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stefaniecat
07-25-2007, 08:24 PM
*Potentially a sticky?*

What I'm hoping to do here is create one reference for those looking into making their first sewing machine purchase - I happen to be one of those people and would like to be able to find the recommendations all in one easy place... instead of scattered in smaller threads across multiple forum sections.

I'm doing two things here:

1) linking in as many pre-existing threads as possible for reference (let me know if you find ones I missed in searching the forums)

2) asking sewing machine owners that want to add to our knowledge to answer the following questions in the reply:
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
4) what do you like most about the machine?
5) what do you not like?
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?

I'm looking for factual information on machines that you personally have used (regularly stealing Mom or Grandma's machine for use is perfectly acceptable as 'owning' for the sake of this thread)


THE EXISTING THREADS:

November 2002 - Buying a Sewing Machine (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=3622&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

July 2003 - Buying the Right Sewing Machine (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=15941&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

Jan 2004 - Sewing Machines (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=28858&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

March 2005 - Which Sewing Machines are Recomended? (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=55545&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

December 2005 - Tips for Sewing Machine Newbies (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=72863&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine) (scroll down to last post)

June 2006 - Learning How to Sew (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=84864&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

June 2006 - Machines with Self-Threaders (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=86383&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

September 2006 - My First Sewing Machine (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=93539&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

March 2007 - Learning to Sew (http://forums.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=106999&highlight=purchase+sewing+machine)

Devi 1313
07-25-2007, 09:35 PM
Ok, I want to put out a tip that my mother learned. We'd always heard to buy Singer because they were the best in the industry, but when my mom took her old one in for a tune up she learned that Singer actually went bankrupt DECADES ago and sold their name, so the machines on the market today are cheap knock-off machines that have the Singer name slapped on. I went to the shop where she bought her new Janome machines and saw a whole room of Singer machines in for repairs. My mom has a new Janome machine that threads itself and is all digital, and has an automatic thing that goes back and forth at the end, and you can set the speed so it can go medium or slow no matter how hard you press the pedal.

Pantsu_chan
07-25-2007, 10:37 PM
This is a great idea, and I applaud you!

Just to throw in my own $.02, I cannot say enough about the quality of older, all-metal sewing machines. My vintage 1960s Kenmore may not have all the bells and whistles of the new digital machines, but it has a straight and zigzag stitch...which is more along the lines of what a beginning cosplayer needs. I'm sure that I'll acquire a fancier new machine eventually, but there hasn't been anything that I've been unable to do with my machine so far, and I've been sewing with it for around 5 years.

Also, older machines don't have the abundance of plastic parts of some of the newer models out there...the cost of fixing a broken part on a new machine may be higher than the cost of a new machine.

puddle_jumper
07-25-2007, 10:58 PM
A wonderful albeit expensive machine is the Bernina 1008. Wonderful work horse. Great stitches. Great for a beginner to expert.

Honey Usagi-chi
07-25-2007, 11:10 PM
I say for people on a budget, go to a pawn shop/thrift store and get a machine. Then go to Hancock's fabrics (or JoAnns) and get them to do maintenance on the machine (Oil, replacements, etc.) You could try ebay too, could.

I'd recommend a brand but I haven't much experience with alot of them. But I do fancy Kenmore, I'm inheriting one from the late 80s/early 90s. If you're buying a Kenmore, buy one from Sears and make sure the parts are metal. The Kenmore I'm occasionally using has gone through lots of dresses, corsets, costumes, etc. It can definitely step up to the challenge.

And if you're a rabid sewing child, I'm not sure about locations but Hancock's Fabrics had a program for some kind of monthly maintenance on your machine for cheap. Other than that, oil out your parts, replace your needle monthly (unless it's 8 heavy projects in one month, probably replace the needle after each project) and make sure the machine you're getting AT LEAST has a proper straight stitch and a zig zag stitch.

Yup, that's my 2 pence. Sorry if it wasn't the straight up reply you're looking for with exact details, but just thought I'd say something. Oh, and read ALL of those threads that the main poster posted. Those are a Godsend >:3

Kitsoru
07-26-2007, 02:49 AM
Hmmm... stickying this would be very helpful, indeed..
I bought in the spring season a White brand sewing machine (haven't got the model off the top of my head but I'll edit with it), that was luckily very cheap because the JoAnn's near me was going out of business (unfortunately). However, me being the genius I am, that illustrations in the booklet are about as useful as if a chimpanzee drew them and I've never threaded a bobbin before, and don't know how! ^^; So I haven't actually /used/ it yet... (If anyone would like to point me in the way of an 'Idiot's Guide To Bobbin Threading', please do!)
But are Whites known as being a particularly good brand? I had my suspicions that there was a reason it was one of the only machines left in the store at the clearence... :/ Hmm..

Pantsu_chan
07-26-2007, 03:49 AM
But are Whites known as being a particularly good brand? I had my suspicions that there was a reason it was one of the only machines left in the store at the clearence... :/ Hmm..

Whites are a very reliable brand, as far as I know. My mother has one from the 1970s (it made all my baby clothes and Halloween costumes!) that is still in fabulous condition (omg it runs like a dream, I always use it when I visit)....she's only had to replace the bobbin winder, other than that no major problems.

Eidolon Bird
07-26-2007, 05:22 AM
If anyone is questioning whether or not to buy a certain brand or model, I *highly* recommend searching the sewing machine reviews (http://sewing.patternreview.com/SewingMachine/Reviews) at PatternReview.com. You have to sign up to read reviews older than six months, but they don't ask for any personal information and I haven't seen any spam in my inbox since I signed up almost a year ago.


The Personal Experiences:

Currently, I'm using a Kenmore 16231. I hesitate to post any sort of glowing review as I've only tackled a few smaller projects with it and haven't forced it to chew through multiple layers of denim or vinyl yet. But so far? I have found it to be an extremely reliable machine that offers a fair number of features for the price I paid. I've had no problem sewing through multiple layers of standard cosplay fabrics: cottons, Casa satin, organza and the like. Stitches have been straight and even on all the fabrics I've sewn and I've never had a problem with the tension or bobbin. I rather like having the needle threader and thread cutter (didn't have those on the ancient Singer I used to use!) and am getting used to the speed setting, but haven't had much use for the start/stop button (much prefer the good old fashion foot peddle). The only thing I dislike so far about the machine is having to hold the handle down to back-stitch.

I have also used the Husqvarna/Viking Lena and, while it was a fairly basic machine, I found it to be quite trustworthy and very easy to use. Given a couple days, I even got over the fact that their measurements are all metric. =P The downside to buying a Husqvarna is that they tend to be more expensive than other brands offering similar features.

On the other end of the review spectrum, I avoid new Singer machines at all costs. While they may have once been THE brand to buy (and I've enjoyed working with very old machines), I have had nothing but grief and frustration with the newer models. The Featherweight in particular has been the bane of my existence - from the moment it came out of the box, I had issues with the thread tangling, jamming and snapping that no amount of adjusting tension, switching bobbins or cleaning the machine could ever fix. Even took the thing to be professionally serviced and it was still throwing fits. A slightly older Singer (sorry, have no clue what model it was - something from the early 90s) I was using before that suffered many of the same problems. After adjusting everything that could possibly be adjusted, I gave up and bought the Kenmore I have now.


The Hearsay:

I also avoid White and Brother after hearing similar stories of bobbin and tension woe from other people. (I do have one seamstress friend who LOVES her White, but she's the only person I know who has had good experiences with the brand.) Someone once told me (don't know how true it is) that Brother bids out their contracts so one year they might have a great batch of machines, but the next year they might be made by a different manufacturer and all turn out to be crap.

As for Bernina, the people that have them seem to love them, but I can't justify spending that much money when I only sew a few things each year. If you are an award-winning costumer who plans on really churning out the costumes year after year, go for it. But the average cosplayer who just wants to dress up like Sakura or Orihime or whomever is the fandom favorite of the moment? Would probably be better off looking for something a little bit less expensive.


As for me, I'm entirely self-taught and have been sewing off and on (more off than on) in my free time for over ten years. Most of my projects have been fairly simple - a couple skirts and dresses, random costume and clothing odds and ends, and one notoriously difficult coat. I've done some pattern adjustments and a bit of drafting, but nothing TOO serious. I suppose I'm an advanced-beginner, maaaaaaaybe an intermediate sewer.

FallingAngel
07-26-2007, 11:37 AM
Let's see, I have a Brother LS-2125 that I bought for about $90. I got it about 2.5 years ago (I think....3.5 at the most).

I've been sewing since I was 3 (sitting on Grandma's knee). I've done all sorts of projects from quits to full costumes to regular clothes. I've followed patterns, altered them and made stuff from scratch.

