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Sewing for Yourself

Old sewing machine has broken

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    David Johnston @DavidJo23

    My wife’s sewing machine is giving her problems. When power is applied, the motor hums but nothing moves. Also, the hand wheel is difficult to turn – feels like it is binding. This was an inexpensive machine (Euro Shark Pro) that she bought several years ago. I expect it needs a good servicing and cleaning. Considering that she only paid around $100 for this machine, is it worth having serviced and fixed? Do most places give reliable estimates for work? Although this machine has served her well, we may end up replacing this unit anyway since she has really gotten into this hobby over the years.

    Honestly, I have alredy start looking for a new machine. Can you advise me a good one but not really expensive?

    Becca @macaronquilts

    I would recommend calling around to local shops I see what they charge for a servicing and what their turn around time is. I recently did this for my serger and one shop was $50 more than the other and the turnaround was twice as long! In some shops, you’ll be able to talk to the techs who will service your machine, and in others, they’ll send it to a different location, so that’s a consideration too.
    With that said, a lot of repair shops will be honest and tell you it’s not generally worth fixing a machine that cost less than a few hundred dollars, partially because the repairs can cost almost as much as the machine. I am a Bernina fan through and through, and they sell a budget line called Bernette you might look into. I’ve read good things about Eversewn, and they’re a budget machine. Generally, you can get a better brand if you’re willing to get a mechanical machine instead of a computerized one. Another thing to consider would be a used machine. My Bernina dealer has a table of used machines that they have serviced and repaired. I bought my first Bernina used from their table. Some are quite old (but Berninas last, so don’t worry there) and therefore quite inexpensive.
    Good luck!

    Enbee @Enbee

    The local places around me start at $89 and a few weeks for service (or did when I asked a few years ago). I don’t doubt that that’s a fair cost for someone’s labor, but it is a little hard to swallow when it approaches the cost of the machine itself. I paid $50 for my old Janome L108 on Craiglist, so when it stopped working a few years ago I hit Google first. Knowing nothing about the brand you mentioned, I’ll note a few things: some machines have all powered components in series, so if your bulb blows (this was my problem), your machine won’t work. Most foot pedals have a potentiometer in their wiring to allow for the variable speed, and they can go bad. Cleaning and oiling your machine yourself is REALLY straightforward – your owner’s manual ought to show you where to dust and oil. That might be all your machine needs.

    You can also often find the servicing manual (not the owner’s manual) online for a few bucks – it’ll have internal diagrams and often part numbers. If you or she enjoys that sort of thing, and you’re OK with replacing the machine anyway, you might as well take a crack at repairing it.

    For what it’s worth, although I haven’t found it worthwhile to get my machine regularly serviced (I can clean/oil/replace belts), I absolutely would pay to get it *repaired* if I couldn’t fix it myself, even if the cost would all but have to exceed the price of my Craigslist special. It’s solid metal, it runs like a champ, and it does everything I need it to. And I *like* tinkering with it – if I had a pricey computerized machine I’d be a lot more leery of taking a screwdriver to it.

    Alex @woodlywo

    I could recommend you Brother sewing machine. It is great, I’ve been using it for some time, and had no problems with it, it costs no more than $200.

    Emily P @Emily P

    I only use old sewing machines now. I have about a dozen Necchi sewing machines, all older models made in Italy – not the newer ones made in Asia. The free arm Supernova models are fabulous for clothing, but even the more readily available straight stitch BF or zigzag BU are fabulous. A cheap old Singer is better than any new machine. I have a 99 I got for $40 at Salvation Army. Works great and it’s like 97 years old.

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