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Conversational Threads

What sewing machine are you using?

Mitchie23 | Posted in Sewing Machines & Sergers on

Hi There, newbie here and I’ve been learning over the past 6 months. I’m trying basic classical couture using an old Singer from my aunt. It serves the purpose but tends to be defective at times. Do you have any recommendations? Looking at some reviews looks like Brother XM2701 is a good choice for beginners. Saw some good reviews here -thewiredshopper.com/best-sewing-machines-to-buy. Does anyone have any experience?

Replies

  1. fashionmavin | | #1

    I have a brand new-still in box- JUKI HZL-F300 Exceed series. The videos on You Tube and other research areas were helpful in making my decision. Also, the customer rep at SewingMachinesPlus.com (Robert) was very helpful and great to deal with. It was purchased on-line since I do not reside in California, but had a few conversations with him regarding machine. There are so many out there, it is somewhat daunting, but good luck.

  2. user-6823207 | | #2

    I grew up using a Kenmore, then my mom's Singer 401. Now I use a Janome Skyline S-7. It's a great machine- has lots of decorative stitches that I actually use in my garment construction and on place mats and table runners. It also has several different applique stitches, and a really great even-feed system for my quilting. The local dealer offers classes to learn how to use all the features, as well as an in-house service department.

  3. kmegamom | | #3

    I don’t have that particular Brother model but do own three different Brother models and love them all. One is a standard machine for regular sewing purchased for my grandson to use at my house, another is a sewing and embroidery machine with a 4 x 4 hoop and does regular sewing too, the third and newest is a Brother Duetta 4500D. It is a combo sewing quilting and embroidery machine with up to a 7 x 12 hoop size, I love these because they are all very user friendly, take no time to learn, they are work horses, and the Customer service from Brother is like no other! They are fantastic! I have two Janome’s-0, one for taking to classes, it’s a very lightweight basic machine, the other is an embroidery only machine with up to 8 x 12 hoop. Although they are great machines the learning is difficult , the owner’s manual are pretty lacking in instructions and I couldn’t find any online or by phone customer service . I would go with Brother over any other machine!

  4. user-7159027 | | #4

    I love my Brother PC-6500 Pacesetter, about 10 years old. It as 2 embroidery hoops (but not used too much), decorative stitches and easy buttonholes & bobbin winder. It is made to be portable, however on heavy materials (6 layers on a wedding dress) it isn't weighted down. However a table model is just not for me. Great machine with options in case you want to experiment--no regrets.

  5. user-7346962 | | #5

    Hi there,
    I have used a Bernina Artista 630 for the past 12 years and absolutely love it. The machine is Swiss made and therefore slightly more expensive that ones made in China. The machine is actually made of metal and has never had any breakdown or problems. I have it serviced once a year and then keep on sewing. Prior to buying my Bernina I had used a Singer for nearly 40 years. During that time I saved my money for a machine that would do everything including embroidery. My son recently bought a Bernina 770 and he loves that model. I talked him into keeping his older smaller model to take to classes. I also own a Juki, don't remember the model, but use it to take to classes as I don't want to damage my Bernina.
    If you haven't considered a Bernina, you should at least visit a shop that sells them for a demo.
    Good luck

    1. User avater
      riot203 | | #10

      I have the same feeling about visiting a shop for demos. I ended up with a Baby Lock when I outgrew my hand me down machines. In my local shop, I was able to test many machines and the sales person was incredibly knowledgeable about all the brands. She helped me define my needs, didn't talk me into any one machine, but really matched me. I think the number one advice I would give anyone is - go to a specialty shop instead of blind ordering online.

  6. user-3085935 | | #6

    When I was 13 my Mom gave me her Pfaff 93 when she acquired a newer machine. I still use it, 30+ years later.

  7. User avater
    bettystitch | | #7

    Bernina 1230 from the early 1990s. It still does everything I need to do for garments or quilts. I use the walking foot a lot.

    1. fashionmavin | | #8

      i bought one when they were new many yrs ago and after being gone for 7-1/2 yrs caring for my folks and returning home, I decided to treat myself and purchased a JUKI F300 Exceed series and gave my Bernina to a woman who could not afford a new machine....She was thrilled...but I do miss it...I have only had the JUKI machine for a week and have not tried it as yet....watching You Tube videos on it..

  8. user-7609750 | | #9

    I am a fairly new sewist and I bought myself a Brother SE400. It is not super expensive and it is extremely easy to use. It has one of the best user manuals I have ever seen. The auto threader feature is a necessity for me now due to poor eyesight so I am very happy I chose a machine with that feature. So far I have made quilts, garments and bags and I'm very happy.

