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Darbla

Sewing machine recommedations?

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What I want is a $659 Janome that my local sewing machine shop has, but that's not happening anytime soon.  So do any of you have recs for less expensive but good sewing machines I can check out?  I had a Brother from Walmart that was an utter piece of garbage, so no more of that.

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If I were to buy a sewing machine, it would be a Singer.  The machine I use is in a wooden cabinet and I love it so much, I can't even part with it enough to take it out of the cabinet to go get it fixed, lol.  The zigzag quick working ... it was my grandmother's and she bought it circa 1965!  I know I will need to replace it one day, but as long as it keeps going, I'll keep using it, plus I like having the cabinet to work on.  I'm not sure how I can get a newer machine and still use the cabinet, I'll have to think of that one day too.

 

Singer Machines

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I was just telling my friend, today, how great my Kenmore sewing machine has been for the past umpteen years.  Unfortunately, I don't think they make them anymore.  Sears still sells sewing machines.  Maybe check their website?

GoldieMN

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I sewed with a base model Janome for years and it fit the bill well because I made quilts and little else. I did not do the quilting with that machine, (quilt by hand!) but I did all the piecework making the tops. For quilting you basically need a straight stitch and reverse. Zigzag if you're into that kind of applique. I had that machine for 17 years and loved it. It churned out a LOT of quilts and many other small, fiddly crafty things. It was a pretty simple beast.

 

Then I decided to attempt free hand thread sketching. It's like machine embroidery, but instead of having the machine programmed, you sit there, holding the fabric and move it under the needle. You end up with a much more rough and rugged, imperfect look than one of those computerized programmable machines. To do this you have to be able to go really, really slow sometimes and my good old Janome did NOT have the capacity to go that slow. It had very little speed difference, which was fine when sewing seams but NOT fine for this fiddly, picky, scribbly work.

 

I bit the bullet (feeling like a traitor to my trusty old machine) and bought the Janome 40/30 QDC.  OH MY GOD! This machine has blown my mind! Old machine would hit a denim seam (like in blue jeans) and bog out and grind. This new machine? Piece of cake. I've sewn leather with it! This thing blows my old machine clear out of the water. And it goes really slow or really fast as I need it to. I cannot believe the difference in power and ability.

If all I ever wanted to do was make quilts I would still be using my old machine because it was absolutely perfect for that use. But to branch out into anything different or more meaty, like heavier fabrics, my old machine just would not cut it. My advice would be, do not spend any money on yet another low grade machine. It's just money spent that could be saved and put towards the machine that may well serve you for another 20 years and likely more with good maintenance.  I did have spending pain when I shelled out for this machine but once I fed 4 layers of denim through it without so much as a hiccup.... I haven't looked back.

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I think @Ramr makes a good point, it kind of depends what you want to do with it. I do real basic quilting as well, and some light clothing sewing, and I am very pleased with my basic Janome. It wasn't crazy expensive, but it wasn't a cheap piece either, if you know what I mean.

@Darbla, were you looking for something for your cosplay stuff? A basic Janome would do it, but it might be worth it to get as much machine as you can afford. Sewing tough materials, slippery materials, decorative edging, etc would be so much easier with a good machine, it might be well worth the investment.

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If you do your own quilting, I'd definitely recommend a good, used Pfaff from the old days, when they were made in Germany.  I'm talking the 1470's series.  Excellent machines and they have no trouble feeding through a nice, thick quilt.  I used that until I got my Bernina.  Found a good deal on a slightly used one and love it.  It also can handle the thickness of a quilt without breaking a sweat.  :)

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Think it really depends what your doing with it.  For basic sewing and quilting there is nothing like the old Singer Featherweight, just ask in any quilter's shop.  Aside from that I'd say the Bernina is one of the better.

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