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Help a beginner know what to buy
hatchna
hatchna
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Utah USA
Member since 12/31/13
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Subject: Beginner buying for my wife Date: 1/1/14 3:52 PM

I need some help here. I have very little experience with sewing machines and such outside of my mother's machine as I was growing up.

My wedding anniversary is coming up in a few months, and I want to buy my wife a sewing machine of her own so she doesn't have to borrow from her mother, or my mother when she needs to do something.

My wife is probably beginner level teetering toward intermediate in my estimation. She wants to be able to make some clothing for our young boys. She's also expressed some interest in possibly getting into some basic embroidery.

With all that, I want to surprise her on our anniversary. I don't have a huge budget, but plan to have saved between $600-$700 or so to spend on it. I want to get something she'd likely be comfortable with, but also something that will allow her to grow in skill as well. What kind of options am I looking at that could work for her?

I've visited a few sewing shops, one for Baby Lock, and one for Husqvarna-Viking. I liked the Opal line, but the 650 looks to be a bit beyond my available budget.

The Baby Lock dealer had a display model Sofia 2 for $575 that has piqued my interest, though I'm not sure about the 4x4 embroidery ring. She might want a larger ring, but I'm not 100% sure.

What other possibilities am I looking for, and how can I get the most machine for my lower end budget?

Thanks!
-- Edited on 1/1/14 4:48 PM --

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 1/1/14 4:53 PM

Stop. My husband did this 40 years ago and I am still ticked off about it.

Do not buy any sewing machine unless your wife has taken a test drive and has decided it is the one she likes best.

If she is going to do a lot of embroidery, then by-pass any machine with the standard 4 x 4 hoop/embroidery area.

Stick with Brother or Babylock, and a dealer who is patient, helpful and services what he sells.

A dealer will give one free "get acquainted with the machine" lesson and may offer more lessons or classes for a fee.

PS: Get as many free supplies as you can wrangle from the dealer. Software, thread and stabilizer can cost as much as you have set aside for just the machine.



-- Edited on 1/1/14 4:56 PM --

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

hatchna
hatchna
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Date: 1/1/14 6:16 PM

I understand the idea of of having her come along to try out the models and see which one she likes best. Under normal circumstances, that is how I would do it.

Money has been tight for a while, and though my wife says she wants a machine, she won't agree to go with me to look, as she can't bring herself to spend the money. What she doesn't know is that I've been saving up every spare dollar I can to afford this for her. If she found out about this before, then she would insist on using my savings elsewhere. Money is tight, but not so tight that we can't get by with what we have.

I want to do this for her because she won't herself. She is a very sweet, selfless person who puts anyone else before herself. This time I want to put her first. If she was on board with me getting her something nice like this, then it's a whole other conversation. :)

Marie367
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In reply to hatchna <<
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Date: 1/1/14 6:40 PM

Hi and welcome. I totally agree that a machine is a personal decision; and the sewing machine I like your wife might not. You are such a thoughtful husband to want to do this for her. There are not many combo machines (machines that do both embroidery and sewing) in that price range and most offer limited embroidery features. There are quite a few Brother and Janome sewing machines in that price range that would make a good first machine. Do you know what she is currently sewing on and maybe some idea of what she might like? There is the Sophia from Babylock that is a combo machine. Brother has a comparable model or two (the Brother SE400). Dealers' prices will be more than what you can find online but they will offer support and lessons. You could visit some dealers in your area to get an idea what might be available. I have bought from a dealer and recently bought a Janome HD3000 from Ken's Sewing Center online. I had a good experience with Ken's but if something goes wrong I will have to send it back to them. You have alot more choices if you start with a sewing only machine. I really like Janomes but there has been alot of talk on here about the Juki's. The Juki F300 is in your price range and looks awesome. Go to a site like Ken's Sewing Center to get an idea of prices and features. Check the Brothers, Janomes and Jukis; those brands have great machines in that price range. The manufacturers' websites also have lots of information. Then come back here and ask questions and check reviews (under the tab at the top). Go to some dealers and see what you can find. There are alot of choices but you will begin to narrow it down once you have more information. HTH
-- Edited on 1/1/14 6:46 PM --

Nrs4lyf
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Date: 1/1/14 7:54 PM

Ken's Sewing Center has coupon codes and 3 month no-fee layaway. Read layaway info carefully.

What make/model machines has she been sewing on? Which does she seem to prefer? Local is probably better in the event you need to exchange it.

