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sewing machine sales are said to be up

Ralphetta | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Okay, I’m reading still again that sewing machine sales are up because people are economizing. This time I read they are up by almost 9%.I think that the people who deal with numbers haven’t done enough research and have misinterpreted the information and come to a false conclusion. They think sewing machine means…garment sewing. Two very, very big complaints I read on this site are: no one we know sews and good fabric stores are verging on extinction. So, I think the information they’re spreading is wrong. I think that the machines being sold are embroidery machines. Has anyone ever seen data about which percentage of machines sold are embroidery machines?


  1. User avater
    Sewista | | #1

    I just want to add that in the past couple of years I know of several who can barely sew who have bought high end embroidery machines. They do turn out the most darling little A lines and such for children so I applaud their efforts and willingness to learn. But the last time I heard of a sewing friend buying a new non embroidery machine, I just can't remember.

    1. GailAnn | | #11

      I keep seeing advertisements for new sewing machines selling in $100 range.  Don't know about their reliability, but if they were, at all servicable, I'd think that would encourage even a reluctant seamstress to give it a try..........

      They even tempt me, and I have 3 sewing machines, all in good working order, now.  Gail

      1. User avater
        Sewista | | #16

        My feelings are opposite. For a newbie sewist to get a machine that only brings frustration will knock her out of the sewing world like nothing else. I agree. There needs to be solid, simple, entry level machines that will make a sewist want the next grade up. That's how this craft continues and how the retailer makes money.Bunny

        1. GailAnn | | #17

          Well I reallly agree with you too.  An old Featherweight in good condition is a joy to use.  I WANT these new little machines to be of that quality, but I suppose it is only and illusion.  I have 2 Featherweights, one from the '50's and one from the 60's plus a Janome.  I gave away my old elna mechanical machine to a young woman in need of a good machine.  Have often wished it back.  Gail 

  2. Tatsy | | #2

    Maybe I live in an anomalous area, but the fabric stores have been full whenever I go in. There seem to be more quilters in the store than anything else, although I do see a lot of women buying fleece to make trendy blankets.

    Personally, I've been stalling on replacing my Designer I with a Designer III, which was going to be the first thing I did after I retired. I'm sewing like crazy for myself and family members, and it's all garment sewing, except for the occasional gift.


    1. ljb2115 | | #3

      You are correct about the quilt shops being full and people purchasing fleece for trendy blankets ---but there are many of us who are garment sewers, who also own embroidery machines.  There is a niche for these machines even for the garment sewer.  I belong to an American Sewing Guild chapter and I can vouch that many of the members  craft garments, and these are not " the make it tonite and wear it tomorrow" kind.

      Quilting is becoming the new sewing as what does a quilt have to fit???  Possibly the top of a bed, a wall, or a table.  The fabrics are exquisite, plentiful, fun to purchase, and most quilters brag about their stash.

      I prefer to not see quilts displayed at any ASG function, but when one reads the national ASG "Notions" magazine, what are the groups doing??quilting.  But I digress:  I just returned from the Spring Houston Quilt Show held in Chicago last weekend and had a wonderful time.  I did not look at the quilt exhibits or look at quilt fabric, but the show is a fantastic arena to purchase "findings".  I purchased some "to die for" fused glass buttons for a coat.

      I believe I got a little off subject about sewing vs embroidery machines.  I have a "stable" of sewing machines - some with embroidery capabilities and some without.  Each has a place for my sewing.  Sewing is my passion, hobby, my career, and some would say my life.  As far as fleece goes, I do make a blanket when I have a friend who is suffering from a catastrophic illness or accident and believe it or not I embroider a monogram on it!  And.....another revelation - I am a charter member of my local quilt guild. 












      1. Tatsy | | #5

        I surely miss the ASG. Last summer when I retired I tried to rejoin, but our local group had gone under. It's too hard to work, take care of a house and family and have time for organizations. It's really a joy to be back home and have time for everything again.

        1. GailAnn | | #12

          Amen to that!  Gail

  3. mainestitcher | | #4

    I don't "get" the embroidery machines. Maybe because I haven't any children or grandchildren.

    The machines could be purchased to repair clothing, too. This is where I see the average person would reap the most benefit. Instead if taking things to the dry cleaner for a patch or seam repair, a member of the household could do it him/herself.

    1. Tatsy | | #6

      Embroidery machines are a real kick to use. The first year I had mine I did lovely tablecloths, napkins, and towels for Christmas presents. For our last sisters' reunion (I have five sisters and a girl cousin who also attended) I made zippered canvas totes with the family name, the year, and each person's  first name embroidered on her tote. It is surely something I would never have taken on if I had to do it in hand embroidery or even freehand in satin stitch.  

      That said, I don't use the embroidery feature as much as some of the fancy stitches. One of the things I absolutely hate is ironing rickrack. There's a stitch on the Designer I that's like a zigzag with two straight stitches between each zig and zag. With the right stitch size, it puts a stitch in each point of the rickrack and it can't curl up. My daughter-in-law was thrilled. I don't sew as straight as I'd like and some of the flower stitches make it easier to "stitch in the ditch" since the line doesn't have to be perfect to catch the back side of the binding.


