sew is going to yield much better results than sitting in a position that doesn't feel right.
At my apartment, I have a very strong folding table I got from Walmart, it's one of the thick white plastic types, and it's at just the right height for me and has enough space for my machine and all my fabric storage. Getting good storage bins and keeping organized will make sewing easier, too. I personally prefer the plastic drawer sets in a few different sizes.
Oh, and if you start collecting thread, get a pegboard and some pegs or a piece of plywood and some nails and make a thread rack so your threads won't get tangled!
I don't agree with the others. My first machine was a singer purchased at Walmart for about $90 (on sale) it is a good machine. And it is still working. I only purchase singer machines and even have one from the 1960's. Granted you can also get a similar starter machine at places like Joann's.
Walmart sells Singer and Brother machine both are great companies. Buying an expensive machine when are learning to sew is not a good idea.
thank you for all of the advice! I actually purchased a Brother LS 2125 for 50 dollars with a big bag of fabric. Now all I need to is figure out how to thread it right and learn a basic straight stitch. I figured out how to put thread onto a bobbin. But I can't seem to figure out how to thread the bobbin through to the top after I loaded it into the bobbin holder, and how to thread the spool from the top. I really do like this machine, it's reviews were really great and it seems to be a great deal! we shall see!
Google the machine and see if the manual is for sale or has been posted somewhere. I had to do that for 1960's era Singer... if you need help finding it just let me know.
EEEEE! So happy. Finally got my Granny's 32 year old sewing machine back and it's soooo much better than the Euro-pro. The Singer ticks a bit as it runs but it works! Sadly, it likely won't be worth doing the maintenance again but fingers crossed it lasts for a long while!
GryffindorGrl - that's the same model as mine. Also bought 2nd hand about a year ago and seems to cope with most things.
I have the instruction booklet so let me know if you can't find the manual online.
I have a brother embroider sewing machine and kenmore sewing machine.The first was almost 400 dollars and is great.The kenmore was 200 and its great also.I love them both.My sister bought one of the cheaper brother sewing machine from walmart years ago and it lasted her for 12 years..She bought the same kenmore as mine and it was a piece of junk, she took it back and bought another walmart one.But mine is still running great.
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