Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Advice on sewing machine

(11 Posts)
Celeste22 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:39:51

My Jones sewing machine was a 21st birthday gift & I'll be 66 this month. There seems to be several issues with tension, I can't get a straight stitch so have to use the zig zag foot & threading the needle is getting difficult. I think the time has come for a new one DH wants to get it for my birthday
I'm looking at possibly the Janome J3-24, the Brother XR37NT, or the Computerised Brother Innov-IS15.
Although I made my wedding dress 46 years ago I probably won't be doing such big jobs again. I'm not interested in quilting or anything particularly fancy, just a reliable machine.
With the lockdown, I can't go to a shop to try any & the nearest shop with any would be 60 miles away in Aberdeen or Edinburgh.
As we'll ll probably just have to order online on recommendation, has anyone got any advice on those or preferred models, please

Hetty58 Thu 30-Apr-20 22:53:29

Have you considered having it serviced, cleaned and adjusted? It could probably be collected and returned observing social distancing.

They just don't make them like they used to. I had a huge old Singer treadle one for decades. It was sturdy, reliable, simple, easy to control the speed, tension etc. - yet I suddenly decided it was a dust trap and took up too much room.

I got a new, all singing and dancing electric one - and I absolutely hate it. I miss the old one so much that a replacement is on my wish list if ever there's one available locally!

Chestnut Thu 30-Apr-20 23:14:27

I agree with Hetty58 that a service could be a better option. Things are not made as well as they were in the past.
I'm still using my grandmother's sewing machine from the 1800s and it works brilliantly. No fancy stitches but just good solid Victorian engineering.

sukie Fri 01-May-20 04:15:31

I don't know about the particular models you mention but I have a 7-8 year old Janome Memorycraft that was purchased to replace my late 70's Kenmore. I found the Janome intimidating and it sat in the box in a closet for several years. If I needed to sew something, I'd get out the old Kenmore, which functioned similarly to the Singer I'd learned on as a youngster.

I recently got out the "new" Janome during the current lock down and decided I was going to master it or go down trying. It has so many features, stitches and capabilities I'll never use. Too many, I overbought. But I'm taking my time, learning the machine and actually having fun with it. I've just completed two dresses for my dgd. The built in needle threader is awesome for my tired, old eyes!

I googled the Janome J3-24 and it looks like a nice sewing machine. It has more than enough stitches and features and doesn't look intimidating. I'd trade mine for it!

That said, I do think I'll follow the advice given above and have my old Kenmore serviced. The tension occasionally acts up but I'm comfortable with the machine and nothing beats it for a basic, smooth sewing session.

Txquiltz Fri 01-May-20 05:14:23

I would agree a professional tune-up is worth it. Older machines seemed better engineered and less focused on “gadgetry”. You know your sewing needs better than anyone. I encourage you to trust them. There are several notions available online to help with threading,

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 01-May-20 09:16:39

Mine had similar problems, after a service it worked beautifully, however it is soooo very heavy that I opted for a new Brother, it also works very well, but it can’t cope with anything heavy. So DH has to lift the old one onto the table for me.
What I really need is a sewing room where I can leave all of my machines out, on their own tables, then I could use all of them at any time.
My oldest has the most amazing attachments with it, I’ve yet to lug that one onto the table to try them all out.

Bathsheba Fri 01-May-20 09:27:11

I would also opt for a service. I had a Jones machine for several years and it was a real workhorse, chomping its way through several layers, happily sewing hems on heavy denim. Nowadays I have a Brother and a Janome, both modern computerised machines which I love, each in their own way. But oh how I miss the old Jones for its heavy duty sewing ability!

My DiL has the Brother Innov IS-15 and loves it - she says it's very easy to use and has some nice features, but it's not overwhelmingly loaded with them. It's lightweight and fairly quiet in use. And has an auto needle threader!!

sf101 Fri 01-May-20 09:38:17

Depends how much you want to spend, there are so many good machines out there.
For a basic machine I can recommend a Toyota Jeans machine, tough as old boots will get through anything and very light to carry.
I also have a Brother Innovis 55 it is computerised and is a fantastic machine of course I don't use all the stitches but I love the automatic scissors.

Celeste22 Fri 01-May-20 10:13:22

Thanks for all your replies. I think I will have the machine professionally cleaned and renovated.
I probably could just buy a new one with your advice and keep the old one too so it gives me the choice as many of you have found ideal to do.
I do have two other problems with the Jones machine:
As my eyes deteriorate with ages it is getting increasingly more difficult to thread the machine so I could do with a needle threader. The other is a problem with bobbins as I like to have a few different threads: the Jones ones are totally flat with no rounded edges and have a little notch to fit onto the machine when threading it. My local sewing station shop owner has tried unsuccessfully to get me any suitable replacements.

My DH would like to buy me a new machine for my birthday so
If I do decide to have an additional machine, are there any advantages of the Janome over the Brother or vice versa?

I am very grateful for all the advice I get on the Gransnet, thank you.

MerylStreep Fri 01-May-20 10:21:51

Celeste
I don't want to teach my grandmother how to suck eggs but have you tried the little trick of putting a slip of white paper behind the kneedle to help you see the 'eye'
I find it works every time 😃

Oopsadaisy3 Fri 01-May-20 20:07:41

Have you tried to use a needle threader that comes with sewing kits? I think you can buy a pack of them online.