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Advice for a beginner's "grow into" sewing machine?

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  • Advice for a beginner's "grow into" sewing machine?

    Hi there you lovely crafty folk!

    I'm working on learning to sew and have realised it'd be much easier if I had my own sewing machine! (hah!)

    I'm looking to buy a machine between £80-£150 that's beginner friendly, but has some room to grow into. I'm not bothered about '1 step button hole' features, but enough stitches to sew home items (curtains, pillows, etc) and some basic clothing (tees, skirts, etc) is important.

    I've had a look around and the closest thing that I have found to what I mean is the Singer 2273 Esteem II. Don't know if anyone has experience with it, or has any suggestions or something similar? The 2273 seems to run at £150 or a bit more.


  • #2
    Yesterday whilst in Home Bargains I noticed a Brother sewing machine for £59.95 there was also a Singer however I didn't notice the price of that sorry.

    Brother is a good make and at that price you can't go far wrong.



    • #3
      Entry level Brothers do not, unfortunately, have a good reputation and Singer lost their reputation at least 30 years ago.

      Buying a machine from a place like Home Bargains, Argos, Tesco etc is a fool's game, especially for a beginner. Who will you phone and ask when something 'goes wrong' as it inevitably will, with a combination of cheap machine and inexperienced user.

      Will the staff at Home Bargains or Argos be able to help you out over the phone?

      For basic sewing, you need the following:
      straight stitch and zig-zag. Separately adjustable stitch length and width. The ability to easily alter presser foot pressure and upper thread tension. You also need a machine that holds its timing and its tension steady, so that you don't have to have it serviced (timing) every time you want to switch from sewing denim to sewing lawn, or need to fiddle endlessly with slipping tension.

      You also want good speed control. Start up with a jerk is not good, nor is a machine that wants to jump from one stitch at a time to very fast, with nothing in between, or that doesn’t want to start up easily, but just buzzes at you angrily when you press on the foot pedal. Some of that pedal response is down to practice and experience, but a lot of cheaper new machines fail badly in this area, even when used by a very experienced sewer.

      Do you have any local small dealers who sell serviced, tested older machines with a 3 or 6 month warranty? There are dealers round here where you could buy such a machine for about £50 after trying it out first; it may well be sticking-plaster pink with cream highlights, or beige-and-green, and will weigh half a ton, but it will sew almost anything you put under the presser foot.Look for something with a zig-zag and straight stitch facility and maybe a few extra functional stitches such as a very narrow zigzag labelled 'stretch stitch' and a blind hem or shell tuck stitch; they will be very useful and you do need a zigzag or stretch stitch to sew knits such as t-shirts. Lots of accessory feet for spe******ed tasks (rolled hems, for example, cording, piping, pin-tucks, ruffler/pleaters, etc) will fit these machines still - I know, I still have one!

      If you are bound and determined to buy a new machine, then I would recommend you go to a dealer with a good range of machines and try them out for yourself. There are several reasonable machines in your price-range made by different makers and available through various reputable bricks-and-mortar and internet dealers.

      Be aware that not all sewing machine dealers are cut from the same cloth. Most of them are honest, helpful and offer the sort of customer service which is almost a thing of the past, but there are two or three who are notorious among the sewing community for their sharp practices. Google, look on specific sewing forums or pm me if you want more details (and personal experiences!)