  9. User avater
    riot203 | | #11

    Oh and one more shout out to the independent sewing machine shops - most of them come with classes on how to use and maintain your machine. I have been sewing for 30 years but when I took that (free) class? I learned so much!!!!

  10. dancin47 | | #12

    I have Bernina 630 and a Janome 6500. I bought the Janome 20 years ago and it is still a workhorse (much cheaper than a Bernina). Then I bought a Bernina store used model 15 years ago. Can’t do clothes or quilts without either one. Look for quality no matter what. Get your machine tuned once per year. I don’t plan to purchase a newer machine. They will probably out live me. Any reputable shop will offer lessons on the machines they sell. Take advantage of them. Also follow all machine instructions regarding oiling your model on a timely basis. Oil is like water for us. Good luck!

  11. user-6761018 | | #13

    I still use and love my Viking Designer 1 which I purchases in about 2000. Stitches smoothly quietly never any issues. Don't use the embroidery like I used to, but when I do set it up the embroidery functions beautifully.

  12. user-1112037 | | #14

    I have the Pfaff Creative Icon and I love it. I started sewing on Singer machines when I was growing up, traded to a Riccar and then my first Pfaff. I have continued to upgrade through the years. I love the even feed foot for garment sewing and it embroiders like a dream.

    1. user_4452_730 | | #42

      Do you have a review regarding the Creative Icon? I am looking to buy a new/new-to-me sewing machine and I saw a refurbished one for $4900. How much are the services? Have you had problems with the computer? Thank you!

  13. User avater
    user-6887705 | | #15

    I had to replace my Bernina 930. My husband bought that for me as a Mother’s Day present when our daughter was five years old. I sewed on that machine everyday for 38 years. Last year, after several repairs and the foot pedal falling apart under my foot, I relinquished and visited my nearest Bernina dealer. My idea was to purchase a 570. I already have a large embroidery machine and would be using the Bernina for my garment sewing. My husband went along and gifted me with the 790. Great husband.💕

  14. User avater
    barakasews | | #16

    I began on my grandmother's treadle Singer back in the early 50s. In high school my parents gave me a Kenmore portable (a very early version, probably weighed 25 lbs!) and when I got tired of carting the weight around, moved to a Janome. A few years ago I traded it in for a BabyLock Rachel and have been very satisfied with it. Since I primarily sew garments and some home decor, I have fairly plain tastes and don't really need a plethora of fancy stitches, so this suits me well. If I were to come into some unexpected largesse, I might move into a slightly higher-end BabyLock...

    I also have a BabyLock Celebration serger - again, not a lot of bells and whistles but serviceable for my sewing style.

    And I definitely recommend finding a local dealer. I'm in Northern California (Bay Area/Sacramento) and Meissner is my choice - I think they have a north bay location as well as several in the Sacramento area, and when you purchase a machine from them you get to take the basic machine instruction classes they offer for only the $10 registration fee. Service is also excellent and the staff are brilliant whether you're there to browse and buy, get repairs or service, or take a class!

  15. user-7293566 | | #17

    I have used Bernina since 1980. Beautiful machines to use. The big feature for me is the knee lift, I use it in all my sewing, I make my own clothes and do all my soft furnishings, and I find it invaluable to be able to manipulate my fabric without worrying about the sewing foot. It's almost like a third hand.

  16. user-982623 | | #18

    Over the years I've sewn with many different machines. Technology moves on and if you want useful improvements you have to consider an update now and again. Currently I have a Bernina 820 - my workhorse - which I use for most basic garment sewing. (about 12 years) I love the dual feed and the solid metal presser feet. The needle threader is a bit temperamental like all Bernina needle threaders but something you get used to with Berninas. I had a Bernina 830 and a Bernina 880 - both of which I got rid of as they were nothing but trouble - spending more time being repaired than sewn on. Instead I bought a Brother Luminaire. Undoubtedly, embroidery is of a better standard on the Brother than the Bernina. I can place it exactly on the garments I'm sewing - one of the reasons I bought it - and you don't have the thread tails to clear up that the Bernina left everywhere. The buttonhole foot is much better on the Brother but the invisible zip foot is not comparable to the one on the Bernina. The Brother needle threader hasn't - touch wood - defaulted once in the 15 months I've had the machine - the Bernina threader is a hit and miss affair, as always. The Brother has a lot of bells and whistles - some useful, some not so. Being able to keep track of what the machine's up to via your cell phone is handy if you're trying to cook and embroider at the same time. Sending designs to the machine via Wifi is also something that makes life easier. Of course - it comes at a price! My Bernina needs servicing about every 12-18 months and the Brother about every 2 years. I wouldn't recommend any of these high end machines if you haven't got a good, reliable service centre within reach. The more functions they have - the more likely they are to need adjusting or a repair.

