Sewing Machines- Where would some of us be with out them? Hell, we would all be wearing pretty much potato sacks with out them. I know that I am not an expert but I sew everyday and I work in a place where I talk about sewing and trouble shoot sewing issues pretty much everyday, so people are constantly asking about sewing machine recommendations. Here is my list.
1. The golden boy of sewing machines is (currently) Bernina. These Swiss machines are built with precision and durability giving them the highest resale value of any modern brand of sewing machine. Their bottom end machine run about $1000 (might have to wait for a sale for this price) but I have seen Berninas for 8- 12 thousand dollars*. I lust for just the $1000 model because it gives you every thing that you need to make clothing that looks like store bought clothing and does very little embroidery. Berninas also have TONS of accessories and feet, including pattern fitting software. Again, if you have the means, this is the brand that you want.
I personally do not own one of these machines but it will be a fine day in the Flowers household when I purchase my first Bernina!
2. I think that Pfaff makes a good (more affordable) sewing machine. These are German made machines that have just as many accessories (no fit software) as Bernina and are smooth running and solid built. A bottom end model will set you back $200-300 and this is a GREAT choice for the beginner. Again, top end models are ridiculously priced but I have helped many a friend find love in sewing because of this bottom end Hobby Line Pfaff machine right here.
3. The Viking/Husqvarna or Husqvarna/Viking (whatever) is also a good Swedish built machine. I own both a sewing machine (bottom of the line) as well as a Husky Lock serger. Both have lasted through pretty regular use for about ten years now and there is no signs of quiting on me now. I service both machines… semi regularly (meaning when they stop sewing or cutting, I take them in). All ‘n all, these machines have payed for themselves over and over again with the work I do with them. My one complaint- I hate the zipper foot and there is no narrow hem foot for my model.
4. White, Kenmore (Sears brand) , Janome are all machines that I have heard good things about. Good reputation goes along way in sewing machines, no name machine- I no go there. As long as you buy name brand machines from an authorized dealer you should always have some where to go if you have questions or need parts and servicing- this goes for ALL sewing machines. When purchasing used machines make sure there is an authorized dealer/ service center near you. Unfortunately when you buy some no name brand from Target or Macy’s you have a harder time finding somewhere to ask questions, get the right parts, and get good service. All sewing machine are prone to get off time now and again so you will eventually need to get it fine tuned again. I love this GIF from MaterialMama of the workings of a bobbin to illustrate the precision.
5. The Singer story. I also own a Singer that I inherited from my Grandmother that I call my Big Bertha machine. She is a brut of a sewer and heavy as hell. I know it sound weird but in sewing machines-heavy sewing machine usually meant that the mechanical parts are all metal. This is a very important aspect of a good sewing machines because of precision and durability. I would never buy a machine that does not have metal mechanical parts (always ask a saleman). Singers were the Golden Boy of sewing machines since the industrial revolution but, thanks to globalization are now made in China out of plastic parts … allegedly. So in my opinion only buy vintage or antique Singer sewing machines. If you can get a hold of Featherweight Singers, these are worth money! They were considered travel sewing machines during their hay-day (late 1930’s to 1964) and they are pretty darn cute!
*I have never done machine embroidery so I know nothing about these machines, and I have no interest in knowing. Personally, if you are going to pay upwards of $2000.00 for a sewing machine it should sew the darn clothes for you!