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Wasn't sure where to post - Sewing machines.....how to know which one? Answered

Not sure if this is the right place within the forums or even the right forum to ask (I'm sure the latter isn't the case actually).

I'm looking for a sewing machine but with so many options out there don't know what I need or should be looking for. I know I'd like to be able to sew heavier materials....not likely as heavy as canvas but nylon webbing, upholstery thickness type materials and the like. I've had a few sewing machines through here over the past six years. One was good but old and clunky. Unreliable. Then the next two were bargain deal of the day at local retailers.

Is there a guide anywhere online (or here) or can anyone give me some direction. I feel like this is one place where you get what you pay for and am prepared to invest in something good but if you don't really need to break the bank then why would I?

Any help is appreciated. I've been stewing on this for easily 6 months.


I would first check out any sewing machine repair shop and see what oldies but goodies they might have for sale. I always recommend an old machine over a new one. I prefer one that's made out of all metal parts, and you just can't find that anymore. If you want a solid investment, you can look for an industrial machine. No bells and whistles, some only do a straight stitch even!
My favorite models are Bernina, Pfaff, and Husqvarna.

Seconding this advice. I'm another one who prefers the older and heavier machines. They hold up so well.
The best sweing machine I ever had is my Pinnock Sew Queen from Australia. It's from the 1960s and just so sturdy and reliable!


Husqvarna machines are at the top of my list. they are a bit pricer than other models but they are still made with steel gears and inner workings, where a lot of the other brands have opted for plastic. Brother is also a good quality sewing machine, in fact i have one that will also do embroidery as well a straight stitches. it was a more econmonic choice for me because i didn't know if i would like the embroidery or not (which i do very much). i also have a 1967 singer, i will never give up that machine. it will sew trough leather and tough fabrics like they a light cotton blend. i got that machine from my grand mother who picked it up for me at a second hand store. i think that my suggestion would be for you to take a project to a store that sells machines and demo their products, i know a few stores around where i live that actually encourage their customers to do it.


5 years ago

I opted for a Singer Heavy Duty. I didn't want many fancy embroidery stitches, I wanted a work horse and am happy with it

Happy to report that tomorrow I go pick up my machine which comes with 5 hours of "how to sew" time. I can't wait to get all the other projects out of the way so I can get to know my new toy. The winner wound up being a new Pfaff Select150, great anniversary special at a local shop.

Thanks for your help - it definitely helped me in my decision making. The tipping point for me was the dual feed for about a third of the price of the dual feeds on the Berninas. I think I've got a machine that will live a long and productive life with me.

I was whisked over to the Bernina section of my local (across the street) swing machine shop today and must say I was impressed. We looked at the B330 and the 215 - both nice, both charged their way silently and effortlessly through a four layer thick stack of fashion leather. Quite impressive. The price tags were equally impressive. *gasp* Going to continue the research and check the used and backroom stocks out there. Thanks for your thoughts so far.

I would second (or third) the Pfaff recommendations. They are known for their built in "walking" foot. It's a must have if you plan on doing piecing like in a quilt. I also realy like the Swedish (I think) Elna. I bought one new in 1977, and my daughter still uses it. I'm now shopping for one just like it on Ebay for my Daughter in law. They are VERY quiet, and you can adjust the speed so no matter how hard you push on the foot pedal, you won't go too fast if the fabric needs a slower, easier, touch, or you're more comfortable going slower.

I have a White serger, and love it. Older Bernina sergers are terrific as well. I always suggest talking to repair shops, but lately when I've check all they have (in my area) are newer machines, and are asking huge prices for them

Let us know what you decide on, or come back if you have specific questions

Both of my machines are thirty-something Pfaffs, and I've sewn cloth, upholstery and vinyl fabric with both of them.

While I truly enjoy the mostly-metal design of the older models, the newer mostly-plastic-encased ones are great too, and I would recommend getting one as your first machine if you can get a good deal on the price. After playing around with it for a while, you'll begin to notice little things that you will personally want in a machine.


6 years ago

My wife picked up a Baby Lock sewing machine last year and it's very nice. Not so many bells and whistles but really well made and very easy to use. We've had a couple of other sewing machines that had a lot more features but they were difficult to use and not terribly reliable. We got the Baby Lock when I went to repair our old one and the repair shop found the Baby Lock buried under some stuff in the warehouse- it was a few years old and discontinued so we got it for a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

My wife has friends with Pfaff machines and they also come highly recommended.