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Sewing Machine help

(25 Posts)
Nonnie1 Thu 02-Jun-16 11:29:04

After years of not having one, I am about to get myself a new sewing machine. I have looked on-line and there are several which seem great.

I want to make curtains and cushion covers and perhaps simple things such as summer clothes for me, or clothes for dogs (I know).

Nothing too elaborate, but at the same time I want something that is sturdy and reliable.

Please can anyone recommend a good sewing machine that is not too expensive (should have been No 1 priority actually) smile

Appreciate any help x

Lisalou Thu 02-Jun-16 11:37:08

Hi Nonnie, there are loads of options out there for all pockets. Have you checked out the Argos catalogue? It would help to know what your budget is, really.
The other option is to have a look at ebay. There are often really nice machines going for low prices.

Good luck with your new project(S)

tiggypiro Thu 02-Jun-16 11:57:11

You only need a basic sewing machine by the sound of it ie no fancy stitches or gizmos. I used to rate Bernina machines but they are expensive and not as good as they were. There are often good deals on ebay for Bernina machines and if you look on an 'ebay local' site may find one in your area which is collection only (and therefore usually cheaper). Old Bernina machines are pretty much indestructible and very reliable (I had them in schools for years)
If you want a new one I have had a Janome machine which was good. I would avoid the very cheap machines. If you have a sewing machine shop in your area I would go there and take advice and hopefully also buy from them as you may well need help/instruction in the future. They will also have 2nd hand machines which they will have serviced.

tanith Thu 02-Jun-16 12:08:50

I bought a basic Brother sewing machine I've had it 10yrs and I've made curtains, and done basic alterations etc with it. Its still going strong I've never had any problems with it I think we paid less than £70 for it but it has everything I need to do basic jobs including lots of different stitches and different feet for different jobs. A bargain.

AlieOxon Thu 02-Jun-16 12:26:40

I had a Brother machine bought in the 60s(!) which has only just stopped working last autumn ...found the updated version and bought it for £89 last month. So far very easy as it works much the same.

Does most of what the other did but only some of the fancy stitches - it is what I wanted.

Tizliz Thu 02-Jun-16 12:29:36

John Lewis is a good place to shop. Lots of choice and trained staff.

J52 Thu 02-Jun-16 13:05:35

My 30+ year old Brother machine is still going strong, I had it serviced a couple of years ago. It has a metal casing, most are plastic now.

I wanted a more portable one and bought a John Lewis model, not the most basic, I case I wanted to quilt or free embroider, but still quite easy to operate and cheap.

In JL they will also take you through the operating information.


f77ms Thu 02-Jun-16 13:16:25

I make stuff to sell on line at Christmas , I bought a Janome on the recommendation of the man in the Sewing machine shop (they sell all makes) and I must say it is fantastic for basic sewing ie curtains etc . It cost £139 which seems a lot but it has never once gone wrong and sews like a dream . Good luck , you will love making things for yourself . I buy lots of fabric in the charity shops for a couple of pounds and also on line otherwise it is very expensive .

Nonnie1 Thu 02-Jun-16 13:24:25

Thank you for your replies. I was thinking of a 'Brother' and around the £100 mark.

Indinana Thu 02-Jun-16 13:45:13

I bought a Brother about a year ago when my trusty Toyota finally hung up its boots. I'm really pleased with it, a very sturdy machine, with a range of stitches. It would be outside your price range, but Brother have machines for around your budget.
I have to say my absolute favourite feature is the automatic needle threader, as I have spent so so long in the past trying, and failing, to thread the needle. Now it's a doddle. If you have trouble with your eyesight, you might want to look for a machine that has this feature. Unfortunately the Brother machines with this start at over £200 sad, but there could be other makes that are cheaper.
If you want a basic machine, that just does straight stitch, zigzag, sews on buttons and does buttonholes, then there are plenty available for under £100. Argos have this one for £79.99. But it's currently even cheaper at Hobbycraft, at just £64! And they have several others under £100

Nonnie1 Thu 02-Jun-16 13:53:40

I could stretch to the one that threads itself. Oh yes ! I hated doing that. Somehow I always seemed to get the tension wrong after threading up. I never was very good, but in my head I was always amazing smile If that stumbling block was removed, I could be the next Stella McCartney for dog wear smile

TriciaF Thu 02-Jun-16 14:08:06

I bought a basic Singer, second hand, from someone in the next village.80€, about £62.Nearly new.
It's good enough for me, except I find it difficult to thread - shuttle insertion and needle threading. Seems you need to be left handed smile

grandMattie Thu 02-Jun-16 14:11:55

I've got a 45 year old Elna and a 4 year old Janome. The old one needs a service, but I baulk at paying more for the service than I paid for the machine in the first place confused. the Janome was strongly recommended by a friend who sews professionally.

jollyg Thu 02-Jun-16 15:19:31

I bought a s/h Frister Rossman cub 4[ made in Japan] about 45 years ago. It owes me nothing as i have made clothes ,alterationscurtains, even a tent and waterproof clothing, could not afford Goretex, but managed to get hold of some fabric.