I *LOVE* my machine, if what was said before about Brother contracting out is true I may have just gotten a good machine year. I've never had a problem with it that wasn't user error and easily fixed. Easy to thread with diagrams right on the top of the machine (I've never even *opened* the instruction manual but I had lots of previous experience with other machines so I already knew how it was more or less supposed to go). Easy to load and wind the bobbin too. So far the most it's made through was two layers of canvas with a third layer of cotton and a piece of plastic boning (that was an accident, don't watch Jack Sparrow and attempt to sew at the same time^^) had no problem with it. I must admit I'm not big on mateince (yeah I know....) but still no problems, never even broke a needle...never changed it either.

Although, I must admit that my grandma's machine was awesome too, I *think* she had a Kenmore (trying to go back and picture the machine from my youth, it's her birthday today so I when I call her I'll ask and edit). Whatever it was it was awesome (she also took *very* good care of it) I'm going to assume it was mostly metal parts as it was heavy as hell and older than I was. She used this thing from before I was born till she bought her Bernina when I was about 10.

I also agree that the older machines tend to be very reliable and since they're older they're often cheaper than new. But b careful, if it does break or need matience it might be harder (this sort of happened to my mother, she had a Japanese machine that wasn't considerably old but it used an odd size bobbin that were very difficult to find).

After that machine my grandma splurged on a Bernina, and ohhh.....that was a *SWEET* machine.......so many extras and niffty things at a $4000 price tag (and she bought her's used). The only two things that I wish my Brother had that her Bernina had was the knee lift for the presser foot and the thread cutter (those two really do speed up sewing). Bernina does make quality basic machine (I used one in 6th grade home ec), I'm not sure how easy they are to find or how much they cost but Bernina is a very good brand if you can find one.

There really isn't that much that Ive got a problem with in regards to my machine, although that's just personal preference (the machine's as basic as you get).

I would recommend my Brother or my Grandma's machine to anyone, they were both basic (my grandma's was a little more advanced). Buying a Machine is a good choice, it can mean the difference between happy sewing and visions of suicide, I'm glad there's something like this to help people along.

Pocketfightr
07-26-2007, 01:15 PM
I have a White machine. (I can't remember the model #, I'll get it later.) My parents bought it for me for Christmas 2005... so I can't really say how well it faces the test of time. It seems to be pretty good but I haven't put any crazy materials through it yet.

I will definitely second the manual being horrible when it comes to pictures. I had no clue how to thread the bobbin, as my parents uber old Singer fed down below, not on top like this one... fortunately I had a friend who I knew had a machine that fed the bobbin on top. (Plus since my folk bought the machine at JoAnns, I was able to take their new machine owner class for free... which was the only way I could learn how to use the buttonhole fuction, as the manual was again confusing and worthless.)

KurzesHaar
07-26-2007, 03:00 PM
1) I own a Singer Quantum 7350
2) I bought it around October 2005
3) I started handsewing in 2004 and had a little bit of experience with a machine before I bought mine. I taught myself to sew using the tutorial book that came with my Singer.
4) Pros: It has lots of different stitch options and sews pretty much everything. I use it with PVC, peltex, bras...you name it.
5) Cons: Overall I like my machine, it can get a bit moody sometimes, but that's probably my fault =b
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer: I would recommend it to other people. It hasn't broken or had any serious problems and I think it's a good machine that hopefully will last a long time and get a lot of wear

SpaurhSpoor
07-26-2007, 04:05 PM
I think it great that you guys putting this information, it will help alot us who need help buying a sewing machine.

DragonMistress
07-26-2007, 05:12 PM
This is a great idea!

My 2 cents of machines...

I currently own a Singer Quantum 5430. It's about 5 years old and has gone through quite a few meters of fabric. I got this sucker for my birthday and it hasn't let me down since. Supposedly Singer has long gone backrupt and sold their name to cheap imitators but I don't know that for sure... just gossip I heard. Anyways... as with most of the Quantums it's got a whole bunch of stitching options... more than I normally use (I usually stick to straight stitch, zigzag, and blink hem... oh and occasionally the double needle settings). It's pretty sturdy and in the whole 5 years I haven't done maintenance on it once (I know I'm horrible -_-;) and it hasn't given out on me. I've made everything from costumes, to shoes, to bed spreads with it so it's definitely done it's fair share of projects. I love the fact that it's sturdy and has a good sewing speed when pushed to max. The only time that the machine has ever given me trouble was last year when I was doing a lot of fast stitching for a whole day straight. It kinda slowed down to a pretty slow speed by the late evening and nothing I did could make it go any faster. I think it had some sort of safety mechanism for over heating or something. Anyway I let it chill over night and it was back up and running in full in the morning. It takes a variety of fabrics and manages pretty well with puncturing through a stack of thick fabrics (make sure you get good sharp needles though or you'll break more of them than you can count). It's supposedly takes denim and suede and leather too but I've never tried. It's marketed as a heavy duty machine so it can handle a broad range of things. I really don't have any cons to report about it. And I would definitely suggest it to a fellow cosplayer.

Desse
07-26-2007, 07:42 PM
After working for Viking for 9 months, there are three major things about I'd consider important about buying a machine. I ended up buying a Platinum 750Q after it had been discontinued for about 50% off. It's an awesomely sweet machine and I highly recommend the Viking Platinum line.

1) You get what you pay for. There is a direct correlation between quality and price. I'd recommend getting the best machine you can afford to get.

2) You should never pay full retail price for a sewing machine. Discontinued or floor models are great if you can get them. At Viking, we worked mainly on commission. Even if there wasn't a sale currently on, if a customer pushed and prodded for a better price, we could usually get permission from the manager to give them a sale price just so that they wouldn't walk away without buying a machine. At the very least, we could throw in a few extra feet or other accessories. One woman who was buying a high end machine (a couple thousand dollar purchase) ended up getting a 10% discount as well as $300 box of embroidery feet and hoops.

2b) If you can't afford a machine, I'd recommend getting a job at the sewing machine store! Not only do you get to drool over your machine of choice every single day while working towards buying it, you can also get an awesome (-40% at Viking) employee discount.

3) Make sure that your machine comes with a warranty longer than 3 months and that it includes labor. Even the nicest and awesomest machines can have issues at the beginning of their lifecycle. One machine I took out of the box to set up as a floor model had been damaged in shipping and had to be sent back for repair immediately. Repairing your machine is expensive and the technicial is (hopefully) a highly trained professional. Standard repair costs at my store was $80 (labor) + parts.

Kitsoru
07-26-2007, 07:44 PM
I have a White machine. (I can't remember the model #, I'll get it later.) My parents bought it for me for Christmas 2005... so I can't really say how well it faces the test of time. It seems to be pretty good but I haven't put any crazy materials through it yet.

I will definitely second the manual being horrible when it comes to pictures. I had no clue how to thread the bobbin, as my parents uber old Singer fed down below, not on top like this one... fortunately I had a friend who I knew had a machine that fed the bobbin on top. (Plus since my folk bought the machine at JoAnns, I was able to take their new machine owner class for free... which was the only way I could learn how to use the buttonhole fuction, as the manual was again confusing and worthless.)

Exactly- I swear, I could probably draw better guides if I knew HOW to thread/use the damn thing! I'm not sure if my cousin, who I've been meaning to ask for help but consistantly forgetting to, has a top or bottom feeding machine either, so if she doesn't know what to do I'm really screwed D< I bought mine at JoAnn's too, but, of course that was because they were going out of business so I can't exactly take a class on it 9.9; ah well.
Oh, and the model I have is the W450.

CC64
07-26-2007, 11:02 PM
I got a Pfaff Smart 100 for Christmas, and so far have used it for a variety of fabric. I love it.

It takes a little bit of fidgiting going from the heavy upholstry fabric to a light gauze, but it does it (and anyways...what machine doesn't require adjustments?). (My biggest problem was that after I got it home from my parents' house, I lost the manual, so I generally go by trial-and-error, or jump back and forth between sewing machine and computer, since Pfaff has the owner's manual online. Took me a few tries to figure out that hey, I need to thread the bobbin this way!)

Other than that, I've used a couple of Kenmores and Singers from the 1970's. Oldies but they work like a charm.

HOWEVER...if you're looking for a good machine that will last you for years, you do need to look for a machine that has metal gears. Many of the sewing machines out there today have plastic gears, and they just don't last, or stand up to those heavy sewing projects.

So I've made a few varieties of Schierke dresses, and cloaks for Guts and Serpico (all from Berserk), and I'm working on a pair of jeans. Future projects may include a panda-Genma suit and kimonos.

