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By jayceek On 04/18/02  

Woohoo! I just got a $150 gift certificate to amazon, and I've decided to get myself a sewing machine. Even though I don't know how to sew. YET. Have no clue what the heck a bobbin is. So could some of you experienced sewers list the most essential features in a sewing machine..the ones you find are the most helpful when you sew? I'll probably be sewing lots of tees, hemming jeans, and making skirts and bags. Here are all the sewing machines I could find at amazon, if someone could just glance at the list and let me know if an especially good one jumps out at you:>http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=kitchen&field-keywords=sewing%20machine&bq=1/103-9986569-0716600

I know I'll probably have to spend more money in addition to the $150 gift certificate. Just want the biggest bang for my buck. I'm excited! They all look so full of possibilities.


*edited to correct URL*



By jayceek On 04/18/02  

Okay, is this a good deal:
Simplicity SA2200 Creative Spirit Plus 45 Stitch Function Sewing Machine- $179.99


This heavy-duty, full-size sewing machine is capable of 45 stitch functions using 22 built-in stitches, has a drop-feed lever for monogramming and embroidery, and provides the convenience of one-motion 5-second threading. Features include a built-in needle threader; two retractable spool pins for twin-needle sewing; a reverse lever for neat seam ends; an electronic foot pedal for smooth speed control; easy declutching; adjustable stitch width and length; a stitch-selector dial for easy stitch selection; a one- step buttonholer; presser-foot pressure adjustment; and a sewing light. The machine has a built-in carrying handle and a free arm, for such tasks as shirt cuffs and quilting, that also serves as storage for a complete accessory package (spool holders, bobbins, needles for sewing different fabrics, and 10 presser feet). The 22 built-in stitches include zigzag, blind hem, stretch, overlock, and decorative satin stitches. Included are a step-by-step illustrated instruction manual and a coupon for three free Simplicity patterns.



By Tigrrrl On 04/18/02  

This can of worms gets opened a lot around here. I doubt if anyone will know that particular machine, but there's a bunch of old threads with generic advice, just do a search.

Here's a few:>http://discuss.gromco.com/mwforum/topic_show.pl?id=10617
>http://discuss.gromco.com/mwforum/topic_show.pl?id=8880
>http://discuss.gromco.com/mwforum/topic_show.pl?id=9691

edited to say: That's admirable you want to spend your gift certificate on something practical! I'd probly blow it on books and more books :P !



By librarydelish On 04/18/02  

hey! (the library girl pouts, thinking of all the books she owns.) books *are* practical.



By Tigrrrl On 04/18/02  

don't tell me that! I won't feel so decadent for owning so many anymore:)



By jayceek On 04/18/02  

Thanks for the thread links! I need to arm myself with as much info as possible. And to me, the sewing machine sounds like F-U-N not practical! :) Though I was tempted to blow the $$ on a boxful of craft, art, and mystery books *drools*.



By SmudgyCat On 04/18/02  

It sounds like a good deal to me. I don't know prices though. What I might suggest, is getting some extra feet, if they have them. Like zipper and buttonhole and narrow hemmer. I have no idea how accessible they are for your brand, but that is why i love my 60s sewing machine so much. It has all the feet I could ever need to use in a lifetime.

you might also want to consider buying a sewing book...the simplicity one wasn't that great, i think. It's helpful to see what stuff looks like (or rather, should look like).

and while you can't buy this on amazon, you should really consider taking a sewing class or con a friend or relative into showing you the ropes.

and before ordering on amazon, check on the shipping prices...it might be cheaper to look at stores and repair shops near you. they may have better deals.



By jayceek On 04/18/02  

Okay, I'm so embarassed. But what are feet?

P.S. Shipping on most things over $100 at amazon is FREE! :)



By MizMosa On 04/18/02  

A presser foot is what holds the fabric in place, and there are different kinds of feet for specific tasks(such as a zipper foot).

To me, a free arm is an essential to have on my machine. It'll make sewing things like armholes and leg openings much easier.

I would steer clear of Singer sewing machines(the new ones that is). I've heard many a bad thing about them. The old ones are supposed to be fabulous though.

-Anna

*edited to add: some machines already come with a variety of feet, so you may want to check into what comes with your machine before you buy.



By nicegirl512 On 04/19/02  

I've sewn a *lot* of stuff, both simple and very complicated, and there are really only a few things I've found essential in a sewing machine (I don't quilt or applique, so if you do those you might want something fancier).
-Blind Hem foot and stitch, preferably with adjustable stitch width (you cannot adjust the depth of the "bite" on mine, and it sucks)
-Zipper foot
-Buttonhole stitch
-Free arm
-straight and zigzag stitches (all machines have these)

My mom's machine has a really cool little feature that is so handy: a little thread cutter thingy behind the foot. It's a circle about 4 cm in diameter and you pull the thread under it and it cuts it. I don't understand why all machines aren't equipped with this.

My only other advice: Do not, under any circumstances, buy a New Home. The tension sucks and they are crap. *dreams of new sewing machine to replace crappy New Home*



By AudDoll On 04/19/02  

I don't know if this is feasable for you or not, but I *highly* recommend making a trip to your local sew 'n vac to TRY out machines before you plunk down the cash. Take as many different fabric types as you can envision yourself using and test as many machines as you can. Even if you don't get one that you tested, this will give you an idea of what you want, what features you love/hate, etc.

Also, If you're going to be sewing a lot of heavy fabrics or fabrics with a thick nap (think quilts, denim, corduroy, plush furry stuff...) I highly recommend purchasing a walking foot at some time in the future. They'll run around $35. I don't know how I ever lived without one!

Aud



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