Beginner's sewing machine?

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12 years 7 months ago #20594 by Castle Peak
:confused: Can anyone recommend a good sewing machine for a complete numpty please?

I'm thinking I could have a go at making some cushions first, (or at least will have a machine for my Mum to make them when she arrives [xx(]) I deffo don't need fancy stiches, but something that is fairly simple to operate with good instructions and I reckon I could give it a go. :D

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12 years 7 months ago #302595 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
There are lots of brands out there, and whenever this question comes up on a sewing or quilting forum, the replies are endless - everyone has their own favourites. I have an older, basic Janome and a reasonably late model fancy Bernina - I like both, and both have been extremely reliable (but I still hanker over one of the late-model Janome's....)

Until you know whether you're going to enjoy sewing and carry it on in the long term, I would suggest going for a well-known brand like Brother, Janome, Bernina or similar. These all come in non-fancy and reasonably priced models and you can often pick them up off TradeMe or at Spotlight at a good price. However if it was me, I'd try a sewing machine dealer/repairer as they often get good machines traded in for more fancy ones, and you can generally be reassured that the machine will have been serviced and is in good working order. You might also get a guarantee with it, and a well-known brand will help keep the resale value.

One thing I would say is to try and get a machine with a decent sized throat - the distance between the needle and the right hand side of the machine. This will give you lots of room to manouver fabric while sewing. Some form of extended table is useful - gives you a larger surface to support the material. A needle up/down position is also handy.

Try as many models as you have the patience for, and make sure you tell whoever you're buying it from what you intend using the machine for, or you'll get talked into the latest and greatest before you know it. There's a good argument for buying a machine that will see you into whatever future direction you might want to go, e.g. quilting or machine embroidery, but they usually cost megabucks and a cheaper non-fancy machine will do you very well until you decide if you want to carry on sewing etc. Good luck with your search and let us know what you end up with.
Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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12 years 7 months ago #302642 by DebM
Replied by DebM on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
My first sewing machine was a Brother (Buttonmatic I think). It was a great basic machine with a few fancy stitches. The great thing was it had a special foot attachment for doing buttonholes which sized them exactly every time. It's probably a standard feature these days! [:I] I bought it with money from my first holiday job so I guess about 24 years ago... It was passed on to a friend's daughter a few years ago and to my knowledge is still going strong.

Currently I have my mother's Janome (which has to be more than 30 years old) which is also a great machine. I think it was near the top of the line in it's day.

I second Mich's advice - if you think you might want to progress to the really fancy quilting/embroidery machines perhaps it's best to get a cheap basic secondhand machine first so you're not outlaying too much to start with and see how you go. Once you are sure you like sewing and are confident with the basics then look at the fancy ones. You'll have more idea of the features you want.

I don't know if current machines include an overlocker or if that's still a seperate machine but they are a necessity in my book! I haven't sewn for quite a few years which is why I'm not up on new developments but have just started again so I almost feel like a beginner... Happy to answer any questions - if I can! :D

Cheers
Deb

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12 years 7 months ago #302756 by RaeM
Replied by RaeM on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
I have recently brought a Jenome, limited edition machine, where there is money given to breast cancer when you buy the machine, all up I paid about $660, but also brought an extra darning but the machine I brought has as standard a walking foot and a 1/4 in foot, so if you ever want to go doing quilting, (which is why I brought the machine) you already have the feet you need. It also has as standard tha Buttonhole foot, where you put the button into a holder and the machine makes the hole to match, this machine is not electonic so it does not have any fancy electonic bits to die on me, and the book that comes with it explains really well how to do the stitches and any other information required, it also has 27 different stitches, so should do my job really well. I also have a bernina that is over 25 years old, but that has been used for years to sew canvas cover repairs on our spa pool cover, so it does not do fine material very well, that is why I brought the new one. The local machine shop here in frankton Hamilton has quite a few older machines that are quite reasonable. So look around, but if you buy new, you will still have it for 20 years or so.

RaeM

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12 years 7 months ago #303153 by Castle Peak
Wow that's masses of info, thank you! :D

I'll go into some machine shops and Spotlight (forgot about them) and have a test run of a few and see what suits my very limited ability (and budget).

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12 years 7 months ago #303867 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
I got the latest Spotlight mailer the other day and they had a couple of nice machines on special in there. Look forward to hearing what you decide on - and don't worry about your so-called very limited ability - crikey, we all start somewhere, we all have projects that go better than others, and we're all still learning :-) It's whether you enjoy the experience that counts.

Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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12 years 7 months ago #304208 by Castle Peak
Cheers Mich. I did have a quick squizz in Spotlight the other day, planning on going back when I have more time to ask questions.

