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Forum > Sewing Machines > Help with choosing a new sewing machine to make handbags/wallets ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Help with choosing a new sewing machine to make handbags/wallets
Consdering Janome DC 4030, DE 5124, and Kenmore 19233
caitlyn
caitlyn
Beginner
California USA
Member since 5/1/06
Posts: 14
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Date: 7/31/09 1:47 PM

Hello there!

I am hoping for some advice on purchasing a new sewing machine to replace my Singer 7466 Touch and Sew. I purchased it 3+ years ago when I was first learning to sew and had no idea what I would end up making. Now, I sew mostly handbags and small personal accessories like fabric wallets. I only ever use the straight stitch, but I need to sew through multiple layers of fabric (sometimes with heavyweight interfacing added) and my Singer just won’t do it much of the time. Or if it actually does it, the stitch quality is poor. I clean it regularly, but suddenly the tension is very wonky and overall the machine sounds much louder now. I’ve already put money into repairing it previously, but since it’s not doing what I need it to do anymore I’d like to invest my money in a better machine. My budget is around $600.

My wishlist of features includes:
--ability to sew through many layers of fabric without difficulty
--one-step buttonhole
--needle up/down
--adjustable foot pressure (because I am assuming this will help with sewing through thick layers?)
--start/stop button would be nice
--quiet is always good

I would prefer to purchase a Janome because I’ve read good things about the brand. I know Berninas are great but they appear to be out of my budget. After doing some research here on PR, the machines I am considering thus far are:

1. Kenmore 19233. It seems to have gotten good reviews. I originally was looking at the 19606, but it appears to be discontinued. I prefer to buy a brand new machine.
2. Janome DC 4030
3. Janome Décor Excel 5124

Can anyone give advice about whether the above machines would be good matches for what I need? Or suggestions for other models to consider? Portability is not an issue, I don’t need fancy stitches, and I am not a quilter.

Thank you in advance!

sewfrequent

sewfrequent
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 6/27/03
Posts: 3218
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In reply to caitlyn


Date: 7/31/09 2:46 PM

I've made bags before too so I know the problem with the home-dec weight fabrics, sometimes batting/interfacing/lining and then the straps create even more bulk that is a challenge for any domestic machine. I can't speak to the Decor models, but the others you mentioned I believe would not handle this on a regular basis. Janome makes a very sturdy semi-industrial model that only has a straight-stitch called 1600P. This machine would do it for you but I think cost might be a little over $600. If not that one, you might need to turn to an all-metal vintage model Singer 201, Pfaff 360, Viking 6xxx series. Especially since you only need a straight-stitch you can find a well maintained older machine for under $200. just be sure the presser foot lift will go high enough. I think Juki also makes a model similar to the 98Q but without thread-cutter and a knee lift. That one would be ideal also and it was around $600 last time I looked. I do see Brother 1500, BabyLock ProChoice, Janome 1600P, Viking Mega-quilters often in used for around $600 also. They're all basically the same--stout, strong, fast and able. You can't go wrong with one of those.

caitlyn
caitlyn
Beginner
California USA
Member since 5/1/06
Posts: 14
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In reply to sewfrequent


Date: 7/31/09 2:59 PM

Hello sewfrequent,

Thank you for the input! I'll take a look at the 1600P -- I hadn't even considered that one. I definitely don't need anything too fancy, but it sounds like the semi-industrial models might be a better fit. I appreciate your time!

BJ1400
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BJ1400
Intermediate
West Virginia USA
Member since 10/29/03
Posts: 2711
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In reply to caitlyn


Date: 7/31/09 3:24 PM

Caitlyn,
I too sew a lot of handbags. I have the Kenmore 19233 & generally love it. But it is not the machine for sewing bags. It will not sew thru multiple thick layers of fabric. Actually, I'm looking for a machine specifically for sewing handbags, but I don't want to spend a lot $$. I'm going to watch thrift stores, estate sales, etc to find an old Singer.

------
Beverly.

Sewing Makes Me Happy

http://bjsewmuchmore.blogspot.com

Noel Anne
Noel Anne
Beginner
Tennessee USA
Member since 5/16/08
Posts: 51
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Date: 7/31/09 3:32 PM

Hi. I just wanted to let you know that the Kenmore 19606 can be found on Ebay listed as Janome 115606. I bought one from Premiere Appliance for $239, free shipping. I used a 10% coupon code too, discounting the machine even more. It is a refurbished machine, so if you're set on a pristine machine that has never been out of the box you may not be interested. I am very satisfied with my purchase.

I know you stated that you wanted a new machine, but I would urge you to consider a vintage or late model used machine. The older Singer gear driven machines are great. I have or have had a 99k (belt driven), 201-2, 15-91, 401a (two), and 500a. All of them workhorses and easy to maintain. You will get so much more for your dollar if you go for a used machine, whether it's a late model or vintage.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide on.
-- Edited on 7/31/09 3:34 PM --

caitlyn
caitlyn
Beginner
California USA
Member since 5/1/06
Posts: 14
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In reply to BJ1400


Date: 7/31/09 3:32 PM

Hi Beverly,

Great to hear from someone with the Kenmore 19233! It's good to know that it won't work for bags.

caitlyn
caitlyn
Beginner
California USA
Member since 5/1/06
Posts: 14
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In reply to Noel Anne


Date: 7/31/09 3:35 PM

Thank you, Noel Anne! It sounds like you got an excellent price on your machine. Good to know that you had a positive experience with Premiere. I'll probably end up needing to buy my machine online.

HeyJane
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HeyJane  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Pennsylvania USA
Member since 5/18/05
Posts: 219
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Date: 7/31/09 4:00 PM

This is exactly why I got a Pfaff 130 specifically to make leather bags. It goes through suedes like butter. I have a Kenmore 19606 but wouldn't prefer to use it on super thick materials…I just get the feeling it would be too hard on the machine. I also have a Juki TL98Q but haven't attempted any bags on it, so sorry can't tell you much about that, however there is a 'ring foot' attachment available for the Juki that is really great at gripping fabrics like a walking foot…I use it for knits a lot. Anyway I don't think any of the current machines are capable of truly heavy duty, unless we go to something industrial designed for leather. Not an expert, that's just been my experience. Even my vintage $15 Bradford (clone) goes through everything like a work horse, including those thick garden tarps. HTH, Jane (Oh, now you got me in the mood to make myself that new purse I've been thinking about…speaking of bags.) I hope you find exactly what you want and need in a machine! :)

caitlyn
caitlyn
Beginner
California USA
Member since 5/1/06
Posts: 14
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In reply to HeyJane


Date: 7/31/09 4:59 PM

HeyJane,

Thank you! Do you think your Kenmore 19606 would have difficulty going through 4 layers of medium-weight cotton with pretty heavy interfacing on 3 of the 4 layers?

I probably make more small accessories (like the fabric wallets) than handbags...mostly because they go so much faster for me!

sewfrequent

sewfrequent
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 6/27/03
Posts: 3218
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In reply to caitlyn


Date: 7/31/09 5:13 PM

I'm not Jane, but I have that machine also and I don't believe it would do very well. The computerized Janomes generally seem not to have the power of other brands based on my experience with several as well. I realize some may disagree and that's fine. Mine stall out over terry intersections, for example. Nice machines just not the muscle for bags, imho.

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