DivineSage
07-26-2007, 11:36 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I use a Viking Husqvarna 100 series.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
It's just over two years old now.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've been sewing for over two years (as long as I've had my machine), and I'd say I'm at an intermediate level.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's remarkably easy to use. I've sewn just about every fabric under the sun with it easily and haven't touched the tension adjuster. It's incredibly durable and goes over thick layers easily. It's also pretty quiet, which is great when I'm up late at night finishing things. The only cleaning or maintenance it requires it cleaning out the lint every once in a while. Also, all the parts snap into place, so it's easy to take apart for cleaning, and it's really easy to thread and replace needles. I rarely have trouble with thread snagging or issues with the bobbin either.
5) what do you not like?
There isn't really anything I don't like. It's perfect in my eyes.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Definitely. The downside is that they tend to be very expensive (mine was around $600), but they're definitely worth the price! Incredibly easy to use, and durable enough that you'll have it forever.

SpookyElectric
08-03-2007, 04:27 PM
My primary advice: Buy from a physical store

Check the default warranty - the people who make these know the limits of the machine the best. Longer warranty => sturdier construction.
At dedicated sewing machine stores, you can try out the models and see what you like. I recommend bringing a standard set of materials, including at very least pleater and denim. LISTEN to how the machine sounds - with cheaper machines, even if they can handle it, you can hear them struggling. Nice Vikings and such will breeze though it like nothing was different.
Prices are generally negotiable, and I think you'll always be able to find a better deal that online stores. In addition, you can often get some accessories and free lessons.
If you're trying to keep to a lower budget, often floor models are available at significant discounts. Same for older models in the same line / quality level.
Try out some friends' or family members' machines first, so you can decide what features you like, and what you don't. Especially knowing what things are a problem that you want to avoid is important.


3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I learned Summer 2003. My projects in the past two years have been oriented around leveling up my sewing skills, so I'd guess I'm something like advanced intermediate. See link in my sig sort the sort of stuff I've done.

----

1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Janome 525S
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Summer 2005 => ~2yrs
4) what do you like most about the machine?

2km or so of thread has passed though it, and a plethora of materials, and no problems.
Quieter than most other machines I've used. (important when you have apartmentmates and are working late)
Standard low-shank and B style foot support makes it easy to find and share accessories.
Extra-high presser foot lift is nice for getting bulky materials under it to the other side. And presser foot pressure adjustment is handy to get some materials to feed better.
built-in needle threader & thread cutter are very handy. (they originally seemed kinda pointless - but you notice the benefit when you switch to another machine without it)

5) what do you not like?

I can't adjust the straight-stitch needle position to be right of center, only left of center. I like using the foot as a guide when doing trim and such, and having the right of center positions would be nice sometimes.
The motor has only one gear (I don't know if any have multiple gears, but I think it would be handy). For tougher materials (i.e. cowhide leather), it can't pierce the material unless it's running at a higher speed and thus has move force behind the needle. But I want to work at lower speeds, so I have to run it by hand then.
The wheel for running the machine by hand is kinda small. This seems the case with just about all newer machines. Unfortunately, that's not very ergonomic - I use my fingers and wrist to rotate it. I prefer older machines with bigger wheels, where the motion is mostly using your arm muscles, and less you hand. (I'm thinking of making my own version of the wheel to fix this)
1-step buttonholer (fully mechanical) sometimes needs an extra nudge on the lever to switch phases.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes. It has served me well, and I expect it will continue to do so. There are better machines, but with a higher price tag on them. (In my shopping, a Viking was my favorite, but also more expensive) If you're curious, I think I paid a little over $300 for mine. (MSRP was as little under $500. Sticker price was about $400.)


----

1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer 306W - this is my mom's, which she got for her aunt. It's the first machine I've used, and still use from time to time when I'm there and a con is coming up.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
It's at least 30 years old. Maybe even 40+. The model was introduced in 1957, but I don't think this one is quite that old.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's older than me, and works great. It supports a variety of stitches, including everything I really need. It even lets me move the needle left or right of center (unlike my Janome). The motor's strength I think is a little bit more than that of my Janome. And the wheel to run it manually is a much more comfortable size.
5) what do you not like?
It's built into a table, which makes changing the bobbin more of a pain. Also, because of that, it's not a free-arm design, which makes sleeves a little more challenging. I'm also not so into the fact that stitch-width is a level rather than a dial. But when I used that machine more, I preferred it that way. So I guess it's a matter of what you're used to.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes. Though it may be a little hard to find. If a relative has one collecting dust, you may want to see about putting it back in use.

----

I've also used a friend's relatively new White sewing machine. It's a fairly basic $99 type one. It worked, but it's pretty unexceptional. I wouldn't really recommend it unless you absolutely can't afford better. Another friend's slightly higher-end than the White but still low end machine drove me nuts jamming all the time. Unfortunately I forget the make & model, and I'm not in much contact with her anymore.

When I was still new to stuff, mostly for my Full Metal Alchemist uniform, but also a bit for my Last Exile flightsuit, when working on pattern design, I used a cheap (~$10?) hand-held machine. It's barely worth that much. But it did (barely and with some frustrations) work. Then for sewing the final costumes, I borrowed more capable sewing machines (the White and the other one). That might be an option worth considering if you have some limited access to another machine, and are trying to work on a budget. Though I really would not recommend using one of those on the final costume. The single-thread stitch style is unstable, and one small break can cause the whole seam will come undone.

wow. long post. Sorry for taking up so much space. Hopefully it's useful to someone.

euriclee
08-13-2007, 04:15 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
It's an AEG 791, actually a FY791 made by chinese company Yamata/Feiyue. It's just a basic machine.

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I bought it over a year ago during a sale at Henny Reimerink in Enschede, for 55 euros (about $75) cos It was so cheap and I was fed up with hand sewing. It's got 20 stitches, 4 steps buttonhole and 4 stitches length and it's fullmetal inside.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I was taught to sew by hand and knit by my mom when I was 9. Nowadays I sew mostly blouses and pants for myself, so I'm at an intermediate level.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's such a bargain, the machine runs smoothly, the stitching is nice and regular; I managed to sew medium weight denim with it; I haven't tried PVC or fake leather so I don't know if the machine can handle that too. It was easy to use and the manual was clear.

5) what do you not like?
The foot pedal, it feels very cheap and fragile and I'm scared of breaking it cos I wouldn't be able to find a replacement and have to get another machine. In case this happens, I'd buy a mid range Toyota.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
I'm very satisfied with my machine but I wouldn't recommend it, namely because finding spare parts, at least in Europe is next to impossible, so if something goes wrong with the pedal you'll have to bin the machine even if it's still working. And I've heard horror stories about Yamata machines, I think I've been very lucky to get a good one.

My advice when you buy a sm is to first check the motor's power: anything less than 70 watts is pretty much useless cos you can't sew through light or medium weight denim, with 85 watts you can sew through anything.
Then check inside for plastic parts, do yourself a favour and don't buy a machine with plastic parts, it'll only give you trouble and will cost a fortune in repair. Anything weighting less than 6kg is no good, if you're hesitating over two similar models, buy the heaviest one.

Stay away from new Singer machines like the plague, the old ones are OK though; Brother's machines are OK except the very cheap ones because they have plastic parts, Toyota machines are outstanding, you get the quality of a Viking for the Price of a Brother, actually not many people know that some Vikings models are made by Toyota. You can buy a very good machine from the last two brands for less than 300 Euros.

Always make sure you use the right needle size/presser foot for your project and read the manual very carefully before doing something you're not sure of, and get your machine serviced every year if you use it often.
Get good quality thread, not the thread from the discount bin cos the cheap one will snap or jam your machine. Quality thread might cost more but it'll take you a long way, good brands are DMC, Guterman and Mettler.

Hope that helps.

yaoikk
09-02-2007, 11:19 PM
K, just my two cents, but Pfaff is a really good brand (they have a good line and a bad line, the bad one being made in Taiwan currently that are really cheap due to the fact that they aren't the best). I've heard that Viking is good, too.

1) What Machine do you own?
The machine I have is a Pfaff Select 1548. Pfaff is a German brand that's been in business for a very long time, and I have to say the machines last a long time (my first one was over twenty years old and worked perfectly except for the fact that, since my mom hadn't cleaned or oiled it all that much, the gears were kinda funny after a lot of sewing).

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I purchased my new one in July 07, so it's only a couple months old.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I don't have too too much sewing experience, though I am fairly advanced. :) Advice to beginners: pajama bottoms are good to start out with

4) what do you like most about the machine?
I think the thing I like most about my machine is that it has a compartment that holds all the presser feet, bobbins and extra stuff that's built into the machine so I don't have to have a separate case for the stuff anymore. Plus, it comes with a feeder foot thingy (forget what it's called right now)

5) what do you not like?
Haven't used it that much, and so far nothing negative about it. Well, the bobbins it uses are a bit smaller than regular, but the machine comes with them, so...it's no big deal

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Definitely!

