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Sewing Machines 
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 12:59 am
Posts: 248
Location: NJ
Unread post Sewing Machines
I have been using my sister's Kenmore machine, it sews really nice and was reliable, until I started sewing heavier materials and it wore out a little and now needs repair. I want to buy a new machine that will do heavier fabrics like canvas and upholstery materials but can also do light and medium weight fabrics just as well. Suggestions? What do you guys use and do you sew all types of fabrics on it? My budget is $200 to $300, but I guess for something that I would get ten years or more use out of I would go $400-500.

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Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:16 pm
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Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:49 am
Posts: 118
Location: Arizona
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
Find a sewing machine repair shop and ask the guy there. If he knows what he is talking about, he will direct you to a good, older machine that will last you several years. Usually, if it has metal gears, not plastic, or is from before 1990, it tends to work better on heaver fabrics. And when you go shopping, take a scrap of heavy fabric and a scrap of lighter weight fabric and test them on the machine. If they don't let you test it, DON'T buy there. (at least, thats my opinion) A sewing machine is a big investment and you should be allowed to make sure that you will be happy with it.

And if anyone tries to pressure you into buying a machine, ask to come back later and LEAVE. DON'T buy anything that is being forced on you :) .

Kenmores and Bernias tend to be really good machines, as are Brothers.

(hope I didn't overwhelm you with info you already knew :) )


Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:01 pm
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Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:27 am
Posts: 127
Location: Colorado Springs
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
I have a little $100 Brother machine from Wal-Mart and it's lasted me about 6 or 7 years. It has done well with everything from slinky & sheer to denim & vinyl. The only problem I've had is bobbin thread getting tangled, but I think that's user error because if I change the needle, it's fine :)
There's nothing fancy about it, but it does the job for everything I've needed it to. The heaviest I do with it is vinyl like I used for my headwrap...I made that, and I've made some pouches and accessories for my husband's ninja gear out of thick vinyl.


Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:38 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:29 pm
Posts: 291
Location: Northnern California
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
I have a Brother LB-6800. It is a dual sewing/embroidery machine. It sews lighter fabrics beautifully but it does not love to go over hella thick stuff (like 3 or 4 layers of denim). Sorry, I don't have much input beyond that except to go to a sewing machine store and try some out.

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Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:30 am
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 6:36 am
Posts: 265
Location: Sydney Australia
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
I swear by a singer my little singer was fanastic took leather to Chiffon with ease. Even the old Janomes are fantastic !


Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:55 am
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Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:29 pm
Posts: 291
Location: Northnern California
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
oooo I have a 30ish year old Singer that is still wonderful if not as versatile as my Brother.

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Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:57 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:55 pm
Posts: 252
Location: Weymouth, MA
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
I am so happy you said your kennmore was reliable!! i SWEAR by mine!! Its about as old as i am, and i have had NO TROUBLE with it!! I haven't had any trouble with heavy fabrics though so i don't have any suggestions there. I am sure the older models are better built than the newer ones, thats just how they did things back then!

I've heard good and bad from friends who use Brother and Singer machines. They are on the cheaper side, so they've ended up spending the difference in repairs. You can find them really cheap at Walmart and Joanns frequently has the on supersale.

My boyfriends mother does a boatload of quilting and she uses nothing but Viking. She's only had probs with her Serger so far and that was his fault for flying fabric through it like an industrial machine XD

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Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:32 pm
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Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 2:52 pm
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Location: Brentwood, NY USA (Long Island)
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
My experience is that sewing machines are like cars, lawnmowers, computers - they require some maintenance and repair. If it was working on the heavy cloth, just get it fixed.

Also, a surger is really good investment.

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Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:17 pm
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 12:59 am
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Location: NJ
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
Thanks for the replies and advice! It's interesting to see what everybody here uses. My boyfriend is good at fixing things so he ordered the part it needs and will fix it for me, part cost about 60 bucks, bleh. But bettter than taking it to a repair shop. It's nice to have a man that can fix stuff! :)

I may still look into getting a back up, it's horrible not being able to sew anything for weeks! I grew up using a nice heavy metal one, so when I bought a cheap plastic one a few years ago for like $100 at Joann's I was a little disenchanted, so I really don't want to buy a new one. But I do sew heavy fabrics often so I'll have to figure out how to manage that.

I do have a serger, my mother's. But I have no idea how to use it and she forgets how to. -_- I was thinking of seeing if Joann's has a teacher or something to show me. It's just got so many parts and spools!

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Learn Huttese & Other Star Wars Languages!
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Goopta mo bossa!


Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:36 pm
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:38 am
Posts: 148
Location: New Orleans
Unread post Re: Sewing Machines
I use a singer that was designed for school home ec classes, so it's a little work horse. I've been using it for about 10 years off and on. I've sewn vinyl on it as well as chiffon and satin. I also have an old (60's era) singer and an old pfaff (sp?) of my mother's, both of which need a good looking at by a professional. Keeping the machine properly maintained is of utmost importance!

And if you're looking for a backup, check garage sales or craigslist in your area. People inherit good old sewing machines all the time that they don't know what to do with! And a serger is a wonderful find. I got an ELNA serger for free years ago from a friend whose realitive didn't have time to learn to use it... more like didn't have the patience!


Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:00 am
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