Sewing machine recc's
8 years agolattemama @lattemama
Hi all you lovely sewing ladies!
I’m slowly starting to come to terms with the fact that I might soon have to replace my sewing machine and I wanted some tips from the pros about what you like about your machines.
What features would you absolutely not want to be without? I’m mostly sewing clothes but have been known to dabble in quilting, so I have a few requests myself but I’d love to hear from you so that I don’t miss something vital.
Hope to hear your thoughts on the matter!8 years agosayiamyou @maraya
I took a sewing class 2 years ago at a Bernina dealer. I didn’t own a machine at the time so I borrowed one of theirs. I couldn’t bring myself to pay their steep asking price so I went out and bought a Singer. My mama and grandmother had both owned them and spoke very highly.
Well, after about a week I returned it! It was awful. 0-60 start, chewed up my thread and fabrics, clicking noises straightaway…I was deflated. Both my grandmother and mama agreed that that was NOT what Singer used to be. So my husband suggested checking out Bernina again. He and my mama got me an Activa 220 for Christmas that year and I STILL thank them for it! (I have also saved the receipt as a constant reminder. The price tag still hurts. 🙂
The start/stop is amazing. I can stitch one stitch at a time if I need to. I have yet to have problems sewing through layers of fabric, even multi-layers of thick corduroy. Nothing about it is plastic and it feels very well made. The purchase also came with 6 ‘mastery’ classes that taught you all about the machine and how to care for it yourself. I don’t regret the purchase at all. I love my machine and sewing with it!
Good luck in your search!8 years agobadskirt @badskirt
I wouldn’t count myself as a pro, but I do sew quite a bit on my machine. I, too, have a Bernina. Mine is an Activa 230 PE. I bought it at the time I was doing weekly markets and sewing 6-8 hours a day. I wanted something reliable and powerful. Roughly a year ago, Sew,Mama,Sew collected hundreds of “interviews on sewing machines” to help with the buying process.8 years agojanimal @janimal
I have an old White brand machine from the early 90s and in February I went shopping for a new machine. My old machine was all metal inside, not plastic, and runs great. But no bells and whistles and I couldn’t sew through thick layers.
I did some research and got some sticker shock!
A friend of mine had a fancy embroidery machine that she claimed cost her about $8k when it was new. She would embroider things for me from time to time, and I knew I wasn’t ready to drop that much dough for an embroidery machine of my own.
But I did end up with an combo sewing/embroidery machine anyway! I looked at the Singer Futura because it was inexpensive and does embroidery AND sewing. But I have heard too much about how the inside of Singers now are all plastic and they are not built to last. I ended up with a Brother Innovus 900d. It’s a lovely sewing machine, with an easy drop bobbin, automatic threading, lots of decorative stitches, and so easy to use. I took it to a class and my instructor said she has never seen buttonholes so easy to do on a machine. AND, the embroidery attachment is really easy to use. I can add monograms and cute designs to all kinds of stuff. Retail is around $600 but you can catch a sale. I love my machine. It’s lightweight and travels well but still has the goods to sew well.
My advice is to go to a dealer with some fabric and thread in hand. Sew with different machines with your thread and fabric and get a feel for the machines and the features you will choose from. If I were ready to make a bigger investment I would have come home with a cool Husqvarna from the dealer instead of my Brother – the price difference between the two machines was staggering!
The only con for me, now, is that I didn’t anticipate how much I would do machine embroidery and now I want a bigger hoopsize. (The machine just has a 4’x4′ hoop, so no big designs.) I will probably end up buying a dedicated embroidery machine and use the 900d as my regular sewing machine.
I am now in the market for a serger and will probably spend more on that than my Brother! Not to hijack your post but I would love some serger recommendations!8 years ago
Hussqvarna make brilliant overlockers if you flog them , like me! I ”killed” a janome in 3 years!
I have a 30+year old bernina-industria , that has all metal parts and no electronics , if it plays up Husband takes it out to the shed , blows it out with an air compressor gives it an oil, and off I go! He payed $2500 for it 5 years back and I love it !
