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Reply To: Sewing Machine Blues

Reply To: Sewing Machine Blues

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Hi there, It’s so exciting that you’re looking at sewing for a new hobby.  I know it all seems intimidating, but don’t worry, you’re not alone.  As I always tell someone who is looking at get a machine, if you’re just planning on doing repairs, home decorating, apparel sewing, or quilting, you do not need a fancy machine with all the bells and whistles.   Trust me, there are a lot of bells and whistles out there!  I have a machine that has a lot of fancy stitches on it and, pretty much, the only stitches I use is just a regular straight stitch, basting, zig zag, and buttonhole.  Every once in awhile, I may use a different feature, but it’s pretty rare.  Every basic machine out there should have these features and if you get a machine that can do that, then you should be able to do pretty much any project you want.  (As a bonus, you may want to also look into self threading machines, as it makes it a breeze to get the thread through the eye of the needle.)  You can get a basic machine for around $100-$200, sometimes even cheaper.  Usually, basic machines will have dials that you turn manually to get different stitches or stitch lengths and if you pay a little more, it’ll be more computerized and you just push a button to get the stitch you want.   The most reasonably priced machines are Singer, Brother, and Janome.  (The higher end brands are like Husqvarna, Bernina, Pfaff.) I recommend seeing if the fabric store near you has a sewing machine department.  This will be a department with a large number of sewing machines and someone who will be in charge of that department and can talk to you and give you demos.  (So not just sell machines and have a small selection on a shelf.)  I used to work in a JoAnn’s that had this.  Visit, ask all the questions you want and get a feel of the machine that you like.  If you can’t find one of these, you can try find individual sewing machine dealers in your area and just visit different brands individually.  Don’t forget to ask them that if you purchase one of their brands elsewhere, can you pay to take a machine class with them?  (Usually, one of the perks of buying a machine from them, they will offer you a class and show you how to use the machine.) With the list of machines you like, look for prices online.  One great resource I find is  They actually have a lot of machines and are pretty reasonably priced so you might be able to get more bells and whistles for the money.  I probably would not recommend getting a used machine online like from ebay until you feel more confident.  Used machines elsewhere, like craigslist or garage sales, might be ok but as long as the person will demonstrate that the machine works perfectly and it comes with the manual.  You don’t need any extra headaches when you’re just learning and don’t know if the machine is not working properly because you just don’t know what you’re doing or it’s actually busted.  Overstock is great because they have a lot of refurbished machines.  Which means that it’s a used machine, but it has been reconditioned by the manufacturer or outside source, tested, packaged up and it comes to you looking like it’s brand new.  These machines are usually cheaper because they’re refurbished but still usually have a limited warranty (usually you have a chance to extend this warranty).   Just be sure to read the details so you know how long the warranty will last and overstock’s general return policy.  Again, this will be another opportunity to get more bells and whistles for your money. Hope that helps!  Good luck and I’m always here to help! 🙂