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  1. #1
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    Home sewing machine recommendations, please!

    I figured someone here would know. I just got word that my workplace (theater is taking a beating) will not resume production until September. It's sort of a pity to leave the costume shop machines vacant, but the governor has decreed Stay Home MN for all non-essential workers. Which I heartily support. But with no work (gulp) for months, I'm looking to fill time and be useful.
    Thus sewing!
    My department uses a Bernina, which is out of my price range. I've used a mid level Singer, but it felt clunky to me. I'm looking at various Brother machines. CS600i looks promising. I like that it tells you what foot to use for each stitch.

    I'm not an absolute beginner, but would not mind absolute beginner recommendations! Whatever you think could be useful.
    zay gezunt! be well, folks!

  2. #2
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    Don't buy a Singer. Singer has not made sewing machines since the 1970s. They are in the defense business for the last several decades.

    I love my Janome. Even a basic one will thread itself. And they're mostly metal. I've heard good things about Kenmore and Brother machines, too.

    Here's an article comparing Janome and Brother.

    https://doyousew.com/janome-vs-brother/

    I never even heard of Janome until I took a sewing class, and everyone raved about them. I'm thrilled with mine. It sews so much better than my old Singers.

    By the way, it's pronounce Ja-No-Me.

  3. #3
    Forum Member xyppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    I figured someone here would know. I just got word that my workplace (theater is taking a beating) will not resume production until September. It's sort of a pity to leave the costume shop machines vacant, but the governor has decreed Stay Home MN for all non-essential workers. Which I heartily support. But with no work (gulp) for months, I'm looking to fill time and be useful.
    Thus sewing!
    My department uses a Bernina, which is out of my price range. I've used a mid level Singer, but it felt clunky to me. I'm looking at various Brother machines. CS600i looks promising. I like that it tells you what foot to use for each stitch.

    I'm not an absolute beginner, but would not mind absolute beginner recommendations! Whatever you think could be useful.
    zay gezunt! be well, folks!
    I have that Brother sewing machine that you mentioned. I bought it in 2012 and have made lots of curtains, a few quilts, several laptop bags and various other things with it. The thread tension is a bit quirky sometimes but it's been a decent machine for the $99 I paid for it back then. I was thinking of upgrading but really can't justify doing so because the machine does everything I need it to do.
    Spring

  4. #4
    Volunteer Moderator aedifica's Avatar
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    I quite like my Singer Curvy that I bought around ten or twelve years ago. I don't remember which model number it is, it has around 30 stitches (which I don't need but it's fun). Before this machine I had only had those sewing machines from the 70s and 80s that weigh about 50 pounds, so I admit that some of the things I like so much about this one are probably features on many newer machines--things like how much lighter this one is, and how part of the base slides off to make it easier to sew narrow openings like pants legs.

    My sister sews a lot more than I do, it's more of an occasional hobby for me and a primary hobby for her, but she usually uses old treadle sewing machines that she found on Craigslist! So a recommendation from her probably wouldn't be super useful. Big Grin

  5. #5
    Forum Member TheLibrarian's Avatar
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    My Grandma saved for *YEARS* to buy a Bernina. They are quality machines but yeah.... that price tag.

    She actually taught me to sew starting when I was very young, I couldn't reach the foot peddle so she would work that and I'd just push the fabric through. When I was 4 or so I helped her bead my aunt's wedding dress (until I accidentally missed and put the needle through my finger, never seen that woman move so quickly as when I was about to bleed on white satin, lol).

    I've had a couple of different Brother machines over the years but I learned on a Janome. I actually really like my current Brother machine although it has some quirks. I attribute them to the fact that it's a little more of an advanced machine (computerized and does embroidery). The one I had years ago was pretty basic and really easy to use, don't think I ever had an issue with it. I also have a Juki serger that I quite like and they also make sewing machines. The brand was highly recommended by the small local sewing and quilting shop down here.

    What are you planing on sewing the most? That might affect what kind of machine you need, the model you posted seems to be geared toward quilters but if you're mostly going to be doing clothing or more craft like stuff you might want something else.
    Synapse 25, Aeronaut 30, Monster Truck, Travel Tray

    ...a book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements, clumsy hands. If for a hundred and a hundred years everyone had been able freely to handle our codices, the majority of them would no longer exist. So the librarian protects them not only against mankind but also against nature, and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion, the enemy of truth.
    ― Umberto Eco

  6. #6
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLibrarian View Post

    What are you planing on sewing the most? That might affect what kind of machine you need, the model you posted seems to be geared toward quilters but if you're mostly going to be doing clothing or more craft like stuff you might want something else.
    I will do some quilting but the primary purpose now is mask making, of course. What looks good about the Brother is drop in bobbin, speed adjustment, and it looks easy to program.

    I laughed at the white satin wedding dress mishap! Bleeding on costumes is so common it's considered good luck.

  7. #7
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    I use a Janome 7330 Magnolia, and I love it. As in, LOVE it. I have an Etsy shop, sew products nearly everyday, and have used the same machine for about 6 years. The price point is around $400.

