Jenny Gabriel - alter ego: StitchinJenny
The Holidays are coming and some of you may be ready to buy your first sewing machine, embroidery machine, or even your very first serger. If so, good for you! You’re worth it!
Choosing the right machine can be an overwhelming task so I’m posting some shopping tips here for your review. Keep in mind, the ideas expressed here are my personal opinions and do not necessarily represent SewVac Outlet’s staff or owner.
Here’s some info. about embroidery machines that you may find helpful:
- Ask your dealer questions about how to transfer embroidery designs to the embroidery machine.
- Ask about the maximum size for embroidery. The least expensive embroidery machine has a 4×4 hoop size. As you go up in hoop size the price goes up as well.
If you have your heart set on a sewing/embroidery machine combo,
but don’t want to spend a lot of money, the best deal I’ve seen lately is the BabyLock Ellure Plus. BabyLock is a very good brand. This model has a usb port and comes with 2 hoops: 5×7 & 5×12. The 5×12 is awesome for sewing out larger designs. I think it’s on sale at a reduced price right now at Humble Sewing Center
. I can’t quote prices here, but I can say that the sale price is a real steal. Check out this link to find out more about the Ellure Plus: http://www.babylock.com/embroidery/ellure-plus3/
If you’re looking for an Embroidery Only machine, I personally love the Janome 350E.
This machine is not a sewing/embroidery combo so it does not sew at all. However, I own this model and love it! It is very user friendly and has more on-screen embroidery editing abilities than most embroidery machines for the same price. It definitely has more embroidery “muscle” for your money. Check out this link to find out more: http://content.janome.com/index.cfm/Machines/Embroidery/MC350E
My favorite Sewing Machine brand is Janome. I own the MC6600. This is one fully loaded workhorse of a machine! However, most ladies don’t need so much sewing muscle, so the model I recommend the most often is the Janome DC2011. When you start comparing features and prices, you’re going to find that, compared to other brands, Janome gives you a lot more bang for your buck. Pretty much any Janome you get will be a good machine.
Here’s a link to check out the DC2011:
Here are some features to look for in a sewing machine:
- drop in bobbin
- speed control slider
- one-step button hole
- adjustable stitch width
- adjustable stitch length
- decorative stitches
- 7mm widest stitch width
- (I prefer the computerized machines that have an LCD screen. They are going to include a lot more convenience features than a basic mechanical machine.)
- Make sure the inside of the machine has metal parts and not plastic. The computerized Brothers at Walmart have no metal frame inside and are full of cheap parts. (Seen this first hand.)
Whatever brand you choose, avoid getting a machine at Walmart, Target, Sears, department stores etc. The manufacturers do not support these models. Only the models that are sold at sewing machine dealerships are supported by the manufacturers.
In other words, you won’t be able to get parts for a machine that you buy at Walmart etc. If you are planning to buy your machine online, don’t purchase until you make sure that your local dealership will be able to get parts for it in case you need repairs in the future. Also, dealerships are able to offer better warranties than online purchases, so be sure to do your homework before you buy!
Recommended Serger Features to look for:
Any serger you buy should have:
- at least 4 threads
- differential feed (this is what helps you tame those stretchy knit fabrics with ease and it does other cool stuff, too)
- it’s accessories: long tweezers, screw driver for changing needles, etc.
- If you get a Janome or a Babylock, both of these brands can usually do a pretty rolled hem stitch. If possible, have the dealer demo the serger’s rolled hem before buying.
Recommended Serger Brands:
I consider myself a serger expert. I teach a lot of serger classes each year. I’ve seen almost every model and brand you can think of. I’ve seen many a serger bite the dust in my Serger 101 class because of being a poor quality make & model. In my opinion, any current model of Janome or BabyLock Serger will be a good machine that will serve you well.
My favorite Janome is the Janome 1110DX and the Queen of all sergers is the Babylock Evolution.
As far as price, there are some other Janome models for less than the one I’m discussing here, but this one’s a little easier to thread. It’s the middle of the road machine. Not the base model and not the top of the line either. Many ladies have brought this with them to my classes and it’s always done great.
Another exceptional brand for sergers is Babylock. They have jet air threading and automatic tension settings which makes them the easiest serger to use on the entire serger market. Pricewise, lowest to highest is: Imagine, Enlighten, Evolution (top of the line).
These machines typically cost more than other brands, but they are so easy to use that it’s worth every penny.
Well, I hope this helps you on your journey and machine hunt.
Let’s Get Sewing!
Jenny Gabriel – alter ego: StitchinJenny