Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Sewing Machine for beginner

brnt99 | Posted in Talk With Us on

Hello–I am a single father of a 16 year old girl who has expressed a desire to get a sewing machine and try sewing clothes.Since I dont know yet if this is just a passing fancy I dont want to go overboard on a sewing machine.I havent really started looking yet but was wondering if the best bang for the dollar is in a used machine or a entry new machine.I have seen the computerized machines and wonder if all of the bells and whistles are necessary. At the same time it may turn her off if I get her a 50 pound antique.Any suggestions on a particular machine and how much I need to spend to get her going.




  1. HC | | #1

    What a great dad! As the mother of three teens, I'd recommend that you buy a new machine of sufficient quality that she will have good results from the beginning. That way, she will have all the parts and, if you buy from a reputable dealer, some introductory lessons in its special features.

    Unless she is taking a course in sewing at school (few schools offer them now), you could ask your dealer to recommend a teacher or classes to help her get started. Some dealerships offer them for kids and teens.

    I've been very happy with my Bernina for 21 years--I'm sure someone else on this board will be able to weigh in on brands and models for you to consider. Good luck!

  2. PatricaA | | #2

    What a great Dad!

    A basic machine with a good four step buttonhole; zig zag; triple stitch zig zag and of course straight stitch.

    The basic Bernina  http://www.bernina.com is good but there are cheaper machines about. The cheapest (I have found) is a Janome - http://www.janome.com/. It is a Japanese machine and is very good and there are lots of feet that you or your daughter can buy later on if her interest increases/continues.

    There is also the Husqvarna Viking http://www.husqvarnaviking.com/ .

    I have owned a machine from each of these companies at some time in the past 20 years.

    Like the other lady said, if you buy a new one, classes will be included. Sometimes the sewing machine store will have a club or classes that your daughter can join.

    You need to have a look around at the different stores and don't let them sell you something with all the bells and whistles.  Good luck.

  3. Elisabeth | | #3

    My experience is mostly with the Viking (Husqvarna) machines. I have a 20 year old one still running like a dream. Viking is overall well made and well liked but not the cheapest. A smooth stitching Viking machine with some computer smarts starts probably in the $500-800 range. While you certainly don't need the fancy features a computer machines can get into, the basic version is really nice to have rather than a mechanical machine in my opinion.

    A young friend upgraded from a frustrating old clunker to a Viking "Freesia" model a couple of years ago and she is still totally in love with her new machine. Her dealer had the option of upgrading within a year with the full cost of the machine she got applied to the upgrade's price, something that you might find that dealers offer in your area.

    Free classes are really good to have. Not knowing nearly enough in the beginning could easily make a 16 year old want to quit. Dealer support is really good too, someone willing to answer questions etc.

    You might like test driving the machines yourself. Even if you don't sew it is not difficult to get a sense for a fine machine. Bring test fabric pieces of different weights, if you can, and head for some good name dealers such a Viking, Bernina, and Pfaff for starters.

    There are lots of sewing machine reviews at http://www.patternreview.com No one is selling anything at that site so they are honest personal opinions.

  4. weesie | | #4

    I too am looking for a sewing machine for my twin granddaughters, age almost 13.  They have been sewing with me for a few years.  I am taking them to all the dealers nearby, armed with fabric samples, to 'test drive' basic machines.  I am tempted to stick with a mechanical machine rather than computerized.  My general recommendation is to NOT buy a machine from any store which can not provide lessons (usually included free with purchase of machine) and on-site repair service.  Also, several repairpersons have warned me that the quality of newer Singer machines is in general fair to poor.  Any machine which is frustrating to work with will most likely become a dust collector in the closet.

  5. cinnamen | | #5

    Try going to Sears. I have a Kenmore. It cost me a little over a hundred dollars with a warranty. I haven't had any problems and it works great. I didn't know anything about sewing machines and I did not have a problem learning to work with it. I had it over 5 years now.

  6. Kiley | | #6

    Although many companies have nice machines today they also have high prices for the different features that are offered. I also suggest to go to Sears. The Sears Kenmore brand is made by Janome. Sears does however sell other brands. They have some newer computerized Kenmore models that are on sale for under $300 presently. Some of the Kenmores have the same features as the models with the Janome name but sell for less. There is also a Janome 8080 sold by Sears but the new computerized models have more features at the same price when on sale. 3 of my machines are Janome products and I also own Pfaff and Elna. Elna makes a model 2010 that is a nice starter machine that is not priced high when on sale..it runs about $200. Pfaff, Viking and Bernina you will probably find to be priced higher. Nice little machines that can be carried about but are made to qualifications to sew like a larger machine is the Janome Jem, or Jem Gold, Jem Silver, or new Jem 2. These machines were made for quilters to take to class. There are some imitations out there of these machines that are not of the same quality. The Jems make nice buttonholes, have a built in needle threader, top loading bobbin and have built in stitches including a blind hem etc. The Jem Silver can be purchased at on line dealers for only $199 and comes with a nice blue cloth carrying case. I understand the original price of this machine was $399. It was made for the American Sewing Guilds 25th Anniversary and has the ASG logo on the machine and the bag. The Jem Gold is the same machine in gold without the logo. A new sewer an always trade up to a much larger machine later. I hope this helps a bit.

    Edited 12/14/2004 6:35 am ET by Kiley

  7. brnt99 | | #7

    Thankyou for all of your replies. I have a better idea now of what to expect and what to look for.

    Merry Christmas


    1. cadence | | #8

      If you are still looking for advice/suggestions, here are some from a mother of three daughters who teaches sewing in middle schools and high schools: If I were buying a new machine, my first choice would be a Pfaff and my second choice a Bernina. These are the machines the students learn on in the many schools I teach in (I work on-call in two different school districts). I like the Pfaff because of the built in walking foot, and plan to buy one to replace my old Janome one of these days (when I can afford it). The Berninas seem to be good, solid machines that stand up well to several classes of students over the course of a day at middle school. I have spoken with one of the serviceman who repairs the school machines, and he recommended a mechanical/electronic machine rather than a computerized one because they will last longer. He also recommended Pfaff and Bernina, and also said the mechanical Janomes had good service records. One thing I don't like about the Berninas is the presser feet.

      Having said all that, I am still using an old Janome mechanical model that was a university graduation gift 21 years ago. It's a good, sturdy, basic machine that will last many more years, and that I expect to pass on to my daughters when I get my new Pfaff.

      I wish your daughter many hours of happy sewing.

      1. edgy | | #9

        janome is going to give you the most user-friendly machine for the lowest price. Better for her if there's a Janome dealer who can give lessons. If you buy the Sears/Kenmore (made by Janome), they don't offer anything.Have fun choosing!nancey

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More