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Sewing Machine Recommendations

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I'd like to get a new sewing machine. I do mostly garment sewing, but I do plan on teaching my daughter on whatever I get, and who knows what she'll want to make (right now it's doll clothes).

For my daughter's sake, I'd like it to be relatively quiet and have speed control. I want a machine that has steel parts inside. Price I'm looking for is probably in the $200-$500 range. 

I've gone to a couple of sewing machine shops and haven't been happy with the sales people. One would only show me Viking machines, and while I liked the machine she showed me (Viking Jade 20), I don't know enough about the brands out there to know if another one might suit me better. Another only showed me a single machine (Brother/Simplicity SB3150) that cost more than I wanted, and when I commented on that, she still didn't show me any others, even though I know they carry cheaper machines. Neither sales person could answer if the parts were steel inside. ( "This lower end one sewed through 7 layers of denim, so I think all of this brand are." and "It should be... But I can't see inside to know.")

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I would go to a shop that takes trade-ins and sells refurbished machines. It’s (just) possible to get an old Bernina or similar quality machine at your higher price point.

Other option is to find a sturdy old basic Singer on Craigslist and then have it serviced. Those old machines are solid and will never die. Might only do a straight stitch though.

Edited by bibiche

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I think you have two semi conflicting criteria...old machines usually don't have speed control. New machines generally don't have metal parts.

Going old, if you can find them, will get you a heavy duty machine that will last forever.

Going new, you have to be more choosy about brands, but they have lots of bells and whistles. I've personally had the best luck with brothers and I know janomi are also good machines. I would not waste any money on new singers or white machines. Vikings are ok...but honestly you can get just as good of a machine with a brother for way less money. Brothers are easy to find, you don't have to go to a dealer. They have them at Costco, Amazon, Walmart....

I had a Viking emerald. It lasted about only a year longer than my brother. The brother was a quarter of the price.

Hope that helps!

 

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5 hours ago, bluemongoose said:

I think you have two semi conflicting criteria...old machines usually don't have speed control. New machines generally don't have metal parts.

 


I don’t know, my old machines have excellent speed control. Want to go faster? Treadle or crank faster. Want to go slower? Treadle or crank more slowly. 😄

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8 hours ago, bluemongoose said:

Vikings are ok...but honestly you can get just as good of a machine with a brother for way less money. Brothers are easy to find, you don't have to go to a dealer. They have them at Costco, Amazon, Walmart....

Is there a model of Brother you would recommend? 

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It depends one what exactly you want. If you want to see thick items...I have the strong and tough machine. It is great! I can sew multiple layers of denim without any issue. It has manual dials...no computer.

I've also had their $200ish computer quilting machines. My daughter uses one of these. They have fancier stitches and also the speed control.  She has had hers for about 8 years. She is an occasional user. I use mine nearly every day...so I tend to wear them out (thick layers) every 5-8 years. I wore out the Viking in about the same amount of time. This is why I stick to brothers now. They don't break the bank, and they work just as well as my Viking did. Honestly, the strong and tough machine is working better than the Viking did.

I don't have a specific model to recommend because they change models all the time. The ones I've owned are no longer sold, except probably the strong and tough one since I bought it more recently.

 

*Typing on phone ...sorry for any errors.

 

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1 hour ago, bluemongoose said:

It depends one what exactly you want. If you want to see thick items...I have the strong and tough machine. It is great! I can sew multiple layers of denim without any issue. It has manual dials...no computer.

The strong and tough machines look good. Are they noisy? One of the things my daughter doesn't like about my current machine is how noisy it is.

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I wouldn't say they are any more noisy than the next machine. Sewing machines aren't super quiet in general.  I know some computerized machines may be a little quieter. The strong and tough us quieter than a surger...does that help?🤷

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Fwiw, when my friends and I all tried each other’s machines, I liked the Husquavarna Vikings and Berninas best. I have had two bad vintage Singers, a Brother that broke after a couple of years and a Shark that died after three.

I have had a Bernina for ten years now. I would buy a Brother for a new beginner or those with a super tight budget, but you know you like to sew.....buy used if you need to, but I would aim for a better machine.

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