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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Help me find the perfect sewing machine for my wife! ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Help me find the perfect sewing machine for my wife!
DelCrossE07
DelCrossE07
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CA USA
Member since 9/16/10
Posts: 3
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Date: 9/16/10 2:32 PM

Okay, I need some help! For the last 6 months or so, all my wife has been asking for for her birthday is a sewing machine (she refused to buy it before then... she insisted that it was a big enough item that it should be given as a present 8). I definitely want to get her one but I need some help. Before I go any further, let me give you a little background:

-- She's sewn before but not since she was little (not sure what type of machine she learned on or if that's important)
-- we currently don't own a machine
-- She is very creative and picks up things very quickly so I want to make sure to get her not just a "starter" machine but one she can really grow with too.
-- I'm not exactly sure what she's planning on making with it but I know she loves to decorate the home and has expressed interest in quilting (and we have our first child on the way so I'm sure she has some good ideas of things to make in that regard too).
-- We live in an apartment so the machine won't have a permanent home yet -- in other words, she'd probably prefer it to be portable but I don't want it to be so lightweight that she has trouble sewing heavy fabrics or doing larger projects
-- I have a budget of about $100-$300. I could probably be talked into a little more though if it meant getting something better fit for her
-- I'd really like to get her a solid machine that is reliable and well built and more importantly that she can learn and grow on and doesn't just end up frustrating her.

With all that said, can anyone make a suggestion? I've looked around some and quite frankly I'm confused! 8) Even if I could get some suggestions of brands to look at (or more importantly to stay away from), that'd be great! Also, is this something I should be deciding on my own? I mean, is this something that I should have her test out and pick the one she wants? I'd prefer to "surprise" her but I want to make sure to get a machine that she wants to use (I put surprise in quotes because she already knows what she's getting as she's been asking for it non-stop for the last half year 8)

I was looking pretty closely at a couple of the Brother models (cs6000i particlarly due to it's good reviews on Amazon) but then I got nervous as some of the reviews sounded like they had reliability issues. I also looked at a couple of Singer models because I remember my Mother always talking about Singer but then I read that Singer's quality isn't what it used to be. Janome seems to be another option in this price range but I don't know anything about them. Are there other options? I may be willing to buy second hand if that would get me a better machine but I don't have a lot of time to shop around as her B-day is coming up soon.

As you can see, I'm not sure what I'm doing! 8) Please help me find a good machine for my wife! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

ThePadre
ThePadre
Advanced Beginner
PA USA
Member since 1/27/09
Posts: 833
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In reply to DelCrossE07


Date: 9/16/10 3:22 PM

If you're looking for a new machine in that price range your best bet is a Janome-made unit.

Look at the Kenmore 19110 for $300 (enter 02019110000 in the search box at sears.com), Kenmore 16231 (enter 02016231000 ) for $250, or the 18221 (02018221000 ) for $180. All have reviews in the review section. All seem to be well-liked. All Kenmores with a 385. prefix on the model number are made by Janome.

Or, look at the Janome TB-30 (about $400; more than your limit, but highly regarded) or 15110 (about $250 at overstock.com; this is a refurbished Kenmore unit).

I have a Janome L-108, an all-mechanical machine identical to the current model TB-12 (which sells for $200, IIRC). It's basic, but gives me no problems at all.

The TB-12/30 are both Threadbanger machines with decidedly non-traditional graphics. Your wife might not like them.

And don't forget some lessons (or raw experimentation time). I'd get the machine you want and find a dealer to buy lessons at. My own dealer experience isn't so positive that I think a dealer is all the critical, especially in light of their decidedly limited return options. Whereas, Sears and many of the Internet dealers will refund your money if you/she don't like it(*). (A couple of others here will vehemently disagree with my opinion, and I respect both them AND their opinions. Hear what they have to say and make up your own mind.)

(**)Typically, it's best if the user of the machine helps select it. Seeing, though, that your wife has asked you to do the work on this one, allow for the possibility that she might want to exchange it for another model.
-- Edited on 9/16/10 3:24 PM --

GothDom
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GothDom  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/16/10 3:28 PM

As a counterpoint to our esteemed FrBasil..
I'd suggest finding her a Rocketeer or one of it's brethren.
It'll handle heavier fabrics better than a newer machine, it's very portable, and a wonderfully conditioned one can be had for around 200 or less.