  17. dsantil71 | | #19

    I started with a used Singer from the fleamarket back in 98' then in 2007 bought a Singer from Walmart. Learned my lesson there! Went to a specialty store and bought a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 930. Have had it several yrs now. I love it. I finally broke down last Dec and bought a used Husqvarna Viking Diamond! I love it too!! They don't use oil! I mainly sew home decor items but I want to learn embroidery now that I have the Diamond. I always get my machine serviced once a year to every 2 yrs depending on how much sewing I have been doing. It's totally worth it. I clean my machine too. That makes a big difference too. Your manual should tell you how to do it. If not there should be youtube videos on how to do it. I love that both of my machines have automatic needle threader, the auto cut cuts the thread for me, the auto fix which automatically makes a lock stitch when I start sewing & the "fix" button does the lock stitch when I finish sewing, automatically puts the foot down and needle down once I press on the foot or press the "start/stop" button to start sewing, plus there is an extra motor for bobbin winding, I can have the machine wound for sewing and set it up separately to wind a bobbin at the same time! I love the little tool to hold the needle to put in the machine. I was always afraid of dropping it into the machine but now I just place it into the tool and hold the tool and set it in the machine! The "Exclusive Sewing Advisor" is really helpful too! It tells you which needle to use for which type of fabric you pick, it sets the right thread tension and foot tension for that particular fabric!

  18. user-7657563 | | #20

    Like any tool, go for the best quality you can afford, and definitely try out as many machine as you can, to determine which one does the most of what you do when you sew.

  19. ThuThi | | #21

    I have several old and very old machines. Singer 66, 201-2. Pfaff 230. I have a couple of Kenmores. A new and a 60ish year old Brother. One 66 is a 1913 and on a treadle. I also have a 1898 Singer 27 or 127 (I can't remember) l completely disassembled it and will get it back together when I have the time. I also have an old Singer 12 New Family. My wife has a couple Jukis (one is a serger) a Singer 55 and 2 Baby Locks. The Juki and Singer 55 are too fast for me (I can't and don't want to jet used to clutch machines). I use the Pfaff 230 for zig-zag and the Singer 201-2. The treadle also sews great. My wife is the expert, me, I just do simple repairs and keep the machines running.

  20. William_Bowie | | #22

    I am using Brother SE600 Sewing and Embroidery machine for a long time. Having reputable brand, it has 2 in 1 feature with both sewing and embroidery. It have 103 built-in designs, automatic threading, easy to use and also best for beginners. For more details about this machine, i recommend this site: https://machinesninja.com/brother-se600-sewing-and-embroidery-machine/

  21. user-7502693 | | #23

    THAT BROTHER LINE sounds good if I ever need another.I think in my thirties I got an all metal Kenmore, portable, it was great..im 73 and we opened it up again, cleaned it inside professionally, and it seems good again. I lost a Lotta feet, and spools,ect and there are special websites THEY HAVE ALL SEW PARTS FOR ALL MACHINES. THAT told me, home sewers are EVERYWHERE ALL OVER THE WORLD.I was so surprised we are international. and there are sites that communicate, in English.. My mom had a treadle Singer, and finally she switched to portable electric Singer .My sister and I learned basic sewing, with my mom ,I remember my sis and I doing tie-die at home, in the 60s.IStraight shifts were popular ,my mom made me a sleeveless diagonal stripe, black, white, magenta, red, and orange. Spring shift, to wear in high school. I bought a black-white check skirt suit, with a matching billed cap, in college. We enjoyed sixties clothing. .My sister would wear ALL BLACK, including beret.. As an adult, I'd sew whole matching outfits. I also liked hand-sewing say, a whole skirt. or lately, a dress.. Sometimes I wanted more control over the inside ,hence hand-sewing. I've sewn dozens of scarves. Scarves are a favorite of mine.

  22. rickermiler | | #24

    My choice is the Varmax mini sewing machine with extension table.