Yunalicia
09-03-2007, 11:02 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!Kenmore (385 I believe, it doesn't actually say on the machine)

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Got it for Christmas.... 2002 , i believe so almost 5 years

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
Well I have been sewing since 2001 but that was mostly by hand then I got one of the mini machine and after my mom saw how much I used it and knew if she got me a good one it wouldn't be a waste. I don;t think my projects are too advanced but not necessarily easy. I desgin and draft alot of stuff myself.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
It can take abuse! I have hauled this thing around the city on a bus and it keeps on going. The dials are easy to read and figure out, haven't read my manual much that how iteasy it is

5) what do you not like?
I really wish it had a stich width selector, it only has length. But seeing that it is a few years old i don't know if width selection was even available on standard machines. But there are a few bells and whistles that I was it had but it because I am more advanced in sewing now that I wish I had them still a great machine

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Absolutely! I got mine from Sears and the people there were knowledgable and helpful. I also got an extended warranty through them and they fix the machines in the city so I don;t have to send it off for weeks to who knows where if it breaks.

niimurafuxxer
09-19-2007, 02:08 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
brother px-200.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I got it as a christmas gift in 2001 or 2002.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've been actively sewing since 2004, and I go to school for dressmaking. projects range from high intermediate to advanced.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
easy to use, still works like a charm after so many years. good selection of stitches, and relatively fast. (nowhere near the industrial machines, but good enough.) has only had to go in for repair once even though I have sewn dozens of garments with it.
5) what do you not like?
has trouble with very thick materials, and just recently there has been a problem with the stitch selector (it requires a bit of yanking around to get the stitch to switch). it's nothing major though, just a minor annoyance. I don't think there's anything else I would dislike about it.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
yes, to a beginner to an indermediate one it is an all-around good machine. for advanced projects there are likely better sewing machines out there. I am planning to part with this after I graduate to get a more professional machine, but this one has served me well so far, and I am not in a hurry to change it even though I sew quite a bit and MANY different materials.

anime_obsessed
09-21-2007, 03:02 PM
Has anyone heard Elna? I saw the ad for the machine like 5 minutes ago in the newspaper. It's like $75 CAD. Anyone who has or has had an Elna, Would it be worth buying?

KFelidae
10-07-2007, 03:12 AM
1) What Machine do you own?
White 77.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I was given the machine by my grandmother, who had been using it as a side-table since she doesn't do much sewing anymore. I've had it for about 5 years. The machine was probably produced in the late 40s.
3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I have sewn (simple) costumes in the past, as well as done some equally-simple quilting and repairs. Although the jobs have been simple, there has been a considerable amount of them.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's big, sturdy, and reliable. The knee control is much easier to work than a foot pedal. Because the motor is external, I can see if something has gone wrong. Can run at a much slower RPM than most modern machines, which I like for precision purposes.
5) what do you not like?
It is big. Placement is an issue. The motor lacks power. I have to oil it every time I use it, and cleaning involves finding kerosine to pour into certain holes drilled into the cast-iron frame. Sometimes the thread will mysteriously un-tension itself (easily fixed, but a hastle).
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you're looking for a reliable workhorse to do general sewing, yes. It's a wonderful machine that will probably never break. It runs like a charm and can do damn near any job you ask of it, so long as you're fine with just one stitch type and going in a straight line. If you're looking for something to do anything lighter than t-shirt material or heavier than light leather, look elsewhere. It can't do fancy jobs.

It's like a Volkswagen -- it may be ugly and ungainly, but it'll get you there.

Nora_
10-16-2007, 08:05 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I own a Singer Samba 4.

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
The machine was first from my grandmother, and my parents got it from her. I guess it's more than 35 years old.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

I have some basic sewing skills. Nothing special, but I do know how to put things together that are not too tight-fitting and all. A while ago I made my first pants, and they fit very well.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
I love the machine cause it can do everything! I even sewed a fake leather dress, and most modern machines can not do that because they have no 'industrial rotating system' or something.

5) what do you not like?
The small amount of special stitches, and that it's really heavy.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Absolutely!! It's strong and simple, and that's just what you need in a sewing machine in my opinion :)

http://home.caiway.nl/~jcmduif/winkel/Singer%20samba%204.jpg

Bahzi
11-09-2007, 12:38 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Brother 2125i

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?

This spring/6 months

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

I've been sewing for about 5 years, but I never had lessons, so I'm still an intermediate, as are my sewing projects.

4) what do you like most about the machine?

It was cheap. :P No seriously, my old one broke, probably from lack of maintanence, and I was in the middle of a project for a con, and between paychecks, so I begged my boyfriend to buy me this cheapo machine.

Other than that? It's easy to thread, doesn't spit thread at me, and isn't too loud. The parts are mostly metal, so they won't break as easily as a newer Singer, I hate newer Singers...

5) what do you not like?

It has troubles with thick fabrics, like super thick interfacing and thick fur fabric. The feeddogs needed some help pulling these fabrics through, and the motor was audibly struggling.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?

Only if you're broke and can't afford something nicer. I'm possibly getting an embroidery machine for Christmas, so this one will be retired.

Just remember, the cheap machines will usually only last several years, the expensive ones will last 20 or more, so do yourself a favor and save up for a nice one.

TR Rose
11-11-2007, 04:41 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Kenmore 15208

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Purchased summer 2005 at Sears, cost about $200


3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've only really sewed since I got this machine, but between my husband and I, we've done quite a few projects. Between the two of us, we've made everything from ballgowns to military uniforms to fursuiting.
Galleries can be viewed here:
http://trsrockin.com/cosplay.html


4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's handled every kind of fabric without much trouble. Fur, vinyl, faux suede, velvet, satin, spandex... It was inexpensive and does most basic sewing tasks.

5) what do you not like?
It doesn't do anything fancy like embroidery or serging. I can't really complain though, since it was inexpensive and does a great job of sewing anything I've put through it.


6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Definitely. :)
My mom and my husband's grandma have owned Kenmore machines with success for many years. Never really heard any complaints about the brand.

Kairi_Heartless
01-02-2008, 01:25 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I just bought me a new one, since my mum wanted her own back. Now I call a Pfaff select 4.0 my own ^^ My mothers sewing machine was a Pfaff stretch&jeans 6120

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Got it end of november

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I'm sewing since... 2002 or so... but with help from my mum back then. Since fall 04 I'm sewing all by myself and I've learned a lot since then, 'tho I still have to learn a LOT

4) what do you like most about the machine?
The same as yaoikk said *g* Oh, and the keyboard-like part

5) what do you not like?
The prize - it's quite expensive, but my mothers machine wasn't that cheap as well and worked wonderful for at least 15 - 20 years now... without problems...

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
I would, but more for cosplayer who already sewed for some time; it could be a bit difficult for a beginner when he/she doesn't have someone to teach him/her.

Andy Black
01-11-2008, 11:52 AM
Here is my information, hope it'll help ^^

1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! I have a BROTHER LS-2125
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? My mother bought it for me in May 2006
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I sew sine I was a runt, but this was my very first sewing machine.
4) what do you like most about the machine? It is absolutely useful! ^^ You can work very fast and with accuracy. It is semi-small and it has lots of great options.
5) what do you not like? I really do like everything in my machine.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Absolutely yes. It is not expensive (was about 150€ I think, I'm not sure since it was a present), pretty good and a very great machine. It is perfect ofr a begginer, but also for those cosplayers with more experience ^^

Of course, when you sew (no matter if it is or not with a machine) you have to be very imaginative XD Now I think I couldn't live without it, really u///u

I_am_a_bunnie
01-14-2008, 07:50 PM
maker: Brother
model: LS-30
when: just got it for christmas
expirence: only been using the machines for awhile but ive been hand sewwing for a few years
likes: you can choose the stitch leng, it has zigzag and straight stitch, has very good clean even seams, also comes with a 25 year warrenty ^^
dislkies: actually i enjoy my machine ^__^
recomendation: i say this machine because yes, it comes with a 25 year warrenty which can be VERY useful for a cosplayer and also its good for someone just learning to sew on a sewing machine
oh yeah and i havent done very complecated costumes for i have not a big budget but i can its a good machine that also comes with a niffty MP3 player holster pattern! haha! i said niffty....

CelticGeisha
01-19-2008, 05:04 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Janome 3125

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Recently, purchased from Premier Appliance via ebay for $50 after reading many great reviews on it. It is covered under warranty by the company as well.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
Sewing since I was 12 or 13 but wasn't much interested then, left it alone for so many years and am now picking it back up again. I guess an experienced novice? LOL

4) What do you like most about the machine?
Not complicated or overwhelming. Has everything you need at first.

5) What do you not like?
I haven't encountered anything terrible yet. I recommend getting metal bobbins though, instead of the plastic ones that come with the machine.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes, and especially for a beginner.

