Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sewing Machine Recommendations

Sewing machines span from less than a hundred dollars to closer to a thousand.  What is the difference? What features are useful?

When I was in grade school, I used to use the OLD machine that we had around the house.  The tension was always off, and I was forever screwing around with the bobbin and untangling thread.

I started sewing as an adult with a $79 refurbished Singer I got at JoAnn's.  It was magical.  It sewed straight and zig-zagged, and rarely tangled up the threads.  I was hooked.  I used it for a few hours a day for a year, then it started making a noise.  I took it to a local repair shop, and he explained that I should have been cleaning it regularly by opening it up and getting the lint out (huh?) and I should have also been oiling that particular model.  Hmm... Its parts were all plastic, and he explained that he could fix it for a hundred bucks, or offered a trade-in by discounting a model they offered.  

I took him up on the trade-in, and got a BabyLock Creative Pro.  I LOVE it.  It doesn't need to be oiled ever, its parts are metal (read: 25-year life span), and all I need to do to keep it purring along it to get the lint out every so often and put in a new sharp needle every so often.  The electronic screen makes choosing stitches very easy, and I love the drop-in bobbin.  I never need to thread the bobbin.  It automatically leaves the needle down when you stop sewing. It pulls the fabric along when I sew, and I use the different stitches regularly.  It is great, and makes sewing easier.

Fancier machines than mine have more features for quilting and for embroidery, which I haven't spent time doing and didn't see in my near future.

If you are looking for a new machine lower on the cost spectrum, I would recommend the Brother Sew Advance Sew Affordable.  It has a drop-in bobbin (it can be so frustrating to thread a bobbin, especially at first) and a lot of stitches to choose from.  Brother is a reputable company.  It looks like a great intro to sewing machine.

Whichever you choose, make sure you spend a few days poking around on it with the manual open.  Find an easy project or two and get a feel for how to manouever it.  Have fun!

This is the Creative Pro on their website. It doesn't look like the one I have.

This looks like mine. On the website, it is called the Grace.
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