  8. #8
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    Singer are most definitely still making sewing machines. Having said that, there are some European brands that are popular these days. As well as Bernina, Elna has a good reputation, also Pfaff.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red and Nebulous Grey, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, Viridian and Grass, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  9. #9
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    I'm taking a hard look at Janome now! The Brother CS6000i is still in the running, as are a few refurbished models.

    The theater I work at has a ton of industrial sewing machines and I just heard today that we might get to go use them for mask making, so that's good. I'm used to the Bernina, but there are Pfaffs, too. They go too fast for me!

  10. #10
    Forum Member TheLibrarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    What looks good about the Brother is drop in bobbin, speed adjustment, and it looks easy to program.

    I laughed at the white satin wedding dress mishap! Bleeding on costumes is so common it's considered good luck.
    I do like the drop in bobbin and the speed adjustment, it keeps me from going too fast when I know I shouldn't (what can I say, I get impatient). My machine also has a auto-needle threader and will cut the threads when you finish (I'm sure there's an actual name for it but I dunno, home taught, lol). The larger table on that machine might be helpful when doing the masks too since you'll be able to keep them flatter as you sew. I don't do a lot of quilting myself (although, I do have a few half started ones because of course I do....).

    Fortunately, I didn't actually get any blood on the dress but good to know it would have been good luck if I had!
    Synapse 25, Aeronaut 30, Monster Truck, Travel Tray

    ...a book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements, clumsy hands. If for a hundred and a hundred years everyone had been able freely to handle our codices, the majority of them would no longer exist. So the librarian protects them not only against mankind but also against nature, and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion, the enemy of truth.
    ― Umberto Eco

  11. #11
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    It took me days to make a decision! I kept going back and forth and in the meantime, of course, the machine I decided I wanted sold out.
    Here was my disordered thought process:

    -I want easy and computerized
    -I really want a drop in bobbin!
    -I want a start/stop button!
    -I want a lot of stitches
    -I want a Janome (which I did end up with)

    As I read more about machines, I let a lot of those wants fall by the wayside in favor of something simple and reliable. I was pretty early on decided on a Janome, even though Brother machines are cheaper and have more features. The Brother XM2701 looked especially promising, with its one step buttonhole. And, to my dismay, the machine I ordered doesn't have a drop in bobbin! Which is fine, really, as I know HOW to load a front loading bobbin. I just don't LIKE it!

    I was decided on a Janome 2212, which is so cute! But, the only retailers I could find only have 30 day returns, which is generous but not ideal. I decided on a Janome New Home Easy-to-Use in Arctic Crystal. What wound up being important:

    -simplicity
    -adjustable stitch length
    -budget. Something cheap and cheerful but sturdy!

    Since the retailer I ordered from closed its physical stores, they extended the return window, so I'll be able to give it a really good trial. I don't expect to have any problems with it, though!

    Thanks everyone for the help and guidance!

  12. #12
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    Congratulations on your Janome 2212. Here is link to a very well done Youtube video on the Janome 2212 for you to enjoy while you wait for shipment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rk-TkHJ85c

    Although I haven't sewed for years I have several sewing machines and lots of quality quilting fabric. I may pull out either a Singer Featherweight or my Janome Jem and give making a mask a try. I'll probably be referring to Youtube for a refresher course.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjquilts View Post
    Congratulations on your Janome 2212.
    That's the video that made me want it! But I went with the Easy-to-Use because the 2212 is out of stock at places with the best return policies. They look kinda comparable, though.

  14. #14
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    Hum, my Janome has a drop in bobbin and a one step button hole. I don't remember which model it is, though.

  15. #15
    Forum Member haraya's Avatar
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    Help! I'm thinking about taking the plunge on a new machine as well but am paralyzed with indecision. Here are the choices I'm considering:

    - Janome 7318 refurbished - around $200 (6-month warranty)

    - Janome 7325 new - around $400

    - Janome 8077 - around $350

    - Brother XR3774 - about $350*

    - Brother Project Runway CS5055PRW - about $320*

    *the last two are from non-sewing machine stores - on Amazon/presumably warehouse-type sellers.

    Mainly I want to:

    - hem jeans (this would be the heaviest material I think I would sew)
    - embroider monograms on masks so we can tell them apart (ok, technically I can do this by hand but it might be faster to machine-stitch)
    - hem wraps (= fabric for babywearing) or sew them together for wrap blankets
    - make basic projects - e.g. simple throw pillows
    - repairs - patch jeans, mend ripped hems
    - make doll clothes for Waldorf dolls
    - make simple quilt blocks from my kids' baby clothes (I might even farm out the finishing)

    I am an indifferent seamstress - took home econ in highschool aaages ago. Last time I used my yard-sale machine (16 years ago - I was nesting, ha) I did manage to make a slipcover for a secondhand rocking chair and ottoman. So my skill level is straight lines, not yet up to putting in zippers, lol.

    Thoughts on what I should get?

    (ETA: I did look into the models mentioned up-thread. But many of them are out of stock, as are many of the recommendations from "best of" lists around the Internet. The ones I listed are the closest to the "recommended" models that were available to ship.)
    Last edited by haraya; 07-06-2020 at 11:04 AM.

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