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sewing machine recommendation

 
pollinator
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I am looking for a simple sewing machine (electric), sufficient for basic projects and repair. Maybe fancy enough to do button holes, but not much more. Any recommendations as to brand or things to look for. I'm going to start looking used, but would also consider new. Thanks!
 
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I have never owned or used anything other than a Singer.

My mom had one so that is what I learned to sew on.

I have a treadle sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother.

My first machine belonged to my husband's grandfather then I bought one from my sister in law and gave the other one to another sister in law, his granddaughter.

My current machine is the fancy zigzag ones from the 1960's that had belonged to my mother in law.

I don't know anything about the newer ones.
 
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Pretty much any machine from the 1970's or earlier that is in working order would be fine.  It may actually be more important to find someone in your area that can service what you buy, than it is a matter of brands.  It is possible to do your own maintenance on those older machines if you are so inclined.  Service people don't tend to be sales people.  My sewing machine repair guy has Opinions and is only willing to sell Necchi as new machines.
 
pollinator
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I use a "Natalie", by the brand "Baby Lock". Its sturdy enough to handle heavy materials, and is all mechanical. No computer chips! It also has all-metal insides, which makes it very durable, although it also makes it rather heavy.

At one point I was running a small sewing business out of my basement, using a 70 year old Singer. When it started acting up in the middle of a major project, the Natalie was what my sewing machine repair guy suggested to replace it with.

 
Erica Colmenares
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Ooh, a search for Baby Love came up with a nearby sewing repair place. I'll start there. I'm not in a hurry, but I do like to ponder these bigger purchases for awhile.
 
pollinator
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I agree with others that an older machine that is still working will keep on working. I'm a third-generation dressmaker, with a degree in Fashion Design. I have used several brands and I was given some from y mom when she finally retired from professional sewing. My favorite machine is and always will be the Kenmore machine that my mom bought me when I graduated from college, 1977. It is metal, not plastic and it has never needed to be serviced! That's right 47 years with no service.  My best friend from elementary school has gone through at least 4 machines during that time. Whatever machine you get, please listen to this one piece of advice that will save you frustration as you sew, as well as save you repair money. Never, and never I mean never, touch your tension knob unless your pressure foot is down.  That is the biggest mistake that is made and has cost people so much money. Truthfully, I rarely if ever touch my tension. There really isn't any reason too, unless of course, someone messed with it while the pressure foot was up. Unfornealy it will be hard to find a metal machine these days, but keep your eyes out at yard sales, on FaceBook Marketplace I've seen several. I know a lot of people use Brother machines, but they will never give you the service of older machines.
 
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I use a "Natalie", by the brand "Baby Lock". Its sturdy enough to handle heavy materials, and is all mechanical. No computer chips! It also has all-metal insides, which makes it very durable, although it also makes it rather heavy.


I have a non-electronic  Huskystar, which is made by Husqvarna.  I’ve been very happy with it.   I don’t know if they still make a similar one, but the price was right and it hasn’t let me down yet.  I wouldn’t  say it’s super-heavy duty but it handles heavy materials and has a buttonhole foot.  It is lightweight, which is nice because I store it on a high shelf, but maybe it’s not as durable as the one mentioned above.

And old-school machine is a good idea too. I would have rather kept my mom’s old Singer, but apparently it never worked quite right, and an overhaul didn’t help.

Whatever you buy, I’d recommend something where the bobbin is easy/convenient to deal with.    Refilling and replacing the bobbin is an inevitable annoyance, but on my Huskystar it’s no big deal.  On my mom’s old machine, it was a real production.

I’d also recommend using top-quality thread like Gutermann or Mettler.  Threads like Coats and Clark Dual Duty (or whatever it’s called) can throw off bits of fuzz that can really add up and clog up the machine.
 
pollinator
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I went with a singer sewing machine.      If I was to do it again I would get the new ones that self thread the needles,   That would be a huge bonus for me.


Craigslist is a great place to find sewing machines as people dump them when they get tired of them, and often have many goodies with them.


Youtube has great videos on how to use sewing machines.


 
pollinator
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Have you sewn on machines much? Enough to know when you run one that works right? That helps a lot. If not, it might be worth taking classes which would allow you to learn how properly set up, good, machines run. Maybe the repair shop offers something.

Old sewing machines are one of the best values you can find today - if you sew. Own two, got them at about $5 each from Salvation Army store and some antique store somewhere. Saw a couple last month for $10 each. Take a road trip and hit resale stores, any kind. In or near a big city is best, but they're all over (for a while). "Estate" sales. ("Moving" sales are a total waste of time.)

If you're not going to sew all the time, getting a table mounted machine that folds down inside will make it much easier to "just sit down and sew" while at the same time keeping your space neat. Keeps the machine cleaner, too. Sewing table machines are less common than the carry aways but not _that_ hard to locate. I think I saw one last summer for about $20 or $25. If the machine is less than perfect, a good repair shop or cabinet maker can fit another machine into the cabinet, but that takes some skill. Better to find a set in good working order; or get real lucky and find another machine that just fits.  A good cabinet is very nice for a part time machine but will be harder to find and thus more valuable than the machine.

I think a zig-zag stitch is worth looking for. That's about the only "feature" that'd make much diff to me. You can find a button holer for most machines. If you think you might ever sew canvas or leather than take the time to research the strong machines. Old metal machines will handle more than today's plastic ones, but some old metal is stronger.


Best luck,
Rufus

 
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I have four singer machines & I do not sew.
MD wife sews on a 1990 model singer, she has made clothes for me.
I would love to have time to work with leather.

If I was buying a machine, it would be a Singer.
 
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Is anyone spinning much of their own yarn and if so does anyone have recommendations? Seems like there is one brand common in the US.
 
pollinator
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Even if you buy a used machine I find it worth the time to go to a couple of stores and try different machines out.   Most local owned dealer and or sewing machine service shops will let you try machines out.  You can very quickly tell how noisy, how smooth it runs, and how easy it is to stitch a straight line. Many service shops carry used machines too.  

I love old singer sewing machines.  My first one was from the mid 60's and the second one was 10 years newer. These 2 machines kept me sewing clothes and latter insulated window shades for 23 years.   I stopped using both of them because I could no longer get replacement parts for them.  I did upgrade to a heavy duty digital model by Pfaff with a built in walking foot and lot of stitch options for my 40th birthday. I did this because I want to keep sewing as my physical limitations increase due to a rare connective tissue disorder I have.  It has served me and the  robotics team I mentor well for the last 7 years but most people don't need that much machine.
 
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Lucas Green wrote:Is anyone spinning much of their own yarn and if so does anyone have recommendations? Seems like there is one brand common in the US.



Take a peek in the textile tools forum. You may find what you are needing there.
 
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