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Message Board > Sewing Machines > Machine for my wife. ( Moderated by Sharon1952, EleanorSews)

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Machine for my wife.
Machine for my wife.
viper1129
viper1129
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Member since 8/21/13
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Date: 8/21/13 7:22 PM

My wife wants me to buy her a sewing machine. She wants to start making doll clothes for 18" dolls. I was wondering if anyone on here may have suggestions on what kind I should probably get her. She has had some experience sewing before, but is not sure what machine is the best. I want to surprise her on our anniversary (with some jewelry too).

karen149
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karen149  Friend of PR
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In reply to viper1129 <<
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Date: 8/21/13 7:32 PM

Have her go to some dealers, try out machines, and give you a list of which machines she liked best. Surprise her with a gift certificate from one of the places she visited.

We get many men on here wanting to pick out a machine for their wife, usually at Christmas. You have posed your question to a group of owners who can be quite adamant that whoever will be sitting in front of said machine should be the one picking it out. I would hate it if my husband bought me a sewing machine that had pink all over it, for instance. Or was to "techy", or too simple, with the wrong set of stitches for the type of sewing I wanted to do. It would be kind of like you asking her to surprise you with a boat and she buys you a bass fishing boat when you really wanted a ski boat.

What is your budget? Good sewing machines can range from $300 on up to $10,000...or more! Does she want decorative stitches on the doll clothes? There are machines that have a nice variety of stitches. Some brands tend toward a larger set of flowery stitches while other have selections of more sophisticated, modern choices. One brand has a interesting set of unique border-edge type stitches. There are mechanical machines, electronic and computerized machines.
-- Edited on 8/21/13 7:38 PM --

Connie F
Connie F
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Date: 8/21/13 8:18 PM

If you want to surprise her, give her a card with a picture of a generic sewing machine in it and then take her shopping after your anniversary! That way you surprise her on your special day, but she gets to pick the machine that works best for her!! We use to suggest that to hubbies at the quilt shop all the time!!! Happy Anniversary to the both of you on your special day!

LynnRowe
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LynnRowe  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/21/13 8:46 PM

Sewing machines are very personal tools. You probably wouldn't want someone else choosing tools or a car for you...those are personal items the person using them needs to pick for themselves.

So what I always suggest is to go visit a sewing machine store and buy a sewing basket; ask the sales person to stuff it for you...machine needles, box of good pins, a good pair of scissors (Kai is an awesomely good brand), measure tape, some rulers, rotary cutter, spare packet of blades, small rotary cutting mat etc.

And then do a card to go with the basket with a "coupon" to go sewing machine shopping together.

If your wife is unable to go with you to try out and choose a machine, she will want a free-arm machine so she can sew tiny doll clothes. I would suggest checking out the Pfaff Ambition line and the Babylock Molly etc line. Sales staff at the shops should be able to help you choose.

If at all possible though, your wife should try several machines out first and make her decision.

Happy Anniversary!

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

Warbler
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Warbler  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/21/13 8:53 PM

Several things come to mind here... you have been offered good advise to let your wife pick the machine... But we all highly recommend that you find a dealer who you (your wife) feel you can trust. You will find that nearly everyone bases their decision of machine purchases not only the machine and its features but what rapport one feels with the dealer as they negotiate. Ask them the hard questions about how they deal with machines that are problematic. Ask about their maintenance and service. Ask about lessons. Buying a sewing machine is a little like buying a car... the price generally is negotiable. If a dealer doesn't move on price ask for extras like feet or extension tables or carrying cases. Don't let a dealer sweep you up to the top model unless that is what you decide you want to do anyway. Get a machine that offers room to grow where features are sophisticated enough enhance the sewing experience.... I know that sounds corny... But my personal experience was that my husband did the same for me except he went and purchased the machine without my input and I wound up with a basic model I quickly outgrew. But I did not want to hurt his feelings, so I sewed with that machine for 10 years until I'd had enough. I am still sewing on the machine I replaced it with and have accumulated a few more in the meantime.

