I need to buy a new sewing machine. My mother’s old Necchi is starting to rattle when I sew, and the bobbin keeps getting caught in the fabric.

I was thinking of buying a Brother CS6000i, but my mother is concerned about computerized sewing machines. She says that they can be easily broken, and that they are impossible to repair.

Is that true? Would you recommend any good sewing machines (preferably under $200?)

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    Sep 12, 2011, 10.25 PMby countrygurltracy

    if you buy a computerized sewing machine buy a Bernina they are life time warranty and when there is a repair bill it is very low in comparison. I own 3 and I also own a viking which costs 3 times as much to get worked on. For 200.00 i would not touch one machine that is computerized. Try you local viking dealer sometimes they get some really nice machines in on trade and are like new and serviced and there parts warranties are not to bad compared to other. Bernina has a very nice basic machine that i just bought for my twins it is not a computerized but it is a wonderful machine that i like to use myself reminds me of the singer dressmaker model I used to have when i was younger and it only cost me 169.00. The machine also comes with the lifetime warranty which I am really big on these days, and have learned it saves me money in the long run. I hope this helps some.

  • Missing

    Sep 13, 2011, 01.46 PMby mickeygirl

    I heard that the circuits can blow in a computerized machine if you have it plugged in and there is a power surge due to brown out or electrical storm. You need to use a protecting power bar to plug the machine into and not directly into the wall outlet.

    Maybe all your mother’s machine needs is a professional tune up and cleaning. Lint can get built up in the bobbin compartment.

    You would probably want your own machine if you move out though. Look around and talk to other people who sew. Some brands are difficult to get parts for but you never know if they are going to be around for years to come.

    Necchi is not the same company because now the machines are made in China and they are not very good.

    One thing I can tell you about any domestic sewing machine — do not use it for quilting or run the machine for long or too fast. It burns out the motor and also when everything heats up inside the parts distort especially if they are plastic. Some companies brag about their parts being all metal but really it is not good if they are cheaply made and will break or chip anyway.

    Run your machine in small bits. A few seams here and there because you are stopping to pin and press. Put a dust cover on your machine when you are not using it or put it away in a case so it does not get knocked around. Keep children away from it. My sister bought the same model as me and her machine lasted about 7 years because her children would turn to all the knobs to be naughty. I still have mine for 15 years and only had it repaired once.

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    Sep 13, 2011, 07.16 PMby katexxxxxx

    Firstly, there is no ‘good’ new sewing machine for under $200. There are budget machines, and cheap machines. Some of them are good value for money, but most things under $200 aren’t fit for much… Just my experience here…

    And of course electronic machines can be repaired. Whether it is economic to do so will depend on the machine you get…

    Take a read of my sewing machine buying essay (http://www.diceyhome.free-online.co.uk/On%20the%20care%20&%20Feeding%20of%20sewing%20machines/on_the_choosing.htm), and make a list of the things you want the machine to do. Then go round the various websites and price up machines that will do all you want.

    There are good domestic machines built to cope with volume sewing and with quilting (I have several), and they do so very well indeed. I use only domestic machines as I don’t have the space or the floors for industrials, but I do choose them with care. Currently I run a now 12 year old Husqvarna Lily 550 fully electronic machine as my main machine. I’ve run this one since 1999. I also run a 30 YO Husqvarna Optima 190, which still works perfectly, and a Bernina 1005, of much the same vintage as the Lily. I have made several quilts on these machines, without any problems. I know lots of quilters who quilt professionally on domestic machines, some of which are designed for quilters, but many are not. They have no problems either. However, they are not using $200 cheapies: they are using machines that start at several hundred dollars or pounds more than that.

    If all you can run to is $200, then look for a pre-loved machine. My business partner recently bought a pre-loved Lily 555 a year or two younger than mine for just under £400, which is a significant saving over a new model that does the same sort of thing, and about half what I paid for mine when I bought it (list price in 1999 was close to £1100). There will be older or less complex machine in you budget, but you may need to look about a bit to find one.

    Things you need to be aware of with electronic machines:

    The stitch patterns are held on the memory rather than on cams. Thy are produced by electronically controlled servo motors which use the feed dogs to move the cloth in the direction it needs to go to form the stitch pattern AND the swing of the needle to determine the pattern stitched. This is a complex arrangement. It NEEDS regular servicing to keep the servos properly aligned so that the stitches form the correct patterns. Therefore you must to take into account that if you use the machine, it WILL need regular servicing by a qualified engineer to keep it happy. This is a significant running cost. I got mine serviced at Christmas, and it cost £135, including a couple of small parts and a bit if resetting of the programs… If you make two or three garments a month on a regular basis, expect to have the machine serviced every year. A cheap electronic machine will not do so well as a better one. You really need to look at the £500+ range for one that is tough enough and sufficiently well engineered to cope with larger volumes, larger projects, and have sufficient harp area to cope with larger single items.

    I run my domestic machines for considerable periods. A ten minute long seam is not unknown. This causes the machines no problems. I sometimes sew for 8 or more hour in a day. Thgis also causes the machines no problems, if you look after them properly.

    Rather than fussing about doing short bursts and covering the machine to keep dust off, I just clean it regularly, including the feed dogs and the tension disks, and change the needle often. I oil where necessary each time a machine is cleaned. I also ensure that the needle type and size, and the type of thread I use is correct for the project.

    Nor do I worry about children: I teach kids to sew on these machines, and once they know, they use the thing as a tool and don’t twiddle random knobs. Younger kids need to be kept away from the machines, so a separate room, hard cover, or dropping the head down into a sewing table is wise.

    I have overhead power cables. I do not have a surge protector for my machines. I have suffered from blackouts, brown outs and several other power failures over the years. This has caused no problems. The only time I have had any domestic appliance blow a fuse from a power surge was due to a lightning strike. It was the kettle… I would suggest you take advice locally on this, however. Our European power supplies seem to be more reliable and less vulnerable to this sort of interrupt than rural USA, for example.

  • Missing

    Mar 4, 2014, 05.39 PMby Ninajani

    I have Brother cs6000i and it is proved to be the work horse for me so far. I definitely recommend cs6000i from brother. You can sometimes can get new Brother cs6000i around 150 dollars easily.

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    Mar 5, 2014, 05.52 PMby clothingengineer

    I have a 10 year old Janome MC6500P that I’ve been sewing regularly with for over 8 years. I’ve only serviced it a couple of times and it is holding up quite well. That being said it was in the $1500+ range new. It is fantastic with light to medium fabrics (which is the vast majority of what I sew). For anything heavy I use my industrial. I generally sew one garment a week and clean the bobbin area after (and sometimes during) every project.

    I would pay a visit to a local sewing machine repair shop and talk to the owner. Where I’m located I’ve seen basic mechanical machines for as little as $30. They are older machines and have some paint chips on them, but they sew just fine.

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    Mar 18, 2014, 08.27 AMby Nehahnai

    Hi Phamburger, Brother cs6000i will be a good pick considering the budget you have. I would suggest you to go for combination machine which can provide you sewing as well as embroidery features. Although you may not get combination machine under 200 dollars but if you can add 100 dollars more to you sewing machine budget you’ll then have the option of Brother se400 machine which is definitely worth the extra investment. Hope you make right decision and good luck.

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    Apr 22, 2014, 04.21 AMby motera

    A beginner with a budget of $200 can get a used top of the line mechanical machine. I have a 40 year old Bernina and a brand new electronic Bernette, but still do most on the old machine.

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