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Xmas present for wife

sewdesperate | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hoping for some good advice on a first sewing machine for my wife. Was hoping to keep it under $200, and wanted a machine which was reliable, would have the features a first-timer may need, and is easy to get started and operate. Looking at the comparison chart you have online, I see two Brothers (XL-5340 and LS-1217) and one Kenmore (15516) that fit my budget.

A) Is it fair to say these are probably the best three machines under $200 – since they were the only ones reviewed in that price range?

B) Of these three (or others not listed but under $200), which one is the best for ease of use, reliability, and ability to do the basics that most beginners want from their machines?

I was hoping for some extremely specific suggestion (like: buy this one if you want … or this is the best one for beginners because …), but the chart didn’t appear to rank them or tell me which to select.
I didn’t want to just flip a coin.


  1. HNYMAMA | | #1

    I have the Brother XL-5340 and I love it,  it really is a great little machine.  Very easy to use,  the manual does a great job walking you through the basic steps,  the button hole maker is easy and mine makes a great button hole,  love it.  My oldest dd is not having any big problems learning on and she is 11,  much easier than the machine I learned on IMO.

    If you have any questions about this machine ask away and I will be glad to answer them:)

  2. carolfresia | | #2


    The machines compared in our review were not included because we thought they were the best, necessarily (although all of them ARE fine choices), but rather because the manufacturers recommended them as representative of what was available in various price ranges. You'll be able to find a number of similar models in your price range, I expect, with comparable features.

    Here's a tip for you: you may be able to find machines that we list at a higher MSRP for $200 or under, esp. at this time of year when many dealers are offering terrific specials for the holidays. And discontinued models are often steeply discounted, so you can sometimes get more machine for less money than you'd expect.

    If your wife is a beginner, consider buying a machine from a dealer who offers free lessons with the purchase of a machine. That way she can get accustomed to the machine's features and also learn the basics of sewing. Also, it's good to have someone who will stand behind the machine in case it needs repairs.


  3. enidshapiro | | #3

    I had a Kenmore which was absolutely worthless.  Jammed continually.  I'd stay away.

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