Best machine for a beginner???

nancy_jeanSeptember 11, 2005

Hi.....I am looking to buy my first sewing machine. I want to make cafe curtian' decoration's and simple pattern's. Can anyone recommend a machine? Thank you! Nancy

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You need to determine what your budget is for a sewing machine and also if you want extras like decorative/embroidery stitches. You can find machines at the "mart" stores or online for less than $200. Or, you can do a little research online and find a good machine, even a good buy in a used machine for $200plus all the way up to $2000plus.

If you have never sewn, you might want to find a shop that sells sewing machines and supplies that offer classes on their machines and that service most makes of machines. Your local sewing/vac shop can be your new best friend. LOL

Many of us here that have been sewing for a number of years have more than one machine. Some of us have too many machines! LOL! A few good brands that I can recommend are Viking, Husky, Bernina, BabyLock, Pfaff, and Elna. An older Singer from the 1930s to the 1960s are made better than some models being made now, but they don't have the bells and whistles of the modern machines. Many of the modern electronic machines have features like the zig zig stitch, touch buttons for stitch length, needle up/down button, decorative stitches, and some do not require oiling, just a yearly tune-up.

Ask at your local fabric/quilt shop to see what machine brands their customers use. Check out Epinions online for recommendations also. It is possible to buy a good machine online from a reputable dealor, but I would not recommend that a new sewer buy a machine on ebay - just my opinion.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 9:51AM
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Thank You!! Teresa...I'm gonna go with a Kenmore...If I like sewing I can alway's upgrade. Nancy

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 1:01PM
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Hi there,
With so many expensive choices out there, and being a beginner, I went with a "Brother" brand. It sells at walmart for 89.99. It is full size has like 30 different stitch types. And sews slightly slower then reg ones for the beginners. But sews quite fast. If that makes any sense. lol I got mine about a year ago and it's a great machine and I am extremely happy with the quality for the low price!
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 7:47AM
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Thank you Christy...actually that does help, as I was also thinking of a buying Brother machine. This sewing is all Greek to me. I want to make a pair of palazzo pant's that I have been wearing for years and they finally fell apart and I cant find the same color material palazzo pants!! I have been looking for a year now & my DH said...make them yourself. I thought maybe I could take my palazzo pants apart and make a pattern out of them??? I also can never find very short cafe curtain' 4" I thought maybe I can sew a few things ,I can't find out in the store's to buy. TY all for your help....Nancy

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 8:34AM
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As a beginner, I would recommend that you buy from a dealer. You are going to have plenty of questions about the machine, is it me or the machine, in the beginning. I recommend Janome. You might find a used one or just a machanical machine. I own both Pfaff and Janome and love both. Janome is much more reasonably priced. Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer, whatever brand you get.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 10:17AM
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FWIW from one newbie to another ~ I just recently began sewing, too. A very dear friend bought me a Pfaff 1030 machine. Just the thought of sewing was overwhelming, but between the machine and this forum I think I'm doing ok so far.

I don't know how other brands are, but the instruction book (with awesome pictures) that came with my machine have been incredibly helpful. They take pictures of every step.

I don't know how awesome my machine is or isn't yet, but it works really well for me.

~ Elizabeth

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:18PM
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Elizabeth B - you are giving just the right information to anyone seeking help who isn't familar with machines...the fact you said the manual has photos is extemely helpful to any welcome and enjoy your machine, it sounds like a real gem.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 12:51PM
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I wouldn't have been able to get started if not for the pictures ~ I'm just waaayyyy to visual to get how to do it from just words.

~ Elizabeth

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 4:55PM
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Hi there...I'm buying my first machine and was curious why it was recommended that a new sewer not purchase from ebay? Is this comment re your opinion on purchases from ebay in general are specific to sewing machines?

