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Advise on machine purchase

beeker | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on



I’m a newbie here and I’m sure this question has been asked a million times but I need some help. 


I want to buy my 10 year old daughter a sewing machine for her birthday.  I have a pretty nice $1200 Viking/Husquvarna quilting machine but I want a starter machine for my girls to use.


I can’t figure out how nice of a machine I should get.  I don’t want to spend too much money but maybe it’s not worth it if I don’t spend at least $300.  What do you think?



  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    I was 10 yrs old when my mother gave me permission to use (with her instruction) her Singer Featherweight.  I hear that these machines are now sought out for their simple strengths.  A very sturdy used machine with no fancy anything is what a young beginner needs; very little to break, will take a great deal of punishment; just the basics (straight stitch, forward & back) so she can experiment with handling the cloth.  Once she has achieved some skill and appreciation for her simple machine then you could teach her finer skills on your machine.


  2. mygaley | | #2

    I am so happy to hear you are giving consideration to the quality of the tools you are providing for a learner.  There's nothing worse than trying to develop skills with scissors that won't cut, pins that aren't sharp and cheap thread.  As for the machine, try it out as if it were for you; if you don't want it, they won't either--and will beg to use your "good" machine. Keep up the good work.  Galey

  3. Kiley | | #3

    Your daughter might like a Janome Jem Gold or a Jem Silver. They can be purchased at on line dealers for as low as $199 with free shipping. These machines are used by quilters to take to classes and they are not toys but small enough to tote around. They have a slant spool and a jam free top loading bobbin and they have different stitches like blind hem and multi ZZ etc.  and make a beautiful 4 step buttonhole. I gave my Janome Jem to my youngest girl when she had her first baby.

     Sears also sells the little mini machine in different pastel pearl colors. The Kenmore mini's are also made by Janome but have a different look and style They are also nice quiet sewing machines and I believe have the same stitches as the little Jems. These machines however are much less money and do not have the slant spool and I believe the bobbin is front loading and they also have the 4 step buttonhole but I feel the Jems do a nicer one.  My oldest girl a mother of 5 and a Gran makes her medical scrubs for work on this machine. The nice pastel pearl colors of the Kenmore mini's I think would appeal to a young girl. They used to come in only blue but now come in pearl, pearl pink and pearl green. I know of several sewers that have purchased this machine for daughters and neices.  I hope your daughter has a very happy birthday.

    1. tipdee | | #4

      Good for you wanting teach your daughter how to sew and buy her a machine.  i think  a basic machine would be just fine . Good job Happy birthday to your daughter

  4. midnitesewer | | #5

    I agree with Kiley. The Sears Kenmore mini ultra is a good stsrter machine. It weighs about 11 pounds. I use the blue one for quilting and take it to classes and retreats. I have even free motion quilted with it. I bought one last week for $60.00 and gave it to my sister for her birthday. We can't wait to get together and sew with our matching machines.

    I like the fact that the machine is quiet and makes a pretty nice stitch. You can vary the stitch length by setting the dial between the stitch length presets. I haven't had any trouble with the vertical bobbin, but I'm used to them. There is a sticker inside the bobbin area showing you how to load the bobbin and bobbin case. There is also a sticker on the top of the machine showing you how to put the spool on the spindle. Threading is easy.

    The feet screw on and off. It comes with a zig-zag foot and a button hole foot. You can buy an "ankle" from a Janome dealer that allows you to use low shank snap on feet. I paid $10.00 for it. I also got some additional feet. I got a quilting set at Sears for $24.00. It includes a quilting foot with an attached guide, a darning/free motion foot, a walking foot with a quilting bar, and a seam guide that attaches to the bed of the machine.

    There isn't any thread cutter, so you have to use snips. I'm considering attaching a thread cutter with double sided tape. I use a serger threader to thread the needle. It's basically a long thin metal loop with a handle. I bought it a Joann's. Your daughter probably has better eyes and smaller fingers than I do. She probably won't need the needle threader! Good luck. have fun teaching your daughter. You'll make memories that will last a lifetime.


  5. bostonquilter | | #6

    I recently bought a Janome, Platinum to take to classes,  quilt, etc.  I cannot believe they have packed so many great features into this little machine.  Mine was right around $400 bought at a quilt show.  My daughter who does not sew much fell in love with it.  She won't use my heavy duty Bernina, to complicated, even though she teaches children every day how to use a computer

  6. Angels | | #7

    Hi.  I have the same Viking as you, plus the Viking #1.  I wanted to get a light weight, less expensive machine to take to work so I could sew during my lunch hour.  I tried different machines, but then tried the White Quilter's Machine, Model 1740.  It is less than $200, and remarkably similar to the more expensive Viking, as White is the sister company of Viking.  The White Quilter machine (I bought it although I did not want it for quilting and in fact did not quilt at the time) has alot of presser feet which come with the machine, at no additional expense.  It also comes with a video.  The presser feet (I was told can be used interchangeably with those of the Viking machines).  It is a solid machine, nice stitch quality.  I really think highly of it and I think it would be a pleasant starter machine that would still be appropriate years for years to come.  In fact, I don't think it is a machine that one 'grows out of', unless one wants computerized features at some point.  Best wishes to you and your daughter. 

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