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Sewing Machine Recommendations?
for a teen on a budget
tands1
tands1
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Date: 2/14/13 9:23 PM

Hi all
I am needing some advice on a sewing machine. I would like to find a sturdy, reliable machine for not more than about 200 dollars. All I need is a straight and zig zag stitch really.

I sew for several hours a day. I need a machine that won't balk at sewing four layers of thick fleece repeatedly. I sew lots of thick fleece, and my Singer Simple 2263 has real trouble with doing that. I also quilt a bit.

I've been looking into Janome machines because I've heard they are excellent work horses. Everything I've read about the new singers says to stay away from them and that they are not made like they used to be. So I'm a little reluctant to buy a singer. All of the Berninas, Pfaffs, and other high end machines I've looked at are way out of my price range.

I've only ever used a vertical bobbin, but I would be willing to give one of those top loading bobbins a shot. Any suggestions and advice are much appreciated!
Thanks

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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In reply to tands1 <<
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Date: 2/14/13 9:35 PM

Yes, you can sew 4 layers of fleece all day on a $200 machine...but you will be buying a $200 machine every few months. They just aren't made for such heavy use and will wear out quickly at that rate.

The closest model I can think of right now would be the Janome HD1000. Nice and simple but it does cost $100 over your budget. You may be able to find a basic vintage older machine. I just fixed a Kenmore from the 70's that a relative gave me and it's awesome! Just a straight and zig-zag.

If you've got a little business going maybe you can put aside a bit each month and find a used industrial machine later, like a Singer 20U. It does straight and zig-zag.
-- Edited on 2/14/13 9:38 PM --

Runrover
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Date: 2/14/13 9:46 PM

Not sure about four layers of thick fleece, but I have read good reviews about Janome machine. I have a small 3/4 Janome from Hancock Fabrics and it handles multiple layers of cotton, twill and denim well. It has a few basic preset stitches, but isn't my primary sewing machine. I would suggest reading some of the sewing machines reviews here and then, if you can, "test drive" some machines in your price range. Also, I found a very good mechanical used Viking Daisy on eBay for less than your budget. The Daisy is a great Swedish made machine and so far has sewn through anything I've put through it. Good-luck!
Cynthia

------
Cynthia

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 2/15/13 10:41 AM

I would also recommend the Janome HD1000, even though it's a bit above your price range. (It's $299 at this online dealer I've linked.) If you could wait a bit and save another $99...? The reason I suggest that is your criteria of sewing 4 layers of thick fleece daily. Other than that, I'd point you in the direction of a Brother, as for about $200 you could get a machine that should be sturdy. But I can't guarantee it wouldn't balk at 4 layers of fleece daily.

(If you can find a good-condition Singer 15-91 on Craigslist, that would handle the 4 layers of fleece. They can usually be found in the $50-100 range. You'd want to know that it was in sewing-ready condition, though. If so, all they need it regular oiling and lubing - - if their wiring is sound. They're a straight stitch only - - a beautiful, perfect straight stitch; and strong.)
-- Edited on 2/15/13 10:44 AM --

tands1
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Date: 2/15/13 12:52 PM

Hi, thank you for your responses. I did think that it was a lot to ask of a <$200 machine. Didn't even know if one existed at that price that would meet my needs.

I do have a little sewing business thing - that's why I sew so much. I took a look at the HD1000 and it seems very good, with all the metal and everything. Says it's heavy duty too.

Do you know how long it might last with the heavy use of it? Because I used to only do occasional sewing on my $100 singer. then when I started seriously sewing, all the time practically, it died fast.

I asked my dad about an old machine and he does have this old singer that belonged to my grandma. It's attached to a table though so you can't take it anywhere. Would a really old singer work better than a newer machine?

This is what it looks like:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/65571293@N05/8476880890/

He says that it's not in working condition now and that we would have to get it fixed up. Do you think it would be better to get this machine serviced rather than buy a new one?

Karen31
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Date: 2/15/13 1:10 PM

Have you checked with some dealers on used machines? Often you can get a trade in that'll give you more bang for your buck and a warranty (don't say it's used for business!). And I don't know how it works on the fleece you're using (someone else can probably comment on this) but if you could stretch your budget and find a well priced Bernina 830 those babies are workhorses. Does it need to be portable?

------
Karen

karen149
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Date: 2/15/13 1:37 PM

Get your Grandma's machine fixed and KEEP it! It's a Singer 201-2 and a total classic. Many people keep/get those for tasks they don't want to subject their fancy computerized machines to. You are so lucky to have this in your family. Parts are still available for any restoration needed. There is a Yahoo group devoted to these vintage machines that can help you:

vintagesingers Yahoo group

tgm and Kittys
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tgm and  Kittys
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Date: 2/15/13 1:55 PM

I would get that one fixed. It does not have extra high lift but maybe with a straight stitch walking foot it would go through the layers. The harp size is larger than more sm which is nice. If your Dad could move that 201 to your house with the cabinet that would be one long lasting sturdy sm.

I was at a tailor shop today & he showed me his machines..... he said his favorite is an older Juki that is straight stitch only & it goes through anything. He also has a Singer 20U but he still prefers the old Juki. He said he has been a tailor for years & this is just his opinion.

Oh & welcome to PR! I hope you will like being a member....
-- Edited on 2/15/13 2:24 PM --

------
Home of the adorable Baby & Mittee girl >^,,^<
Meowy Christmas everyone!

Oh good, DH has now getting a nice part time job. Avg 20 hours a week.
The sewing workers:
Hello Kitty Kate (green), Hello Kitty Valerie, Dottie Kenmore, Bubba Kenmore the traveler.

Be still & know that I Am God +
Dear God...please help us out..Thank you..+

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to tands1 <<
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Date: 2/15/13 1:56 PM

Grandma's machine may be a straight stitch only.

If you are a minor, take a parent and a few pieces of scraps from what you sew and visit as many sewing machine dealers as you can find.

Tell them what you are doing and how much you have to spend.

They will show you what is within your budget. It may be new or used.

A new machine will have a warranty and the dealer should offer his own limited warranty on a used machine.

A vertical bobbin seems to me to be more sturdy than a horizontal, but I have machines with both and have no issues with either.

A horizontal bobbin will need to be cleaned more often as this configuration catches a lot of lint and fuzz....especially from fleece.

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

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 2/15/13 2:16 PM

Oh my goodness, that's a 201 or I miss my guess! Yes, that would be a workhorse that would handle your fleece! I'd take it to the repair place and get an estimate. Jenny at Sew-Classic has a LOT of vintage machine information and is, herself, as she puts it, a "gear head," and is most helpful with questions. (She helped me with a question about using cams in my Singer Rocketeer.) There's also a Yahoo group for vintage Singers moderated by a man named Bill (Holman?...I think I got that right) that has a lot of helpful information if you decide to repair your Singer.

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