------
http://www.acdc-vintage.com
This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

tgm and Kittys
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tgm and  Kittys  Friend of PR
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In reply to DelCrossE07


Date: 9/16/10 3:31 PM

Do you have a Babylock dealership near you? They have some nice sm for your price range. Also I recently saw the Janome Gem if she would like a nice sm that is not real heavy ...the Platinium is more than your budget but nice features.
If you think she would like classes on the sm I would stick with a dealership.

One forgot to ask do you think she prefer mechanical with a little more power or computerized with more decorative features? That would make a difference. .........I think I would avoid buying from big box stores like Shopko, Targets...but that is just me. Sears would be okay & they have good reviews here on PR. Hancocks here have people who are knowledgeable of sewing & help you in the sewing machine section & with the accessories. Just a thought. They have some Janomes, Bernettes & Brothers here. Our Hancocks also has a repair person comes once a week & services to keep warantee in good standing.


-- Edited on 9/16/10 4:01 PM --

------
Home of the adorable Baby & Mittee girl >^,,^<

2 shots in DH eye down, 1 more to go. We hope the tumor is shrinking. Orthopedic surgeon for DH on Thursday... sigh...

"Dear God...Help me out please!" ..Fr. Eric

ThePadre
ThePadre
Advanced Beginner
PA USA
Member since 1/27/09
Posts: 833
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In reply to GothDom


Date: 9/16/10 3:41 PM

Quote: GothDom
As a counterpoint to our esteemed FrBasil..

I'd suggest finding her a Rocketeer or one of it's brethren.

It'll handle heavier fabrics better than a newer machine, it's very portable, and a wonderfully conditioned one can be had for around 200 or less.


Now don't you go doubting by vintage sewing machine cred!

However, our dear newcomer might be a bit confused by the various vintage options, and we don't know how hip to the vintage thing his dear wife is!
poorpigling

poorpigling
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TX USA
Member since 12/28/07
Posts: 11066
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Date: 9/16/10 3:44 PM


I vote the same as FrBasil.
GothDom. too heavy and too old for a new mom.. And she can always join PR and then we can help her find other machines to add as she needs them.

A babylock machine would also be nice as are there dealers for the most part..

Everything that FrBasil said is right on I think..

She may want an embroidery machine later for the baby.. and a larger harp machine for quilting.. etc.. Did anyone warn the OP about me yet ?? Just askin.... LOL

gymcats

gymcats
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CA USA
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Date: 9/16/10 3:46 PM

I recommend Janome. Many people, especially quilters love their 6600, but it's more expensive. I heard great things about TB30, too, though I don't own one. I have Janome made Kenmores and they are very easy to use and reliable, feet and bobbins are cheap. I suggest you take your wife to dealers and try out. I'm not sure if any modern machine in your price range actually can handle heavy materials. If she wants to do heavy duty sewing, she can always find a vintage Kenmore 158.xxxx later for $200 or less.

GothDom
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Date: 9/16/10 3:46 PM

Never a doubter I!
That's why I said 'esteemed'!
geez.

Well, if she's creative and picks things up quickly, she shouldn't have too much issue with these machines, they are actually much more straightforward than the modern ones!

------
http://www.acdc-vintage.com
This one, that one, and a bunch of other ones!
(though the herd is getting more streamlined)

Laurie Lou
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Laurie Lou  Friend of PR
Intermediate
MN USA
Member since 10/16/05
Posts: 404
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Date: 9/16/10 3:53 PM

So as not to confuse ...FrBasil gave good advice. The dealer is a good route. I love the Brother 420 I ordered from Amazon but I didn't need leasons for it and it is a very easy and "lots of functions" machine....but I'd go the route of a dealer or lessons included if just starting out. You could also find an ASG (american sewing guild) neighborhood group for her. I belong and it is a fantastic group of women with hands on experience!

------
Laurie Lou

ThePadre
ThePadre
Advanced Beginner
PA USA
Member since 1/27/09
Posts: 833
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In reply to GothDom


Date: 9/16/10 3:54 PM

Quote: GothDom
Never a doubter I!

That's why I said 'esteemed'!

geez.



Well, if she's creative and picks things up quickly, she shouldn't have too much issue with these machines, they are actually much more straightforward than the modern ones!

Don't think I'm taking anything too seriously.

I have a dear friend looking forward to a chromed retro special heading her way. I have to decide which machine in inventory is best for her. Will it be the lavender Kenmore 52 in a cabinet, with a full set of cams? Will it be the dark blue Wizard with more dials a chrome than a 50s Buick? Or the light blue Singer? Decisions....
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