Need sewing machine advice please

meskauskasJanuary 25, 2012

A friend (who doesn't sew right now) is looking for a beginner machine that she and her teenage daughter can use. Something simple, not too expensive. I think they want to take classes together and learn to do simple sewing, at least to start with. I haven't bought a machine in a while - are there some good machines under $300 that you could recommend? Many thanks!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I got my daughter's basic Janome for $289. I love Janomes! but then, each other quilter will have their own preferences!

I like to use Ken's Sewing Center. They've been very good to me...I've gotten my last 4 machines from them. My daughter's machine was a re-manufactured machine and had done well. From time to time they also sell LayAway items for the remainder due. You need to call directly and ask them what they's not on their website.

I'd suggest a basic machine, not a lot of bells/whistles.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ken's Sewing Center

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 3:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I was researching for my sewing machine Janome always received high marks.

One review was from a sewing and quilting shop and they called it a 'work horse'.

I agree they can do a great deal without the bells and whistles.I love mine!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

...another Janome lover here! It is my go to machine for piecing, quilting, repairing jeans, teaching DGS, a little fancy stitch here and there, etc.

Janome 6600P

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too am a Janome fan but believe that the most important factor is a reliable dealer who stands behind their product. My daughter recently had a bad experience with a Jamome Gem that is known to be a fine machine but she bought it from a non authorized dealer. She had many issues develope with the machine and had difficulty with service as a result. In the end she got rid of it but still went with the Janome 6600P which I believe is a very good machine but this time she used a dealer that had the credentials.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do think there is no comparison in a $300 machine and an upper end machine even within the same manufacturer. I am friends with a Pfaff dealer (and I am a Pfaff girl for many, many years) who says the machines that are in the $200-$300 range are made completely differently than the machines in the higher range. They are made to compete with the cheapies sold by the big box stores and the Walmarts. That said, it doesn't mean these machines are crummy - they are just different. I suggest your friend look for a shop - like a Sew and Vac that also offers classes for free or for a small price with the purchase of the machine. I know the Pfaff dealer offers this.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks so much everyone - I know she won't get a machine that can do a lot, but I think it's important that they not be so intimidated by an expensive and complex machine that they run in the opposite direction. It's really hard to recommend a machine that is both inexpensive and reliable. I'm going to send her a link to Janome machines.

I've also heard a lot about Brother machines - does anyone know if they are good?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too am hot on the pursuit of a new machine. I drove 40 miles today to what was suppose to be a Brother dealer. He had one Brother (I think it was a serger) and the rest were the Singer, etc. He showed me the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 for $500. I love all the bells and whistles, but everything I hear and read says to stay away from Singer now.

I've spent about 5 hours today online researching machines and have come up with the Brother PC-420 PRW for $426 on Amazon. I'm going to call the dealer back tomorrow and see if he is order one to show me in the shop. If not, I'll check a dealer about an hour in the other direction.

I'll check out the Janone online first. I see there is a dealer about 30 miles away. I'll call first this time. LOL

Thank you for everyone's input. I really appreciate your feedback.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Another Janome girl here! I have the 6600 and the Jem Gold. Have not had a moments bit of trouble with either. Bought the 6600 in 2008 from a LQS with promises of support, cleanings and classes for three years....went out of business within a year, so lost out on the cleanings and most of the classes. Bought the Jem in 2009 online from for an excellent price. They are great to order from. Had ordered previously from them, ordered the Jem to be shipped to different address. They called me on phone to verify before they shipped. Have me as a customer forever for that one "attention to detail". Plus they do have good prices on a lot of stuff I order.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with them other than being a very satisfied customer.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Brother NX450 machine, bought quite a few years ago. It serves me well and have no desire to upgrade it to a more expensive model.

I think the key to this is finding a machine that will suit your kind of sewing needs and from a reliable dealer.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have 2 Brother machines. Both are higher end models, so I can't give you much information on the cheaper ones. I would definitely find a retailer in the area that sells machines so they can help you with the machine when you need it. Most retailers will offer classes too which is nice because they can help you with your particular model. My LSQ sells Janome and if I didn't already have so much invested in the Brother line, Janome would be my next pick.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've got a Brother serger and it has been trouble-free. I've also heard good things about Janome and Baby Lock. Your friend should look at machines that straight stitch and zig zig - not much else is needed in a basic machine. No decorative stitches, embroidery, or other bells and whistles. And she should resist being talked into a higher end machine.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 8:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't have a lot of experience with different machines, but one feature that I really love that I would miss terribly is the "needle down" feature. I don't know if that comes on more basic machines, but if it does, I would look for that.

