Hi All!
I Haven’t been machine sewing for over a year or two and desperately want to start again. I want to purchase a computerized sewing machine with reasonable amount of stitches and functions but I’m solely interested in apparel construction and maybe a few small home decor projects. I would like to spend somewhere between $150-$200, the less the better, but this is where I get lost… I want the best machine for that amount yet it seems I’d be mostly paying for a lot of extra features that are geared toward quilting.

This Brother seems to be the most popular buy in all my internet searches. I really appreciate the fact that it comes with a hard case but just wonder if I couldn’t find something similar for less without the quilting options or even something at a comparable price with more useful apparel features.

linktext http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Affordable-60-Stitch-Computerized-Free-Arm/dp/B000JQM1DE/ref=pd_sbs_ac_1

Does anyone have any advice or insight into some options ,in that price range, that are more specific to apparel construction with less if any focus on quilting features??

Or even if your advise is to just get best machine and disregard the wasted quilting accessories, I could just use some insight.

Thank You!!

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  • Self_portrait_large

    Dec 7, 2012, 04.59 PMby Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    I have a similar sewing machine which I got for my 21st birthday. You can read about it on my blog:

    http://thesewingcorner.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/happy-sewing-birthday.html

    It’s a great little machine. It does everything I need, including very nice buttonholes.

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Dec 8, 2012, 02.20 PMby katexxxxxx

    Have 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

    Some of the major drawbacks of these entry-level cheap machines are:

    Small weak motor: the motor hasn’t enough oomph to put the needle through several layers of cloth. This causes problems when sewing things like shirt collars and gathered skirts to waistbands, even in light weight cloth.

    Durability: the machines tend not to last: the case and chassis are plastic, and not really man enough for the job.

    Harp area: the very small hole through the middle restricts the size of item you can make. Some of my older small machines are better for this.

    Frankly, for your budget I’d be looking for a nicely service older used machine with a larger harp area, fewer stitches, and a bigger motor, and forget it being computerized.

  • Spring_crocus_avatar_large

    Dec 13, 2012, 04.36 AMby purplefan

    Someone let me use their Janome Jem Gold and it takes the Sears Kenmore 1/4" foot for piecing quilt fabrics. I have been given use of the Janome Trim & Stitch model-not computerized but since it has a light serging function (rather exciting actually), that’s so useful in garment making. I have made a pair of pants, pillowcases and pieced about three quilt tops on the machine. I find its buttonhole foot very fiddly-it makes the same old rectangular buttonhole but I have to really watch that foot otherwise the buttonhole takes on a slant very quickly.

    You’d need to provide your own machine case as the Janome only comes with a plastic cover.

    Since some sewing stores are having specials on machines, take some test fabric scraps and test drive the machines you are considering. Only you will know if your eyes can take the Brother’s gray lettering/stitch selection under fluorescent light for a sustained period, if you can do without the computerized feature and if other machines are closer to what you need.

    Happy test sewing!

  • Spring_crocus_avatar_large

    Dec 13, 2012, 04.42 AMby purplefan

    BTW, if you should be considering a Singer machine, be aware that it needs special 1/4" foot made for the brand for quilting, as it does not take the Sears Kenmore foot well at all (as discovered over two summers of helping youth working on their quilt tops and figuring out why some machines were fussy). It doesn’t matter if the Singer is a really old portable or the cheaper new portables one can buy in discount stores-it needs special feet and won’t take any old aftermarket foot.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Dec 13, 2012, 04.49 PMby katexxxxxx

      Hm… Not sure why you say that. All my Singers (a 367, a Featherweight, a 27 hand crank, a 66 handcrank, the 99 FrankenSinger {built from the parts of at least three other machines after an accident with a ship in 1964!], and the 15-88 treadle are all happy with after market feet so long as you get the ones for the narrower feed dogs of older machines. They don’t take the snap-on modern wide ones. Brother snap-ons usually do well on most other makes of modern machine, though you may have to buy an adapter so that you have an ankle that fits the feet. It’s more a matter of the foot fitting the feed dogs and the ankle of the presser foot bar than make matching make. And my Husqvarna walking foot for my electronic whiz Lily550 fits the Featherweight FAR better than the Singer rubbish walking foot…

  • Spring_crocus_avatar_large

    Dec 14, 2012, 01.44 AMby purplefan

    Last year and this year, there were youth and an adult with Singers which did not take well to the snap-on 1/4" feet for the quilting class. The adult ended up getting the one meant for her machine and it was easily twice the cost of the other one. Not all attendees think ahead to ensure they have all of their supplies and invariably, first step is to use one of the snap-ons (usually bought in advance because they are needed every time) on their machines. If trouble ensues, then the person moves onto someone else’s machine (some of the helpers bring in their machines, thank goodness!) or if adult, runs out to the sewing supply store during lunch to rectify the issue.

  • Missing

    Dec 14, 2012, 02.25 AMby tzyg0nka

    For your price range I would take katexxxx’s advice and buy a good used machine. You don’t need all those extra stitches and computerized machines that cheap are not worth the aggravation. Janome makes good less expensive computerized machines, but not for $200 or less.

  • Missing

    Dec 14, 2012, 02.25 AMby tzyg0nka

    For your price range I would take katexxxx’s advice and buy a good used machine. You don’t need all those extra stitches and computerized machines that cheap are not worth the aggravation. Janome makes good less expensive computerized machines, but not for $200 or less.

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