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Recommendations for and idiot friendly sewing machine

(32 Posts)
supergabs1960 Tue 18-Jun-19 15:56:59

Hello smile
I am frightened of these new fangled, all singing, all dancing sewing machines. I just want something to sew straight lines with. Does such a beast exist?

Grannyknot Tue 18-Jun-19 16:51:13

Hi Supergabs yes it does. I bought a big standard Janome a few years ago (straight stitches and zig-zag) and I'm very happy with it.

Welcome to GN if you're new smile

Grannyknot Tue 18-Jun-19 16:51:35

Bog standard!

Septimia Tue 18-Jun-19 16:51:58

I know what you mean - they're often far too complicated. I recently needed to replace my machine so I looked up the make I wanted - in my case it was Singer because that's what I'm used to. I think the other makes will do the same thing - that is have a range of machines from basic to all singing all dancing. I picked one in the middle and had no trouble setting it up even though it was very different from my old one. It's easy to use and my only complaint is that it is so light! A good thing where picking it up is concerned but it tends to move about a bit when in use.
It's worth googling the various makes and seeing what their basic machines are like, both for specifications and price.
Hope you find something you like!

Doodle Tue 18-Jun-19 20:04:28

Try going to Hobbycraft if you have one near you. They I think do some reasonably priced straightforward ones and might have some classes. You might also try looking for a basic model of a well known make and then (before buying) look on the internet for some videos. I have found them helpful when trying to find out things myself.

Fennel Tue 18-Jun-19 20:46:52

A few years ago I bought a very basic, but nearly new, Singer on ebay. It can do zigzags as the only extra.
The only thing I find difficult is threading, mainly the round shuttle and the pickup with the top thread. My fingers aren't so nimble now, the old boat shuttle was so much easier.

pipdog Wed 19-Jun-19 10:30:35

I have a brother FS130, it is a "better" machine and does a lot more than just straight and zigzag but it is so easy to use. It is light weight but doesn't move when sewing. A few professional people use them too. I was always told buy better than you need right now so you can grow into it! You can often get a good deal on them on one of the tv selling sites. I got mine at half price. There is also a Gemini one that seems good and it is cheaper but I haven't used it so can't say. PM me if I can help with anything.

Happysexagenarian Wed 19-Jun-19 10:39:57

I would recommend Janome machines every time. Great quality and reliable, good range of accessories (if you need them) and the instructions manuals are very clear. Happy sewing.

nahsma Wed 19-Jun-19 10:47:52

Hi Supergabs, John Lewis have inexpensive 'starter' machines - they look as though they might be re-badged Janome. My (adult) daughter started on one of these a few years ago, she caught the sewing bug and has now moved on to an all-singing all-dancing top-of-the-range Janome.

JessK Wed 19-Jun-19 11:04:01

Janome machines are excellent. Our local John Lewis have demonstrations evenings every now and again and it's very helpful to see what each machine is capable of. Definitely go for a fairly simple model to start with. Also if you have a local store dedicated to selling machines they can be very helpful.

cc Wed 19-Jun-19 11:16:22

I would recommend a trip to John Lewis too, or a local specialist store as recommended by JessK.

I bought a machine from JL for my daughter some years ago, simple but it does a zigzag which I think is useful. I would suggest that they show you how the threading of the top thread works, some of them are so complicated and you need to be able to do it even if you've not used the machine for a while. The same applies to refilling the spool for the bottom.

I inherited a fancy machine from my mother and found the threading difficult. Also it was sewing backwards initially, which meant I had to read the whole manual to find out how to stitch backwards so that I could reverse it!

We have a local shop that specialises in all aspects of sewing and I think that they offer classes if you buy a machine from them.

GrannyBeek Wed 19-Jun-19 11:23:51

I have a Janome, too. Went to John Lewis and they were great. Let me try all sorts of machines and took so much time and trouble. Mine is more than bog standard but it does do straight lines! I'm learning about the bells and whistles gradually.