Is it possible to have one of the mother's ask her to accompany them on a shopping trip? A sewing machine is so personal.

I wish you well.

------
Cherena
Vintage Brother:Magdalena
White Rotary:Semper Fi
Juki F600:Thursday Bleu

RadarRadiance
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RadarRadiance
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In reply to hatchna <<
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Date: 1/1/14 7:55 PM

Quote:
Money has been tight for a while, and though my wife says she wants a machine, she won't agree to go with me to look, as she can't bring herself to spend the money. What she doesn't know is that I've been saving up every spare dollar I can to afford this for her. If she found out about this before, then she would insist on using my savings elsewhere.

I think it is really sweet to want a machine for her but it sounds like she would prefer to keep using "moms" machine and the money would be better used on something that is really dear to her heart. Mom's can be funny when it comes to spending and maybe there is something she really wants whether it is for her, you or the children, that is the gal you married
Did you talk to your mom or hers about what they think she would like? I think you would be best talking it over with her and let her know your feelings, if it is a go then look at machines. Who knows, maybe mom will give give up hers
Another thought is to look for something used that is quality, that might help justify it in your wife's mind..... Just a couple thoughts...
JennaF
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In reply to hatchna <<
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Date: 1/1/14 8:34 PM

I can't help you with specific models. I have a basic Kenmore that cost less than $200. I avoid the fancy sewing machine threads like the plague.I can't want what I don't know about. However, I will say...

Your wife sounds just like me. We have 3 young children & every time I go to buy something for myself I think, 'That's ____ weeks of groceries' etc. and I don't buy it.

I would never buy myself a fancy machine at this point. I wouldn't go shopping for one with my husband. But if my husband bought me one...as long as he didn't put it on a credit card...oh my, it makes my heart go pitter patter.

What machines is she currently using? Does she prefer one over the other? It sounds like she's a "make-doer". Whatever you get her (if she's like me) she will cherish it. She will minimize the downsides & she will absolutely focus on the things she loves about it. Like the fact that it is HER'S.

------
http://www.seamstressintraining.blogspot.com

hatchna
hatchna
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Utah USA
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Date: 1/1/14 8:53 PM

Thanks for all the advice. As far as what she uses now, she either uses her mother's (not sure what kind, but it's older. It's the same one her mom used when my wife was a child. I'm fairly certain it's a more basic machine. When she uses my mother's machine she is spoiled by my mother's Bernina. Again, I'm not sure which model, but I know it's out of my range, as my mom spent over $4000 on it. My wife hasn't commented to me as far as comparing the machines. She would be happy just having something of her own. I just want to make sure I get the best I can afford.

I still have a few more shops to visit. I'm going to try and stop by the Brother dealer tomorrow. As far as dealers go, I was quite impressed with the person at the Baby Lock. She was extremely kind and helpful. I think I might try and get my mother to come with me to look things over, once I have things narrowed down a bit more.
-- Edited on 1/1/14 9:18 PM --

Puglover52
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Date: 1/1/14 9:12 PM

What a sweet and thoughtful husband. I just bought a machine fir our daughter and while she knew she was getting a small for Christmas she didn't gave a clue on what machine. Thanks to the people here and the reviews for heading me in the right direction. I also started going to some shops and looking. I found a dealer that sells Brother, Babylock and Janome. I bought her the Brother Innov-is 40 and she loves it. I'm sure with all the research, thought, and love you are putting into this surprise that she will love it.

KitnRose
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Date: 1/1/14 9:53 PM

I'd normally join the "NO! STOP!" crowd but one of my sewing buddies has a gorgeous machine that her husband bought her under pretty similar circumstances and she still gets this adorable little grin every time she uses it. She loves every thing about it... while I, having sewn on it a bit, cannot warm up to it. To each their own! But her husband knew her well enough to know she'd love all the little extra features while I like my machines to be basic, solid things. That's why they make so many!

Now one other option - you mentioned that she loves your mother's Bernina. Can you find one of those used? It would be far, far cheaper now and you know she likes it.

Alternatively, if a used one doesn't appear, if you can work out why she loves that machine and get a picture of it then I bet that the associates at your Babylock place can really zero in on the best fit for her.

------
Kit
"Never underestimate the power of the right dress!" - drsue
"Hyu gots to know how to sveet tok de costumers, dollink" - Girl Genius, 11-24-08

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