Sewing machine for a beginner

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Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby Mule on Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:20 am

While chatting with one of my nieces on Facebook last night, I found out she's dying to learn how to sew. (So why does my own daughter have absolutely zero interest in learning? :roll: ) I wish I lived close enough to help her, but at least she lives in an area with lots of classes and resources.

However, she needs a machine. It needs to be very inexpensive as her parents divorced recently and her mom doesn't have much money. If she were an adult with a credit card, I'd help her zero in on a moderately priced machine and have her troll e-bay for a good deal. Since she's not, it will end up being a birthday or Christmas present (possibly from me if no one else steps up), so I need to find a very inexpensive one that can be purchased easily. I want it to have enough flexibility to do whatever she she needs for at least a few years, and have it be reliable.

I haven't spent much time researching different machines since I already had one, but I know there are some really junky ones out there. I thought of Costco, because they always seem to have good quality at a lower than average price, and they have a generous return policy. She'd have 90 days to return it if it gives her any problems. I looked online and they have a couple Singer machines and three Brother machines. I'm looking at the Brother machines as I don't think Singer has the same quality it did years ago (from what I've heard anyway). They are both a great price for the features, especially the first one! The reviews indicate that people are pretty happy with them overall.

What do you think of these? Does anyone have firsthand experience with either machine? Although I think these two models are manufactured specifically for Costco.

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11597336&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|90608|28071&N=4047457&Mo=10&No=6&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=28071&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11222787&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|90608|28071&N=4047457&Mo=10&No=3&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=28071&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&topnav=

The second one has lots of extra feet, although that spot on the front for a picture makes me laugh! Seriously, who puts a picture on their sewing machine?
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:11 pm

Beth, If you look at that spot, it looks like a cover to me. I think it opens to show the stitches and the control to choose the stitch you want. . My Janome has a cover like that in the same place. I love that machine. For the money , you get a variety of 7 1 step buttonholes for one thing. That is worth a lot ! ! Then , it also comes with an extension bed for large work. I want one of those so bad, I am going to get my son to make me one when I get the money to buy the material to make it from. I have seen them made from 1/2 inch thick plastic. That is what I want, anyway.
The price on that machine for what you get is a fantastic price ! ! I think it would last quite a long time, before anyone would want a machine that did more.. Easy enough for a beginner, but with more than enough features to satisy an intermediate, and an advanced skilled person also...
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby lendube on Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:59 pm

I think either one would be fine. Even great for any moderate sewer or beginner. Brother has a good reputation and Costco does too. Like you said, she's got 90 days to play with it. I'd go for it and get the one that suits your budget best.
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby MartySews2 on Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:41 pm

WalMart has a Brother 6000i sewing machine that was purchased by one of my friends. She loves it & hasn't had any problems with it. She has had it for several years & it is her class machine. Two other people that I know from other sewing groups have this machine & love it. It is so easy to use & performs very well. Here is the link. I think this machine or the 2nd one from Costco would be a good buy for your niece.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Brother-Compu ... escription
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby temom on Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:29 pm

I agree with Lennie, go with the one that fits the budtget. I bought my dd the Brother SQ9000, and it is fantastic! It actually sews better than my expensive Viking. It included tons of feet, including a walking foot, and an extension table. It beeps at her if she does something wrong, and she knows to keep the manual handy, although she knows the error codes she mostly runs into (like trying to sew with the pressure foot up) or something like that.

We have 3 brother machines on our sewing table: An embroidery only, serger, and dd's SQ9000. My next machine will most likely be a brother. You get a whole lot for much less $$.
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby Mule on Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:09 pm

I looked at the one at Walmart but for $10 more the other one has more stitches, comes with a large selection of presser feet, and has the Costco guarantee.

I agree that Brother offers a lot for the money. I'm very happy with my Brother coverstitch machine. I might have liked the Babylock one a bit more, but it would have cost a whole lot more!

My Kenmore machine also offers a lot for the money, but unfortunately they don't make them any more. When I looked on their website they have a bare bones machine for $100, and they have a machine for $199.88 (on sale from reg price of $199.99!) that looked OK. Those two machines plus a cheap serger are all they currently offer! They used to offer a range of machines at different price points. It makes me wonder if they're moving away from sewing machines altogether. If so, it could make it difficult to get accessories or parts in the future. Another disadvantage about having a Kenmore is there's no dealership to answer questions or make repairs. So for those reasons I think I'd steer her towards the Brother machines at Costco over a Kenmore.
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby MartySews2 on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:39 pm

I think that you have made a wise decision, Beth. I know that your niece will really love the machine that you give her. If your budget will stretch, please include a good sewing book for her too.
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby bridesmom on Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:53 pm

I can't see the 2nd machine, what is the model number? I am thinking I may pick up a machine for DGD this Christmas and was reading the thread with lots of interest. Will have to do some researching to see what I can find here. Our Walmart does sell Brothers, but they are pretty cheaply made, course for a child, it may be just perfect to learn on too. Although I won't be able to test any of them if I go through Walmart. I may check out the local stores to see what they have for used machines too.
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby Mule on Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:18 pm

The reason you can't see the second one is they no longer have it listed! Totally irritating, as I think that's the one she wants. Hopefully they'll get some more in. It is a Brother XR7700 and it went for $174.99. I'll bet that model number is made specifically for Costco though.

I think all machines at that price point are cheaply made -- that's partly why they're so inexpensive! My niece said her grandma expressed concern that the machines they had looked at were made of plastic and kind of flimsy. I told her they were, but if her grandma had an extra $1000 - $1500 to chip in, we could get one that isn't! She laughed and said the ones at Costco would be just fine.

Those machines may not last forever, but they're great for learning. They have enough stitches and features (including 1 step buttonholes) to make just about anything. And if the person continues on with sewing, a better machine can be purchased later. How many expensive machines have we seen discounted on ebay because someone thought they wanted to learn how to sew but then lost interest? :lol:
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Re: Sewing machine for a beginner

New postby SmilieFace on Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:59 am

A 1-step buttonhole for a beginner? No! Everyone should have to suffer with buttonholes the way I did when I learned to sew. :)

Ditto everyone else's comments, though. Go with what comfortably fits in the budget for the first machine. If she likes to sew 6-months or a year from now, she can save for a fancier, more expensive machine. 71 stitches for only $120 is a good deal, though!
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