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Forum > Sewing Machines > Machines for a Kid's School ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Machines for a Kid's School
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ktcorrado
ktcorrado
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Date: 6/24/13 3:51 PM

Hello!
I run a creative arts school in the DC area, and need to buy 5 machines for a series of sewing classes. I have been reading tons of reviews and researching machines, but I thought I'd ask if anyone here has any recommendations.

The most important features are Speed Control and an easy to load bobbin (So many of my troubles with sewing come from the bobbins. I have a Bernina which I love and has the easiest bobbin I've ever used, but too expensive for the class!)
I want to spend less than $500 per machine.
These are going to get a lot use, so I would like it to be a heavy/sturdy machine.
I'd also love for it to have simple lettering capabilities- I think the kids would love to add their names to everything, but other than that I just need a straight and zig-zag stitch. I know the lettering option might be a tough find so I might just get a separate Embroidery machine...

Any ideas???

quiltingwolf
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In reply to ktcorrado <<
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Date: 6/24/13 4:15 PM

These might have more then you need but the price is right and meets your needs. They get very good reviews.

Singer 9960

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karen149
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Date: 6/24/13 4:29 PM

Just about every machine made today will either be a straight-stitch only machine or one that will have several stitches beyond zig-zag...blind hem stitch, buttonholes, etc. Once you add the alphabet, you are getting into a computerized machine. An embroidery machine is usually used for doing large monograms and designs and can take more time to stitch out than the time that the class may be in session. You would also need to invest in embroidery supplies and have a computer to transfer to the machine or a USB stick if you are not using designs built into the machine.

A great class machine would be the Janome Magnolia 7330, which sells for $399. If you are wanting an on-board alphabet, Janome has the DC5100 at $599

Brother makes a few machines with a font in the lower price range but keep in mind the life cycle of these machines. They will not last forever. There is the HC1850 or the XR9500PRW.

Personally, I would choose the Janomes because they have a metal housing under the plastic surface, which keeps the needle bar stable. The Brothers I mentioned have their computer components simply attached to the plastic housing interior.

My first choice would actually be the Janome Sewist 500, priced at $299. It has a twin, the BabyLock Molly. While these models do not have speed control, most kids learn to control the foot pedal easily. For the ones that don't, tape a pencil or other object to the backside of the pedal so they can't push it down all the way, keeping the speed down.
-- Edited on 6/24/13 4:35 PM --

beauturbo
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Date: 6/24/13 4:47 PM

Unless you are very good with sewing machines and taking out stuck thread kids may get in there, I think you should at least look at the construction of each machine you are thinking about. As in get one that you can within a few minutes at least expose the whole top thread path, so that would be ones that have some kind of swing open door on the left, over the thread take up, or just a separate compartment there that comes off with one screw to remove that, if you want to be taking out all your own "kids thread jams" as you go. A separate removable compartment that comes off easy with a few screws under the bobbin case area, if you want to maintain them and keep them running everyday for all those kids all by yourself, might not be a bad idea either. Kids are kind of tough on things sometimes and not as careful in using something, as maybe some adult. So I think for a School, clam shell only two piece construction is probably not a real great thing. Particular if you are in charge of all of them, and have to keep them all working yourself, and just every day no matter what.

AminaHijabi
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Subject: Machines for a Kids School Date: 6/24/13 4:53 PM

find a Janome Schoolmate 3015. Easy construction, top loading bobbin, and it does have a high-low speed switch on the side so you can turn down the max speed. It's also mechanical and will be easy for you to maintain and hard for them to break. It also has a finger guard so it will be more difficult for them to sew through their own fingers. What age are the kids?

ktcorrado
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Subject: Machines for a Kids School Date: 6/24/13 6:12 PM

Thank you so much for your replies! The kids are ages 7-12.
I looked into the models recommended above and am rethinking my plans! Based on Karen's suggestion, I now think that I will just buy one 'special' machine (maybe the Juki F400) that the kids can use to monogram and decorate. Then I can get 5 machines for everyday use at a lower price point.
I like the Schoolmate and Sewist machines, but my mom just brought up Auto tension control, which I hadn't thought of earlier (again the Bernina has spoiled me) That eliminates so many of the models I had been considering (I had been leaning towards the Magnolia)

Maybe the DC3050?

karen149
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In reply to ktcorrado <<


Date: 6/24/13 8:32 PM

The DC3050 is a proven machine and very easy to use. I had a Kenmore version and it sewed perfectly. Everything is on the front of the machine. While it does have auto tension, it does not have pressure adjustment for the presser foot but I would think with kids, the auto tension would win out...if they keep their hands off it.

a.rose.sews
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Date: 6/24/13 9:27 PM

Please don't get any cheap Singers or Brothers. There's a Bernette 25 that has lettering capabilities. It's about $500. But it has the plastic drop-in bobbin. There's a Bernette 15 that has an oscillating hook (like the Berninas) that's about $300. It's really basic, but has a blanket stitch (for applique), a nice buttonhole system and you have control of the stitch width (which you don't get on a lot of the newer, cheaper machines).

Good luck in your search!

------
Annette -- Sewing Machine Mechanic
Bernina 230, Bernina 800DL serger, Kenmore (60 lbs), Singer Treaddle 1901, White serger, Mercury MO111 industrial, shell-stitch machine, plus several to fix and sell or use for parts.

rubbecca

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Date: 6/24/13 9:38 PM

I have the Janome version of this Kenmore machine which is exactly like the Janome DC5100 except for the case colors. Much cheaper than the Janome. It has speed control, many stitches and alphanumeric characters.

http://www.allbrands.com/products/32180-kenmore-19233-215stitch-top-computer-sewing-machin

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Janome Sewist 509
Rebranded Kenmore 19233/Janome DC 5100
Janome MyLock 644D
Janome CoverPro 1000CP
Brother PE 700II (traded)
Brother DreamMaker VE 2200

Marie367
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In reply to AminaHijabi <<


Date: 6/24/13 9:44 PM

What are your goals for these children? If you want to get them excited about sewing something then a solid mechanical machine that poses few problems will do the trick. My Janome/Elna dealer says that alot of the schools in the area use the Schoolmate. She has a similar Elna that I was looking at for my daughter. It is really awesome. I do not think auto tension is all that important for teaching children the basics. For those of us who took Home Ec in school, the sewing machines were almost always mechanical with only straight and zigzag stitches. The Janomes are solid sewers and hold up to some abuse. If they mess up the tension, it should be easy to adjust (unless they start messing with the bobbin tension). Children are amazingly creative and you show them the basics and they will take off. I would suggest looking at machines that are solid and easy to maintain because they will take some abuse from children (and adults for that matter) who are learning to sew. HTH

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