AsianLink
01-24-2008, 03:36 AM
Here's what I think. It largely depends on your situation and what you are planning to use it for. The current day plastic machines are great for just about anything except for heavy duty materials. They are lighter and portable and will give you at least a few years of good use. The older metal machines can usually be picked up for a pretty good price. They are usually heavy duty and can do thick and heavy materials. Since they are metal, they are not very portable but they last a loooong time if maintained properly.

OK, here goes.

1. a. Signature Sewing Machine UHT J276
b. Dressmaker S-2402
c. Singer 2662

2. a. Given to me by my mom, previously my aunts. Probably about 10-15 years old. Had some problems, replaced parts, like new.
b. Found in my dad's storage shed in the back yard. A bit older than Signature. Was missing pattern discs so I can only do straight and zig zag stitches.
c. Just bought today, missing some parts and probably needs a tune up. Recent machine

3. I started early 2007 and learned pretty quickly. I'm now praised as being the only guy in my dorms who owns and uses a sewing machine. I guess I'm somewhere between beginner and intermediate.

4. a. Basic, heavy duty, all metal. Has a few stitch patterns and can do advanced stuff like twin needle and stuff like that.
b. Really basic, it just works great, all metal. Only does straight and Zig Zag stitches.
c. A lot more portable than my other 2 machines. This is the machine that i bring to cons in case i need to fix something. Easier to thread. Has auto tension and many easily selectable stitch patterns.

5. a. Big and heavy. Had some plastic parts that broke on me and had to replace.
b. Big and Heavy. Not very many built in patterns, requires pattern discs to get more stitches.
c. Plastic, I don't really like plastic as it tends to break faster. no easy access to inner workings when machine needs work.

6. a. I didn't find this machine user friendly for beginners. It took me like 3 weeks to completely learn how to use it and had many problems at first.
b. Very simple. It basically worked. It sewed on cue and never jammed or anything like that.
c. light and easy to use. Probably on the pricier side if bought new but pretty easy to learn. Not very good for heavy materials but portable, you can tote it to a friends house, a con, or to sewing lessons.

I hope that wasn't too overwhelming and that this info is useful. Also, treat your machine with care and don't forget to oil it. Good Luck

sakura yuna
03-16-2008, 11:06 PM
1) What Machine do you own?
Singer 5062C
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
About 7 years old. From Costco
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I have been sewing for about 5 years now. As for advanced...well I can sew basic costumes. Nothing too terribly hard. Working on that.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
Fast and very smooth, and it has easy threading! ^_^
5) what do you not like?
The fact that it is heavy, and not travel friendly. It's a home sewing machine.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Oh hell yes. Singers are VERY good sewing machines.

volleybiggs
03-17-2008, 03:16 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Morse 200 Deluxe....NEVER OVER LOOK AN OLD WELL MAINTAINED SEWING MACHINE they are worth it if they are under $100

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Recently, purchased from Good Will for $60. It is 35 years old and really great. Does not Zig Zag but does double stitch and everything is metal on it on nothing will ever break. I love it

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
For about 5 years.

4) What do you like most about the machine?
Very Easy to work. Durable and came with a beautiful table.. Love the Knee power.

5) What do you not like?
Nothing..just need to get a better belt. I sew alot and they wear through one a week.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes For sure.

kaligoddess
03-21-2008, 06:05 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Janome Excel Pro 5124

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it? December 2007

3) How much sewing experience do you have? I have about 5 years under my belt.

4) What do you like most about the machine? It's idiot proof. Needle always stops in the up position. There's a cheatsheet printed on the lid with the proper settings for each stich. It's REALLY easy to thread and wind the bobbin. I didn't even have to crack the manual open to get started.

5) What do you not like? The pedal/power cord is really short IMO. But that's easily fixed with an extension cord.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? ABSOLUTELY! Actually, my buddy Diastelo has one and she liked it so much that she picked it out for me for my wedding present.

This is a great machine for beginners and advanced alike. It has almost every stitch you could want (including button holes,) is user-friendly, and affordable. The price is around $350 or so and you can find them refurbished for half that.

Thus far my machine has taken on heavy denim, velcro, chiffon, organza, pleather and spandex without any problems. The one thing is would not do is go through 8 layers of broadcloth, and I don't really blame the machine on that one.

Penlowe
03-30-2008, 07:38 PM
Hi :)
Long time sewer and costume maker, new to cosplay. I'm a regular troubleshooting & guiding poster on Craftster.org when it comes to new sewers and their machines. This is what I wrote for them, it applies here just as well:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=214760.0


I learned to sew on my mothers lap, then I had a 'toy' sewing machine that really sewed and I made doll clothes. Then when I could be trusted alone with the machine I used great grandmothers treadle- yes really, a pedal powered machine. Then I progressed to moms glorious 1940's solid steel Elna that she bought used in the early 70's (she still has it & uses it).
When I went off to college I bought my own machine, a Kenmore from Sears (all Kenmore are some other brand inside, I believe mine was a Husky Star). About a year ago when I took it in for routine maintainance the guy said "ma'am, if this was a car it'd have one hundred thousand miles on it. Have you considered a profesional quality machine?". He was right I truly nearly wore out that great little machine.
In October my husband got a nice fat dividend check and said "go get the one you want, it's your Christmas present". I am sewing more than ever on my Janome 6600 Home Proffesional Quilters Edition, Pricetag? Hefty, $2K. I love this machine, and have beem happy with several of the less expensive models I used that belonged to friends as well. I'm pretty much sold on the brand :)

So, yeah, I'm pushing 40 and been sewing for 30 years.
Craftster has tons of nice info about specific problems with machines while sewing if you need further refrences, (like thread doing weird thing, how did this pucker, etc) I know I'll be around here more often too :)

Rei 0
04-02-2008, 11:53 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Bernina 801

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
25-30 years old, I got it from my mother

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
A couple years, and my sewing projects are about moderate. They're not super easy but they're not particularly difficult.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
All metal inside and outside, with the exception of about two gears and the knobs on the outside. Can do some basic stiches, not many fancy ones. It's not huge, the arm is small enough to be able to sew smaller projects. It has good stiches at slow and fast speeds, can sew through multiple layers of heavy fabric with ease. The power cord and the foot pedal cords are a good length. Definately long enough.

5) what do you not like?
It needs a little servicing (It's almost 30 years old and was a floor model). Can't sew for you. It's older so feet and whatnot are kind of expensive. Hard to get the exact size needles it wants, although 705H works well enough.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Absolutely. I've used and abused it learning how to sew and it's no worse for the wear. It's lasted this long and I expect it to last another 20 years at least. Compared to the 830 I think this one goes for less on ebay, and still has almost all of the same functionality. It's easy to thread, easy to wind and load the bobbin. Easy to get to places to clean and maintain it. It's actually fairly easy to lug around outside of the case because it's smaller than the 830. Also, the manual goes over EVERYTHING.

kkoganei1328
04-07-2008, 11:27 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer sewing machine (no idea what the model number is) and Singer Ultralock serger

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Both gifts =D the sewing machine in 2002, and the Serger in 2005.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
i sewed on a Juki overlock (serger, industrial grade) when i was like 7-8? (first grade) did REALLY simple stuff, strait lines for sleeve cuffs. period. and played around with the juki sewing machine. (attempted to make barbie clothes ^^;;) then stopped after a few attempts. wanted to cosplay and discovered my mom sold the Juki sewing machine when i was in college (it was also industrial grade) got a singer then. been sewing ever since. my most advanced projects by far are my trinity blood costumes. finally made full usage of my sewing machine and serger's capabilities.

4) What do you like most about the machine?
Simple, easy to use, easy to thread, same goes for the serger.

5) What do you not like?
must have Metal bobbins for the sewing machine, and its difficult for first timers to get the tension right. once you get it though, make sure to always rethread the WHOLE thing from the beginning or you'll mess the timing up and sewing machine repairs may cost as much as your machine.

the serger, needles are rare. requires special 2022 needles found either only at the singer website, or every now and then at your craftstore. when they're in, i buy them out for the just in case scenarios.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
yes, a regular sewing machine is all about tension, get it wrong, and it'll give you a really hard time. even with the industrial grade ones i've played around with, they do such nice things......(like cut your thread for you when you're finished, re-thread, etc) and i've played around with a few models, juki, singer, brother, kenmore)

the serger, maybe when you feel more comfortable with sewing, some people dont like them, but i love them. takes the headache right out of frayed edges =D but u have to be careful. one mistake and you may have a piece that's too small for you because it trims away as its serging.

