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what brand sewing machine for my needs?

misgogive | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

After ten years away from sewing.. have relocated to my tiny cottage.. not much room. Am ready to do home decorating projects and some alterations.. Pillows,  easy covers for chairs, simple window coverings and alterations. Perhaps now and then an article of clothing.. Would like to have a ruffle making capability, ease of changing bobbin and needle, and light weight for liftability. (Will be  often). Learned to sew on a Singer in the .. well never mind when… used a Riccar for awhile.. Prefer availability of needles and parts. ..and easy to clean and oil. Thank you.. Will be waiting for your advice.. BUDGET is important…


  1. MegVT | | #1

    Welcome home to sewing!  If you have access to a good sewing machine shop, why not test drive used machines?  And if the price isn't right, then you could shop on ebay.

    I've got a Pfaff (model 1222E) built in 1980, which, I'm told, is preferred by seamstresses.  It's got the integrated dual feed (walking-foot) and is a work horse.  It's not the lightest weight thing around - but you may need to sacrifice a few pounds for features you really like.  I've stitched silk blouse fabrics as well as cotton duck, denim, and upholstery fabrics on this fantastic machine.

    Happy machine hunting!


  2. Kiley | | #2

    I also have a Pfaff. Mine is a mechanical Select model with the dual feed. I suggest to test drive a Pfaff with the dual feed before you make your purchase of a machine. It sews on all types of fabric and is a very comfortable machine to use. I also have a computerized (Janome) Kenmore machine for the many stitches and features it offers. Janome machines are also work horses. I would look at the many nice models offered by both Viking and Bernina. Speed control, needle threader and up/down needle feature and stitch editing are some of the nicer features on newer machines. With the test driving of the models you will know when you bond with a machine. I hope you find a machine you love since you will be spending much time together. 

  3. ixs | | #3

    I'm a young junior senior, 40+ years serious amateur seamstress.

    I own a treadle sewing machine (1881) that works, older Singer, mechanical Pfaff, and Bernina that embroiders.

    Besides the machine you use, your quality of sewing is heavily influenced by the quality and type of needles and thread you use.   I would advise not to skimp on those choices. 

    A used machine sounds like a wonderful idea. 

    1. misgogive | | #4

      Thanks all.. sounds like Pfaff is good. Oh how I envy those with proximity to retail.. well only for a minute. What about the Brother and the Singer sold at Walmart.. do thay have a ruffle attachment that is any good. Otherwise we are looking at a five hour drive.

      1. ixs | | #5

        I think where you buy a machine is dependent on how you do things; are you willing to try something new, etc.?  Don't know much about the machines sold at Walmart, but my friend bought an entry-level Janome and is doing fine for now.   Have you thought about how you would have a WalMart machine serviced?  That might be important. 

        Have you thought about a used machine?  Perhaps at a yard sale.  My niece has refurbished two old machines by herself she got that belonged to her great grandmother.   Although they only straight stitch, that is still the most important stitch, and she has been very successful sewing. 

        Good luck.  And write if you have any more questions; happy to help.  

        1. misgogive | | #6

          TY! Wish I had never disposed of my machine when I moved to my lake cottage. Oh well.. I DO love it here

        2. SewSimple | | #7

          I agree that where you will have it serviced is important!! Many problems encountered with sewing machines are due to improper threading or the bobbin being improperly put in. Even the entry level machines sold at Walmart will be reliable if you know how to thread them properly. The difference in the entry level machines and the more expensive (whether mechanical or computerized) is the quality of the parts -- which makes for a smoother running machine. The Kenmore (Janome) entry level machines are ok and will be reliable, but the middle to upper end mechanical ones will run smoother. The computerized (but not embroidery machines) have many stitches and are great to sew on because they do not need to be oiled for 5 years!! (drawback, you will need to take it in to be oiled after 5 years)  YOu still need to clean out the dust and lint in the bobbin case regularly, but with auto tension features and no oiling that's about the only thing you need to do!!

          Have fun!!

  4. jandheurle | | #8

    I suggest that you take a small project to your dealer and work on it right there in the store. Try the same item on different machines and see which one you like best. I have a New Home and Pfaff and I find, myself, the drop-in bobbin to be much preferable, but I suppose that is what I was more used to before I bought the Pfaff. Each machine has features that are desirable, the rub is that no one machine has them all. I guess that is why so many of us have so many different machines. Since I have two, I keep them both up and running at the same time and use them both on a single garment for whatever I consider to be their best features. Take your time and read reviews. Jan

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