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Wed Dec 21, 2011, 08:17 PM

Anyone with knowledge of the latest sewing machines???

I have been sewing all my life with my grandmother's old Singer, (still stitches beautifully, by the way), and my own 1960's era Kenmore, with the "new" (ha, ha) zig-zag feature. (I need the smilies!!!) I want to bring my sewing into this century.

I am totally intimidated with looking at the new computer operated models. You have to make an appointment to have them demonstrated, they are so complicated. I think the serger would be a very great feature to have, but is it best to just buy a serger machine, or another which has that feature as one of many?

Most of my sewing needs are in the decorating and craft area, some quilting of small pieces.

I always thought Singer the best manufacturer, but some of the new lines look tempting. I suppose they are all made outside the US, even the Singer.

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Reply Anyone with knowledge of the latest sewing machines??? (Original post)
northoftheborder Dec 2011 OP
Suich Dec 2011 #1
shanti Jan 2012 #16
surrealAmerican Dec 2011 #2
Tansy_Gold Dec 2011 #3
suninvited Dec 2011 #4
northoftheborder Dec 2011 #5
kcass1954 Dec 2011 #6
northoftheborder Dec 2011 #7
handmade34 Dec 2011 #8
northoftheborder Dec 2011 #9
northoftheborder Dec 2011 #13
handmade34 Dec 2011 #14
catchnrelease Dec 2011 #10
northoftheborder Dec 2011 #11
handmade34 Dec 2011 #12
sinkingfeeling Jan 2012 #15
northoftheborder Jan 2012 #17

Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 03:13 AM

1. I've been using the same Singer for over 40 yrs.!

A friend had one of those new-fangled ones and asked me if I could come over to help her figure out how to put a new needle in. The manual was about 3/4 inches thick, and after an hour, I gave up! We could not figure out how to put a new needle in, which should be one of the easiest things to do!

This happened about 10 years ago, so I don't know if things have gotten better or worse!

Good luck!

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Response to Suich (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 11:10 PM

16. totally sympathize!

i used to sew a LOT, but no longer, as it's too hard to see, for me. however, i needed a new machine, so i bought one at costco, a singer. should be good quality, right, costco? problem is, that it is electronic, and not mechanical like the old style machines, and i had no idea.....i don't care for it at all.

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:29 AM

2. I doubt that you could find a new machine as good as your old ones ...

... regardless of what brand you choose. In the early '70 Singer switched to plastic innards for their machines, making them lighter, but much less durable and reliable. Most other manufacturers made similar choices. New machines are made to last maybe ten years; your old ones could last a hundred or more.

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:51 AM

3. I have to agree

I don't know about the high-end machines, but I have two inexpensive Singer portables, one purchased in 1998, the other bought just a year or so ago. If I could take the best features of each and combine them, and ditch the bad parts, I might have a halfway decent machine.

I'm not sure about the 1998 Singer, but yes, the one I purchased at Costco last December was made in China with mostly plastic parts and probably the world's worst manual.

If I had the money to invest in a higher end machine -- I'm talking anything upwards of say $500 -- I'd take the time to try them out on exactly the kind of sewing I'd be using it for regularly. Machines work differently whether you're piecing a quilt or sewing renaissance faire costumes or making lingerie or upholstering bar stools.

Everyone I know who has a serger loves it -- I've never tried one.



My 2 cents.



TG

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 08:55 AM

4. if you are sewing crafts only

I don't see the need for the extra money for the serger. I sure would like to sew clothing, though.

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:59 AM

5. Thanks for all the input.. I need as much as possible.

My 60's Kenmore is VERY heavy.(I think it was made in Germany). At one time I could lift it (barely) out of it's cabinet to take to be cleaned and oiled. I no longer can lift it at all, one reason I'm looking for a new one. Of course, that weight makes it more durable. It stopped sewing after making a costume from heavy material for a grandchild. I think it just needs servicing, and if I could get someone to move it for me, I could get it fixed. Although it stitches fairly well, it still does not do the fine tight stitch that my old Singer does. However, I really need a machine which will do multiple things, as well as sew through thick fabrics, which the Singer or Kenmore can't do, and do a serge finish.

I have inherited an enormous collection of old fabrics, laces, ribbons, and hope to use them in some creative ways in my next era of sewing. I would like to start with a new machine in a modern cabinet. I guess I just need to do some hands on research. What about "Baby Lock"? Any experience with that line?

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 22, 2011, 09:01 PM

6. I bought a light-weight Baby Lock sewing machine late last year because I got

tired of lugging my heavier machine to classes and get-togethers with my quilting group. I love the machine - it weighs around 13 pounds and it sews great. I'm not sure it would survive the rigors of everyday sewing - sometimes I'll sew for 6 or 8 hours straight on a weekend. My Kenmore handles that just fine.

Two of my friends have Singers from the 60's that they refuse to give up. My old White was 35 pounds - I could barely haul it to the other end of the house. When my son's SO decided that she'd like to have a machine, I passed it along.

My SIL has a Bernina 830 with the big embroidery module. The machine lists for somewhere in the $12K range. She and my brother can well afford it, and she doesn't work so she has more time to sew. But really - $12K???