Have your wife make up a packet of fabrics of various types, like cotton, knits, denim, etc to test the machines capacity to sew those fabrics, she should include threads of various types too. The more diverse the testing packet the better sense you will have on how the machine handles those fabrics. The testing fabrics at dealerships are generally stabilized which make everything look really fantastic. It may not produce real world results.

As you and your wife search for a machine have her read reviews on models she considers and to start a thread or continue with this one where you both can post questions to get feedback or advise on various models. We all like to enable, especially when it comes to sewing machines!!!

------
Janome MC6600 Bernina 240 Juki MO735 Singer 201-2 Singer 221-1

Harriet P.
Harriet P.
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TN USA
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Date: 8/21/13 9:04 PM

Hi, I make doll clothes for my American Girl dolls and for my adult daughter who has many American Girl dolls. I like to use the many decorative stitches. My machines do have free- arms, but I don't use the free-arm part of the machine because the free arm part of the machine isn't narrow enough. If she has never made doll clothes for the 18 inch dolls before, there is a different way to sew the clothes than we sew clothes for ourselves. Cindy Hines has some good books on making doll clothes. Also, people who make and sell the patterns show you different techniques which will make sewing these small pieces easier. I also agree with everyone else about letting her pick out the machine. I also love the idea of getting a basket full of sewing items.
Harriet

Brotherlover
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Brotherlover
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Date: 8/21/13 9:10 PM

Why don't you get one of those sewing machine tins from joanns, a nice card with money in the tin saying go pick the machine you want. It is hard for hubby to know what brand she might like there are different brands for everyone. There is also a huge budget range we don't want to suggest 1000 dollar machines if your budget is 500. Lots of people love berninas. I personally hate them so if my hubby were to go buy one I would really not be happy because i am not a bernina girl. plus you don't know what features she wants like does she want IDT, decorative stitches, thread cutter, pivoting, knee lift, needle threader. it is hard for you to know this. Me personally my vote will always be brothers they are well built and very easy to use. I think a good starter model would be the PC-420 which will run you about 400, but there are even nicer ones above that like the laura ashley which will run you 2k but has some great features for the lower TOL models and it can go up to 3-4k for the TOL dreamweaver sewing only model from brother which is what I have except I have the combo version and it does everything you can imagine. I also had the predecessor to the laura ashley but the babylock model and it too was also an awesome machine. so there is a lot of homework in sewing machine selection.

------
Brother XL-3500i
SQ-9050
Dreamweaver VM6200D

clotheshorse
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clotheshorse  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/21/13 9:27 PM

I agree with the other posters regarding having your wife choose the machine. I used to make teddy bears and dolls and I really enjoyed using my Vikings for that. They are great machines that have beautiful decorative stitches. Pfaff is also known for the decorative stitches on their machines. If she is interested in vintage machines, the Singer 222k has a very tiny free arm that would be perfect for making doll clothes (it is a straight stitch only machine). Happy Anniversary and congrats to your wife for having such a nice hubby!

------
Viking D1, 1+, Pfaff 7570, Singer 503 Rocketeer, 66, 15-91, 301, Featherweight 6 Flock, Babylock Enlighten & CS and Pfaff Creative Performance

knit techie
knit techie
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Date: 8/22/13 8:38 AM

viper1129, compliments to you for including jewelry with your anniversary present! That is so sweet and thoughtful.

You've gotten lots of good sewing machine advice here so far. I'd like to emphasize the bit about finding out if the dealer offers support and lessons. Many people learn best working with a teacher rather than reading a manual or viewing videos. Sewing machines can be complcated to operate (some less than others.) The more features, the more there is to learn. So consider how much instruction and hand-holding will be included in that bottom-line price.

Have fun!

------
All things are difficult until they are easy.
--Fortune Cookie

Vicsguy
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Vicsguy
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Date: 8/22/13 9:26 AM

Go to Walmart and get her a $100 machine. Once she decides to go all in on sewing she'll have a better idea of what she likes and must have in her machine. Then you go buy her her dream machine!

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