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good affordable machine?

jekka | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I am in the market for a good, reliable sewing machine for under $1000 (preferably closer to $500). I am a (relatively new) weaver and want something I can sew clothes on that will work both with lightweight cotton and with looser and heavier handwovens. I had a low-end babylock, but have been having a great deal of trouble with it — the lower thread tangles up into knots, and after having it serviced, I managed one project before it knotted up again. Otherwise, in storage I have a low-end Sears machine c.1983 and a treadle singer c.1890s, which is fabulous for straight stitching, but of course does nothing else. I’ve been looking on websites for various manufacturers, but it drives me crazy that nobody seems to post prices anywhere, so I can’t even tell what’s in my price range. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. (I live in the Boston area, so probably have dealers of most brands around. I am very conscious now of how important that is)


  1. spicegirl | | #1

    I had the same frustration when checking the websites, so I called the local dealers.  Have you tried PatternReview?  The have a section devoted to machine reviews. 













  2. fabricholic | | #2

    A friend of mine bought a Singer 7436 Ingenuity and she loves hers. It was about $300. Look under singerco.com

    Edited 3/14/2007 4:58 pm ET by fabricholic

  3. Crazy K | | #3

    I have two expensive machines but I recently purchased a Janome Sew Precise for my granddaughter in Texas.  It was about $300 but I think I caught a sale price.  At any rate, it should sell for under $500.  Jess loves the machine, says it sews great and is easy to use.  Quite a few built-in stitches and a one-step buttonhole stitch.  (You can check out all the Janome models on their website, get model numbers and then call a dealership nearby.......that's what we did!)  She were using a very old straight stitch machine so when this arrived, she thought she was in heaven!  I have had a couple lower priced Janomes in the past and they were great machines.  It was only when the embroidery bug bit me that I switched.  The brand change was partly due to a dealer that offered classes.......close to my home.

    Hope this helps.

  4. drmck | | #4

    I have a 25-year-old Pfaff 1222E that is a workhorse- if you can find one, buy it. I also have a Singer Featherweight (50 years old)- not well for heavy fabric. My Juki is a commercial machine – it only does straight line stitching and goes FAST. I bought it second hand for $800. Your problem with the bobbin thread has more to do with sewing loosely woven fabric than the machine. When I sew handwovens, I put tissue paper under the fabric (and sometimes on top) and sew through it using a shorter stitch. After I am finished, I gently rip the paper off.


    Good Luck,


    Edited 3/14/2007 8:43 pm ET by drmck

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