I also saw a machine in the op shop, near new $100, but I didn't recognise the make and it didn't have the idiots guide booklet :rolleyes:, so left it.

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12 years 7 months ago #304306 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
Hi Dunard - just thinking ... don't discount the op shop machine - you may be able to get a guide book from either the manufacturer, a service centre, or download one. But you might feel more comfortable having the machine checked out first. Do you have a friend who could give it a run and pass comment?

And don't forget - if you buy through a retail store - be cheeky and ask what freebies they're prepared to chuck in, eg. Spotlight might give you a discount on fabric for your cushions. Or maybe some thread or something? All helps.
Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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12 years 7 months ago #304588 by Castle Peak
Thanks Mich.

The op shop machine was $100 and looked fairly unused. It was made by Cascade, who I thought made watches or something. :confused: I did overhear the shop ladies saying they had a man come in and check out all the electrical things, but probably for safety more than quality etc. In the end it was not knowing enough about the machine (and what to do if it had a problem) that made me leave it.

I had a look in Spotlight too and thought the Brother LS2160 looked easy enough for me to handle. It had a front loading bobbin which looked less complicated than the old Singer shuttle type bobbins that load under the metal plate. I'm probably showing my age but I always struggled with that on Mum's machine, part of the reason for giving up early on. [:I]

Does anyone have experience of the Brother?

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12 years 7 months ago #304774 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
No experience of the Brother, but I agree with you about the front loading bobbin - my Janome has one of those and I much prefer it to the other type which is on my Bernina. I'm not sure, but I think Jen (Featherston) might have a Brother... Jen - is my memory serving me correctly?

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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12 years 7 months ago #305082 by RaeM
Replied by RaeM on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
My new Janome also has a needle threader on it, so makes the threading of the cotton pretty easy. When I brought this machine, I did ask around and was actually advised not to buy a Spotlight machine, as getting them fixed can be complicated, where as the janome is from a Sewing Machine Centre where they stand by their guarentee. the Quilting class I am taking, there is only 1 person with a fancy electronic machine which quite surprised me, but they all had the extra feet that make quilting sewing easier. go to www.janome.co.nz and look at value machines, that is where I got the information on my machine from, before I brought it. Do that with all the machines that you are interested in, You could even put Cascade on Google and see what comes up. There is also a sewing machine repairer place in Frankton Hamilton, and his prices are very reasonable.

RaeM

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12 years 6 months ago #306872 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
I have a Brother and love it. I also love the other one I have with two legs ;-)

Probably for a beginner that doesn't know what they want then you should go to one of the sewing machine shops and get some of them demonstrated to you. The people employed in those type of shops know what they are talking about and will know what best suits you.

If you plan on doing a decent amount of sewing then investing in a good machine (with a manual) is money well spent. I upgraded from a very basic machine about 2 years ago and have been amazed the difference it makes and how much more professionally finished my clothes look.


I love animals...they're delicious

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12 years 6 months ago #306929 by DiDi
Replied by DiDi on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
I bought my daughter her first sewing machine from Spotlight and it really was a mistake. It sews but that is all I could say for it. It is the one with a very narrow distance between the needle plate and the top bit so is rather limiting when wanting to sew anything thicker or putting through a reasonable amount of fabric. Can't explain that better! Perhaps someone else can.

I have my Mother's ancient Elna Supermatic. It still goes and has heaps of options but I rarely sew anything beyond dog jackets! I think the backup with Janome sounds like the plan.

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12 years 6 months ago #306980 by RaeM
Replied by RaeM on topic Beginner's sewing machine?
The reason I went for the Janome, was because of the availability of getting it serviced if necessary, and the support from the shop was really great, and they are very interested in what I am doing with the machine, whereas the shop service at Spotlight was rather lacking, and when I wanted to ask questions, was told to come back at a later time, as the lady looking after that department was not in that day!! The Janome owner does maintance on all types of machines, and he said that the spotlight ones do not last, and this guy also has a shop in Auckland, so he is handling a lot of types of machines all the time.

RaeM

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12 years 1 month ago #329095 by stars1
Replied by stars1 on topic Beginner's sewing machine?

Dunard;286153 wrote: :confused: Can anyone recommend a good sewing machine for a complete numpty please?

I'm thinking I could have a go at making some cushions first, (or at least will have a machine for my Mum to make them when she arrives [xx(]) I deffo don't need fancy stiches, but something that is fairly simple to operate with good instructions and I reckon I could give it a go. :D

I suggest the Portable Desktop Handheld Battery Operated Sewing Machine. It's trully ideal for home owners, offices, students and crafts people. Convenient to carry.

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