Just I just put in a bid.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 2:46PM
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If you buy from a dealer you will probably get free lessons and help when you run into a problem (which you won't get most likely from the eBay seller). I've been sewing for 50 years and I couldn't figure out how to switch my new Viking to put in a zipper - had to go by the dealer and have them demonstrate on a display model - Carolyn

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 8:12PM
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There may be some good machines for sale on eBay, but if you are new to sewing, you may not know which end is up on the machine or how/when to change the length of stitch, how to correctly fill a bobbin, etc. And, you may not know if some vital part or accessory is missing. Also, if you "test drive" sewing machines at a dealer, you can get the feel of a brand/model that feels good to you. It can be frustrating learning any new craft at first. We'd like to help you prevent some of that frustration when we suggest you shop around the sewing machine dealers first. ~Teresa

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 9:12PM
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Thank you everyone for ALL of your help!!! I didn't want to come back here till I bought a machine and I found the perfect one for my "simple" needs.
I went with the Kenmore (15212)...and I've made a few outfit's already!!! I didn't want to get overwelmed with fancy stiches & gadget's just yet. Consumer Report's rated this a best buy that's how I ended up going with a Kenmore. Again TY.......and I'll be back I'm sure .....for more help.......Nancy

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 7:32AM
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I think Kenmore is a good choice. They are made by Janome and much cheaper. I hope you got one of the ones with the automatic buttonholer because it makes it so much easier.
I bought Janome for years from a dealer but he didn't give lessons. All I could count on was he could fix them. One time I had to call him to find out how to raise the feed dogs. I had switched the lever for the feed dogs to raise back up but they didn't budge. I found out they did not go up into position till I start to sew. No one gave me lessons. I have been sewing proffessionally for 20 years. Friends gave me fabric and I did a lot of sewing.
Have fun. Remember that unsewing (ripping) is part of the game and get good at it with a good tool.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 10:51PM
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Having the feed dogs raise automatically was something of a surprise on both of the two Viking machines I have owned! I guess if I read the manual beforehand (novel idea! - LOL) I would have known that. But then, I am of the oh-let's-just-bungle-along-as-far-as-we-can-and-only-get-out-the-manual-if-we-absolutely-have-to school.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 8:02AM
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Now I have to figure out what a FEED dog is........O boy-

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 7:06PM
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Nancy, they may be labelled feed teeth in your machine's manual. You will know them because they do indeed look like teeth. They're just below the presser foot and serve to grab the fabric and "feed" it under the foot and needle to stitch it. Don't know where the "dogs" came from?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 7:24PM
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I'm not *quite* a beginner, but I'm not particularly experienced either. I went with the same one Christy did, the Brother from Wal-Mart. I needed a new machine, knew I'd be sewing things like scout patches, Halloween costumes and curtains. But although I WANT to sew more than that, I may very well never find the time, so an expensive machine wasn't worth the investment.

Also, I knew I needed SIMPLE. My mom gave me her old Singer, circa 1970, and it's just amazing how many bells & whistles came with this old machine. Of course my mom is an excellent seamstress and has incredible patience for twiddling knobs and cartridges. I, OTOH, get fed up and furious if I can't get results quick and it took me forever just to twiddle my way to a straight seam.

The Brother does straight, zigzag and backstitching, buttonholes, and I guess that's it - I sure won't be needing anything more. If I do find myself needing more than that, I'll have to visit my mom anyway and use her nifty new computerized machine because I'll need her help!

I tell you, I was AMAZED at how easy it was to sew on the Brother after messing with my mom's old Singer for years. After sewing something on the old one, I'd gladly put it away and dread having to use it again. Now it's a delight and makes me want to sew more. Sewing just seems less complicated now.

I just finished new curtains for my son's room tonight. It took me about 2 hours, including filling the bobbin, measuring, pinning, etc. Zzzzip!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 1:25AM
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Well, I just purchased my first Janome MX3123 ON EBAY. After I paid for it, I found this forum. Hopefully, I won't have any surprises or missing parts like you stated.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 5:28PM
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Got my machine and it is awesome. No problems so far. I was able to read the manual and assemble it and shorten the hem on my first set of curtains. Now on to hemming clothes...!!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 12:44PM
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hi want to get a machine for my 14 yr old daughter. she wants to make crafts and simple sewing projects. any ideas on best brands or machines. price range 100-130 thanks

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 2:50PM
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Kenmore model 15358 is perfect for the beginner, with features that include a built-in needle threader and a 1-step automatic buttonhole. This machine also includes a variety of stretch stitches, ensuring extra strength and durability for all types of sewing projects.

