What is the best brand of sewing machine to buy?

6

I don't have a lot of money to spend, so I want to make sure I am at least buying the right brand.

Please, if you want, also mention why, or some pros and cons

Take a look at Kate Dicey's essay on choosing sewing machines at
http://www.katedicey.co.uk (and take a look around at her site…
there are a lot of nice little tutorials there!). The FAQ she
refers to is at http://preview.tinyurl.com/l5rzu6 now.

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you

– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable — just
too frustrating to learn on!)

– very good straight stitch

– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)

– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you

– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)

– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle generic
presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use proprietary
or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches

– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)

– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)

– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine at a
specific price buying used than new and a good dealer is worth
their weight in sewing machine needles when you get a machine
problem — often they can talk you through the problem over the
phone. While you're trying things out, try a couple of machines
(sewing only, not combo sewing-embroidery) over your price limit,
just so you can see what the difference in stitch quality and
ease of use might be. You may find you want to go for the used
Cadillac. Or you might want the new basic Chevy. Might as well
try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new, decent and budget
was my choice: Janome (who also does Kenmore).

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  • pros and cons for singer sewing machine plus 1

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Comments on What is the best brand of sewing machine to buy? Leave a Comment

January 16, 2013

Elmer @ 12:49 pm #

singer-my ma used one for 30 years and they have been around forever. plus they have real cool electronic models that does everything but wipe your nose.
References :

stephanie @ 1:22 pm #

I like Bernina. They have metal parts rather than plastic so they don't wear out. You can get simple or complex machines made by Bernina. They usually have great warantees, but you never need to use them because they don't break down. My mom has had hers for probably 30 years and I learned to sew on that one. I have a simple one that I've used for about 20 years. I quilt, sew costumes and clothing, use it for sewing silk and denim and upholstery. It's an incredibly versatile machine, easy to care for and totally reliable. Go with a Bernina. ­čÖé
References :

kay @ 1:33 pm #

Take a look at Kate Dicey's essay on choosing sewing machines at
http://www.katedicey.co.uk (and take a look around at her site…
there are a lot of nice little tutorials there!). The FAQ she
refers to is at http://preview.tinyurl.com/l5rzu6 now.

What I want for beginners in sewing:

– a machine that doesn't scare you

– a machine that isn't balky (cheap new machines are often very
balky or need adjustments often and are rarely repairable — just
too frustrating to learn on!)

– very good straight stitch

– good zigzag (4-5 mm is fine, more than that is gravy)

– a method of making buttonholes that makes sense to you

– adjustable presser foot pressure (which helps some fabric
handling issues)

– accessory presser feet that don't cost an arm and a leg
(machines that use a "short shank foot" typically handle generic
presser feet pretty well. Some brands of machines use proprietary
or very expensive presser feet)

If the budget stretches far enough:

– blindhem and stretch blindhem stitches

– triple zigzag (nice for elastic applications)

– a couple of decorative stitches (you won't use them nearly as
much as you think)

– electronic machine because of the needle position control and
because the stepper motors give you full "punching force" at
slow sewing speeds — mechanical machines often will stall at
slow speeds.

Please go to the best sewing machine dealers around and ask them
to show you some machines in your price range, *especially* used
machines you can afford. You'll get a far better machine at a
specific price buying used than new and a good dealer is worth
their weight in sewing machine needles when you get a machine
problem — often they can talk you through the problem over the
phone. While you're trying things out, try a couple of machines
(sewing only, not combo sewing-embroidery) over your price limit,
just so you can see what the difference in stitch quality and
ease of use might be. You may find you want to go for the used
Cadillac. Or you might want the new basic Chevy. Might as well
try both out.

Suggested reading: John Giordano's The Sewing Machine Book
(especially for used machines), Carol Ahles' Fine Machine Sewing
(especially the first and last few chapters) and Gale Grigg
Hazen's Owner's Guide to Sewing Machines, Sergers and Knitting
Machines. All of these are likely to be available at your public
library.

Used brands I'd particularly look for: Elna, Bernina,
Viking/Husqvarna, Pfaff, Singer (pre 1970), Juki, Toyota

New "bargain brand" I'd probably pick, if new, decent and budget
was my choice: Janome (who also does Kenmore).
References :
50 years of sewing

jac the hat @ 1:45 pm #

for professsional textile artists embroideres use Bernina and patchworkers/quilters use Pfaff.because Berninas are best at free machine embroidery and Pfaff is aimed at quilting . We use the basic models without th electronics as there is more Control and less to go wrong – so you can look at their cheapest and see what bells and whistles you actually need.

Otherwise singer has a very good name never needs oiling everyone knows how to fix them and the parts are easily available I have had mine for years it isn't temperamental, doesn't huff and need a new needle every time you change material thickness

I'd recommend any of the above if you are dressmaking i think you can get a deal with an overlocker.
References :

drip @ 1:55 pm #

Bernina, Pfaff and Viking are the top 3 brands. Janome isn't bad. I would go to a sewing machine dealer and tell them your budget. Buying a used Viking is going to be much better than a new Singer or Brother. You can demo the machine before you buy it at a dealer and you should get free lessons on how to use the machine you do buy.
References :

seamstress @ 2:44 pm #

I have been sewing for 38 years and have had several machines and many opportunities to try machines while I was a sewing instructor.

My favorite machines are Pfaff, Bernina and Elna.

My least favorite machine is Brother. Now, to be fair, my bad experience with Brother machines was about 25 years ago. They are still in business, so it seems that they corrected what I found to be a problem back then.

Avoid any machines that are sold at hotels claiming to be overstock from sewing education classes. These are of questionable brands and hope to find them if you have a warranty claim !!

Which ever sewing machine you buy, remember, every good brand has several models to suit your specific needs. Do not be tempted to purchase a machine with all of the bells and whistles because you will never use all of those features after paying top dollar. Purchase a machine that meet or exceed your current sewing goals without going over the top.

I sew professionally, sometimes all day long. The Elna and the Pfaff machines have done very well for me with a minimum amount of servicing. Particularly because I used these machines for commercial use at my home based business and they are not commercial machines. So, I am mostly impressed with these two brands.

Lastly: One who sews is a seamstress, not a sewer. A sewer is a series of underground pipes that carry waste water and sewage. Ewwww.
References :

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