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looking for new sewing machine

thriftygardner | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello, this is my first time in your forum.  I have a question, I would like to buy a new machine and also am interested in trying my hand at embroidery…. Are the sewing/embroidery machines the answer?  I sew clothing and home interior items for fun and profit.  Will a combination machine hold up to the heavy usage?  What machine would you recommend?  I currently use a Viking 990S which I purchased used, it’s a good machine but I hate doing buttonholes on it.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.



  1. user-121340 | | #1

    I am also looking for a new sewing machine that does beautiful buttonholes.  It seems so many machines are loaded with things that are not important to me (decorative stitches and embroidery options).  I make clothing for myself and my daughter and love hand finishing techniques but no longer have the time. 

    1. towens71 | | #2

      Good morning all!  There is one great website that you might or might not have heard of it's http://www.patternreview.com.  It's a group of sewers, quilters, embroiderer's etc that have reviewed sewing machines, patterns, etc and it is packed w/ information.  I go there regularly to check the new machines and look at the new reviews.  It's a great site!  HTH!



      1. user-121340 | | #3

        Thank you.  I will check out the site.  I look forward to reading what others have experienced.  The first sewing machine I received was a gift from my mother and has been dependable but the buttonholes are just ugly. 

        1. merimore | | #4

          Since you specifically mention buttonholes, I would definitely try out the button hole function before I bought a machine.  I am a basic home sewer and have owned two Kenmore machines that I have been very happy with.

          My sewing machine repair man who worked for singer many years said my older Kenmore has a "sweet sew" to it.  And it does!  For an all pupose sewing machine with a variety of stitches at a good price, I like Kenmore (Sears). 

          Since you mentioned the Viking and also embroidery, you may want to stay in the direction of an electronic or even upgrade to a computerized machine.  

          Like you, I have an older Viking, a hand-me-down from my high tech sister!  I collect machines - mostly the older model black Singers I pick up at estate sales from the original owners.  These machines are straight forward work horses that run every bit as good today as they did 60 years ago.

          If anyone is looking for a first machine for yourself or a young person, don't overlook the bargains on these quality older machines, most of which come in their original cabinet for $25 - $50 at garage or estate sales.  If the machine is beautiful and clean, the most you'll spend is $100 more to have it rewired, maybe a new foot pedal and belt.  But many don't need more than a good cleaning.



          1. thriftygardner | | #5

            That's an excellent suggestion to purchase a sewing machine + cabinet at an estate sale.  I never had thought about that.

      2. thriftygardner | | #6

        Thanks for referring me to that website.  There is a weath of information on it and I found it to be very useful information.  I test drove one of the Viking Designer SEs yesterday and it is wonderful.  I think I'll be purchasing one very soon.  It's expensive but it will last forever and I'll use it almost daily so I'll get my money out of it.  I think my husband's almost more excited about it than I am!

  2. sewfashionista | | #7

    I own MANY machines.  ( a viking 990, a Singer Featherweight, a treadle machine, an overlock machine, a 1972 kenmore with buttonhole cams...to name a few)  I never liked the Viking buttonholes so I kept the Kenmore because of all of my machines, the cams made the best buttonholes.  However, the machine was bulky, heavy, and in a cabinet.  I've been "downsizing" my life and didn't want to own a machine that only served one purpose.  Long story short...I purchased a Baby Lock Crafter's Choice machine.  Good buttonholes, solid straight stitch, many ancillary stitches, at a really good price.  And, it's lightweight enough that I can easily transport if to classes and workshops.  I've move the Kenmore on to someone who can really use it.  Hope that helps.

  3. daylight | | #8

    There are so many choices with new machines that it can get overwhelming.  In your pursuit don't overlook getting an older model Bernina.  They hold up so well and keep their value (just look at the prices they are getting on e-bay!).  I have a Bernina 1230 and it does just about anything I ask of it - including many decorative stitches.  The buttonholes are gorgeous, each and every time.  If there is a Bernina dealer near you perhaps you could alert them that you are on the look-out for a 930 or 1230 machine.  Good luck!

    1. ccs49 | | #9

      I recently purchased a Kenmore 19606 and am liking it.(Probably made by Janome) For basic sewing I would reccommend it. I do alterations and dressmaking so I don't need too many bells and whistles, the most important thing to me are good looking buttonholes and tension settings  that stay balanced through a variety of sewing different fabrics.  This machine is computerized and has a large choice of stitches, automatic tension setting, does a small monogram in several scripts, has a choice of 4 different buttonholes (even a keyhole), sews well through layers of denim and has many needle positions, great for zipper installation. 

      I also have a Pfaff 2024 (I am disappointed in that machine, but a younger woman who works for me and has never experienced older Pfaffs and Berninas loves it) and a Bernina 1008, which is as close to the old style machines as I could find.  I use them all interchangeably, depending on what color and type of fabric I am working on at the time.  Of all the newer machines I have I like the Kenmore best right now.  My all time favorite machine is my old Pfaff 1222E. (1975 vintage)

      1. Nana 5 | | #10

        I have a Viking Designer I and have used it for six years. Several times I have had it in to fix the bobbin winder, which will not wind a bobbin evenly. I was just told "Yes, that is always a problem with this machine" Now I use only pre-wound bobbins.

  4. lafate | | #11

    Here's a potentially thrifty tip - last year I bought a Brother at Walmart's (in a store, not online). I bought it specifically because it had a one-step buttonholer. I can make a buttonhole in under a minute. If your Viking suits you for other purposes then a less-expensive machine might be a good supplement. I think mine was less than $140.

    I know by now you may have already made your purchase but it is my humble 2 cents worth. ;-)


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