My only comment is , dont buy what you dont need ! If you are not going to use 48 decorative stitches get a basic machine, but get one that does a nice button hole!8 years agosayiamyou @maraya
Good point, Nicole. In hindsight I wish I’d gotten the 230 just for the button hole memory (I was thinking of quilting and basic clothes sewing at the time though). My 220 sews beautiful buttonholes, but sometimes they aren’t exactly the same and it kills me. Absolutely my fault though, not the machine’s.8 years ago
I’m so excited. This thread inspired me to start thinking about updating my sewing machine. I have been sewing for a couple of years on a fairly cheap Bernette machine, and it is due for service/repair work, so I thought rather than dropping money on the repairs, it might be worth investing in a better machine now that I sew and quilt a lot more.
I have been into my local sewing centre and test drove the Bernina 380 and I’m in love. It does everything I want- keyhole buttons, buttonhole memory, reliable tension (that is my issue with my current machine- drives me mad!), even stitches, needle down for finishing etc etc etc.
Not cheap but I plan to look after this and keep it as long as I can. I can’t wait to sew up some kids clothes on it when I manage to buy it (hopefully by christmas).
Cherry8 years agosahmcolorado @sahmcolorado
I’ve had Bernina and a Viking at the same time. I sold the Bernina and kept the Viking when I needed to downsize because it can do embroidery and the Bernina I had could not. I always liked the Viking better, but it is a higher end machine than the Bernina was so it may not be a fair comparison. It just runs smoother and quieter and has great start/stop control. I’ve had it for about 15 yrs and have completely abused it and it is still running like new. It seems to be a real workhorse.
Features that I really love – The speed control is wonderful! I use the automatic button hole feature alot now that I’ve been sewing clothes for the kids. I really like it – just punch in the buttonhole size you want and magically it stitches it! I also love the “fake” overlock stitch and the reinforced stitch. I use some of the decorative stitches occasionally, but I wouldn’t put those high on my wish list.
I agree completely with Nicole. Get the best quality you can and don’t worry too much about bells and whistles if they are going to drive you to a cheaply made machine. Also, do consider buying used. I sold my Bernina used and the buyer got a fantastic deal. Lots of sewing machine shops carry used machines that they take in trade so you can try them out before you decide.8 years agosahmcolorado @sahmcolorado
One more note – some manufacturers still make machines that have manual dials to change settings and they are less expensive. If you go with one like that, you can get the quality workings on the insides without paying for all the cool buttons on the outside.8 years agoJustine J @justmejay
Wow! You guys are making me feel jealous! My machine is a basic Brother – like Cherry, my main gripe is with its tension – seems to go crazy on a far too regular basis(usually when I’m making something ‘nice’ like the Birthday Party dress). But a machine that does memory button holes?????? Now there’s something to aspire to!!!!8 years ago
It’s pretty exciting. I realised last week just how much time I spend ripping seams and re-threading the machine to fix the tension. I must rethreaded the darn thing more than half a dozen times last night (I have a feeling it must be close to 10 times). I’m starting a new job next year so I’ll have much less time to sew, so I want my sewing time to be relaxing rather than stressful and frustrating. I think the new machine will help.
I also spent much of last night fixing my overlocker so I can make pretty looking seams. I want to improve the finish of my garments as if I can perfect them I can sell some (with the O&S license) in my friend’s baby shop. That would be cool!8 years ago
Whoops, missed your post sahmcolorado! I like the bells and whistles!! While I’m not so keen on many of the fancy stitches, I do like the fact that I can do alphabets so i can make name labels for the kids school clothes easily. I also like the easy buttons and display screen- it makes it easier to navigate for me… My old Husqvarna had all the knob controls and I never really mastered them, but this model seems clear and easy to use. It runs beautifully and will be a massive improvement on my current machine, I hope!!
Maraya and Amy- are you still enjoying your Berninas?8 years ago
Good on you Cherry , men don’t skimp with their tools , and thats what a sewing machine is, a tool! ( HE HE I have been known to call mine a tool , is that too rude for this forum)?8 years ago
My husband isn’t very handy, but he does want a new electric guitar, so I figure this is kind of fair!5 years ago
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