Solai Tsukada
04-16-2008, 09:21 AM
1) What Machine do you own? I own a Janome M100 mini sewing machine
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? it's barely half a year old
3) How much sewing experience do you have? not too much, ive sewn a pillow and half sewd a kimono on my mom's machine ((a Brother, i think)) but im getting better and I've managed to make 4 full, but simple costume with it so far
4) what do you like most about the machine? it's very lightweight and small enough to fit nicely on a tv tray, 8 stitches, 3 of which are zig zag and a easy drop in bobbin. that was my trouble with my mom's machine, the bobbin.
5) what do you not like? it can't sew thru too many layers or heavy fabric.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? only if they live in Ireland or the UK and can get to an Argos. they have better, but i was on a low budget.

MegumiHime
05-01-2008, 11:46 PM
I am currently in the market for a new machine. I've been through two machines thus far, a Singer and a EuroShark Pro. I need something that is heavy duty, that can put up with daily sewing (that involves thick, heavy material such as twill, vinyl, etc) and I would like the machine to be all metal parts. I wasn't impressed with a Singer at all and I'm trying to see if my Shark is save-able.

What brands and models do you recommend? My price range is between $200-500, since I'm looking for something over all that will last in a long run and can handle the sewing I do. I prefer the cheaper, the better, but I've learned now with my last two machines, the cheaper isn't always the better in the long run.

Thanks!

fakeradish
05-07-2008, 04:23 PM
1) What Machine do you own?
I own a Janome Sew Mini (Hello Kitty edition)

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I purchased it in or around December of '06, brand new, for around $60, after my 1940s sakura-pink Singer kicked the bucket. It would have cost about $250 to repair, and I will get it repaired someday, but I figured I'd just get a cheap-o machine to fill the gap. Plus the Singer is physically attached to a table, which makes it difficult to get to a repair shop, and it had a knee trigger, which made my knee sore after an hour or so of sewing.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
Quite a lot. My mother was constantly sewing when I was younger.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
For the price, it is a TANK. I use the thing almost everyday and abuse it mightily, but it simply doesn't give up. I've sewn everything from pleather, to denim, to delicate silk with it (with different needles, of course) and I haven't had a single seize-up or needle-break. I also like how the foot pedal neither decelerates or accelerates - I'm the kind of person that doesn't have the greatest pedal control ever.

5) what do you not like?
I do wish it had a button-holer, and a satin stitch function.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you are on a budget, this is a fantastic machine. Also it is sky blue with Hello Kitty and cute lil' cherries on it. Win-win, I'd say.

november.eyes
05-07-2008, 05:07 PM
1) I have a White (which is BLUE lolz lolz lolz) model #967. It's interesting as it made into it's own table. Also, it's foot pedal is on the side of the inner desk wall, so I have to press it with my knee.

2) It's been passed along quite alot. I have no idea how old it is, as I can't find anything about it on google, besides manuals. I got it from my sister, who got it from my grandma

3) How much sewing experience do you have? I've been sewing since I was about 12 or so. I've refitted shirts and sweaters and stuff for years. I've done three full cotumes myself though.

4) what do you like most about the machine? I LOVE the footpedal on the side. Mostly 'cause I'm one of those people who always accidentally press the footpedal and sew over their hand when threading the needle. Plus no excess cord to trip on. The desk is also great. When I don't want to sew, I just flip the sewing machine down into the hollow desk, then flip over the desk flap. It turns into a cute little bedside table :D . Plus the stitch width goes SO small, and it doesn't eat my material like my husqvarna.

5) what do you not like? The manual is terrible. It tell you how to thread the bobbin and straight stitch, threading the needle and important stuff, and comes with diagrams, but It doesn't explain some buttons and knobs which I still hae no idea how to use D: Also, thread tension is screwed alot of the time. I still haven't found the knife...

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Hmm.... Personally I wouldn't pay over $50 for it in the condition mine is in now. I like to relate it to an old stubborn grandma who's still obsessed with the "old times" and doesn't want to die. I still love her though <3

EelKat
05-18-2008, 09:08 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!

Brother LS-2125, which replaced a Singer that was very similar in type

I also still have my old machine which is a JCPenny one from the 1970's that I keep because it does like 200 decorative top stitches. I literally used that machine to death, there was a while when it was running steady day in and day out for weeks on end, I was using it like a "professional" machine and killed the motor as a result. It'll still sew, but it goes slow and stops after an hour or so (I think it over heats), so I only use it for top stitching now.


2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?

Well, the flood that destroyed my old sewing machine, happened in May of 2006, and I got this one the fall of that same year, so its about 2 years old

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

My mother was a seamstress. I sewed my first cloth doll at age six. At age 12 I sewed my first ball gown. At age 14 I enrolled in a two-year college course in pattern making and fashion design. At age 16 I sewed my first dress made from my own pattern designed by me. Today, 13 years later 90% of my clothing consists of historical re-enactment costumes all designed and sewed by me, made from my own patterns. In my most extreme, things are hand embellished with embroidery and bead work, I do a lot of hand sewing in addition to machine sewing. Though I do not sell my work, I sew on a very advanced professional level, such as compared to designers in France and Italy. I have devoted a great deal of my life to perfecting my sewing and designing skills, my ultimate goal is to open my own shop selling Gothic apparel, historical reenactment garbs, and CosPlay costumes..

4) what do you like most about the machine?


I like that it is a light weight "travel" model, making it easy to pack up and take with me, just about anywhere.

Initially I bought it because, as I said, a flood pretty much destroyed everything, and me living without a sewing machine is just out of the question. I was short on cash and needed a machine that would go anywhere and do all the basic things (straight and zig zag), and I needed a machine that I could buy right than, instantly without having to save up for it or take out a loan for it , so I ended up in WalMart and bought the one machine they had that, judging from the display machines, was the best buy for the money.


Basically it's a good, inexpensive machine that will get the work done. It has no special features, no computer, basically it is no different from a machine you would have bought in the 1950s - 1970s I think it was like $149 or something like that.

5) what do you not like?

I wish it was a more "heavy duty" machine, like my old JCPenny one was (which cost like $300 back in the 1970's, when the average machine was just $50).

There really isn't anything to not like about it, I mean it's a cheap "student's" machine, so it does what it's made to do and nothing more. I'll have to dish out more money if I want a better quality machine, but for now it suits me, as I don't sew quite as much as I used to. If I start up full time sewing day in and day out again though, I'd need a better machine as I don't think this one is built to take that kind of steady use.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?


Oh, most definitely. It's a good reliable machine. Great for the occasional sewer, who only makes a costume once every few months or just wants to make a few crafty gift items for birthdays and Christmas, and such. For the average home sewer this'll do just fine.

If you wanted to go professional, though, and start whipping out a couple of costumes a week, than you'd need a better quality than this one though.

In the past I've sewed on several other machines as well, including one of those old green Singers from the 1940s! (boy did that thing drive like a tank! I think it would sew through a block of wood if you told it too!)

From the machines I've used, I'd say most any Singer built before the 1980 would be a good buy, so long as it's still running.

I tend to steer clear of digital and computerized machines, simply because they seem to focus more on the little details, lie embroidering logos and such, and I do all my embroidery by hand because it looks so much better than machine, even if it does take 2 weeks to hand sew what a machine can sew in under 5 minutes.

I'd recommend getting 2 machines. One cheap, light weight travel/student type that you can take on the road with you and use for you basic small stuff on a daily basis; and one heavy duty (possible older) model that you can use for years and years and sew through any fabric you feed into it.

Ion
05-21-2008, 12:49 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
- White model 1888 - Jeans Machine
- White 2000ATS Serger

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it?
The 1888 sewing machine was given to me as a gift in 2005. I bought the serger as a refirb. last year and do not know its age. But it's in immaculate condition. I occasionally use my mother's White 1505 which is over 15 years old. We've never had to do repairs on it.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I've been sewing since I was 11. I guess I'd consider myself "advanced". I made all my Halloween costumes, any formal gowns I wanted including my 2 prom dresses, a dozen or so note-worthy cosplays, and much miscellany.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
The sewing machine is a beast! It can stitch through canvas, denim, leather, foamie, and vinyl with no problems. It handles more dainty fabrics as satin, silks, and brocades very well too.

Same goes for the serger. It's an easy-thread and open front model which is very handy. I haven't had any issues with either my machine or serger.

5) what do you not like?
The sewing machine is not digital and lacks the flair that many new machines have. To be honest I generally use straight & zig zag stitches and the serger for everything but the option of having a machine I can grow into would have been nice. However, both my machines serve their purposes and I'm quite happy with them.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Absolutely! I highly recommend both. My family has never had trouble with our White sewing machines and we sew on a weekly basis. We like them because the models we have tend to contain more metal parts than many other machines [plastic tends to not age well or handle heavy useage] and they're total work-horses. My mother's 1505 is a bit nicer than mine which is basically a student's model, but I think either would suit anyone novice to advanced.

