Oliver + S

New Sewing Machine help

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    totterwalker @totterwalker

    Hi all,

    Two years ago I bought a $50 used Singer on craigslist and started sewing. Now, I’m addicted and I love making my baby cute Oliver + s dresses.

    My birthday is coming up and I’ve asked for a BRAND NEW sewing machine! I’m so excited but I am also a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices!

    I think I’m going to be looking in the $300-$400 dollar range so nothing too fancy but I’m wondering if you have any recommendations?

    I love my old singer but it’s definitely doing some funny things lately. My local fabric store sells Berninas but I think they are a bit out of my price range (???). Any other recommendations? What do you use?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    ps. If you want to see pics of my ice cream (dress) addiction, you can see them here: http://www.totterwalker.blogspot.com

    Nicole @motherof5

    I have bumped a few topics for you. I hope some of them are helpful,if not ask more questions!

    We have lots of passionate artisans here.


    Maggie @Maggie

    I was in a similar situation and bought a Janome (4030? I always forget the exact number). It was around $400 and came with a lot of useful feet. It really helped my sewing tremendously. My favorite things are the many new stitches including a couple that overlock the edge like a serger. (I call it my fake serger.) my new machine has easy to change bobbins and feet. I haven’t tried the buttonhole functions yet, but I hope to soon.

    The other bonuc is that the dealer is in my town. It is nice to have service handy.

    What features are you looking for?

    nanasews @nanasews

    Why not buy a Bernina? I have a 1008 mechanical machine that is touted as a “workhorse” in classrooms and is just that! I love this machine because the stitches are always perfect, is easy to use, comes with many useful feet with many more new and used ones available and is easy to clean, oil and repair. Utube offers many tutorials and you can find the manual free online. Unfortunately, it does not come with an automatic buttonholer, but the manual one is easy to use. Ebay has good used machines in the range of $400, sometimes less, and I’m sure other sites offer them as well. Since they are so dependable, the Bernina 1008 is still manufactured and retails for around $1100 new.

    Good luck and have fun picking out your machine. Happy Birthday!


    wendy @wendyls

    I went through this recently. I really, really wanted the Bernina 1008 based on everything I’d read about it, but the price was a bit prohibitive. They seem to come up often on Ebay, but when you tack on the cost of extra feet (they generally seemed to come with only one and Bernina feet are pricey)and shipping (in my case to Canada) the price quickly climbs up there.

    I eventually settled on the Pfaff Select 4.0, which is supposed to be their best mechanical machine. I went with it because it has across the board great reviews and because I found a floor model at nearly half the suggested retail cost (around $400). I feel like I bought the best I could within my budget and am pretty happy with it, although I’m still pining for the Bernina. I kind of see it as the ultimate machine, but them I’m not very fancy. 🙂

    If you are favouring a mechanical rather than a computerized machine then I’d also suggest looking at Janome. I can’t remember the exact model or price, but I believe their top of the line mechanical falls within your price range.

    Good luck!

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    The common advice is to buy the entry-level model of a high-end brand* — they’ll have all the most commonly used features and feet, and will still have the solid ‘guts’ of a high quality line. I think it’s pretty solid advice for a major piece of equipment that will last for years and years. As with cameras, there are many companies that make great tools, and they all have their fans. It may just be a question of which feels the most intuitive for you.

    *I bought the lowest-end Husquvarna Viking available at the time I bought it, I think it was about $500, and it sat in my closet for YEARS, I was so scared of it. I tell you, that thing is a beast, reminds me of my 1984 Honda Civic that refused to die, even after I failed to notice an actual brick wall and drove into it (it was a very low wall, in my own defense). I have abused it quite a bit in the past, and it still performs wonderfully. Now that I know more, there’s so much more that it can do that I can take advantage of — and it has a standard shank so it accepts the cheapo knockoff snap-on feet you can find online. The price of genuine feet is brutal.

    totterwalker @totterwalker

    Thanks everyone! I am excited but see I have some research to do before I make a decision.

    This was my first post on this forum but I visit it often to get all of your helpful tips and I’m excited to find such a vibrant little sewing community!

    Thanks again for your support & I’ll keep you posted!

    needlewoman @needlewoman

    A dear friend of mine has just retired. She is an inspirational sewist, and began a TAFE dressmaking course after her first son was born (to help her get out of the house, and consolidate her family-taught sewing skills). In great glee, she recently told me that she has just had her Husquvana serviced so she is all set to go to resume sewing more regularly than she’s had time for in the last 10 yrs (or more). The “service man” was very impressed with the quality of the machine, and how well it’s still performing – it is now nearly 40 years old!!!

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