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sewing machine quandary!!
The best approach to buying machine for beginner
10legs
10legs
Member since 10/5/12
Posts: 6
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Date: 10/5/12 8:36 PM

Hello All!
I am a busy working mom who would like to learn how to sew. I am a beginner (unless you count hand embroidery in my youth and have never used a machine) I have been investigating sewing machines to buy and have visited some dealers and received varied advice. End result: I am totally confused. When I discovered this site, I signed up at once - your advice will be greatly appreciated!
Background info: I am interested in sewing home projects, kids clothes, alterations etc. I might be interested in machine embroidery later, once I get comfortable using my machine. There is a Viking dealer (in a Joann), a mom & pop store with Viking + Brother and a Bernina dealer(rather snooty!) in the vicinity. Budget <$ 1000.00
Questions:
1. Should I buy a cheaper machine that is more manual to begin with OR start with a higher end computerized model that will make learning to sew easy ?
2. Any recommendations for a beginning machine given the dealers near me?
3. I may need to move overseas - which of the above will need the least "help" from dealers?
4. Is buying a machine from Viking inJoann any different from the smaller sewing store? Both offer classes.

JEF
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JEF  Friend of PR
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In reply to 10legs <<


Date: 10/5/12 10:16 PM

Welcome 10legs!

There is a REALLY long thread about buying a machine with lots of advice: buying a machine thread.

About your specific questions, I can only offer my opinion on a couple points: I have and love both manual and computerized machines. I do think a computerized machine is less fussy for a beginner (threading is often easier, tension requires less adjusting etc). I also like features such as the machine stopping with the needle up or down each time which can only be programmed in on a computerized machine.

Even the bargain basement machines will run nicely at first... but with your budget you can get a nice machine that will last until you outgrow it. I would not combine embroidery and sewing in one machine - I think a dedicated machine for each is more convenient. That also really lets you sink your teeth into sewing now without being overwhelmed by the embroidery side.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

JEF

------
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln

kitphantom
kitphantom  Friend of PR
New Mexico USA
Member since 1/6/11
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Date: 10/6/12 11:28 AM

Ask around, if you can, among friends who sew. That may help.
I bought my first Bernina from the dealer here almost 25 years ago, it was used and I would not hesitate to recommend that route, if you have a reliable dealer. In fact, I have bought 5 Bernina machines over the years (I still have/use 4 of them) and only one was new. All of the machines were from the same dealer,though one machine was purchased from a friend, serviced at the dealer.
Every brand of machine has good and not-so-great or bad dealers. Every machine brand has better and not so fancy machines.
If good used machines are available, I'd rather see someone buy a good condition, formerly higher-end machine, than some of the newer, cheaper ones. Over the years, I have watched people in workshops I've taken, who struggle with machines that are really not up to the task. It is sad to see someone's precious money not doing as much work as it could for them.
A good quality, basic machine will do well for you, especially if you have no interest in embroidery.

------
Bernina: 910, 930, 180, 440
Bernina 1150MDA
Bernette 004D serger
Vintage/classic Singer: 201, 301, 221

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 10/6/12 3:33 PM

The Viking dealer most likely has a store in your area apart from the kiosk at Joann. Check this out before making a purchase at the kiosk only to find it closing without a back-up store.

See if the dealers, aside from Bernina (way too expensive) have classes.

I have owned Singer, Elna, Bernina and Babylock. My preference is Babylock.

Buy from the dealer you like the best, is the most helpful, has lessons and classes. You may be able to gain a couple sewing buddies.

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

"Isnít it a shame in todayís world you canít tell the truth. If you tell the truth youíre abrasive. If you lie youíre charming." - Bob Huggins/College Basketball Coach

PortlandMaine
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PortlandMaine  Friend of PR
Maine USA
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Date: 10/6/12 3:44 PM

-- I was rough on my first few machines -- mostly because of inexperience I did things that really should not have been done to machines --

I might try to learn on a machine where it wont be a huge loss if you break it.

------
Quilting up a storm!

10legs
10legs
Member since 10/5/12
Posts: 6
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Date: 10/6/12 3:50 PM

Thanks all for your advice! I am going to do some more homework and look into surrounding dealers especially those who might sell good used machines.
An additional question - I may be moving to India (different voltage). Does anyone think that computerized machines are more at risk for breakdown if there are power fluctuations? My mother has been using her 40 year old Kenmore with a voltage converter without any problems.

tgm and Kittys
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tgm and  Kittys
Wisconsin USA
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In reply to 10legs <<


Date: 10/6/12 4:35 PM

I do not know the answer to this ... but maybe post over under Regional sewers someone in that area may see it & know the answer.

------
The Girls... Baby & Mittee girl >^,,^
It's all about The Baby , about the Baby, about The Babe ....Big Smile! (sung off key ..la la la )

Here comes the big 60! OH MY!

The sewing workers:
Hello Kitty Kate (green), Hello Kitty Valerie, Dottie Kenmore, Bubba Kenmore the traveler,has case does travel.
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JEF
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Date: 10/6/12 6:47 PM

A lot of machines are dual volte. My Bernina is.

JEF

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"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln

Screaming Mimi
Screaming Mimi
California USA
Member since 3/13/10
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Date: 10/6/12 7:06 PM

In my area, the Viking kiosks in Joann are owned, and operated by Viking, or a near-by dealer.

As an independent sewing instructor, I would not say that a computerized machine makes learning easier. In some cases it can make it a little more challenging.

I would suggest starting with a mid-level machine such as the Viking H Class 100Q -- I mention this one because you are looking at Vikings, and I have had the opportunity to use this model a few times.

You can read my full article on buying your first sewing machine here

B

B
Minnesota USA
Member since 12/5/03
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Date: 10/6/12 7:53 PM

I would hesitate to buy a computerized one if planning to bring it overseas. Besides the electricity I think the mechanical would be easier to fix if there was a problem. I used a mechanical one many years ago in Germany that was no problem.
There are some machines with dual power switches and I would seriously consider them.

Maybe you could find out which brands are in use in the other country.
-- Edited on 10/6/12 7:54 PM --

------
Janome serger 634D, Brother PC6000, Singer 500A, Kenmore Mini-Ultra, vintage Bernina 600, White Rotary treadle, New Homestead A VS treadle

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