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Need help with sewing machine purchase.

kimfrost2003 | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi, I need help with buying a new sewing machine.  I have been teaching myself to sew with the aid of books and a  White “Mighty Mender.”  Now that I have proven to myself that I am serious about sewing I have decided to purchase a better/real sewing machine.  My goal is to be able to make my own clothes.  I’m not really interested in learning quilting or embroidery.  The main features I want are a one stop button hole, the ability to sew stretchy fabric, and the ability to sew through thick fabric.  I want a machine which will last a long time and can handle a beginner’s clumsiness.  I am willing to spend between $300-$700.  When I went to some stores in town the Huskystar 219, the Brother PS-1250(at a Bernina store from a saleswoman steering me away from the Bernettes, which she thought were terrible machines), the Singer Quantum 7360, and the on-sale Viking Sophia were all suggested as good machines under $400.  I have raised my budget to $700 hoping this will increase my options.  Any ideas??? Please, let me know what you would buy if you were in my situation and if you have any opinions about any of the sewing machines I have listed.  I want to narrow my search down before I start to test -sew on any machines.

Thanks, Kim    



  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Kim, return to the Threads home page (click on Threads at the top of this page), and scroll down the center column; at the bottom of the articles listed, you'll find a couple of online articles on buying sewing machines, including a comparison chart of 31 basic machines. There should be some on that chart that would suit your needs...and remember, the prices listed are probably not accurate: you can almost always find some sort of discount with a dealer who's really interested in selling you a machine.

    GOod luck, and I know you'll be happy to graduate from the Mighty Mender! Those little machines are cute, but don't seem heavy enough to be stable when you're sewing larger projects.


    1. kimfrost2003 | | #3

      Thanks to both of you.  I have been going back and forth between two different sewing shops.  One of them is very close to my house, but the sales woman who is there every time I go in is getting very pushy.  They had one of those Viking Oscars left and it was only $340, but it only had a five year warranty.  I really loved the Elna 3007, but at $699 on sale from $799 it was a bit pricey.    I told her I had to wait until I got my tax refund back to buy anything and she started pressuring me to use their financing plan.  Then she added at the last minute, right before I left, "Oh, the Elna is only on sale until  Saturday."  There is another store I've been going to which sells Vikings and Pfaffs where I've had a much more pleasant experience.  The machine I'm interested in there is the Viking Prelude 340, which is beautiful, but I believe is exactly the same as the Oscar.  It is priced at $499, but has a twenty year warranty.  The problem with this store is that the traffic around there is terrible and going to classes there would be a real pain.  Then there is the Bernina store which is close and has nice sales people, but the sales woman said that the Bernettes were lousy machines and suggested I get a Brother.  What do you think? Kim 

      1. kimfrost2003 | | #4

        Well, I ended up buying the Bernina 1008.  I really wanted the Elna 3007, but the people at that store were so horrible I couldn't imagine taking classes there, and I decided that the Viking store is just too far away.  The Bernina was on sale for $599 from $899 with 10 hours of classes, and everyone there was really down to earth and nice.  The Elna store only discounted their machine from $799 to $699 and only offered one class.  I am so far pleased with my decision. I thank everyone for their advice. Kim

        Edited 4/21/2003 6:18:09 PM ET by kimfrost2003

        1. GhillieC | | #5

          I sewed for some years exclusively on a Bernina 1001, which is pretty much the same as the 1008. They are excellent, solid, no frills machines and I expect you will have lots of fun with it.

          I now have a Bernina 170 as well, but I will not be parting with my 1001!



      2. reddragonfly | | #6

             I also have to say I love Bernina's.  I had a 707 for over 35 years and it performed beautifully.  I recently upgraded to the Artista 185 which is way out of your price range but I would buy any Bernina.  It's worth the investment to buy one really good machine rather than buying a cheap one and then having to go out and buy a second one because you aren't satisfied.  The features I like most are the ability to stop with the needle down, the knee bar for raising and lowering the foot, and the ability to make multiple buttons holes the same size automatically.  The Bernina store also had great classes and were really helpful.  Good Luck.

  2. Amyred | | #2

    Not sure what a Mighty Mender is, but I'm guessing it's something I wouldn't buy. . .but hey, if it works!

    Whatever you do, don't make the same mistake I did once. I bought one of those Brother machines from Wal-Mart. It's all plastic parts, and when it came time to repair it, well, it was cheaper to go out and buy another one. I ended up trading in two machines for a new (1997) Janome/New Home machine, all METAL parts. Mind you it doesn't do the fanciest of stitches but does what I need it to do.  Buttonholes are what I'd call "semi-manual." But it works great.

    One option is to get a refurbished machine. From a good sewing machine shop, you can find a good machine for a lot less money. It might be a little older but unless you are going into business, it might suit your needs.

    Good luck.

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