Who sews?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tiredmommy, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I did a very bad thing. :( I bought Duckie a very cheap kiddie sewing machine as part of her birthday gift. Well, the darn thing doesn't work very well at all and she's very frustrated. She wants to learn to sew. I'm thinking of seeing about taking some classes with her at JoAnn Fabrics and getting a decent, basic (read that as inexpensive and a good value) sewing machine.

    The problem is: I don't sew much. I can hand sew a button or repair a seam, not much more. The only experience I have with a sewing machine is being completely overwhelmed by the behemoth I tried to learn on in 8th grade home economics.

    So I need help. I need recommendations on a good starter machine. I'll probably buy it through Walmart.

    I'd appreciate any feedback on the models listed. I'm looking at price, durability and ease of use.

    Thank you!!!!
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I would not buy a new machine. I have always bought used. I got a barely used one in a nice cabinet with drawers off of Craigslist last winter for $100. I do more mending than actual sewing, but I do thinks like curtains and patchwork quilts. Nothing fancy, so long as it is straight stitching.

    Good luck!
  3. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I do not sew. A few years ago, we bought a Brother sewing machine for about $90. H loves it. He has actually made CURTAINS for my kitchen with this machine. He has sewn hems and put on patches on Scout uniforms. He really likes the machine but said if we have to do it again, he would buy a fancier model with electronics.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    The only thing I know is my parents had a Singer machine, and it constantly needed repairs.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I do not sew. My mom, however, sewed up a storm, even making blazers for my dad back in the day. She has a 1940's era Singer that she still uses, shortening pants and making Civil War-era clothing for History Days for the grandkids.

    I'll staple a hem into my pants before I'll get out a needle and thread.
  6. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Took a class in High School - have a Singer which I love and used to use to make the kids Halloween Costumes, patches on their jeans. Unfortunately the dog ate the little plastic part that holds the thread in place so haven't been able to use it.

    LOL on the staples - I keep a roll of that stuff you iron on the inside of the pants cuff when the threads unravel.

  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Witz- I'm a little reluctant to buy a used one... I wouldn't know if it's working properly or not. I'm just not that knowledgeable. :(

    Svenghandi & HaoZi- See, that's the problem. I don't know which brands are good or if it's a model-by-model thing. :hammer:

    KTMom91- I believe in supporting our local economy by having alterations sent out. No staples here! :rofl:

    Marcie- Do you think you could get the part replaced? Also, I use Badge Magic as often as possible to attach Duckie's Girl Scout badges. :bigsmile:
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I've had a Brother and a Singer - then...THEN? Then I got a Janome New Home and OMG.......it could teach you to sew.

    If and BIG IF.......IF you are going to continue to sew. IF you are going to ever make things for the rest of your life. IF you want to have less problems, less frustration and LESS upset for the rest of the life of your sewing career and a lovely machine that will be lightyears and leaps and bounds ahead of everything else?

    JANOME.......hands and pressure foot down. The difference is astounding.
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I do not sew, but my girls went through a phase where they did. I had my sister's machine from the 80's and my grandmother's machine from the 50's or earlier. They took a class at the Singer store and we ended up buying one of those. I asked the instructor which one would be a good, basic starter sewing machine.

    I was always frustrated when I tried to sew before, but the new Singer machine is much easier to deal with. Worth buying a new one, even though I already had two.

    I even used it to hem some curtains that I shortened for our bathroom. I would never have attempted that with our other sewing machines.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm so-so at sewing (I was gonna say I'm a sew-er, but it's too confusing to read and I didn't want you to think I'm all stinky and nasty like the sewer). I can follow a pattern o.k., do button holes, zippers, etc. Nothing too fancy. I still use the Kenmore basic machine I bought when I got married and it's served me very well. I've only had it in for adjustments once. Hasn't needed anything major done to it. But things may have changed in that brand since the late 80's! Maybe check your library for back issues of Consumer Reports to see if they have a recent write-up on sewing machines?
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I tried finding the double-sided fabric tape for kiddo's badges when she was in scouts. I tried sewing her badges on. I was reminded again that I am a danger to myself with pins and needles no matter how many thimbles I use. I paid a co-worker to sew her badges instead. Kiddo quit scouts a few weeks later.
  12. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    If you belong to Costco, get one there. Otherwise, I'm sure that one from Walmart will be just fine for Ducky. Enjoy!
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I had a brother that I gave $75 for and it lasted 15 years, and I used it HARD. I made chaps with it.

    I now have a commercial grade singer.

    But my mom has a Janome, and that thing is AWESOME.
  14. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I have mother in law's ancient old Singer..........and I will NOT part with it.

    In jr high I flunked home Easy Child because I trashed every sewing machine I sat down at. I have no clue......I just seemed to be gifted that way. lol But mother in law gave me her machine.....with all the original stuff/parts and handbook.........and well I've made lots of stuff with it over the years. And I figure if I couldn't kill it, it's one heckova machine. lol

    About 7 yrs ago I bought a brand new Brothers (I think that's the brand) from walmart. It reminded me of ones in jr high. I couldn't even load the bobbin........easy child couldn't figure out how to load the bobbin........Nichole couldn't figure out how to load the bobbin.......this WITH the handbook...........ugh However, I will say that this was like 3 months post Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) so was probably due to my scrambled brains more than the machine itself. But I packed it up back in it's box intending someday to pull it out and give it another go.................. Only it sat there for 7 yrs in the closet. I pulled out mother in law's machine when something needed sewn.