  4. alotofstitches | | #7

    I teach Beginner Sewing Classes and have for over 10 years.  My students have changed from older women "going back" to sewing to more young mothers.  There's lots of interest in the teens wanting to sew as well.  Of course, when it's time to actually pay for classes not all sign up but I'm encouraged that there is even any interest!  My granddaughter's Girl Scout troop is earning their Bronze Award in sewing and my girls in 3,4 &5 grades Bible are eager to sew "service projects".  One even went home, read the manual & taught herself how to use her mother's sewing machine after she had sewn some with our class!  Another has requested a sewing machine for her birthday.

    1. Ralphetta | | #8

      That is surprising and really great. What a remarkable little girl.

  5. ecovalley | | #9

    I agree, Ralphetta. If it is true that sewing machine purchases are on the rise, it may not mean much about garment sewing. I don't know about sewing vs embroidery machines, but given what fabrics are predominating at fabric stores, I would say it is home decor and quilting rather than garment sewing.

    But that being said, things might change. It could be that the economy will encourage garment sewing, but I doubt it will get that bad.....only when sweat-shop workers in Southeast Asia begin to demand livable wages and third-world nations adopt worker safety/environmental standards such as our own, only then will clothing prices reflect their true worth. Right now you can still indulge in throw-away fashion, and RTW clothes are too cheap to make garment sewing attractive for economic reasons.

    I don't mean to go off on a tangent, but anyone who has ever considered selling handmade garments, knitting or crafts quickly realizes how cheap goods from overseas makes fair and equitable competition impossible. Retailers want to jack things up 100%....whether it is your handmade work or something made in China. Adding up materials, time and labor, it isn't worth my time and probably not yours either.

    But I do think there are still creative spirits out there, and maybe there always will be. Young women who want to design garments for themselves, for the joy and fun and maybe to sell on Etsy, where they can avoid retail mark-up on their originals.

  6. gailete | | #10

    Whether for garments or quilts or embroidery, the rise of sewing machine sales can only bode well for sewers of all types. It means someone out there is sewing or doing machine needlecraft of some type. I'm glad to hear it. I have both a sewing machine (well 2 that work and several vintage that don't) and an embroidery machine. I would never have a combo sewing/embroidery machine again unless I still have a regular sewing machine. Many embroidery designs can take hours to sew out and having another machine handy means you can sew at the same time.

    I find that there are some really good sewing, handcraft, quilting magazines out there also and I hope they survive as it seems we are now experiencing a surge of people wanted to make beautiful things that can be heirloom quality rather than lots of 'quick' sewing ideas. I used to get frustrated seeing magazines so geared to the quick things that none of the projects seemed worth bothering about.

    I'm also seeing lots of advertisements for all sorts of sewing threads and notions, etc. that just couldn't be found a few years ago. That and in combination with increased magazines, increased sewing machine sales tells me that sewing is on an upswing and hopefully we will benefit from it in having more sisters and brothers join us in this very wholesome personal entertainment. Maybe someday we will once again have neighbors that sew that we can spend quality time with. One can only hope!

  7. byf | | #13

    I seriously doubt that those $100 sewing machines will make sewing so enjoyable for newbies that they will want to continue. . . I would love to see more good quality basic machines reminiscent of the old mechanical Pfaffs, Berninas and Elnas; something that sewed accurately and was durable, but wouldn't cost an arm and leg like the current over-the-top models.

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #14

      I have to agree with you. There needs to be an entry level machine. Not so expensive that it is huge investment, but good enough, and sturdy enough to get you started. Once you get into sewing in a bigger way, just like any hobby, you soon find out you have outgrown it, and want to upgrade. Even if all you want is a machine for basic mending and simple sewing, more people would buy them if they were not such a huge investment. Then maybe more people would start to sew again. Now that computers are not as expensive, more people buy them.... Cathy

    2. Tatsy | | #15

      I don't know about the expense. My old Elna cost two month's salary and I heard about it for years, until my husband realized it had produced far more than it cost.

    3. gailete | | #18

      Back in 1978 I bought my first sewing machine for around $75 and it was just a basic Kenmore model that had a straight and zigzag stitch. I was thrilled about 5 years later when that machine broke and I could upgrade to a Jamone that had 5 different stitches and was only about $100 at that time. Since I was making about $5000 a year as a clerk/typist when I bought my first machine, that was a big chunk of change for me then, so something comparable would be running several hundred dollars now (and as I said it bit the bullet after about 5 years).

      I've seen some of these cheap machines and I doubt they are much good. The one that just about knocked me over was the one I saw at Walmart for scrapbookers that sews a straight stitch, a zigzag (i think) and an alpha bet and it was around $30-40 if I remember correctly. It looked like a toy. For a couple hundred you could get a real sewing machine instead of something that looks like a toy and it would be able to serve for more projects.

      I love sewing machines and I check out the new models as much as I can, looking for the machine that will make my heart sing and do everything I need. I would love to be a sewing machine tester! The top of the line ones would be great, but I'd be happy to test those mid range models. How does a person get to do something like that. I'm open for invitations!!!! I figure if I keep my eyes open when money is more available, I'd like to upgrade a bit (although I love my janome 6500 except it lacks a couple stitches I want) and so it is important to know what is coming out now to ascertain what will be a good 'buy' in a few years on the second hand market.

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