I’ve always had great luck with the Brother brand of machines. My mom swears by Singer and Janome, but those can get expensive. I’m about to purchase a new machine myself (rather than spend $300 shipping it from my storage in San Diego all the way up to Canada). I was looking at this.
Now I realize, some people have a very strong hatred for Wal Mart, but it was the last place I saw the machine I wanted for a good price and I could find the link quickly.
I have sewn for years and have more machines than most people would want. I have found that it is not necessarily the machine that is as important as the place where you purchase it from. Near me is an excellent viking store. The woman who sells these machines also teaches quilting classes, sewing classes, fun classes, and serger classes. She not only sells the expensive machines but has many that cost less. She also sells machines that are gently used which are a great buy. The main thing that she has is knowledge. I have only purchased one machine from her but I go there constantly to pick her brain and she picks mine for I have a commercial grade embroidery machine. I also send a lot of people her way. I have known her for years and have followed her to three different spots. If you want to really get into sewing this is the way that will make the most sense to me. At least go and check this out for the knowledge that you will learn. And the lady also has great material. Talk to others that live in your area and sew they will also know what sewing store to stay away from. My first sewing machine was purchased by a company that sold me one that had unbeknown to me survived a fire. Well maybe the fire didn’t hurt it but what about the heat? I had more problems with that machine than any that I had ever made. And one time I asked for new screws on the top of the machine because I had burs on them from the cleaners cranking down on them too hard. The cleaner ( her husband) filed down the screws and the paint job which made the machine catch the fine fiber. I was furious because he damaged my machine and said that I did it. So you need to ask around to see what machine store is good.
A viking company won’t mess around with their people if their franchise is at risk they get refuse to sell them the machines. When you go into the machine store. Look it over. is it clean? does it have great fabric? Are the people nice? Are they knowledge about their machines as well as other machines? Do they let you run the machines and teach you how to do the running? Or do they just show you? Do they use real fabric or that crummy white stuff that any machine can sew through? Are they interested in showing you that their machine can sew through metal or that you can learn to master the machine. Do they have free classes available to you? Do they give you free lessons with the machine? Many of the machine stores have free classes or clubs that you go and only have to purchase the fabric there and you learn to quilt for free. Do they go to all the latest shows and run all over the place and leave the business alone to the people that don’t know what they are doing? That is a problem of some shops that I have seen. But the viking shop is about the best that I know of too bad you don’t live in Warren, OH. I could take you to the best one. Jacquie
I love sewing, how exciting that you are looking for a new machine!!
If possible, I would avoid buying one from Walmart. I have heard lots of people have problems with them. They might save a little up front, but in the long run they could cause more frustrations and aggravations than its worth. On the other hand, if that’s the only option you have, it might be worth it. I know at least one person who is satisfied having gone that route!
You have been given some great advice here! I wanted to add a little something to think about. You mentioned you are interested in quilting, and because of that I recommend testing any machine you are considering with a couple of pieces of fabric (cotton or flannel of the type you will be using, and a piece of batting in between) to see how the machine sews quilts. Of course, if you’ll be hand quilting, and just piecing the top by machine, that won’t be an issue.
Actually what I was going to say before I side-tracked myself, lol, is to look for a machine with an excellent straight stitch. I have 4 machines (not including my sergers :teehee:) and the most expensive one, a Janome (that I love, don’t get me wrong!) has the worst stitch quality of all. My cheapest (it was under $300, with everything you could want, really, including a walking foot for quilting and the 1/4" foot for piecing) has an absolutely perfect stitch. It’s a Craftmaster 4700 (I think its a lower-priced Janome in disguise, lol) and I LOVE this machine. I think it’s the perfect beginner machine. It’s easy to use, and has plenty of useful feet and features so that you won’t ever really outgrow it. Unless you decide you need a bunch of fancy stitches, it should be good for years of great sewing time.
My other good stitchers (machines!) are older than me. One is a Singer Featherweight (inherited from my grandmother) and the other is a Bernina Record made in about 1961-I found it at a thrift store for $35.
Good luck, I hope you let us know what you decide!
