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Help! Sewing machine for Jr designer

MarionF | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on


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My 15 year old daughter is interested in perusing a career in fashion design and it is becoming very clear that my 30 year old hand me down <!—-><!—->Kenmore <!—-> sewing machine isn’t cutting it any more.  I’m looking for a machine that is durable, will grow with her and doesn’t require a “Masters degree” to operate.

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Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Elisabeth | | #1

    Fifteen is a great age for your daughter to do shopping type research for something she is interested in. You can take her to the stores to test drive the big brands, Viking, Bernina, and Pfaff for example. Good dealers will let you try all the machines and won't be pushy. (Good time for your daughter to get used to pushy salespeople if you do encounter any.) has tons of owner reviews of many different machines and brands and your daughter can compare those notes. She can arm herself with brand, price, and features knowledge, and personal feel of many different machines. I'll bet your daughter could then make a pretty good suggestion.

    I offer this idea from my own experience with my son. At 15 he insisted he needed a new faster computer and six years ago that was an awfully pricy thing to buy. So I gave him a resonable budget, half of what a new ready made computer, and said that I thought he could probably create a pretty fast machine by buying parts and assembling it himself. I have never seen such furious research! He made his dream computer of that time, came within the budget, and learned so much that his friends started depending on him for computer know how.

    Good luck to you and your daughter!

    1. MarionF | | #2

      Hi Elizabeth,

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      Thanks for the advice. We live in mid coast <!----><!----><!---->Maine<!----><!---->, so there are few resources to physically try machines. We tend to do a lot of internet shopping, so I will have my daughter start combing through reviews on the website you mentioned.

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      1. kjp | | #3

        Marion, are there any sewing stores near you that sell machines?  It really helps to have a place to support your purchase.  Also, should repairs or cleaning be needed, you should know where to take the machine.  It would be expensive to have to ship it out for repair! 

        I started in high school with a somewhat basic Kenmore (which I researched and bought myself)  It was (and still is for my sisterinlaw) a good machine with a good selection of builtin stitches - stretch, straight, zigzag, buttonhole (manual 4step).  It took me through until I was in my late twenties and finally had the money for a then top of the line bernina 1530.  I honestly don't use most of the functions of my machine very often :)

        I am now partial to berninas and vikings.  Depends on the budget!  Good luck to your daughter.  I always wanted to go into design, but went for the safe choices instead. 

        1. MarionF | | #4

          Hi Kip,

          I'll check around for a place, I'm about due for a road trip anyway.

          Thanks for the advice.


  2. MegVT | | #5

    Congratulations to your daughter! 

    I own a Pfaff 1222E which I purchased in 1981.  I've always thought it was the best machine ever made.  I took it in for minor repairs a few years ago, and the mechanic said that this model is highly prized by professional seamstresses to this day.  It has the Integrated Dual Feed (built-in walking foot), makes great stitches, will stitch through nearly anything.  I've made silk blouses, denim jackets, ski (down-filled) jackets, wool suits, linen & rayon clothes, and right now I've got a quilt I'm finishing on it.  I've only brought it in for sevicing four times in 24 years...  I love this machine!

    You can find used 1222E's on Ebay sometimes, and as trade-ins at machine shops. 

    Best to you and your daughter!


    1. MarionF | | #6

      Thanks for all the helpful info.


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