    It became Nichole's xmas gift this year. She's planning on taking sewing lessons at JoAnn's too. :rofl:
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I had a second-hand Singer that never worked properly, although I think it was due to damage from a previous owner, not faulty machinery. It cost me $50, I got $200 trade-in on it, for a new Husqvarna. I bought the new machine to make my wedding dress, so it paid for itself. It was the last of the mechanical models, before electronics went into everything. I still have it, I still love it, it still runs like a dream.

  16. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    About 4 years ago Mom gave me a simple Janome for my birthday. I have made curtains for the whole house, a pleated skirt for me, jammies for Jett. Blankets for husband, myself and E&H's 5 kids... A tea caddy... Pillow cases for the abovementioned kids... and a supersize Snuggie. (Never again...)

    I've hemmed jeans, fixed shirts and added pockets.

    I love to sew, though even my straight lines are wiggly.

    This thing sat in spray foam and drywall dust for months while we were remodeling (someone, not me, took off the dust cover). I gave it a quick once-over with canned air. It acts as if nothing ever happened.

    I did break a denim needle on Jett's jeans, but I think that was the user, not the machine...

    I love my Janome...
  17. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I do. I have an older pricey Bernina. Sews great, but not a starter machine.

    Stay away from the Singer's, unless you're in the market for a high end machine from a sewing shop. I was helping a girl on one with her fair project once and it was so bad I switched her over to my machine.

    What machine did you get, TM?

    There are two inexpensive machines that I've seen repeatedly recommended lately.

    This mini Janome is getting surprisingly good reviews, both on the vendor sites and anecdotally from parents I've bumped into online.


    Another option I'd recommend is if you have a reputable sewing machine store in town --not Hancocks, JoAnnes. etc--but something privately owned, go there and ask what they have for used models. Often people will bring trade-ins when they step up to higher models and you can find some great older machines that way.

    If you're thinking about sewing classes, you might think about taking an adult class ahead of Duckie and then send her to a kid's class, unless they specifically have Mother--Daughter classes. The kids classes are fun for the girls--they do girlie projects and the girls have fun hanging out together. I did start my daughter out that way and she had so much fun and felt so grown up learning it on her own without me there.
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I learnt to sew on an old Singer. My mother made all my clothes and got me to work with her from an early age. I made my first dress entirely by myself when I was about 12 or 13. I had been doing a lot of the making while still in primary (elementary) school.

    My experience with my mother's old Singer is why I bought a Singer for myself when the time came. But it was very disappointing - the tension was always wrong even after I adjusted it. A few stitches and the tension would self-tighten to ridiculous levels. So I was very pleased to get more than I paid for it in trade-in.

    Since making my wedding dress, I've used the Husqvarna to make curtains, to make kids clothes, to sew stage costumes, seat covers, bedspreads, and of course I've lost count of the jeans repairs. I mostly do repairs, it has saved its cost many times over with the repairs. A classmate of difficult child 3's (after-school drama class) comes from a fairly wealthy family (a few of them are wealthy). "More money than sense," as my mother would have said. But the mum bought her teenage son a pair of designer jeans, complete with a tiny frayed rip near the knee. But when the jeans were washed, the rip opened up more and it was obvious it would open up more with each wash. Her son didn't want them, had only worn them once, so she was chucking them out. I grabbed them, repaired the rip (the Husqvarna has a really good three-step zig-zag which is brilliant for repairs and patching) by patching form behind and oversewing the rip, and presto! Designer jeans again, with the rip showing as it should with designer jeans. I offered them back to the classmate but he had already moved on to a new pair of jeans, was no longer interested in repaired jeans. I always thought that was the whole point of jeans as fashion - to make it seem like you earned the wear and tear honestly, when of course they rarely did. The best jeans, the ones I coveted as a kid, were the Levi's 501's that were old, faded and frayed through long use by one owner. And of course you repaired your Levi's!

    I keep old worn-out jeans to use as patches. If an old pair of jeans needs patching, I hunt through and find old, thin denim. You CAN patch old thin fabric but only if you use old, thin fabric. And I machine-sew the patches on usually with the patch inside. I don't trim away excess patch any more - I can't trust the wearer to not pick at the frayed edges of the rip, and I often need to re-sew. Especially for difficult child 3, he's a terror for that. So last time, I made him help me patch his re-ripped jeans.

    I teach my boys to sew too. There is no excuse for a bloke not being able to sew a seam on a sewing machine, or to repair his own clothes. Or to be able to cook. I tell them, if they want to catch a good woman and make her very happy, they need to be domestically capable. it makes them a far better catch and keeps their woman much happier.

    As for good sewing machines - easy child 2/difficult child 2 covets my Husky but can't have it. So her mother in law bought her a Janome for Christmas just after they got married. She hasn't got enough room where they live to get it out, but I know once they move, they will be able to use it.

  19. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    husband bought me a Viking/Husqueverna machine 2 years after we married. I made all my suits for work; had made a few of my husband's suit coats & lots of other stuff. (Can no longer remember how to sew)

    kt took up an interest in sewing (designing clothes & making them). We bought her a fairly inexpensive Kenmore (made by Singer I believe). It's been a good machine & was priced around $125. Before that I purchased her a used Singer (older model) to see if she stuck with sewing.

    TM, it's a wonderful hobby. Let Duckie know if she starts making her own clothes she'll always have the most up to date styles & be in an original ~ I always was in high school & beyond.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Snort.........Husquevarna? Ours is a chain saw and a lawn tractor.....had NO CLUE they made sewing machines. GO FIGURE.