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somee | Posted in General Discussion on

hello all!

     I have been sewing a long time, but no way a professional. I like to make clothes from fabrics I like . Sometimes silks and sometimes just alter clothes from thrift stores. I have a leaner machine an Elena 1010.  I want to buy a new machine that also has a serger, I sew cause am a single mom and cant afford that much. i want something that is easy to use and especially able to make button holes easily and that the clothed don’t look handmade. Can anyone recommend a machine that is not too expensive and also serges?  I live in Jersey and recently tried to make extra many on ebay, but the site does not give me many people to buy my stuff. I thought that ebay was a good place to see some bargain dresses I bought, no lookers even. A big waste of time trying to sell my dresses.   So I will go back to making clothes. Please advise,



  1. katina | | #1

    Hello and welcome - you'll like it here.  A quick word of advice - don't be in too big of a hurry to buy a new machine.  Hang onto your money for a while and instead learn to use your mchine to its fullest potential.  I have seen the most amazing clothes made on ancient treadle sewing machines using nothing more than a straight stitch.  There are many ways to neaten seams without using a serger.

    You probably don't have a great deal of spare time, but try to look at ready-made clothes and analyse what appeals to you about them.  Perhaps you'd like to make children's clothes?  Simple, well-made little dresses with creative touches are usually great little sellers.

    Don't be afraid to ask - we're always very eager to offer opinions here!

    Good luck - Katina

    Edited 7/18/2009 10:43 am ET by Katina

  2. sewfar | | #2

    I agree and think that you will have better luck finding a market for children's clothing. I think you could be successful if you try to reach a niche market. Perhaps dresses for girls with a slight build. I find the dresses and jumpers I make for my tall, thin 7 year grand daughter very much appreciated because most purchased clothing assumes that all American children have larger frames.

    1. KharminJ | | #3

      Happy Sunday Morning! You may want to try listing your hand-made goodies (no matter which niche you prefer) on Etsy.com, or another specifically "hand-crafted" site (I know there's more competition these days). People who go there know what they're looking at, and you can name your own price, rather than compete with mass-merchandise discounters.Best of luck to you!Kharmin

  3. MaryinColorado | | #4

    Hello and welcome to this wonderful forum!  You can post photos of your work here too, if you'd like to. 

    A sewing machine may have an "overcast" stitch, but it won't compare to a serged edge.  On a serger the loopers go side to side and overlap the needle thread, kind of like knitting.  Some have a coverstitch option which will add to the price.  I use my serger more than the sewing machine for everything from creating complete garments to Heirloom serging, but it takes some time to master a serger so many people just use them to finish edges or make rolled hems (like on napkin edges). 

    I love my Husqvarna/Viking machines.  My first one is over 10 years old and still runs like new, it had been used in the store for classes.  Dealers usually have several gently used and reconditioned machines for sale that people have either traded in or have been used as demo machines or for classes, especially after sewing expos or quilting shows.  I am also very impressed with Brother machines. 

    Watch out for the lowest models on any brand.  They are often only made for a limited time so parts availability may be a problem, they are often made in different countries than the other machines of the same brand and possibly lower quality materials and quality control in those factories.  I've known of some ladies having serious issues with them.

    A dealership that offers free "know your machine" classes and has certified local repair so you don't have to pay or wait long periods of time if the machine needs work. 

    Do your research by going to the websites for each brand you might be interested in.  Read about the models so you know what you might like.  Look at the websites "learning or tips and hints" section too.  They often list where to find their dealers in your geographical area.  Allways test drive!  Just like when you buy a car, it might not "feel right" to you. 

    You don't need all the bells and whistles, most people rarely use them.  Some machines have a larger harp area such as for quilting, some have a larger sewing surface.  I like the "cruise control" and 3speed adjustments, needle stop up or down, ability to drop feed dogs for freemotion quilting and threadpainting, good lighting, no vibration, "automatic tensions" that I can override when I want.  Stitch advisors are nice additions on a serger but not necessary on a sewing machine.  The stitch width can really vary on each model. 

    Hope this helps


  4. donnasdream | | #5

    Hello, Are there any sewing expo's in your area? You can get a reduced priced sewing machine that has been used in sewing seminars. Sorta like buying a demo or rental car. I like my Viking 11000 that I bought in the 80's. I bought it specifically for the beautiful button holes. I went by the recommendation in Threads-I've forgotten which issue and Consumer Reports have trustworthy recommendations.  You may try buying a used serger from shop dedicated to sewing machines. Some give you free lessons and return lessons if you need a refresher course. I tell you this because It took 2 courses for me to learn how to use my serger (The 80's again).  I almost threw my first serger through the window and I honestly Prayed when I had to change the thread, all the time talking to the machine as if it could hear me. But it is SOOOO GOOOD for stretch knits. I used lay-a way to buy my machines. 

    1. Britomartis | | #6

      If your sewing machine is in good condition and doesn't destroy fabric, you probably don't need to buy a new one unless you reeeeeally need those other features.
      I use an older Singer machine (from the 60s I think), and love it though all it can do is straight stitch (although it also has some extra feet for hemming, gathering, etc.). So I loyally think the techniques used and skill level are more important for over-all quality than the type of machine.

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