  23. firebird96 | | #25

    I started sewing on my Mom's flatbed Kenmore in 1988 at the age of 23 - the machine was older than I was! Mom tried to teach me to sew when I was younger, but if it wasn't hore related, I wanted nothing to do with it, lol. Fast forward 10 years and I was married & renting a 100+ year old farmhouse with at least 3 @ 36" x 72" windows in each room and no window coverings. Enter the Kenmore and WalMart bedsheets! As a military wife, I've lived all over, worked for a variety of dealers as a machine repair tech, instructor & sales person. I've had nearly every make out there & have narrowed my favorites down to these: any German made by Pfaff with the built-in even feed feature, particularly models 1473, 1475 & 7570. All older, but great workhorses. Bernina, particularly the 1230 & 1260 models. and the Artista 180 that I currently sew on & have for 10+ years. I have a Babylock Flourish for embroidery, my Bernina is used for garment sewing, home dec & quilting. I do miss the even feed feature on the Pfaff's though!

    I have a Bernins 2000DCE serger that I purchased new because of the cover stitch feature back in the Dark Ages (mid-1990's). Fabulous serger, not so great with the coverstitch. Skip combo machines and buy a reliable serger when you can (there are a LOT of them available) & save for a separate coverstitch machine. You can use a twin needle in your sewing machine to mimic coverstitch hems, but I do use my Janome CPE900 a lot.

    I have found that purchasing a well cared for used machine will allow you to get a great deal more bang for the buck than buying new. My Bernina 180 was less than 2 years old when I got it for $1,200 in 2006. An equivalent Bernina new would have been (at that time) $4,000 or more. Many dealerships accept trade-ins. Check with them for a refurbished pre-owned machine of whatever brand you like (try as many as you can, even if it means a road trip) and go from there. I would stay as far away as possible from cheaper, lower end models. It's not the number of fancy stitches, but the everyday features that count. My essentials are needle up/down, auto needle threader that WORKS, exceptional stitch quality, availability and cost of accessory feet (particularly a walking foot), ability to drop feed dogs, bobbin low indicator and stitch length of 0 to 4mm and stitch width of 6 mm. The availability of a straight stitch needle plate and the ability to handle a wide variety of thread types and fabric weights is also important to me. Given the tremendous breakthroughs in synthetic materials, I don't insist on an all metal machine, but I do want quality. I would much prefer a more basic machine with great stitch quality to one that has a lot of bells and whistles but is made more cheaply and has a lower stitch quality and reliability. If the machine is in the shop, you can't sew & that defeats the purpose of having it :) I think I wrote a novella, but do try looking at good quality, used machines - there are some real treasures available.

  24. cmaryali | | #26

    Have a Janome MC 15000 that drives me crazy it is so finicky. Finally pulled out my Singer Featherweight 221 (1938). Sews like a dream and most clothes sewing is straight stitch anyway. If I really need a zigzag I have a Singer Heavy Duty that takes care of that. The Janome only gets used if I want to do some fancy embroidery. Don't disparage the older machines, especially if they are old enough to be all metal parts. Find a good service person and get it tuned up. My sister has sewn with a Kenmore that Mom got in the mid 1960s and it still sews better than any of our newer machines.

  25. JeanSp | | #27

    A common thread in all the replies is dealer support. If you can, visit whatever shop where you are thinking of buying your machine and see whether you think it will be a good fit for you. If you have a choice of dealers, visit them all.
    It sounds like there are a number of good machines out there!

    I have a Bernina 1230 that is over thirty years old and I still use it, but I also have a 570 that I bought for the stitch regulator. Both are good machines and I happily recommend Bernina ,but there are other machines that would probably fit you well, too.

  26. lgtennes | | #28

    I am using my third Viking machine. The last one was working perfectly at 26 years old and traded in only because I wanted the automatic thread cutter, choices of needle position and other newer features. When you choose your machine also consider the store you are buying it from. Do you feel comfortable taking classes if offered or asking them questions?

  27. Stitchnooras | | #29

    I'm using Janome DM7200 for sewing quilting, Janome MC550E for Embroidery. they both works like a charm for me.
    https://nooras.ae/

  28. gisellerylie | | #30

    I use Kenmore. Kenmore is known for producing high quality and durable machines that are able to sew through multiple layers of clothing. The Dye sub-processor in these machines helps to ensure that the stitching is strong.

  29. wisteri8 | | #31

    I bought a Bernina Record 730 in the mid 70's and have had it ever since. It has had plenty of use over the decades and still has the original motor. I would never replace it - there is no plastic in it, only metal and hard nylon. A repairman told me it is the best machine Bernina ever made.