I'm also a fan of Husqvarna machines. Though I don't own one, they've always been reliable when I used them.

phantomjunkie
06-04-2008, 03:55 AM
I don't actually have a sewing machine at the moment, but I've been promised an Elna that is 30+ years old and still runs perfectly. It was my grandmother's and given to my mother, but my sister bought a new computerized sewing machine, and since she lives at home it's much easier and lighter than the Elna. When I get moved into my apartment in August my mom is going to bring it down to me so that I'll have it for any last-minute projects before my friends and I head to AWA.

Yamidragon
06-09-2008, 02:45 PM
right now, I'm using a machine that is 25+ years old- it works ok, however it jams sometimes and can be a real pain to change thread, so I'm looking for a new one at the moment- this forum has been useful : )

Blasphemy Blue
07-08-2008, 12:54 PM
I currently own a Bernette 75, which works well enough for its purposes. It's a good machine, but I'm wondering if getting something new would be a good goal.

After a long week of thinking it over, I'm pretty sure my problems with the Bernette are more user-related than the actual machine. XD;

shmac
07-09-2008, 12:50 AM
Oh my Lord, this thread [oh God, that could be classified as a pun, almost. Dx] is going to help me so much. That is, if our sewing machine works. If it doesn't, I'll have just wasted an hour or two reading. =]
-sigh-
Thank you. =]

Yaorii
07-10-2008, 04:27 PM
Wow, thanx for the info peoples. I was looking for something jus like this to help me buy my first Sewing Machine ! Thanx so much ! ! !

stefaniecat
07-13-2008, 11:26 PM
Heh, I started the thread... finally decided what I wanted :)

1) What Machine do you own?
Kenmore 16221

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
Last weekend, so its one week old. Bought on sale for $169. (regular $199) so used the savings to get the 2 year warranty, and a spare set of bobbins and needles.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I'm a competent sewer of simple things, can follow a pattern and improvise a bit. Been sewing on machines since home economics classes in 8th grade and with my grandma, but I'm no expert.
Even the simplest looking baby blanket can be frustrating since sewing straight through cotton batting is a pain...

4) what do you like most about the machine?
It met my basic requirements: c. $200 with straight and zig zag stitches, detachable arm, drop in bobbin, and can theoretically handle denim weight fabrics. I wanted a simple machine, but not the low end model.

Popped it open when I got home, was threading the needle and winding the bottom and stitching stuff in minutes... so it meets all my requirements.

5) what do you not like?
Well, they can always be quieter.... and I'd much prefer vertical thread over the horizontal feed.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
So far, so good. Its a simple machine to operate, and I think I made a good choice for my sewing needs. Anyone with similar sewing needs would probably be very happy with this machine.

KVCnext
07-14-2008, 07:30 AM
If I was to make a bodysuit, what type of sewing machine would be best?

stefaniecat
07-14-2008, 12:41 PM
If I was to make a bodysuit, what type of sewing machine would be best?

I'm assuming spandex, but bodysuits can be made of other materials such as leather/pleather, so you need to do two things:
1) determine what kind of material you're sewing, and if your machine is 'rated' to handle it.
2) get the correct needle for that fabric type

For example with spandax, I know my machine can take it. I need a zig zag stitch and my blue tipped (spandex type) needle.

KVCnext
07-15-2008, 03:06 AM
I'm assuming spandex, but bodysuits can be made of other materials such as leather/pleather, so you need to do two things:
1) determine what kind of material you're sewing, and if your machine is 'rated' to handle it.
2) get the correct needle for that fabric type

For example with spandax, I know my machine can take it. I need a zig zag stitch and my blue tipped (spandex type) needle.

I'd be wanting to make it out of either spandex or Lycra. So if I buy a machine rated for it and a blue tipped needle, I should be okay?

stefaniecat
07-15-2008, 06:56 PM
Well, I don't know if all brands do blue tipped, but most machines out there will sew spandex. You just should make sure you're using the right needle and the right settings on your machine.

waterdancer
07-17-2008, 09:40 PM
I have a brother, im not sure the model number, but it was the absolutely cheapest sewing machine at walmart. also my first sewing machine. it cost me like 80$.

i think its a great beginners sewing machine, but thats it. its very easy to understand, strait stitch, mountain stitch, and a couple variations of those. tension control. comes with foot for button holes. served me well enough for the year ive owned it.

there are quite a few downfalls to it. when i first got it, it kept getting grease on the string, so anything white looked black or grey at first. turned out there was just an overabundance of grease on one of the mechanism and after cleaning it out with a q tip it was fine. ive definitely stressed lots of different weights under it and have seen that it can easily handle most fabrics twice or thrice over. cases, like in corners, where it gets real bulky, it might need a lil help getting under the foot, and then i recommend going nice and slow, cause with too much material, it has caused nasty gather on the other side. also, anything very very thin and working on teeny tiny hems, the machine might pull down the fabric and munch it. =/

Diefbaby
07-20-2008, 06:00 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I own an ancient White machine that belonged at one time to my mother. She was given it by my grandfather in the early 1970's when my older sister was little. I also own a Janome Sew Mini that I purchased in 2007.

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
White machine - early 1970's
Janome - 2007

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
My mother taught me to sew when I was about 8. I made a few things but around 2000 started cosplaying and making costumes. I now make all my costumes and make doll clothes on commission. I currently also work for an industrial sewing company making uniforms.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
The White machine is a total workhorse that so far has handled everything I've been able to throw at it. It's starting to show its age and needs a tune up but it still runs fantastic.
The Janome machine is nice for a beginner as it has limited settings. It can only do a straight or a zig-zag stitch. It's portable as well.

5) what do you not like?
The White machine is housed in a sewing cabinet currently so it isn't portable at all.
The Janome machine isn't very good with small pieces of fabric.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes, to both machines. Both have their good points and bad points like every machine.

I'm also in the market for a serger for home use. I'm thinking of going with the White brand because I've read good reviews of them. Does any one have recommendations?

Honey Usagi-chi
07-27-2008, 07:21 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
JC Penney Retail #: 6976 Catalogue #: 868-4144

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
My mother bought it in the late 80s when my sister was born, she sewed her baby clothes.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've been sewing for a year and have had some projects in theatre to do in the costuming area. I wouldn't quite say I'm a beginner but I'm not advanced either. I've worked with very different aspects of sewing though ^_^;

4) what do you like most about the machine?
It's tough, the components are made of metal and the exterior too. I could probably kill someone with it >.>; I dropped it before on my way to a sewing meet for the TexPlex, it worked just fine afterwards. I can also turn off the light, which helps because it gets the top really hot. It's sewed through some heavy stuff and can go realllllly fast.

5) what do you not like?
My mom lost the manual, and I found it online but I don't really want to pay for it. And I'm not sure which kinds of needles or other presser feet will fit into it, so I'll have to take it in to those sewing world thingies. When I first started out with the machine, you have to get the hook to start at the top anytime you begin or end a stitch. I found it tedious at first, but it's now a thoughtless habit.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you find it, absolutely! It has the basics, straight stitch, zig zag, reverse option, and stitch lengths. It also has some other stitches (like those weird ones you use for scalloping, a few serger-esque looking ones) but I haven't had the need to use it yet. It's really easy to thread too, and the bobbin is more convenient since if there's a tangle you can just take the bobbin out. You just need to get used to it (Maybe you don't, but I started out hand sewing so it was definitely strange)

Pretty Sammy
07-30-2008, 11:33 AM
1) What Machine do you own?
I own a relatively new Singer 7462.

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I received it as a gift for my sixteenth birthday, around a year and a half ago. It was around $180 and hands-down, the best present I've ever gotten.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I've only been sewing for two years now (I learned to sew specifically for cosplay). But I've sewn a variety of garments. I'd call myself an intermediately skilled seamstress.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
This machine not only has a variety of beautiful stitches, but is quiet and super easy to use. It's, in my opinion, the perfect machine for beginners and experts alike.

Super easy to set up, with a detachable arm too. :)

5) what do you not like?
Well...sometimes on stretchy fabrics, it misses a zig-zag stitch or two, but that's because of the fabric, not because of the machine.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Most definitely. My sewing machine is my baby. :D

khatera
08-01-2008, 04:02 PM
I got a question.

I understand what sewing machines are but what is the difference between them and sergers?

When I was in high school we had one to do the inside stitches and I never really learned much about it. (Someone else had to sew for me b/c I wasn't great doing it straight xD, at least I'm somewhat better now)

Oh and would a serger be better for a beginner cosplayer or would you prefer a regular sewing machine?

Honey Usagi-chi
08-03-2008, 08:58 PM
I got a question.

I understand what sewing machines are but what is the difference between them and sergers?

