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I need to buy a new(second hand) sewing machine - what should I buy?

(17 Posts)
Katymac Sun 15-May-16 12:41:46

I'm considering a second hand one because so often someone thinks they will start sewing buy it all & then give up.

So which models should I look at? What should I take to try them out before I buy?

What should I avoid?

I will buy new if I have to but there are 39 with 30 miles of me so I thought I'd see what people favourite machines are

HoneyBunnySunny Sun 15-May-16 18:44:53

I'd be tempted to go for a vintage singer such as a 201. But it depends what you want in a machine. The 201 is a straight stitch only and needs attachments for buttonholes and zig zag stitches. But it is a top quality machine and will do everything from chiffon to leather beautifully. The quality of the stitching is much better than any of my modern machines. All of my dressmaking is now done on my 201.

For modern machines Brother Innovis are good with a range of stitches and buttonholes plus they are fairly sturdy. To try them out i'd take some off cuts of fabric types you use a lot and check all stitches and buttonholes are working ok. Check that the bobbin winder is working and that the feed dogs lower if the machine had that facility. Also have a google on prices some second hand sellers ask ludicrous prices and you could buy the same model new for less!

I'd avoid the Janome mini machines. We bought dd1 one. What a heap of junk!

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 18:52:03

I nearly responded earlier but got distracted - don't I remember you having a lovely 201 from the show us your old sewing machines thread Katymac?

Has it gone wrong or do you just fancy something new?

You could buy a buttonholer and a zig zagger from Helen Howes if you wanted to still use your old one. They are absolutely fab, buttonholes to die for.

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 19:15:15

I have a Singer - I can't remember what it is but I've attached it

With a button holer & a zigzag it would be perfect - does the zigzag work well generally (I can't imagine it working) - I'd forgotten you could but the bits is Helen the lady in Diss? I must ring her tomorrow

I spent 2 hrs + today cleaning out my Toyota which to be fair has lasted a good 20 yrs but the gunk that was inside it - mind you a screwdriver, a craf knife & some oil & it started again like a dream

I guess an over locker is a more sensible buy if I'm going to be doing this professionally (8 curtains today & I am knackered)

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 19:20:15

Looks like a 201 from here Katymac - yes Helen Howes, 30 mins from Norwich.

She will look after you too if you go to see her (phone first as she travels a bit).

Basic zig zag attachments are £15. I love mine, you can get a more complicated one with different cams.

If you can visit take your machine with you, otherwise she will post (nice coffee shop in the barns).

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 19:26:14

Yes, that's only down the road from me I'll ring her to see if she is around on Thursday as I could drop in on my way home from DD's

Mind you I can't lift my machine!! such a wuss!

Is it a shop?

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 19:30:30

Yes, a shop/workshop. It is lovely, she makes quilts (very special quilts) and kites and sells lots of 'stuff' like hand dyed threads and arty/crafty stuff as well as lots of old machines and accessories.

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 19:36:13

Even if I can't go on Thursday - it's barely 40 mins from my house (if I went by the ferry it might even take less - but only in the summerwink)

Anyone want to meet for lunch it looks lovely there?

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 19:37:21

I would ... but I have moved 200 miles away, shame!!

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 19:41:04

Well it's only 200 miles.....

Ah well I will let you know how I go on

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 19:47:35

I used to love going there Katymac, especially in the winter. I used to take DD to music school in Norwich on Saturday mornings and then have three hours to kill so I used to go to Helen's, mooch around the barns, there is a vintage clothes shop, rug shop, 'antiques' place and a few other things there as well as the coffee shop.

St Peters Brewery isn't far away and if I was feeling especially generous I used to go and buy DH a case of organic best bitter (not very often mind you!).

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 19:48:24

The generic walking feet she sells for the old singers are a fair buy if you need one of those too.

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 19:51:07

What's a walking foot and will I come home bankrupt?

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 20:04:56

Stops fabric slipping - good for velvet and slippy things - actually I remembered that after I had parted with £30 for mine that they were to be had on eBay for much less.

Like this, there are even some for about £5 from China but I would email and ask if they fit your machine first.

Look up your machine's serial number on this page to confirm the model no

Katymac Sun 15-May-16 20:24:48

Yes it's a 201K & it was made on March 6th 1940 wow it's 76 years old

lavendersun Sun 15-May-16 20:29:45

Amazing, aren't they, one of mine is from the 20s.

My parents were born in 1940 - in the middle of the war.

Katymac Thu 19-May-16 14:34:13

I had a lovely time with Helen today - her place is amazing and in half an hour she taught me loads about sewing machines & sewing


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