When I first tried quilting, I was so stymied by my old Kenmore that I put quilting aside for four years. All that wasted time. If only I had bought a new machine then. I now have the Janome 6600P and love, love, love it. I would certainly try their base model if I were looking for a traveler machine.

I do agree, however, that having a reputable dealer nearby for service is really important, but I know that sometimes that's not possible.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've seen a lot of different sewing machines during classes I teach and I've seen a lot of happy students using Kenmores--old and new models.
The mid to high end Brothers seem reliable, but NOT the cheaper models and the light weight Brothers. Those models always seem to cause students grief.
New Singers are OK.
I'd stay away from the lower end Viking line called Emerald--they tend to be kind of finicky.
Babylocks seem to do well and so do older Pfaffs.

Happy shopping!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 8:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Teresa mentioned Brother and Baby Loc. Just wanted to share that I took my brother to a person who fixes sewing machines on the side and he told me that these machines are made by the same company. I took a good look at them (side by side) and noted that they were identical, right down to the location of the stitches! How about that!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And Juki is made by them also. I have a Brother and Baby Lock both and they are same machine. Brother is cheaper and some of the attachments aren't as high a quality but I like being able to interchange feet when needed. Bobbins same as well so can fill them on one machine for the other. Juki is same and like Jen's Juki, mine prefers only King Tut thread for FMQ.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 2:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I understand that Brother was bought out by Baby Loc a few years ago and they are similar. I have both Jamome and Baby Loc. I like both very much but if I were to replace either I would get a Janome. But I would like a new Baby
Marsh, the dealer that my DD had issues with was Sew and Vac.
It probable was that particular one but unless they are authorized by the co. the sells the machine I would be careful when I bought one.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I always research before I buy too. When I was getting ready to buy my embroidery machine I saw the Brothers in WalMart much cheaper than the older model Brother I wanted to buy.

At the same time DH was looking for a small riding lawn mower. John Deere is popular here and are sold all over, but like the Brother machines, the prices, and the warranty vary.

We found out that many of the internal components in inexpensive machines aren't replaceable, and are made with cheaper materials. Even though they carry the name they are sold as 'throw aways' and don't last as long as the higher end machines.

I have read so many complaints about the WalMart Brother machines and my older, but higher end model works great.

So I would ask questions and research any prodeuct you buy. $300 may not be a lot of money to some, but it is if it only lasts a few months!!!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi I am George a sewing machine repair man, I will start by saying that most problem on sewing machine a purely technical from the operation point of view and not from the repair point of view: A needle not inserted properly, tension thread not adequately set and the list goes on. If you are facing any technical problem before you spend big money on unnecessary repairs and parts email me at

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why not try a used higher end machine. I haven't bought a brand new machine in a long, long time. #1 reputable dealer, good brand, best you can afford. It has always worked for far!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why not try a used higher end machine. I haven't bought a brand new machine in a long, long time. #1 reputable dealer, good brand, best you can afford. It has always worked for far!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:31PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do you have a favorite needle machine sewing batiks?
Hello. I'm beginning a project with batiks, machine...
Showing off 2 quilts my Mom made!
She gave me this one: This one is for friends of my...
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL
Q for you re blue jean quilts
A group of ladies and myself will be making quilts...
Are you quilting this weekend? March 27-29
I stayed up late last night making a teapot block for...
Jamestown Landing ready to quilt.
I got the top done and loaded onto the frame. I am...
Sponsored Products
Heat Fan 56-Inch Barbeque Black Ceiling Fan
$169.00 | Bellacor
Bon Chef Apron
The City Farm
Cotton Candy Maker
Cuddle Ups Throw Blanket (Set of 2)
Geometric Twist Indoor/Outdoor Rug 2'3" x 4'6" - NAVY
$59.00 | Horchow
James R. Moder 25" Wide Lunar Collection Chandelier
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™