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Sewing Machine Recommendations -Moderate $ to do heavy work AND pretty datails

Corduroy & Faux Fur -Winter Coat II for American Girl Dolls

Hi there,

I am in urgent need of a new Sewing Machine and desperate for recommendations. I currently have a Brother CS 6000i electronic sewing machine that has never performed as I wished. It cannot handle laters of moderate fabrics much less jeans or anything heavy at all! It messes uneven button holes on small American Girl doll clothes (can’t have any seam edges or it malfunctions -layers have to be perfectly flat & uniform beneath the buttonhole foot. No manual buttonhole option, other than plain zigzag. I still want a machine that haas a lot of decorative stirches and can quilt.

I’ve supplied some examples of items I make in addition to occasional garments, blankets, or bags I make for my family.

I’d love to be able to afford a Futura -but I think it’s just out of my price range. I am an advanced seamstress, with only a moderate amount of $$ to spend. This was my first Brother machine, and I am wary about buying another -since this one has been really awful. (Getting black oil on my items, beeping at every little thing,  bobbin case messing up and jamming constantly. Oy!


Thanks for any suggestions!


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  1. livestosew | | #1

    I love everything you made! The coat and hat are gorgeous. It's very hard to sew such little things. You have a really fun job.

    I have a Janome machine and am very happy with it. I love Husqvarna, though it's more costly, it has all steel parts, which makes it stronger.

  2. User avater
    RSAdams | | #2

    Thank you very much! It is almost like playing sometimes :)

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. SewingGrandmaAZ | | #3

    I have been looking at the Singer Industrial Model. A friend who makes Denium Quilts recommended it to me. Even with all the bells and whistles it is only abt $300. I am saving for it. Also,look up estate sales in the newspaper on Wednesdays. Go early on the 1st day and you will often find really low prices 4 sewing machines and sergers. I have a Bernina I got from a card on the bullitin board at my local Bernina store. The gal was upgrading to the newest model. It makes wonderful buttonholes and has tons of fancy stitches.

  4. irish_29909 | | #4

    Looking at the number of your machine. You did not buy it at
    Brother dealer. The next time you get a machine. Try to buy from a dealer that will give you lessons, And one on one help. I do like the Ns40 computerized machine.
    It is easy to work
    I just started making American Girl clothes and found it fantastic working in minature. I want to start my granddaughter sewing and It will be with clothes for an 18 inch doll
    You have done a really beautiful job. I have not worked with fur on clothes so far.
    Janome is another good machine.
    Machines that you buy at a dealer are better quality then those you buy at big box stores.

  5. cjbauman464 | | #5

    I have the Brothers Quattro and it handles all types of fabric
    well. Just embroidered faux fur and Suede and it worked great.
    But the machine is around $6000. I also have a Janome, Janome's are work horses $1600.00, It has a built in walking foot. When you buy be sure you buy from a Dealer in your area that has support and a repair sevice. If you buy the Singer be sure that they have a repair service in the area. I teach for a Janome and Brother Dealer in my area. They want touch the Electronic Singers .The singer home machine that are under warranty need to mailed to a place in Washington State.
    Bernina is a great machine. just don't buy the cheap machines at WallMart. You get what you pay for.
    Henderson, NV

  6. JolnK | | #6

    Perhaps you could find a used Viking at your local dealer for almost nothing. I'm thinking about a +1 which I have, or a Rose. Both have the capabilities for which you are looking and are all metal parts. I have made some beautiful heirloom christening gowns of swiss batise and silk on my +1 and have always been very pleased with it.

  7. moushka | | #7

    Check out the sewing machines reviews at http://www.patternreview.com You will find hundreds of review of sewing machines at all different price levels. Right now, the big noise is for the new Juki Exceed at about $1000. Not cheap but no where near as expensive as the TOL combo machines. If possible, buy from a dealer. If not, make sure that you can return the machine for servicing and find out who pays for the shipping. A gently used Janome 6500 is a great machine that you might also like, probably around $850. I've used this machine for five years and it sews everything. It does have a rather large foot, though, and I'm not sure how that would work with your dolls clothes (which are exquisite). Good luck with your search. The right machine for you is out there :)

  8. jemima1 | | #8

    I am in the process of researching sewing machines also. I have traveled to 3 dealers and would like to purchase a machine for my daughter - age 18. She would like to sew and I would like it to have some embroidery. I had a singer yrs ago 70's and will not buy another. Please respond with examples of a moderate priced model with names - I looked at Brother, Baby Lock, and Kenmore and cannot decide. I have one more dealer to see in the Stroudsburg,Pa. area. Thanks

  9. emmyt | | #9

    I have 2 Viking machines plus a Viking serger. I believe them to be the best, like a previous person stated they are all steel and can handle about anything. I have never been disapointed in any of my machines. They are however expensive but worth every penny in my opinion. Do buy for a reputable dealer and they will give you great service. Ask others in your area who sew and they will direct you to the best dealer. Great jobon the outfits, I also love to make American Doll clothes, they are fun.

  10. nightmama | | #10

    I am a fan of Bernina. My first good machine was the Bernina 830 and I paid $795. for it. That was back in the 70's. But I used that machine for 25 years and then sold it to a friend. I then bought the 1230. I have had that for 25 yrs and wore it out! My service man replaced some of the parts and now I am ready for the next 25 yrs.

    If you cannot afford a current Bernina, look for a second hand 830. It will do you proud.

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