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What machine to buy?

Reputt | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi, I’m in the market for a new sewing machine and would appreciate your help.  I’m going to be using the machine to make cushions, slipcovers and window coverings but no clothing. I need a machine that is easy to use, fully automated and low maintenance.  I would like to spend under $500. Occasionally I will be making buttonholes for duvet covers, redoing hems and  possibly some quilting.  I don’t really care about fancy stitches or alphabets.  Do you think a computerized machine is worth the additional expense or do you think a mechanical one will do the trick?  Thank you for your advice.  Sincerely, Reputt


  1. ChrisHaynes | | #1

    Here is what you should consider... a used machine with a good straight stitch   PLUS an attachment that makes buttonholes (make sure they are compatable).

    A common brand is "Greist".  They are sold on Ebay... but a good sewing machine store should know about them and where to get one.

    I kick myself for getting rid of a very good White sewing machine with all sorts of attachments... including a buttonholer AND a ruffler, just because I got a new sewing machine (which had a 4-step buttonhole that never looked as good as the buttonholer's).

    1. Reputt | | #2

      Dear Chris,

      Thank you for answering my questions. I did some research..there is a good article this month in "Threads" about machines....I went to some stores and then went online to Allbrands.com and found a great deal on  the White2999.  It is mechanical, has alot of capability and is priced very competitively compared to the machines I could find at stores in town.  So I bit the bullet and bought it.  Hopefully it will arrive in the mail in one piece!

      Thanks again for your help.  Reputt.

      1. Mercy | | #3

        Hi Reputt  (or anyone else who might have some useful input!),

             I'm so glad I found your post!  I'm very close to ordering the White 2999 from allbrands.com myself, but would like to see it in person first or at least get input from someone who owns one   (local dealer only carries two very low end White's and immediately steers you over to the expensive Husk-Vikings).   I wondered if it might be a discontinued model, but I emailed White and they said it is still being manufactured, but for some reason had been dropped from products listed on their website.    It seems to have all the right features and the price is perfect for me -- don't know how they expect to sell such a great sounding machine when it's not on their web site and not in any of the stores . . . go figure.

             Did you receive the 2999 ok and how is the quality?   Are the button holes consistent?    Does it do several thicknesses well -- like hemming jeans for example?  What about the weight -- does it stay put?  I noticed it was one of the lightest machines in the Threads "31 Basic Sewing Machines . . ." chart.  I would appreciate anything you can share about the machine. 

           I almost ordered today, but got distracted by the Brother CS-8072 that Walmart is selling for $288.72 -- anyone have anything to say about this one?  I understand it is the same as the Brother PC2800, but for way less money.  Has a better mfr. warranty than the White, but allbrands is including a 5-yr extended warranty on the 2999 for free.  At least if the Brother doesn't meet expectations, it is very easy to return it.

        Thanks,     VicAnn

        1. momcat50 | | #5

          I was just at our Brother dealer. I bought a very nice little Brother 300s - used. But I was also looking at the 2800 Brother. I THOUGHT I heard the dealer say that it was being discontinued. Also - doesn't Walmart buy up and sell discontinued machines from Brother? I also know that the Babylock machines are by Brother. I think they all are great machines. This is the first I have owned (300s) I bought it as it does embroidery and sewing and is VERY portable. I too am thinking of getting the 8072. What did you finally get?

          1. Mercy | | #6

                 I ended up going to Walmart and getting the Brother 8072.  I must admit, I was getting tired of agonizing over the decision of what to buy, especially when I started finding out how difficult it was to actually check out the ones on my short list in person.   My options were just a few local dealers who only push their pet (i.e. big markup) machines, or order off the Internet without having 'played' with the machine.   (Why I was hesitant, I don't know --  I've bought all kinds of computers costing many times more than the sewing machines I was looking at off the Internet  without seeing them first --  guess I consider a sewing maching a more 'touchy-feely' kind of purchase.)   The lady at Walmart said I could check it out for a few days and bring it back if I didn't like it -- good ol' Walmart, no pressure, no hassles.   (I know, some of you machine connoisseurs out there are cringing at the thought of not going through a "real" dealer . . . sorry)  The lady working in their fabric dept. that day said she had the Brother embroidery machine and was very happy with it, and no, she didn't try to talk me into anything more expensive. 

                 Couldn't find anything not to like about it -- it seemed to meet my needs just fine, so it was a keeper.   I'm very happy with it so far, but time will tell -- I haven't really done any major projects yet, just some little stuff.  Stitches are all nice and even, lots of preset embroidery stitches, so easy to thread, so much quieter than my old machine, etc.   In all honesty, there are probably several similar machines that would have been just fine also, but it made a real difference getting to play with the machine before committing.  Mom has two Vikings (one a Rose).  I had her check out the Brother and it got her approval -- she was impressed for the price  (in fact, I think she's wondering if she really needs to pay so much more next time she's in the market . . .).   I think the way the case fits is a sloppy design -- firm plastic, but just kinda sits on top, doesn't fasten anywhere.  But for all I know, some of the others may be this way too.  It does seem to offer good protection anyhow.  My old Montgomery Ward machine didn't have a case, so it is a step up!   