* 58 Stitch functions
* Built-in needle threader
* Built-in 1-Step automatic buttonhole
* Snap-on foot system
* Easy push-pull clutch system
* Easy drop feed dog system for freehand embroidery
* Needle plate with dual seam guidelines in inches and millimeters

Its on SALE for $99.99

Here is a link that might be useful: Sears Sale.............

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 3:08PM
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Hi, I'm new to this group and to sewing. After reading your posts yesterday I bought a Janome regular $129.99 on sale for $89.99 but b/c of Thanksgiving sale I lucked out and got it for $69.99. I took KyBell's advise and bought from a local dealer. The sales-lady took time to show me how to fill the bobbin, thread the machine, etc.... She told me that this little model is a favorite for quilters who go on cruises so they can quilt away. So, with that info and the recommendations from this site for the Janome I felt confident to make the purchase. I've been playing with the machine and I've got to say it's very easy to operate and the stitches are quite nice. Thanks for everything. Debi

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 10:03PM
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Debi la It sounds like you have done very well on your choice. It sounds like you will also have someone to go back to with any problems that might arise (your saleslady) are doing exactly the right thing at the moment and playing with the machine getting to know how it works. Many beginners forget that step and want to make "a fitted jacket with tailoring down the front" as a first project. Start small by playing around with the machine and don't do anything with expensive fabric or a project with too many unknowns for the first few times. Good luck, I for one think you got a great buy...Budster who doesn't even own a Janome

    Bookmark   November 25, 2007 at 5:33PM
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Hey all! Looking through this forum it seems like you all really know what's up with sewing machines. I'm looking to get my first machine and need some guidance. I've done some sewing before, pillow cases, purses (assisted by my crafty sister-in-law), little drawstring bags. Nothing major but I want to get into it more to make blankets and basic home decor items. My looking to pay no more than $400. And I don't need a ton of extras. I've also heard that buying an older machine is better for the metal pieces that hold up longer. Kenmore and Singer are two brands that I've looked at so far. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 10:49PM
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Where can I find a finger guard for a sewing machine?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2008 at 1:46PM
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I've never sewn anything more than a button. I wanted to learn to sew my own clothes from those Vogue patterns. Which machine is one I can use; there are so many I'm confused. I don't want to spend more than $100.

I was considering Brother LS2125i (10 st. portable), Singer Simple 18 stitch, Brother XL2600i, Brother LX3125.

In addition, I see that a lot of these posts are talking about seeing a local dealer. I live in NY-the boroughs, and I am able to travel to Westchester. If you know any, please direct me.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:42PM
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Did you know if you go to you tube there are tons of simply sewing videos you can watch for free? For example if you want to put in a zipper, search for zipper and it will just pop up for you.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 8:07PM
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I say either go with Brother or Singer. The Brother CS6000i is one of the best selling sewing machines. It has everything from different stitch types, LCD display, and more.

The Singer 7258 is also a great choice. It has everything you need such as 100 stitches, programmable needle, automatic needle threader, and more. It also comes with a dvd instructions.

The Brother XL2600i is a more basic model but still has many features. It has a 25 stitches, foot pedal, and more.

There are many other difference and features between these models. Check out the link below for a more detailed comparison.

Here is a link that might be useful: Top 3 Sewing Machine For Beginners Article

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:04AM
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You can't go wrong with the Brother CS6000i for a beginner machine. There are, of course, tons of choices, but I recommended this machine to a few other beginners and they've had nothing but great things to say about it. I use commercial machines every day and can say the CS6000i really isn't bad at all. Certainly not anywhere close to commercial grade, but it will be able to handle any sort of beginner type project you'll be working on.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brother CS6000i

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 2:04PM
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