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Good first machine for beginner?

monocongo | Posted in General Discussion on

I am an absolute beginner who wants to learn how to sew his own clothes, and to become proficient at mending my clothes, etc.  I have a machine that I bought on craigslist which turns out to be somewhat of a lemon (an older Singer, model 417) which may require a bit of work to get it running, so I’m considering purchasing a new machine in order to not throw good money after bad and to start off on the right foot.

The local fabric store which sells Vikings has recommended an Emerald 118, and I like it because I’ve found good reviews online and it’s non-computerized.  Can anyone comment on this machine, and/or recommend another one which may be good for a beginner?  I don’t want to spend more than $350 or so and I’m looking for a machine which is reliable and easy to use over one which has lots of fancy stitches, etc.

Thanks in advance for your help.



  1. jane4878 | | #1


    I just noticed your post.  I started with the top Pfaff Hobby (1142 I think).  It was a good little machine for me.  The lower machines in this line are garbage though.  I outgrew it in terms of stuff I wanted a machine to do, so I bought a Brother NX450 and my daughter inherited the Pfaff.  My advice to you is to find a good dealer in your area.  Someone who will help you and let you try out different machines and provide service.  They may have refurbed older machines and trade ins as well.  If they try to "force" a machine that is more than you want or  are unhelpful about letting you test drive--move on.  The machine may be more up front than an on line or Wal-mart purchase, but the advice and service a good dealer can give you is invaluable.  My dealer also provides classes for different levels of sewing, both apparel and quilting.  I only do apparel sewing.  When I bought my Brother she talked me out of buying a more expensive Pfaff.


  2. HelgaPataki | | #2

    good machinery

    Hi, I've been sewing for a long time.  What I know is that you buy the sewing machine or any machinery for the motor.  The price of the machine is based on the quality of the motor.  I always end up with the delux Canadian ($1500 to $2000+).  I don't buy this for the gadgets because I hardly use the gadets i.e. the embroidery features etc., but gadgets can be useful.  At this price range, I have sewn leather jackets (repaired them adding in zippers and mending leather pants) heavy mens leather coats, and leather straps for shoes.  My neighbor went to the fair and bought a brand new sewing machine for less than $200.00 and she found out the difference in use.  Her sewing machine could not sew anything thicker than 1 layer of denim (levi's bootleg denim).  It had problems sewing this 1 layer of denim and can only repair thin blouses.

    My machine lasts me the life time of the warranty and I don't buy insurance.  with proper care, I took care it and it took care of all my household and family wardrobe needs.  In the end, I find that labor cost for repairs is free because it is done by me.  My sewing machien is a household equipment rather than a hobby.  it is part of my household appliance. 

    I hope I've helped you in answering what u need to know, and if perhaps someone else can add on and let me know more about this topic.  I know I am late in replying, but good luck in your future endeavors!

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