I don't know that I'd spend the money on a fancy machine without considering all the costs. Some machines have expensive feet and bobbins, and accessories that are not interchangeable with other machines. An embroidery machine would be nice, but you'll go through needles like crazy, and some of the threads will bankrupt you.

If you decide on something that's more than just a base model machine, buy from a local dealer who has good reputation and will teach you how to use your machine. (Extra points if they do their own service.)

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Response to kcass1954 (Reply #6)

Fri Dec 23, 2011, 04:18 PM

7. thanks - sounds like useful advice!

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Mon Dec 26, 2011, 08:41 PM

8. I learned on a Kenmore

40+ years ago and I bet that machine is still somewhere working just fine! (I gave it to a friend when I thought I had become a big shot seamstress in the 70's)... When I was 14, my Grandmother, who made all her own clothes and hundreds of quilts, by hand, took me shopping, bought me my first machine and demanded that I learn to sew... (she was a very intimidating woman)

When choosing a machine it really depends on how much you want to spend, what you will use it for and how often. I don't think Singers are the quality product they used to be. I Love Baby Lock and think they are well made. When I am in the market for a machine, I go into a couple of sewing shops and just try out all the machines they have and get a feel for each of them. When I bought my Janome, I was out looking for a Baby Lock and just happened to run across the one I finally bought on sale. Machines are expensive these days and I don't hesitate to ask for the best deal the shop can give me and maybe throw in some extra accessories or notions.

I have had literally dozens of machines over the years (had my own shop for a bit and collected treadle machines for years) and now that I travel for work, I just bought the new Husqvarna 100Q because it is small and travels well. It is a fine machine for crafts, quilting and just plain sewing.



My big machine back home is a Janome Memory Craft 6300 and my serger is a Juki. A serger is a must if you make lots of clothes... (Oh, I really miss the serger!!)







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Response to handmade34 (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 27, 2011, 06:23 PM

9. Thanks for this input about specific brands.

You're right, I need to get my act together and start shopping in person, trying out different ones. It seems a lot of the machines do go on sale at one time or another, and if I start now, maybe I can catch one before I move.

I used to tailor my own clothes, but now I would just like to be able to do repairs and alterations, since nothing fits me. Plus, handle my creative ambitions.

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Response to handmade34 (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 02:48 PM

13. Do you teach classes or seminars connected to sewing when you travel?

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 11:45 PM

14. I would love to teach sewing

but alas... my travel is mapping for gov't studies...

I had a custom design and alteration shop years ago (until my husband got sick) and would love to do it again someday (as an aside to my organic farm)

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 08:33 PM

10. I bought myself a new Janome last year

Last Christmas I also decided to give up my old Singer. I went to a local "Sew-n-Vac" store that has some fabric and classes in addition to sales/repair of machines. They were so nice and helpful it made the process painless. I described exactly what I do--cloth art dolls--so they could eliminate any of the machines that have mainly quilting programs etc. I said that I really wanted something simple but more modern features than my old machine. The woman that helped me started with the low end and worked up, describing the features of each and steering me away from things I probably wouldn't want. I never felt like she was just trying to make a sale or push the more expensive machines.

I ended up with a middle of the line Janome and I LOVE it. Does all the basic things plus things that make what I do sooo much more simple. For example, you can push a button to have the needle always stop down. So when I am doing little fingers or other details that require raising the foot and turning the fabric, the needle will stay down and hold the spot. Several auto knotting options, so you don't have to back stitch if you don't want to. None of it really fancy, just making doing the basics easier. (Wow, who knew that machines have a needle threading feature now??!!)

I think with tax it was under $500. on sale. They also offered a free class to get me acquainted with what the machine does. I've gone back a couple times when I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong in a particular situation and they were happy to troubleshoot and get me back on track at no charge. If you can find a place like this, that is not a chain and is willing to give you more personal help, I think it makes a big difference vs a place that's just trying to get machines out the door. And really describe what you plan on doing or not doing so the sales person can, hopefully, narrow down your choices.

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Response to catchnrelease (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 09:48 PM

11. Hmmm - good idea to find a store selling different brands.

Man do I need that needle threading feature!!!

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 30, 2011, 09:34 AM

12. might I suggest

if you get serious about a serger... the Baby Lock has a patented "jet-air threading" feature, which is awesome... threading is the most difficult part of a serger

http://www.babylock.com/sergers/imagine/

"Threading a serger has never been easier than with the revolutionary Jet-Air Threading from Baby Lock. With just one touch of a lever, thread is sent through the tubular loopers. There are no thread guides, no struggling, and there’s plenty of extra time to serge away!"

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Mon Jan 9, 2012, 11:29 AM

15. I bought a Pfaff about 20 years ago. It's computerized in that you can make your

own designs and 'write' out anything. I'm a quilter and love it's built in walking foot. Also has an needle threader that I absolutely need now days.

I think they still have those features on the new Pfaff machines. They make one model just for quilters. I have a separate serger.

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Response to northoftheborder (Original post)

Tue Jan 31, 2012, 02:27 PM

17. Thanks for all your inputs!!!

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