I started with White from JoAnns but found as I started sewing and especially quilting that I didn’t like the way my feed dogs moved (from left to right). It’s a small detail but I felt like I was always fighting the fabric to keep it feeding straight. After using my mom’s nice Brother I got a low end Brother too as the feed dogs move from front to back so the fabric feeds in straight. i can also drop the feed dogs on the Brother (versus just cover the feed dogs with the White – horrible IMO if you want to quilt). I yearn for an even nicer machine now as I am even more experienced – maybe some day…The 1/4 inch foot is a must if your going to quilt as well as a walking foot and maybe a darning foot for free motion quilting. Also get as much throat space as you can. The suggestion to watch Craigslist is good, and I’d suggest you look for sewing/repair shops (not just Joann’s) in your area as often they sell not only new machines but trade-ins too – you’ll probably get a much nicer machine that way and as you grow into your hobby be much happier. It kills me that I now have 2 machines and while I happy with the second I could have had a pretty nice starting one if I’d hadn’t been so cheap to start with.
I have an Elna basic machine which has 21 stitches, 1 step button hole and so on. and it sews really well.
I also have a Janome MC9500 which is a beautiful machine but a lot more expensive. The features that I really like is needle threader and the start stop button so you don’t have to use a foot control. Also one feature that I really dislike on the Janome is that the spool of thread lays down on the spool holder and quite a few times the thread gets tangled as it comes off the spool.
The Elna have the spool holder on the top so the thread stands upright and the thread tangling has never been an issue with that machine.
If you have seen a machine you like at Costco, If I was you I would try and find a store that sells this make of machine and have a go on it before you make up your mind. Also check out prices on the Internet for the same machine. Costco is not always cheaper, at least not in this country.
Good luck in your search for your perfect machine.
Yeah, I’m going to take my time and keep looking and asking around - I’m keeping a list of what others say so I can use that to help me decide. I think I’m turning into my father…used to be that I would want something and if I could afford it, I went and got it…now I look at Consumer Report and research first! I think I’ve hit the stage where I’d rather have three things I really love and that last than a hundred that are cheap whims that don’t, you know?
Last year I purchased a refurbished Singer 2662 directly from their website at www.Singer.com to replace my Singer Stylemate which doesn’t have the free-arm or the see-thru bobbin cover. I paid $159 which I think is a decent price for the features. They included most presser feet that will be needed and includeda dust cover. I like both machines. They both work great. I too had been looking at various brands and models in the stores, but decided this was the best deal.
I never test drove any of my sewing machines, but they all work well. My 1st machine was a featherweight Singer…bought back in the '60s…DH uses it.
You can’t always go by what Consumer Reports says. I have a Toastmaster Bread Maker’s Hearth that they didn’t have much good to say about it and I LOVE it…don’t want any other toaster oven unless they come out with one that has a convection feature.
You got me thinking about sewing machines… mine is over 25 years old (New Home) and with a new grandchild on the way I see some quilts in my future. My college age daughter just asked me to make her a quilt for christmas this year. I used to quildt but haven’t done much since I strated knitting.
I’ve been looking at the Joann site, they have t limited edition Brother, Project Runway with 294 stitches, with the 40% off coupon it would be less than $300.00
Older Brother sewing machines are great. New ones (unless you buy one of the snazzier models) are horrible. I ended up returning mine to the store I purchased it from after using it twice and took the money and a little extra I had and bought a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116 and never looked back.
My best advice - if you are able, spend a little extra on a good quality machine now. It will make your sewing experience much more enjoyable. A bad machine can turn a person off to machine sewing in a heartbeat. Plus, you have to spend more money to buy a new, better quality machine.
I have a little Pfaff and I love it, it suits my needs just fine and I got it gently used from a local sew/vac shop for $200.
I’ll reiterate what a previous poster said though, where you buy it is at least as important as what kind of machine you get. I’ve got nothing against big box stores in general, but if you buy your sewing machine from a place like Target or Walmart and you need help with it, you can’t take it in and have an experienced person help you out. With my machine, I can take it in for service if I need it, or if I need help figuring something out I can take it to the lady I bought it from and ask her. She is wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable and I know I wouldn’t get that kind of service at Target.