Sadly it will not wind bobbins as I guess there might be a band in that mechanism which has perished, Looked up the net for how to mend but not a mention of the inner workings.

I reckon if I took some thread and bobbins to a local clothes repair/ alteration shop they might wind some for me, but at the moment I have back problems, so that job is on the back burner.

BTW it weighs a ton, quality in them days.

chelseababy Thu 02-Jun-16 15:23:32

Definitely get auto needle threader and zigzag stitch. Don't need much else for basic sewing. I've a Janome which I bought from the shop I do my patchwork group at but I think I could have got something similar for less
Our local Singer shop has machines you can try outcas well as second hand models.

Indinana Thu 02-Jun-16 15:29:20

I could stretch to the one that threads itself. Oh yes ! I hated doing that.

Then I would make that stretch if I were you Nonnie. The company I bought mine from is doing Brother's lowest priced auto-threader for just £179 at the moment - it says 'today', but I have no idea how many 'todays' this will last grin.
They have a very good range of machines, and I've always found their prices to be very competitive. They also have this Janome with auto-threader for £159, so well worth having a good trawl through their site.

M0nica Thu 02-Jun-16 17:44:42

A few years ago I bought myself the Janome sewing machine model recommended by 'Which', and I have never looked back.

But beware, until I bought my new machine (replacing an elderly Singer sewing machine) then I was a basic to incompetent, yes, I mean incompetent, sewer. My repertoire limited to curtains.

Since acquiring my sewing machine I have signed up for four sewing courses with May Martin of Sewing Bee fame (she is a very good teacher) and I am now making soft covers for a settee, contemplating covering another one. I have made three quilts, 2 bedspreads,and I am now contemplating dress making. I am still not a brilliant needlewoman, but I am really surprising myself.

sherish Thu 02-Jun-16 17:56:22

My DD wanted to start sewing and she got a Brother one from Ebay for around £50. It was sold as used but the lady she collected it from said it had only been taken out of the box once. My DD has got used to it after starting making lavender bags she's now progressed onto cushion covers etc. She's even started doing applique too! I have sewn since I was a teenager but she had never shown any interest until now, she's 47 and has two DGSs. Hopefully you'll find a good basic machine to start you off creating lovely items.

Welshwife Thu 02-Jun-16 19:04:25

How interesting that so many of you have Janome machines. I have looked at them and wondered about how good they might be. I had to replace my wonderful West German made Singer about ten years ago - nearly cried when I had to say goodbye - but I did get £200 off my new one. I bought a Pfaff as at the time it was the only machine made in Europe (Germany). It is a lovely machine and has a needle threader but also has a strange second foot which goes behind the needle and stops the top layer of fabric slipping as it goes through. The most useful stitch for me is the blind hemmer. I make curtains and use this stitch for almost all the making except for stitching on the header tape. I also make my curtains from the bottom up - I know it sounds strange but I works well for me. This machine will sew through 8 layers of denim so it will comfortably sew through several layers of thick curtain fabric.

J52 Thu 02-Jun-16 19:33:14

My JL machine is made by Janome!


Nelliemoser Fri 03-Jun-16 08:14:36

The first one I bought was an old hand operated singer machine I bought for £10 in a second hand shop on the Cowbridge road in Cardiff C1973. It served me well.
I later bought an electric Frister Rossman which had enough useful basic features to suit me. I don't use it a lot but I would not want to be without one. It's biggest project was over 100s of meters of bunting for DDs wedding.
My daughter recently bought a good second hand one which she is starting to use.

jollyg Fri 03-Jun-16 10:20:50

Any one rememeber Ann Ladbury. BBC

I bought the book, with patterns, and each week after the prog sewed what she showed. She was marvellous

TriciaF Fri 03-Jun-16 11:38:11

My first machine was from my Gran - also a hand Singer. With a boat shuttle. Used it for years, until husband persuaded me to go electric. So I gave it to our daughters, and they made quite a few things, it never had a problem. No idea where it is now.

f77ms Sat 04-Jun-16 06:01:48

The problem for me is the weight of the old sewing machines , we get a lot brought in to the charity shop I work in and I just can`t lift
them !

suzied Sat 04-Jun-16 06:16:24

Go for the best model you can afford. I had a Janome machine for a few years, basic but did the job. I sew a lot , mainly dressmaking, and have a Bernina which I absolutely love. It is used everyday and sews everything beautifully. I really notice the difference.