                 Some comments on the sewing machine purchasing process in general:     So MANY machines, yet so little opportunity to check them out.   I naively thought I would be able to go out and see most of the machines I was interested in.  Ha!     I was disappointed  that I never did get to see the White 2999 I was considering, esp. since there is a huge White dealer in town.  I finally figured that if the dealer doesn't carry it and won't give you any info on the machine, then maybe it's a bad sign.  Yes, I realize they probably can't carry every model in the line, but they wouldn't even discuss Whites.   I exchanged emails with a very nice White cust service lady several times to find out where I could actually try one out.  They didn't seem to be aware that the White dealer in our region (midwest OH) is only interested in pushing Vikings, not Whites, and didn't even carry their mid level machines (only lowest model and 1 embrodery machine).  She seemed surprised to hear this and said she'd pass my email on to someone in the company who cares.   I understand Viking owns White, so what good it will do, I don't know.  Maybe the next person interested will get the chance to see the model they are interested in, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  BTW, I don't have anything against Viking machines, but word over at the neighborhood fabric store is that the 'service' from the local White/Viking dealer is far from ideal and they hear lots of complaints about them, so I wasn't too excited about purchasing from them anyway.   Additional skuttlebutt is that because they do such a high volume of machine sales, Viking looks the other way regarding service complaints.

                 I had no opinion before I started looking at machines, but now I'm thinking that these 'dealer' networks are quite a racket.  No competition to keep them honest, fewer choices for the consumer (only what they want to sell you), and you're locked in to one dealer for better or worse for service.   One dealer out and out lied to me about one brand's features to make her 'preferred' brand look better.   If you don't need the lessons or hand-holding a dealer offers, the Internet and non-dealer stores seem to be the way to go.  So many choices and much more economical.   Sorry, enough whining about the process -- I should be playing with my new toy instead . . . .

                 If you are interested in the Brother CS-8072, but not sure, check out your local Walmart and ask if you can take it home to test drive it.  I don't know about them being discontinued, my Walmart still has several in stock.   Even if the model is discontinued, as long as Brother stays in bs. the warranty is good (you never know in this day and age -- I'm still upset Farm & Fleet went out of business, oh well).   I have heard that the CS-8072 is Brother's 'non-dealer' version of the PS-2800  that is sold only through dealers at a much higher price.   One internet post I saw says they sew differently, but another says she talked to Brother directly and the models are identical except for the model number.    I think I also heard something about the PS-2800 being discontinued -- but who would buy the same machine from a dealer if they found out they can get it at almost half price at Walmart.  Maybe people started to realize this and the dealers couldn't move them anymore, hence the 8072 continues to be marketed to the Walmart masses and the 2800 gets discontinued.  The marketing people have to keep us confused with different model numbers -- I'd be really mad if I just paid big bucks for a 2800 and then found the exact same model number for $288 at Walmart!

            It's nice to know you are also satisfied with your Brother 300 . . .Good luck . . . .

          2. EMILEE69 | | #7

            I'm glad you found a sewing machine to fit your needs and with which you're happy.  I, too have recently purchased a Brother---the PC6000---and I experienced the same frustration in trying to shop at a local dealer.  I truly WANTED to buy from a local dealer, even if it would cost a bit more, for the support after purchase.  However, I was so turned off by their tactics, which you described so accurately, that I eventually bought long-distance from a dealer several states away who came highly recommended.  Like you, I would have liked to have tried out a greater number of machines before making a choice, but I felt like every dealer I approached acted like a "shady car dealer" just trying to close a deal, not concerned about what was the best machine for me.  When I thought about it later, I actually feel they were insulting in the way they quickly dismissed any other brand/model I brought up, as if I was an idiot for even considering it.  I will not buy from anyone who uses any kind of pressure techniques or seems less than forthright---in fact, the last car I bought I negotiated the deal over the phone with a dealer more than fifty miles from my home.  Best car I've ever had.  Also, I figured what good is the "dealer support" if you don't really trust the dealer?  Too bad, because some of them probably are okay to work with, but their high-pressure sales tactics really turn me off.

            Sorry to go on so long about this .... just want you to know I'm happy for you and agree with all your observations about the frustration of shopping for a sewing machine.

  2. renyoj | | #4

    I recently bought a Viking Fresia 415 and am incredibly thrilled with it. The dealer near me had a demo model for $425. I think it's an excellent quality machine, great quality stitches and a few nice extras.

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