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Low budget sewing machine opinions

AnneMarieIS | Posted in General Discussion on

My old sewing machine doesn’t work anymore [it requires a major repair, most likely a burnt out motor], but my budget is nonexistent at the moment until I land my next job. Also the repair shop told me the model I have is not worth the investment to repair it, so I am considering a budget replacement.

I am trying to decide between some low end machines $100 to $200 range. The choices are between the following machines.

Singer Esteem Sewing Machine – White (1732.CL)
Singer Function Sewing Machine – 7444
Brother Sewing Machine – XL3750
Singer Featherweight II (Model 117)

Any opinions/experience with these machines?


  1. Gloriasews | | #1

    Have you checked out the Pattern Review website?  Owners of various machines have posted the pros & cons of their machines.  Also, almost everyone on this forum will suggest that you take some fabric with you & try out your choices of machines & see how you like them.  You also might find a good used machine at a sewing machine shop that were traded in - you could get a better machine this way & most are under a limited warranty.  I have always had budget machines & have been happy with all of them - Brother, Kenmore & now I have a Euro-Pro X, which is semi-computerized (it cannot be programmed with a computer).  The others were zig-zags, with fancy stitches.  Your choice also depends upon what you will be sewing, so take a variety of fabrics with you when you test your Singers & see what those machines' capabilites are (automatic features like buttonholes, zig-zag & embroidery stitches, etc.).   I hope this info helps a bit.  Good luck!


  2. MaryinColorado | | #2

    http://www.patternreview.com is the website Gloriasews mentioned.  They do have alot of sewing machine as well as pattern reviews that should be helpful.  Mary

  3. Pattiann42 | | #3

    I vote for none of the above. 

    However, in a pinch I would buy the Brother.

    Singer has not been up to par for the last 40 years.

    If you do check the reviews at PatternReview, note how long the user has had the machine.

    Some of the members write a review as soon as the machine is out of the box.

    A dealer my have a "trade-up/gently used" better model in your price range.  Buy only if the dealer knows the machine - sold it, serviced it, took it in as a trade.


    Edited 12/9/2008 3:59 pm ET by spicegirl1

  4. PASDENOM | | #4

    I bought a reconditioned Brother from Overstock.com (NAYY) which has served me well for several years now.

  5. pc3 | | #5

    The Brother. I have had quite a few from low end to the Inovis 4000 D. I have never been disapointed with my machines.



  6. damascusannie | | #6

    Before you get a new machine, what brand/model is your old one? If it's got a separate external motor, new ones are available fairly inexensively for some older machines and it's easy to swap out such a motor (no matter what your sewing machine repairman would like you to believe.)

    Annie in Wisconsin, USA
    ~~Doodlestein Designs Quilt Patterns
    ~~Finely Finished: Machine quilting worked on a treadle sewing machine.
    See patterns, quilting, and National sewing machines at: http://community.webshots.com/user/damascusannie

    Edited 12/7/2008 1:47 pm by damascusannie

    1. AnneMarieIS | | #7


      My machine is not dead after all. It is a Singer Stylist zigzag from the late 60's.

      I took the machine with me to the shop where one of the options was on display. They plugged my machine in and it worked.

      I now need to figure out why it did not work at home. There may be a wiring problem in the room. I had a strange problem with our printer in the same room, but on using a different outlet--hopefully just using it in another room with work for now. I may eventually need an electrician to fix the wiring.

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #8

        If the problem is the outlet, please, please do not let much more time go before getting it looked into!  You have a potential severe fire hazard!  If the wires have separated in the outlet, they could be arcing, and could cause a fire.  Please have this looked into sooner rather than later.  Your safety comes first!  Cathy

        1. User avater
          sweet_jenn | | #9

          Anne Marie, I could not agree MORE with Cathy's statement.  I am one of the few female Union electrician apprentices, and I have seen many a house burn to the ground due to faulty wiring.  Please, please, PLEASE contact a qualified electrician immediately.  If you are renting, insist on this post haste, as this is your landlord's responsibility.  I understand that you are on a budget.  If you are a homeowner and live in a Union-friendly area of the country (this would be around large cities, and anywhere but the South), you can write to your local IBEW Union hall and explain your money situation, and ask for their help.  There is a fair chance that they will enlist some upper apprentices (supervised by a journeyman, of course) to come troubleshoot your wiring for free, especially if you are a widow or a woman living on her own.  It's good for them to get some real-world practice while providing the Union with positive public relations, and good for you to save some cash.   It's worth a try.  But whatever you do, PLEASE treat this problem with the utmost importance. 

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #10

            SweetJenn, thank you for backing me up on this!  We have just had a house fire in our neighbourhood due to faulty wiring.  The house was not particularily old either.  A loose or malfunctioning outlet is not something to put off.  Frayed and hot cords are a danger not to be messed with.  Please be careful, esp. this holiday, when extra lights are being used.  Cathy

          2. Ceeayche | | #12

            I'm just catching this thread.  If you have not had the outlets checked. DO SO NOW. 

            In 1997 our home burned almost to the ground for what was suspected as an undetected wiring problem.   We were home when it started along the back wall of the house.  We had a six month old house guest and his mother staying with us that night.  Thank God everyone got out safely.  The flames went up to the cathedral ceiling and burned across the roof.  It gook 8 units almost 3 hours to get the flames out, though they arrived on site within 4 minutes of my panicked call.

            And this year, I had an outlet that all of a sudden was finicky-- some times it worked some times it didn't.  Turned out I had a slow leak from the HVAC unit on the 4th floor.  The water was impacting outlets on the 2nd and 3rd floors as it trickled down the walls.

            I'm so glad I had it checked....

      2. MaryinColorado | | #11

        I agree with Threadkoe and SweeetJen!  Also it would be a great idea to always use a serge protector with your sewing machine and irons. Mary

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