Electronic Machines

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I am a beginner but I'd really like to get it right by buying the right type of machine (for delicate materials and basic materials like cotton to make bras etc.)

Would a serger be better? I'm a bit clueless but I'm determined to learn.
Thanks in advance to anyone who answers,

A serger is very helpful for jobs like attaching elastic and sewing covered seams, but you'll still need a good sewing machine too. The one you're looking for for lingerie will have adjustable stitch length and width, adjustable presser foot pressure, and will sew well with size 8/60 sewing machine needles — take a pack each of microtex points and stretch points along when you're testing, as well as common lingerie fabrics like batiste, silk charmeuse, and stretch satin. I'd also suggest you look carefully at electronic machines because of the fine control they offer compared to mechanicals. But mechanical machines will certainly work for lingerie.

Suggested reading:
Jan Bones: Lingerie Secrets
Karen Morris: Sewing Lingerie that Fits
Kwik Sew's Beautiful Lingerie
Singer Sewing Library's Sewing Lingerie

Otherwise, here's my standard beginner sewing machine advice, all of which is also applicable to you:
http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

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 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: Janome (who also does
Kenmore).

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2

is there a specific type i should buy, or special needles. Any further info greatly aprecited, thanks.

Embroidery needles are often useful. All you need to do free motion embroidery is have a machine that allows you to drop or cover the feed dogs — the rest is up to you. Having a machine that allows you to do a stitch at a time and stop with needle up or needle down can also be useful, so you may wish to pay special attention to electronic machines (as opposed to mechanical):
http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

Best book on FME that I know of is Robbie and Tony Fanning's Complete Book of Machine Embroidery, now out of print (but commonly available at libraries). While you're at it, see if they can get you a copy of "Singer Instructions for Art Embroidery" — reprints are fine — the originals were done on treadle sewing machines.

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2

I am looking for a new sewing machine but would like to see what the consumer reports state. I use my sewing machine for making quilts. If anyone has a copy I would really appreciate the information.

Janome Decor Excel 5124
(*est. $360)

>> Where to buy Electronic sewing machine.In reviews, experts prefer electronic machines to mechanical sewing machines; changing stitches or adjusting stitch length and width involves pressing a button rather than turning a less-precise knob or lever. Janome is the largest manufacturer of domestic sewing machines, with a devoted fan base. Reviews say the Janome Décor Excel sewing machine is quiet and stable, with 24 stitches, including a one-step buttonhole. It comes with seven presser feet and a one-year warranty, an improvement over Kenmore's paltry 90 days.
• Sears Kenmore 15218
(*est. $170)

>> Where to buy Mechanical sewing machine.The Kenmore uses knobs and levers to change and adjust stitches. Experts say such mechanical machines aren't as precise or predictable as electronic sewing machines. If you only need a machine for a few occasional projects or repairs, an inexpensive mechanical machine will do, but reviews say more avid sewers should go for at least an electronic machine. Reviews say this Kenmore sewing machine is a good basic model with a few extra features, like a selection of stretch stitches and a one-step buttonhole.
• Brother NX-400
(*est. $700)

>> Where to buy Basic computerized sewing machine.Unlike mechanical and electronic models, computerized sewing machines use a series of small motors controlled by a microprocessor. That makes them almost maintenance free, and their memories hold many more customizable stitches. The Brother computerized sewing machine has two alphabet fonts (for monograms) and over 50 other stitches. It also has adjustable foot pressure, a knee lifter for hands-free raising and lowering of the presser foot, and custom stitch memory. In tests, the Brother NX-400 slightly outperforms similar models from Singer and Husqvarna Viking.
• Pfaff Performance 2056
(*est. $2,000)

>> Where to buy Computerized sewing machine.In reviews, Pfaff sewing machines are popular among quilters for their built-in walking foot (Pfaff calls this feature IDT), which feeds layers of fabric evenly through the machine. A color touch screen makes it easy to change and adjust stitches. The Pfaff sewing machine has 207 computerized stitches and four different alphabets for monograms. It has adjustable foot pressure, another good feature for quilters or others who work with different types of thicknesses of fabric.
• Singer Quantum XL-6000
(*est. $3,000)

>> Where to buy Embroidery sewing machine.The Singer is a combination sewing and embroidery machine, and along with high-end features like automatic threading and automatic bobbin refill, it can also create multicolor hoop embroidery patterns. The Singer embroidery machine comes with hundreds of pre-programmed embroidery designs, but you can download more patterns online. Machine embroidery is an expensive hobby, but those who've tried it are quickly addicted. (compare prices

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