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Looking for advice on new machines

MayFaireMoon | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Good afternoon!

This is my first post, and I hope someone can help me out. I’m a costumer and corsetier, and I’ve been struggling along with my mother’s 30-year-old, not-terribly-reliable Brother machine for years now. I think the time’s finally come to get my own machine, but though I’m swamped with information on the ‘net, I’d love some feedback from people who actually USE machines, not the companies themselves. (But yes, the comparison chart was immensely helpful– I just need more info!)

My main needs are something with an adjustable presser foot, and that can handle anything from silk up to and including a couple of layers of medium-weight garment leather. A few decorative stitches are nice, but I don’t use them very often, so they’re not a priority. I don’t use a zipper foot very often, either, but having one would be nifty. In a perfect world, I’d also love something that can do rounded buttonholes/eyelets, but I really want to stay under $400. Under $300 would be even spiffier. I was looking at the White 2037 which I saw on the Threads chart, but I’m not sure how suited it is to heavier fabrics.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’m not even sure what manufacturers or retailers are decent any more!




  1. Barbaran8 | | #1


    I used to make SCA costumes (with corsets), and another feature that you will find invaluable once you have it, is the ability to set whether the needle halts up or down. Being able to stop with the needle down when turning at the bottom of a stay pocket decreases the "swear factor" substantially! I would also recommend that you look at some used high-end machines - some of the embroidery stiches look just like blackwork and can really dress up the ruffles on a chemise!


  2. ElonaM | | #2

    Ooooh, without doubt, a nice old Bernina 830e or 930e. On eBay, they go for about the price you want (the 930e runs a bit more). Although they're mostly "mechanical" machines (as opposed to computerized), the "e" indicates they have some electronic features, which means that the lovely needle-stop feature is available. Their stitch quality and reliability (even factoring in age, here) is legendary--and true.

    I've used a 930e for about twenty years, and I never--I mean never--come away from working with it without thinking to myself how much I love the machine.

    1. roly94 | | #3

      Hi Elona,does that machine handle double or triple needles for knits.Thanks in advance.Roland.

      1. ElonaM | | #4

        You bet it does. I use the double needle, both universal and stretch, on knits all the time. I must confess that in all these years, I've never used a triple needle, but the only limiting factor with these machines would be the width of the hole in the throat plate, and double and triple Schmetz needles are no problem.

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