  30. AdAstra911 | | #32

    Nice thread. I'm using Brother XM2701 - https://www.craftyhangouts.com/best-sewing-machine-under-200/#product2 and satisfied at all

  31. User avater
    tulafitz | | #33

    I replaced my old Singer ( destroyed in a house fire ,) with a Bernina 230. Still getting comfortable with this fabulous machine.

  32. theresa_in_tucson | | #34

    I have two older Berninas; a 930 and an 830. The 830 is a backup to the 930 which had to have her motherboard replaced a few years back. The 930 is my regular machine but I also use a Singer 201 for topstitching and a Singer 15-91 with a buttonholer for buttonholes when I'm using heavier weight fabric and a Brother Inovis-40 for blouse/dress weight buttonholes. To round out the stable I have a Viking serger for knits and seam finishing and a Singer Featherweight for travelling. If you have an older Singer learn how to keep it cleaned and oiled and find an old-time mechanic who understands the old machines. I have one and he's a jewel.
    Theresa in Tucson

  33. SeamRipperPro | | #35

    Keeping your original question in mind - a machine for a beginner, most of the replies aren't really helpful. I'm forever a beginner. I can say that you want to increase your price point just a bit, but still under $200. Some machines come with 200 stitches - I think I've used 4? Maybe played with others messing around. Depends on your intended use, however. The included feet is something to look for, and easy threading.

    I know Brother and Singer merged and got confused and are maybe differentiating now? I can't speak to Singer.

    I started on 2 refurbished machines. The first I messed up the timing and it cost more than the thing was worth to fix.

    The second was a Brother CS-5000 (refurb). Once I figured it out, it was very easy to use. The manual basically taught all sorts of stitches, how the various feet worked, and how to get creative above-and-beyond a manual. I hit a rough patch in life and had to sell it for $50 with extra feet and bobbins and other accessories. Since then, it appears to have become a CS5055PRW (lipstick service on regular machine, story in a moment), and now CS5055.

    I sewed 5 faux fur coats on that little refurb machine, along with clothing attempts, but mainly costume stuff. (phase of my life - burning man) It was still strong as ever. CRITICAL - is buy the bobbins from the machine manufacturer for that exact model. Yah, they're more expensive. And they look similar to others, but .01 mm difference is all it takes to destroy your machine. Learned that from a pro I took a class from. (she had all those fancy high end Pfaff and other names I don't remember - she did pro costumes for big plays) That's too much machine for a starter.

    Another bonus for Brother - quality generic feet. (and some crappy ones as well - Amazon is hit and miss anymore).

    Janome is another brand that is easily accessible for parts, feet, etc, and I've recently found somewhat interchangeable with Brother. They are at a higher price point, but keep your eyes and open on the apps selling things, like OfferUp. Some want original retail - pass. A rare gem and you'll find someone who got a machine and ended up not liking sewing.

    What I like about Janomi is they have a lot of room between the sewing foot and the sewing body. So you can shove a lot more fabric through the 'hole' if you have a wonky seam (or do everything bass-ackwards like me!)

    A Singer heavy duty manual would do the trick. It's straight-up manual though, you work the dials in combination to obtain different stitch patterns. I got one because I was starting to sew leather (dog collars). (sold it for $50 as it was fairly new still) I liked the CE because it would blink an error code at me (often). I'd flip to the back of the manual, find the code, and find the fix.

    I inherited a Janome monster embroidery machine from a friend who took up sewing because her friends sewed, had to get a top-line machine (her 'thingey'), and didn't like it. And so it sat. She offered it and I'm so grateful. I only use it for basics still (ever learning - with huge pauses between to get rusty). Struggling with some sort of neuro-immune infection? disease? Major cognitive decline, so learning doesn't happen so much anymore (and I'm 45...) I hope to one day explore the more advanced features - but not yet!

    So my PRW story - This was somewhere in early 2010-2012? I was ready to get a serger (actually had a career then). I found a sight that doesn't have that it used to offer. sewvacdirect.com The timing was just right. The Brother Serger I had my eye on was $799 at the local sew/vac specialty shop. But it was in a model-transition. Project Runway was big then (I haven't seen), so Brother was rebranding their machines with the suffix 'PRW'. And it was truly just a lipstick job. I saw the 4234DT serger and even on their site, they said compare specs to the serger on Brother's site. They were identical except a logo and the 'old model' $300 less - including a carrying case, more feet, table extender, and some other extras. Also, that model was in the "visit our showroom for price" category, but they listed the lower price on the site and were able to sell it and not break contract. I think because Brother had to unload the existing machines. So if you see any sort of rebranding trend, keep your eye out for the same machine names that are no longer the top-lineup, and find those names elsewhere. But again, that was a timing fluke I happened upon.

