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Need info on machines, please!

dollydeb | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello, folks. I am new on this site and in desperate need of your expert advice on sewing machines. I have a well-used Kenmore 8-stitch that has been great for 23 years and a disappointing Viking 230 that I have almost burned out in 8. I do a LOT of sewing. I need to buy a serger but am terrified of them (I need to keep all my fingers as well as what is left of my mind and sergers have a reputation for driving one beyond the bend…)  I also would like a new sewing machine that has more variety in stitches as I have always had the Basic models. I need a machine that I won’t wear out by using it. Any and all recommendations will be welcome!



  1. marijke | | #1


    Buying anything (sewing machine, serger), go to a dealer.  I got my first serger some years ago and the classes the dealer offered made all the difference in my ability to feel comfortable with the machine.  There's also a book they recommended that's been a big help in troubleshooting.  It's called "The Ultimate Serger Answer Guide."


    1. bethcohen | | #2

      About 2 years ago I replaced a simple Kenmore after 20 years.  I had a print out from Consumer Reports that rated electronic and mechanical machines and went to different dealers and had lots of demos.  I wasn't interested in used machines but I ended up buying a used Bernina from the dealer (it was the store owner's grandaughter's machine so I felt confident that it would perform well).  I love it and so does my 15 year old daughter (and a friend of hers who uses it all the time).  It's a Virtuoso 150.  It has a variety of stitches (Including the alphabet) which were neat when I bought the machine but I really only use the straight and zigzag stitches (rarely any others). 

      Some features I like:

      The machine came with 3 days of lessons on "how to use the machine"

      The machine came with a bar that I press with my knee to lift up the presser foot while I hold the material.  Especially good for bulky things.  I never thought I'd use it and use it all the time.

      6 or 7 needle positions

      I can stop sewing with the needle in the up or down position.

      I has a white bar behind the needle to help locate the eye of the needle when threading.


      Good Luck

  2. mem1 | | #3

    I would suggest that you look at a mechanical bernina as they are indestructible and are really fast I have one which is 25 years olds and it still beautiful You wont get a good new one though go for a second hand one . They are all a good buy as they have cast metal parts which don't really break etc.They just go on and on. I also have a basic Janome 4 thread serger and it has been very good . There is NO danger to you fingers and once you get used to it you will love it. The only problem with sergers is the threading which is a huge pain . When you look at them see if you can get one thats easy to thread. Once they are threaded its actually ok to change threads because you join the new colour in and run it through the machine .Of course the other thing is that you need to keep all pins away from the blades. I love using the serger however as your productivity will be alot greater.

    1. dollydeb | | #4

      Thanks for the tips! Isn't it a shame that you can't get new machines that are as good as the old ones? A dealer told me yesterday that there isn't a single machine still made in the USA. I wish I had bought a machine with more stitches when I bought my Kenmore 23 years ago because it still runs beautifully and never has a bit of trouble. I just want more options.


      Thanks again!


    2. mitzy | | #5

      Hello sewing sisters! I have a wonderful touch and sew (leave the bobbin where it is) singer 2000 which I paid for in installments circa 1973.  This has quit zig-zagging:I need another machine. I only do couturier, tailoring - on heavy sports fabrics and import dress fabrics and some kona cotton quilting (with walking foot). I am not interested in the high tech/ USB port embroidery machines. I am not interested in taking classes or  spending a year on training or new feet or $6000!

      I may today check out the Husqvarna/viking  that replaced the Lily 545.  Do any of you have any advice or opinions? I want the DC motor. The metal parts only advice intrigued me, but I've been told that once I had the electronic (Touch and Sew) I shan't be able to use a mechanical only without irritation.  I would be happy to have some money left for a trip to Europe with my folks! Thank you.

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