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Opinions on machines

2Hope | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, I am a beginner sewer.  I have taken a few classes and now I am looking to purchase a machine.  There is so must information available that it is confusing.  After looking at several reviews it seems that the Brother sewing/embroidery machine has gotten great reviews, a number of features and the price is very reasonable (aprox. $500).  I intend to use the machine for home decorating projects and clothing so I would like a machine that can easily work with different types of fabrics  such as large pieces of shear and heavy upholstery fabric for table cloths and draperies. Does anyone have experience with Brother machines or a recommendation for a beginner sewer in this price range?  Recommendations on a serger would be helpful as well. I intend to go try one out, but I would love to hear others opinions.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Palady | | #1

    MO, the best for you to do is test run a machine.  It's away to really get a feel for how you'll respond to the machines workings.

    Are working through a dealer?  Again, MO, but with one you'll have a support should the need arise.  In today's climate, you might do well to check the local Better Business Bureau as well.


  2. User avater
    Flax | | #2

    2Hope,IMHO I would recommend buying a used machine. I recommend this because as a beginner Its a big chunk of change to fork out without knowing how how deep you want to dive in for the long run. Besides, from what I have seen, beginners tend to be hard on machines because of inexperience. I have a Bernina 153, a White sewing machine, a White serger, and an industrial machine. I don't know much about brothers, but I had an old Pfaff once - loved that machine! A workhorse it was. Again, in my opinion, for a serger the most important thing for beginners seems to be ease of threading. I have seen so many students give up and get frustrated over not being able to thread the serger if a thread brakes. I have seen a lot of beginners with Whites and Berninas and they seem to be happiest with the Whites. Bernina sergers don't seem to be all that great. I have an old White 3 thread that was made in 1981. I wouldn't trade that thing for a bernina any day! It is harder to thread but is it strong!That's my 2 cents, I hope it is helpful.

  3. meg | | #3

    I second the vote for a used machine. Test drive everything you can!! With a used machine, you can get more machine for the money because, no doubt, the used machine was traded in for a fancier machine. Do you really need to get into an embroidery machine? If you're starting out, I'd think that you might need to get the sewing basics under your belt before diving into the fancy embroidery. FWIW: I own a Pfaff 1222E (from 1981), which is available and highly sought after. It's great on sheers and denim. I made a fake fur coat with it, too. And I'll repeat myself, test drive everything; bring your own fabric samples with you, too.

  4. alotofstitches | | #4

    If you purchase a new machine, I'd say go with a dealer only.  The dealer will walk you thru all the bells and whistles and bugs too.  I'm not sure you'll get much of an embroidery machine for $500 though.  But if you choose to go that route you'll need dealer support for the embroidery if nothing else.  I teach beginner sewing and have seen the Janome 8077 in use--it looks pretty good but no embroidery just basic sewing.  I have purchased the older Bernina 830 for all my g.daughters to use.  Since I had one (new) as a young mother Iknow exactly what it will sew--everything and do it well!  The used you find should have 10-14 specialty feet, book, carry case, storage box, etc.  I bought one-owner machines for my girls and I know the machines still have years of sewing left in them.  The machines will last until they as adults want to upgrade to a newer machine.  Good luck with your sewing!

  5. starzoe | | #5

    I third the vote for a reconditioned, second hand machine. Go to a dealer and test drive, there will be someone there to guide you and to answer questions which is more than you can say of some sources. You may even get a warranty of sorts and if you are lucky, some introduction lessons.Avid sewers have nothing on car afficiandos, they like to trade up!

  6. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #6

    Sewing machines are like cars, everyone has personal preferences about the feel and handling. You need to test drive several makes and models to decide, and you need a good dealer with a great service department.
    For someone starting out, a sturdy basic machine, with zig zag and maybe a few built in stitches is all you probably need for now. You need it for the ability to handle heavier fabrics as well as the sheers. Pay for those abilities at this point, rather than the fancy stuff. You are going to be concentrating on learning and refining your new skills for quite a while before you move on to wanting to jump into the fancier work capabilities of the fancy machines. You will want to be able to fully use everything on a basic machine first.
    If you choose a machine that jumps around on the table too much, or doesn't have nice stitches, it will just make sewing frustrating for you. If it is too noisy, the sound may drive you crazy. Keep these things in mind as well. If you stay up late sewing, if the machine is noisy, it may bother others in the house as well.
    Have fun looking at the machines. Just keep in mind it is the skill of the sewer, not the sewing machine, that makes the biggest difference in the finished product, and practice makes perfect. :) Cathy

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