Saturday, March 9, 2013

Desperately Need Sewing Advice

I've been sewing by hand since I was 6 (I even made a teddy bear once), but never learned how to use a sewing machine.

Thinking about getting one, since I'm contemplating a project that requires about 12 linear feet of hemming. My hands are cramping just thinking about it.

What do I need to know about sewing machines before plunking down a pile of money? A glance through Amazon suggests that anything under $150 is a waste of money.

Ladies, please get your sewing-smart girlfriends over here to chime in on this one, too.

16 comments:

  1. I have a Janome that was relatively inexpensive and does a variety of stitches. It also does buttonholes automatically!!!! (My favorite feature...it has an attachment in which you place the button and then it sews the buttonhole for you!!!!) But even if you aren't going to be doing a whole lot of 'fancy' sewing, a cheap machine isn't worth it.

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  2. I am certainly NOT a seamstress, but I know this much: Sewing machines can be like exercise equipment. Purchased with great intentions and then left to languish in a spare room under a heap of clothing. If you look around and ask questions you can probably find an old Singer or Pfaff that fits that description for $100 or less.

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  3. My only concern with buying used is that I don't know jack about sewing machines, so I really need a manual. Unlike electronic equipment, I'm uncertain as to whether these can readily be obtained online.

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  4. I have purchased threee machines. One, at a garage sale, it looked as if it had never been out of the box. It was a Pfaff free arm and I thinkI paid $75 for it. It had the manual and all the accessories. The second was a treadle, and though it had been well used, it was also all there, including the manuals, and my ex still uses it, to my knowledge. the third was a Sears for the Ogwife which is also a free arm and it was insanely cheap, also with manual and everything. Most people that have them don't spread the crap around. You're right, don't buy one without the manual, but I bet it would be hard to find one without the manual.

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  5. I am the sewer in my family. I bought a low end Kenmore 12-stitch machine from Sears about 20 years ago. It still works fine and I still use it if I need to do any stitching longer than 1 inch. I made some nice sandbags just last year using material from ACU pants, and even added zippers.

    Cheap simple machines will do most of what you would ever want them to do. No need to pay over $100.

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  6. Are you going to use the sewing machine again? If not, pay someone to do it for you. Cheaper than buying a machine.

    I have one, but I'm not martha stewart. How difficult is your project?

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  7. It's a simple project, but not small. I just need to hem the edges on a 2' x 4' piece of lightweight fabric. That's 12 feet of hand stitching (ouch). And if I like the way it turns out, I'll need 2 more.

    Will I use it again? If I have it, I'm sure I will eventually. I own an iron, and can go for years without turning it on. But when I need it, nothing else will do.

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  8. Or...another thought. You could BORROW a machine. You can borrow mine, if you like.

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  9. I'd need to borrow a machine and about 6 hours worth of lessons so I don't sew my fingers together.

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  10. That could be arranged. How far away from my sewing machine do you live?

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  11. I don't know, since I don't know where you live. I'm in Wisconsin, so I'm going to guess 1000 miles.

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  12. Well, I'm getting pretty tired. Why don't you send me an email and tell me how many 1000's of miles away in Wisconsin you live. Then you can figure out if it's more economical to borrow or buy. Mine is currently not being used.

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  13. Did you get this answered? You are OK with a cheap machine if you're only going to do simple straight stitch sewing... Sears, Kenmore, etc. However, if you want a better machine, most of your good machine repair shops have used ones they'll sell you. Call them. Also, some good machine stores also sell used. But call a service shop.

    I sewed for years on a $100 Singer. I upgraded to a really nice Janome, but I quilt. You don't need anything that launches the space shuttle. You just need a straight stitch.

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  14. Actually, I went with the $150 Janome model because it had about 50 reviews on Amazon and ALL of them were 3 stars or above. Not even one single disgruntled idiot tossing in a 1-star review out of spite.

    Don't think I've ever seen that before.

    Anyway, I also figured that if I buy something that can do more than I originally needed it for, I'll be able to do increasingly ambitious projects with it. Better to have too much machine than not enough. Or, as my ever-pithy father used to say, "don't buy cheap tools".

    And Anonymiss was kind enough to actually drop by and help me get the thing set up. Bless her soul. I don't think I would've made it just going by the manual alone.

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