    Good luck in your search. I know how agonizing it can be. Factory refurbs are generally set to new, although they come w/ only a 90 day warranty. (and don't use Amazon for factory refurb - I got something from them and no way would the brand have let the destroyed box and broken unit pass as reburbished - it's their brand name on the line. Amazon uses random companies to do a lot of their refurbs, so stick to big stores like - dunno - for example - Best Buy. They have a company reputation to upkeep and sense they won't let crap sell. Analogy if you were buying something electronic. Just a hypothetical example)

    patternreview.com is another great source for sewists opinions. They branched out into machines, classes, etc, on top of mere fabrics. Worth a peek.

  34. sewingempire | | #36

    I am a big fan of Singer sewing machines. Currently, i am using Singer 9960 https://sewingempire.com/best-sewing-machine/#4_SINGER_%7C_Quantum_Stylist_9960_%E2%80%93_Best_Sewing_Machine_for_Advanced_Tailors , and very much satisfied with it.

  35. User avater
    Daria010291 | | #37

    Brother XM2701 is really great for beginner. Simple and easy in use machine. And the price is affordable. And here are some advice how to choose a suitable machine for a beginner: https://sewingtopgear.com/sewing-machine-for-beginners/

  36. user-7825910 | | #38

    I have been sewing for 40 years. Started on my moms 1950s Singer. I was anxious to get a “fancy” machine with all the stitches. I have owned various machines over the years. My advice to someone new to sewing is buy the best machine you can afford, take a class on how to use it and don’t be afraid of pushing yourself to try everything despite whatever machine you have. All the fancy feet and stitches are nice but not required. You can make a lot of great things with simple machines. Ps - still use my moms Singer but use my Bernita 770 as well.

  37. hassantariq656565 | | #39

    Buying a sewing machine is simple, but maintaining it is difficult. Unfortunately, if you buy a sewing machine and accidentally break some of its parts, it is difficult to find replacement parts on the market, so we recommend that you buy a sewing machine from a company that provides backup.

    If you want to know my suggestion, then you must be visiting the sewing solution Mark Middle East in Dubai.
    https://markmiddleeast.ae/

  38. wisteri8 | | #40

    In 1973, I purchased a Bernina Record 730. After 49 years of making my own clothes, the motor was still working and had been in a shop once for a minor repair. I traded it for a Bernina 530 last year because I never like the buttonholes the first machine made and I couldn't find a buttonhole attachment. I can't say enough for Berninas and are well worth the money.

  39. joylovestosew | | #41

    I have 5 different Brother machines--Brother Dream Machine XV-8500-D, PC-8500-D, SQ 9050, CV 3550 and PRW5234. None of them have ever been in the shop for any type of repairs--just regular maintenance. I would not use any other brand. Brother is top of the line for me.

  40. User avater
    copperwoman | | #43

    I was born in 1945. I learned to sew on the two Singer treadle machines owned by my grandmothers, plus my mother's Singer Featherweight, which she received for high school graduation in 1937. She let me use it starting when I was four years old. I inherited it when I was 12, when my mother died. I used it until 1968, when I wanted a zig-zag, so I traded it in on a Kenmore. I lived in Los Angeles then, and I was making stage clothes for rock musicians. In 1972 I met an older woman from France, who had worked in one of the couturier ateliers, and she showed me her old green Bernina. That was it, I knew I had to have a Bernina. I bought an 830, which was stolen in 1979. I bought another 830 and I still have it, and it still functions perfectly. I used it to make a living for many years so much that the enamel is worn off all the way to the steel in the front vertical thread path. I think I'm on my third or fourth 00 basic presser foot, and second bobbin case. This machine survived intact falling to the floor in an earthquake. I took her (her name is Bettina) into the shop to be sure, and there was nothing wrong.
    I also own two White 530 3/4 thread sergers from the mid- 1980s, and a lightweight Huskystar 207 portable for hauling around if needed.
    My biggest regrets regarding sewing machines: 1) Trading in my mother's Featherweight, and 2) That I didn't buy a restored Bernina treadle in a gorgeous oak cabinet I saw for sale about ten years ago.
    Try them out, take your time, buy the best quality you can. In addition to still making beautiful stitches, people still comment on how quiet my 830 is, even after decades of heavy use.

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