Tweedle24 Wed 19-Jun-19 11:33:16

I too have a Janome and prefer to the Singers I have had in the past.

Craicon Wed 19-Jun-19 11:48:40

Do you have a specialist sewing shop within travelling distance? It’s best if you can ‘try before you buy’ to find something that feels right for you. Also, they’ll have someone who can service the machine and sort out any problems. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything like that remotely local, so I ended up buying from Amazon but it was on a very good offer at the time.

I’ve got a basic Singer as my back-up machine and a computerised Brother as my main machine. Their Innovis range is excellent.
The slightly more expensive models (not basic) usually have a built in needle threader which, once you’ve got the hang of it’ is the most marvellous invention when your eyesight isn’t as good as it once was! Threading the needle is child’s play now.

Singers are now made in China and I’d be wary of anything but the most basic version as I think they’re less robust than say, Janome or Brother.

If you really only want a very simple but reliable machine, a second hand Bernina would be your best option as they will last forever, need little servicing and a basic model is fuss free.

Fennel Wed 19-Jun-19 12:12:03

Craicon - Singers now made in China? I didn't know that. But my previous machine was Blue Sky brand from China I got it with credit points from Carrefour.
Something went wrong with it, can't remember now, and that's when I got the basic Singer, which is almost identical to the Blue Sky.

Charlie888 Wed 19-Jun-19 12:57:16

Janome. And agree John Lewis have test ones there are some good basic ones if you don’t need all the fancy stuff. Enjoy sewing.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Wed 19-Jun-19 13:05:22

I have an old Janome which is basic but does what I need. If you've a good John Lewis near you I've found them to be excellent as many have pointed out on here. Good luck and happy sewing!

Nohogran Wed 19-Jun-19 13:34:06

I would thoroughly recommend a Janome but go to a local dealer to try one out. I always had a Singer machine but unfortunately they are no longer a quality machine - just have the name. Always buy one with a little more than what you would think you will use as sewing is addictive.

Theoddbird Wed 19-Jun-19 13:57:43

Look for one that just does zig zag and straight sewing. It will have button hole as well. I bought mine...a Brother...on Amazon. I have been using sewing machines since the 1950s and have never bought a fancy one with loads of stuff I would never use

grandtanteJE65 Wed 19-Jun-19 15:55:34

If you literally only want to sew straight lines, look for an old Singer with an electric motor.

Mine was made in Clydebank in 1926 and is still going strong.

A Husqvarna machine of the same age will be just as good, it might be labelled Rosenbaum or something similar - they changed their name to that of the town in Sweden their factory was in when Hitler clamped down on Germany trading with Jewish firms.

Just make sure that an old machine has round spools for the lower thread, not the boat shaped ones, as you can't get them any more, but you can buy round spools that will fit.

Fennel Wed 19-Jun-19 16:03:10

Another point to look for is the machine's ability to take fabrics of different weights.
My first machine was a Singer with a boat shuttle, from my Gran. Very reliable. I gave it to our girls, don't know where it is now.

GrauntyHelen Wed 19-Jun-19 18:34:02

I went to Hobbycraft for my last machine and was given a course of lessons on using it all included in the very reasonable price

SewAddict Wed 19-Jun-19 18:41:33

Please don’t buy a machine from Hobbycraft. They only sell cheap,badly made machines. Modern Singers are poorly made too. A vintage electric Singer from a charity shop is a good buy if it’s in working order. Janome is the best basic brand to go for. They do make straight stitch only machines, though having the ability to zigzag can be useful.

Happychops Wed 19-Jun-19 19:12:57

I too have a Janome and it is really good. I have used it for a few years now and I love it.

annodomini Wed 19-Jun-19 19:36:34

Mine's a Brother - not too elaborate but quite enough for me. My teenage GD got the same model for Christmas a couple of years ago.