What options should I look for in a new sewing machine?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Cooking & Crafts : One Thread
I am going to be buying a new sewing machine soon. Since I haven't bought one in over 20 years, I'm wondering what "bells and whistles" you find helpful. I sew clothing, crafts (teddy bears mostly), and would like to try some machine quilting. The only thing that I have to have this time is an automatic buttonholer. Also, any suggestions about brands? Thanks in advance for your help!
-- Cindy in NY (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 03, 2002
Cindy, there are so many things that have changed in the past 20+ years in sewing machines. Many now have plastic gears, plastic parts. Some you cannot oil or it will ruin the machine. Some have embroidery features and all magnetic items must remain away from the machine to prevent the info from being erased from the programmed stitches.
Some machines will stitch over a heavy seam and others will not. Some machines have low clearance and others high clearance under the presser foot. Look for one with high clearance since you will be making bears, fabric will make more bulky seams.
To be honest, most of the bells and whistles go unused on my machines. I only have 8 sewing machines, 3 with built in stitches. The most used is the straight stitch, zigzag stitch, satin stitch, buttonhole.
I found an older model Elna Super (27+years old) to be the better of all machines I have. Does beautiful "satin stitch" Other machines make skimpy not filled in satin stitch with uneven edges.
Other machines I have are Singer but would not buy a new Singer machine, they are not the same now. Name only and rest is history.
I have the New Home 8000 sewing machine that does 2" size embroidery. The newer model 9000 people were wishing for their 8000 back. Don't know exactly what flaws were in this model. There is a newer model 2000 out now but I know nothing about it. I keep the New Home 8000 mainly for embroidery & buttonholes (put button on slider and it makes hole to fit). A lady I have known for years working in the sewing machine store told me to save the New Home for embroidery and not wear it out with regular sewing since I had the other machines. Sooooo....not sure what this may tell you.
When it comes to quilting, the space under the head is not very high on some machines. Be sure and look for a high arch space to accomodate a role of quilt. Machine quilting a whole quilt as one piece is not feasable but quilting each block as you go along works great. After sewing blocks in a strip finish quilting, then continue with other strips. Less bulk to fit under the head.
My S-I-L just bought a caddilac of sewing machines, Berdina (sp) that can be used along with a computer to create embroidery designs, $6,000 plus.
The sewing machines listed on special and called commercial are usually nothing more than the low line of a brand and is a come-on ad. I went down to check this out one day and the lady I know told me I had better machines at home than the one listed as a commercial.
-- Marie (email@example.com), April 03, 2002.
Oy vey! Where do I start! A "needle down" setting is great for turning corners and adjusting the fabric. If you quilt, some machine have a built-in foot that helps the fabrics stay in place.
If I were you, I'd check out a few sewing sites and post questions. www.sewingworld.com has a discussion that's filled with information. If I think of any more, I'll post again.
-- Ardie/WI (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 03, 2002.
Marie - I'm not familiar with the New Home brand. Do they still have a metal body? I noticed that all the machines I've looked at so far are made with a plastic body. I did an Ebay search and found a New Home 6000 available. Are you familiar with that model?
-- Cindy in NY (email@example.com), April 03, 2002.
See if you can borrow from friends or rent before you buy, or if you have a friendly salesperson, make them put all the brands you're looking at through their paces (note any problems he/she has with each machine).
Also stay away from the ads that try to sell "school machines" as well.
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 03, 2002.
GT-why do you say stay away from school machines? A friend of mine bought a Bernina "school machine" that was fantastic, at a really great price.
If I had money....I'd buy a Bernina, I feel its hands down the best machine-and you can get them for considerably less than 6,ooo, still even the basic models are expensive. I'm also fond of Vikings (Harsquirvarna) but they are also expensive and they need to be coddled a little-you really have to keep them very clean and needles changed, etc. I sew on a no frills Kenmore machine-I bought it new about eight years ago and I love it. I bought a walking foot for it to do machine quilting. Its nice and heavy has a great motor. It has several decrative stitches-and a buttonhole attachment. This was recommended by Threads Mag. Editors as the best basic sewing machine- I believe Robbie Fanning wrote the article. Ive heard good things about New Home, but havn't used one myself.
When you go to buy one, take samples of work you will do on this machine and your own thread. Insist on a test drive, your spending some bucks here, a good dealer should be willing to work with you.
-- Kelly (email@example.com), April 03, 2002.
They weren't Berninas--they were some weird off-brand. I imagine that there are several companies out there competing for school dollars.
-- GT (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 04, 2002.
Oh, I see, yes, I'd definatly stay away from the off brands.
-- Kelly (email@example.com), April 04, 2002.
The New Home sewing machines are known as Janome now. Here is their web site. http://www.janome.com/ You will be able to find a locater and find various models. Check out the products.
My New Home 8000 is plastic. Did not find the 6000 listed at the site so have no idea what it is. A dealer will be able to tell you about the 6000. Seems like I heard about or saw one at the store and it was a lower level than the 8000 machine but did fancy stitches but maybe not embroidery. Was long time ago.
-- Marie (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 04, 2002.
Hi! I must diagree with Marie on some of her points. One, satin stitch and how nice it is depends on the thread, tension and the operator. I only have three machines, one an old Elna as mentioned above(the one with all the discs), my Mothers old Singer and my own 2 year old Bernina. I tried many new machines before purchasing the Bernina and all of them did a nice satin stich(except for the old Singer, no zig zag on that one). Also, it IS quite feasible to machine quilt a large quilt as one piece, people do it all the time. I do, no way would I hand quilt and I detest sewing together those little quilt "sandwiches". :) I love the Bernina(Quilters Edition, 150)the only disapointment with it is, I wish it had a larger storage area for letters and numbers. I love doing quilts designed around a favorite poem and I find the storage on this particular machine inadequate. Thanks for this forum, I have been checking it out and think it is very nice. Little Quacker
-- Little Quacker (email@example.com), April 09, 2002.
I AM ALSO TRING TO BUY A NEW MACHINE AFTER 23YRS. OF SEWING ON A BASIC BERDINA...IT WAS S GOOD MACHINE BUT NOW I HAVE A NEW GRAND DAUGHTER AN I HAVE TO HAVE AN AUTOMATIC BUTTONHOLER...ALL THE NEW MACHINES AS YOU SAY HAVE WHISLES AND BELLS I DON'T KNOW WHATS WHAT...DID YOU DESIDE WHAT TO BUY? I KNOW I CAN'T AFFORD THE EMBRODERY BUT A GOOD BUTTONHOLE...ONE THAT WILL SO OVER HEAVY CLOTH..OF COURSE A GOOD STRAIGHT STITCH ARE THINGS I'M LOOKING FOR..I HAVE LOOKED AT THE VIKING BUT THE MIDDLE PRICED MACHINES DON'T HAVE THE AUTOMATIC BUTTONHOLED YOU STILL HAVE TO MARK EACH ONE...JUST WONDERED WHAT YOU SETTLED FOR SINCE YOUR MESSAGE SOUNDED JUST LIKE ME...CHRIS
-- Chris Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 16, 2002.