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Sewing Machine advise

(14 Posts)
She70 Fri 18-Jan-13 10:08:13

I have started a sewing class recently and am now looking to purchase my own sewing Machine.

I am a relative beginner but hoping to pick it up quickly so I can sew to a level where I will be able to sell bits and pieces!
That's the plan anyway.

Can I have some machine recommendations please? I want something fairly easy to use but won't need replacing as I improve and start trying more ambitious projects.


NotADragonOfSoup Fri 18-Jan-13 10:14:26

I am not knowledgeable at all but I think you'll need to give a budget smile

NotMostPeople Fri 18-Jan-13 10:17:57

I suggest you find your local independent sewing machine shop. They will spend a lot of time with you working out what you need and what budget you have. You'll get the absolutely best advice there is and they'll usually spend some time with you once you buy a machine showing you how to use it. I did this and they also made it clear that I could go back at any time if I got stuck.

I've bought a few machines over the years either online or from John Lewis and steered clear of the independent shops as I thought they'd be more expensive. Honestly they're not and the long term back up you get is very much worth it.

patchworkchick Fri 18-Jan-13 10:23:25

I would recommend a Janome, the first machine I bought lasted for years and was very reliable. I now have a Brother machine that is brilliant, if you are in London would recommend going to the Wimbledon Sewing Center in Tooting. Or a local sewing center so you can try out a few machines for your self.

She70 Fri 18-Jan-13 11:41:04

Thanks for the replies. Of course budget... I forgot about that! I was thinking somewhere around £200 ? Hopefully that will get me something that is easy enough for a beginner but also has the ability to do more complicated things when I'm at that level?

I am not in London although I'm going to John Lewis at Bluewater on Monday. Do you think they will be able to advise? I'm not sure where my local sewing Machine shop is likely to be!

roguepixie Fri 18-Jan-13 11:47:58

I have just bought a new sewing machine after my last one died (a painful death grin). I chose a Janome after reading excellent reviews on them and after they have been awarded 'Which' awards in the past. I bought mine from John Lewis - they tend to have fairly experienced people in their different departments so I was able to ask one such person what she thought. Her advice was that Janome were very well respected and rarely went wrong. She did talk a bit about what type of things I wanted to do with the sewing machine as some are more suitable for lightweight materials, others are good with denims etc and others are seriously professional or suited to crafting.

So, advice: try to go to John Lewis or a sewing machine centre and ask what they recommend. Understand what type of sewing you want to do and go for a machine that copes with that range.

Btw, my machine is a Janome DC3050 and is good for light and heavy weight materials, some crafting (quilting etc), can do button holes etc. It cost £299.

IDontDoIroning Fri 18-Jan-13 11:49:14

Have a google. In s Wales ( Newport) there is a dealer who gives free 2 hour lessons on all the machines they sell. There may be someone similar close to you.
I had my machine serviced recently and the engineer said that for basic sewing he would recommend older second hand machines as long as they had been looked after. Gears and motors etc being better quality. He said he sometimes gets machines to sell on.
So you could look for someone like that near you who may have contacts with second hand machines .
Ask in your class, thats where if got the details of the person who serviced mine.

caffinequeen Fri 18-Jan-13 23:35:49

Can't recommend a machine but my wish list (aka things my machine doesn't have /do) is....
Variable stitch length
1 step button hole
A bobbing that you can see how much thread is left (drop in style I think)
Needle up/down

I have had my very basic machine about a year and while my skills are basic too, I get frustrated sometimes at the lack of the above (especially the stitch length).

starfishmummy Fri 18-Jan-13 23:49:03

When you go to test drive a machine take some different fabrics with you -the shop will just have basic cotton which is easier to sew. Take something stretchy (old t-shirt); something slippy; a fine thin fabric and something thick (two or three layers of denim).

She70 Sat 19-Jan-13 09:10:23

That's great advise, thank you!

I've found an independent sewing machine shop so I'm off there this morning. Might not buy today but at least it will give me an idea of what to look for.

Blottedcopybook Sat 19-Jan-13 21:23:52

If you're looking at Janome (which I heartily encourage, they're awesome machines) also look at Elna. They're made by the same company and have very similar specs. If you can push your budget just slightly to £229, that will buy you a top-spec Elna 340X - it has one-step buttonhole, threader, variable stitch length and it's really sturdy. I'm biased as I sold Elna machines from my shop, but honestly they're that good I'd recommend them over most other machines.

John Lewis - as I understand it - have moved away from retailing branded machines to focus on their own brand. Where in the country are you, OP?

She70 Sun 20-Jan-13 07:17:51

Thanks blottedcopybook , I ended up buying one yesterday... A Janome 7025. I got it from the independent shop so paid slightly higher I think but the man was lovely and I know I will be able to go back to him with any queries. Its also supporting the High Street so all good!

I set up last night after the kids had gone to bed and had a little play. Its lovely. Really easy to use so I'm very pleased!

I'm going to take it to my classes so I do the course using my machine which will help me get used to it and more confident. on it.

Thanks everyone for the advise. It really helped!

Blottedcopybook Sun 20-Jan-13 09:21:48

Yay! Good choice - enjoy your machine!

roguepixie Sun 20-Jan-13 10:47:07

So glad you a machine you like and Janome are an excellent make. Enjoy. smile

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