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Sewing machine recommendations

glenina | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hello folks,

Wanted to sew all my life but haven’t had the nerve…now I’m burning to buy machine and start projects.  I have 2 daughters 6 and 3 with 2 American girl dolls and would love to sew fun dresses,gauchos,ponchos etc as well as do work with fleece and make Waldorf folk dolls etc… Any recommendations for user friendly machine.  There is an Elmita for sale on Craigs list for 55.00 in “good working order” (I’m a bit dubious of used machines) also A brother at Costco model EX660 for 180.00  that is the highest I’m willing to pay.


Thanks in Advance,



  1. Ralphetta | | #1

    I don't have a machine to reccomend, but I can tell you that sewing for children that age is a perfect way to start sewing.  It's almost like working with paper dolls since they don't have many curves, etc.  As they mature, your skills will improve.  Good luck, and have fun.

    1. glenina | | #6

      Thanks,  I figure their little bodies will be forgiving.


  2. cree9 | | #2

    I would recommend that you find a dealer first and then start looking at machines - for starters almost any machine will get you going - I learned on a foot treadle machine - I have had great luck with 2nd hand machines purchased from a dealer - or if you are truly lucky you'll find a sewing person who can recommend a good local repairman - treasure both. I had an old viking that did mirror stitches - I also have an older Pfaff but it has even feed and all kinds of decorative stitches and is a wonderful machine - I would probably buy a new one from them if I was going to spend lots of money I have tried Kenmore, Singer, Janome, Elna and probably others I had a Riccar that I liked but I don't even know if they are still made - I still have some special embroidery feet that worked only on that machine and made flower patterns and other circular designs - I have not been terribly impressed with the current Singers - I had an old one that I loved dearly but rumor has it that they have too much plastic for the long haul now. Good luck and start with almost any machine and then work up to your ideal one!

    1. SewistKitty | | #3

      I have been doing research on reliable and inexpensive sewing machines.
      On a website called Stitch Lounge two machines were recommended. One is the Janome Jem Gold ($199 at Sew Vac) and Janome Sewist 509 ($199). I realize that you only wanted to spend $180 and these are a little more but are supposed to be very easy to use and reliable. Good luck.

      1. glenina | | #5

        Thanks I'll look into them.


    2. glenina | | #4

      Thank you,


  3. twoimps | | #7

    For a beginning sewer on a budget, I recommend that you buy a basic non-computerized machine without too many bells and whistles.

    Visit your local sewing machine dealer and look at used machines.  Many experienced sewers trade their machines in when upgrading and you can buy a really good machine that most likely has been well maintained and will be better than any new entry level machine you can buy at Costco or Walmart.  You'll also be able to try it out and ask questions, while you don't get any help when buying a machine at a store that doesn't specialize in sewing machines.  Also, if you decide to upgrade, you'll probably be able to sell it again.

    Nothing puts off a beginner sewer faster than problems with the machine or not being able to figue how to use it.

    Good luck.

  4. spicegirl | | #8

    The post from twoimps says it all.  If you have more than one dealer, visit them all until you "connect" with one.   My boys are now "old kids", but I had fun sewing for them until they reached the "rough and tumble" age.  Once you begin, don't sweat the small stuff - just ask us - we were all beginners at one time.  Happy sewing!

  5. queenopearls | | #9

    I am VERY excited for you! My first machine was a used one (Brother) and I didn't know diddly about sewing.  I fumbled and made up some new words all because I didn't want to be "sold" a machine.  So, I learned the hard way.   When I upgraded to a new machine I purchased a very base model Singer.  Frankly, the machine is still working (as a backup) but it was TOO base.  I wanted some fancy stitches to glam up what I make.  I also purchased the Singer online and did not get any instruction.  mmm not a good idea.

     Now, 20+ years later, I purchased a new machine, a Janome 3050 because while I know enough to make garments, home dec, etc, I am no expert but I liked the extra stitches for a decorative touch to my sewing.  The dealer also has classes to show all about the machine and I took them up on it.  They also are very kind about answering questions and showing me different features and how to use them.  They cultivated a repeat consumer with their customer service.

    In choosing this particular Janome, I took it for a spin at the dealer.  I looked at a very base model.  mmmm okay.  Then a bit higher... but I couldn't wrap my mind (and wallet) around spending money on a machine which felt (to me) like a 1967 sedan with roll up windows and no air conditioning.  I didn't need a Lamborghini sewing machine but I did need to feel happy with it or it would be a total waste of money.

    That's the bottom line for me.  Trust my instincts for my relationship with the dealer and what I want the machine to be capable of doing (tell them what you plan on making and where you want to go with your sewing if you have ideas) and growing with my skills.   Want just a base model to get started?  Get a very inexpensive used one from the same dealer.  Then use the bejeepers out of it.  When you're ready, trade the machine in at the same dealer for a fancier model.   Just feel comfortable with what you are buying.   :-)

    Most of all    P L A Y  !! Sewing is such great fun!  All the best to you and your family,


    PS. I also learned the hard way not to mess around with discount needles and thread.  Buy quality and you won't regret it!

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