Choosing a Beginner's Sewing Machine aka I Really, Really, REALLY WantaSewing Machine

I just finished my first sewing project! It is a circle skirt for my niece for her birthday! I also added a bit of fabric to an inexpensive shirt to make an out fit. I am considering making a headband too. Now for most people, this is not a big deal, but for me, it is a huge deal because I did it all by hand. I neither own nor have access to a sewing machine.

My new, and likely fleeting, passion is sewing. I have so many things I want to do with it. I told my friend that I wasn't sure if I liked sewing. She said if I hand stitched an outfit, I am going to love having a machine. So, I really, really, really want a sewing machine!

First, I need a machine. Here is what I could gather that I would like in a beginners machine:

  • Straight stitch that is adjustable
  • Zig zag stitch that is adjustable in length and width
  • Back-stitch
  • Adjustable needle position
  • Automatic button hole
  • Adjustable speeds
  • Up and down needle position

Second, I had to learn about various brands. Here is what I found out:

  • For the price, lots of people are happy with the little $80 Brother machine from Wally World.
  • Apparently, any Singer made after 1980 is crap!
  • People seem to swear by their Vikings and Berminas.
  • And a good machine, even today, is a Kenmore. (And though I am not sure, Sears will probably service it.)

Third, where do I buy the machine?

  • Let's just start by saying that, if I choose a Kenmore, I will have to shop at Sears or Kmart because Kenmore is the Sears brand. (UPDATE: Sears doesn't sell sewing machines anymore; no more Kenmores.)
  • To get the machine at rock bottom prices, I can shop at Walmart, Target, etc.
  • However, most people seem to suggest purchasing from a dealer. Here a customer can take a machine for a test drive. Dealers often offer service plans and classes to help you get started with your machine. What's more, many also sell refurbished machines! (Score!)
  • The last place that I will mention checking is the thrift shops. You may be able to get a really nice machine for rock bottom pricing. You may get a high end machine that just needs some TLC.

Additionally, I may consider looking into some presser feet: a basic presser foot, the one for button holes, the one for ruffles, the one for a blind hem and the one for zippers. I don't think these necessarily need to be in the box when you buy the machine though. The can be purchased separately.

So, after having done some research, I feel confident that I can make an informed decision about purchasing my second first sewing machine.

Here is a little list of beginning sewing machines to start you off.

Happy sewing!

UPDATE: I was talking to my mom about buying a sewing machine, and she told me that she has two older ones in storage. I know my mom always buys top of the line so I am really excited! It is bound to be a really nice machine that just needs some TLC. I will price the repairs and offer updates!

SECOND UPDATE: Living in fear of a storage avalanche has prevented me from finding my mom's old machines until I can enter with proper gear. (Really, I just need adequate time to look.) While I was saving for a machine, I was gifted a wonderful, lightweight, portable sewing machine that seems to do most, if not all, of what I mentioned above!

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