For obvious reasons, we get asked for advice on buying sewing machines – a lot!
I’ve been recommending Kenmores for years as I’m still using the one I received for my 16th birthday – 25 years ago! It actually has a 25 year warranty on it, so I’m expecting it to go any day now. :)
Actually, it’s never even been repaired and considering what I’ve done to it, through design school and decades of upholstering, it’s pretty remarkable.
I always tell students that strength is the most important quality in a sewing machine. That’s why I’m so attracted to the old, metal parts machines. They run forever and can sew through many layers without hesitation. I know they’re not fun to carry around, but when a machine is as light as a loaf of bread, I see trouble coming.
So many times students will be sewing in class on their big box, $99 machine and things seem to be going fine. Then they add one more layer of fabric and . . . that’s all she wrote.
I’m also not a fan of computerized machines. I have yet to see any real benefit to outweigh the highly multiplied possibility that something goes wrong. When you get into the higher priced Berninas and Pfaffs, that’s cool, but that’s not really our market. Most of our students have just started sewing and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Personally, I find it really hard to recommend a $1000 machine to someone who has just learned to sew a pillow cover. Call me cheap. Call me old school. You’d be right.
What I recommend most highly for the budget-conscious, new sewer is a non-computerized / mechanical machine by Janome. They are the company that makes Kenmore, and since Kenmores are getting harder to find (except on eBay), Janome is a great option with the same trusted heft. Here is a page of well priced beauties from Amazon.
And, by all means, chime in! If you love computerized machines or have a favorite brand for other reasons – I’d love to hear opinions from other sewers on why they love the machines they love.
This guy is calling my name.