When I was in high school we had one to do the inside stitches and I never really learned much about it. (Someone else had to sew for me b/c I wasn't great doing it straight xD, at least I'm somewhat better now)

Oh and would a serger be better for a beginner cosplayer or would you prefer a regular sewing machine?
You know those stitches on your clothing? The complicated loops between the straight stitches? That is what a serger does. A sewing machine does more simpler stitches, serger's are for more heavy duty (and machine washing)

I would recommend a sewing machine for a beginning cosplayer. I handsewed my garments at the beginning and when I finally got to use a machine, it was something completely foreign to me. Yes I was still sewing, which I was good at by hand, but it was different. I can't imagine starting out with a serger, they're complicated to thread at times and more than one needle is going at once X_x; A machine alone takes some getting used to (at least for me), but a serger for the beginning @_@

I just came here to say what beginners should look for in a sewing machine, thank you for allowing me the opportunity! You should at least have a zig zag and straight stitch option, along with a reverse stitching lever (or button on some) with different stitch lengths and widths (You'd want long running straight stitches for when you practice or test out a new method on mockups) If you are not getting these options, you are being ripped off.

khatera
08-04-2008, 12:46 PM
You know those stitches on your clothing? The complicated loops between the straight stitches? That is what a serger does. A sewing machine does more simpler stitches, serger's are for more heavy duty (and machine washing)

I would recommend a sewing machine for a beginning cosplayer. I handsewed my garments at the beginning and when I finally got to use a machine, it was something completely foreign to me. Yes I was still sewing, which I was good at by hand, but it was different. I can't imagine starting out with a serger, they're complicated to thread at times and more than one needle is going at once X_x; A machine alone takes some getting used to (at least for me), but a serger for the beginning @_@

I just came here to say what beginners should look for in a sewing machine, thank you for allowing me the opportunity! You should at least have a zig zag and straight stitch option, along with a reverse stitching lever (or button on some) with different stitch lengths and widths (You'd want long running straight stitches for when you practice or test out a new method on mockups) If you are not getting these options, you are being ripped off.


Thanks thats very helpful.
No serger for me, ever xD
I need to take sewing classes though, can't sew straight enough...
My line is always a zigzag xD

MagicNein
08-10-2008, 06:33 PM
I've got a 70's-era Kenmore, and I love it. When I was making skirts for a Theatre production at my school, a friend of mine actually offered to sneak to my house to get it, (after 10 minutes of fighting with an ancient I don't-know-what-brand, I gave her my keys, and I finished the final skirt during my last class of the day). I've been using it for about 5-6 years now.

My grandmother is a professional seamstress, so my Dad is going to attempt to talk her into letting me have one of her machines (She's got a few that cost over $1000, but I doubt I'll get one of those). She's been doing that since before I was born, so I have a lot of trust in her machine choices. I believe she uses Kenmore too, but I'm not sure.

PrincessHinata
08-10-2008, 06:50 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! A Husquvarna Huskystar E20

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? I received it as a Christmas gift in 2006.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I've been sewing actively for about 5 years. Started with handsewing, moved to my mom's ancient Singer, then to the Huskystar.

4) what do you like most about the machine? It's really simple to use and is a total powerhorse. The lady doing the demo on it showed how it sews through like 6 layers of denim. It sews fur and all sorts of stuff. Awesome machine.

5) what do you not like? It has tension issues, and even a coworker of my mom's has the same issue with hers, as hers is the E10 model. And it has problems going through thinner fabrics, but that's mostly my fault for not switching needles/etc.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? YES. It was a great buy and we even got it during a Christmas sale. I love this machine.

FyreGothChylde
08-13-2008, 08:54 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! Brother Ls-2125i

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? It's only a few months old..^.^

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) Handsewing for 2 new years and still do in mix with using the machine. It's my first sewing machine.

4) what do you like most about the machine? Simple to use..Actually picked on how to thread and use it within one to two days. It says its only for basic use but I've been using it on leather and pleather and it works pretty well..(not for alot of layers but you know..).
It's also good if your on a budget..I got it at Wal-mart for around $80 dollars.

5) what do you not like? The thread breaks occasionally and a needle did once too..but I think I was pushing it too hard ^.^;

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Yes, especially if your a beginner to sewing machines and on a low budget.

Bahzi
08-19-2008, 10:53 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!

Singer Quantum Futura CE-200 (embroidery/sewing machine combo)

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?

I just got it about 8 months ago (December 07), but have only recently got around to using it. I got it on eBay, it was basically brand new, but it is a slightly older model, I think I've seen Joann's clearancing them for around $650-700.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

I've been sewing for about 6 years, still an intermediate. As for machine embroidery, my knowledge is quite limited. Prior to buying this machine, I knew how to stabilize and hoop fabric, and not much else.

4) what do you like most about the machine?

For the money, it's a good machine. It sews very well, the motor is strong, and most parts are metal. It has hand controls for sewing speed, so you don't have to worry about keeping the right amount of pressure on the foot pedal.

It has tons of stitch functions, like one step button-holes, and a true free-arm, with the normal sewing table detached, the arm is only 3" wide and centered with the needle, making sleeves MUCH easier than most machines I've used.

it came with a good assortment of feet and accessories, like extra spool caps and lots of bobbins. (Apparently it takes a special kind of bobbin)

It has a lot of automated sensors, it knows when your tension is off and where, it'll display a code to tell you what's wrong.

As for the embroidery functions, the machine itself is quite capable of decent results.

5) what do you not like?

Embroidery can look good from this machine, the included Autopunch software however, is pretty frustrating. You can't control stitch direction, so if the little goblin living in the software code decides to do random things with your design, you're stuck with odd looking stitches. Sometimes the Autopunch function screws up, leaving you with big gaps in your design, even with a vector image, and from the same image and settings, it will draw it out different almost every time, so you need to save your designs once you find one that works.

The software is also a horrid pain to install on either Windows XP SP2or Vista, there's a pesky Windows security update that disables the main .dll to initialize the software and transmit data to the machine, and the patches don't always work correctly.

There's a tension issue when using large maxi spools for embroidery with the back spool holder. You need a thread net, it'll set off the tension sensor every 5 seconds without one. Singer makes no mention of this whatsoever, and speaking of no mention....

Singer's manual and online support and FAQ are terrible. Thankfully, there's an excellent Yahoo! group for Futura embroidery, and their old messages answer just about everything the manual doesn't.


6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?

Yes, and no. I'd definitely recommend the Futura line, but if at all possible, I'd advise getting the CE-250 or CE-350, because they overhauled the software and it now has lots more editing functions.

Aside from the software issues though, the CE-200 is a solid machine. Definitely not a machine for travel though, it weighs over 30 pounds. ^^;

ToroSonyCat
09-26-2008, 02:54 PM
please, can someone tell me if mini-sewing mashines are any good? im getting one cos i cant afford a normal-sized one.

it says on the box it does the same as a normal-sized one but for cheaper.
(not getting it till christmas though)

Bahzi
09-26-2008, 07:02 PM
please, can someone tell me if mini-sewing mashines are any good? im getting one cos i cant afford a normal-sized one.

it says on the box it does the same as a normal-sized one but for cheaper.
(not getting it till christmas though)

Generally, no. There's only one mini sewing machine I'd ever consider for making a whole costume or doing anything but mending, and that's the Janome Sew-mini, which retails for around $60. Update: Apparently this machine sucks too, see post #72 below. Anything else will probably just be a waste of money unless it's just for the occasional hem or repair. I've heard of nearly all those other mini machines that they have bobbin and tension issues that aren't something most novices can easily deal with, and they're useless for anything thicker than quilter's cotton. For whatever machine you're considering, look up reviews on Google. If there's a lot of 1 or 2 star reviews, avoid like the plague.


A much better bet would be to search thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army for used machines, as they'll be cheap (sometimes only $25 or so), and many older machines were actually better made than current ones, this particularly applies to Singer machines.

I used to have a mini Singer mending machine, back when I was just getting into cosplay, it didn't last through a whole costume, it was a total waste of money. I'd have done better to just handsew until I could save up enough money for a real sewing machine, it would have saved me $30 and a lot of frustration.

ToroSonyCat
09-27-2008, 04:04 AM
Generally, no. There's only one mini sewing machine I'd ever consider for making a whole costume or doing anything but mending, and that's the Janome Sew-mini, which retails for around $60. Anything else will probably just be a waste of money unless it's just for the occasional hem or repair. I've heard of nearly all those other mini machines that they have bobbin and tension issues that aren't something most novices can easily deal with, and they're useless for anything thicker than quilter's cotton. For whatever machine you're considering, look up reviews on Google. If there's a lot of 1 or 2 star reviews, avoid like the plague.


A much better bet would be to search thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army for used machines, as they'll be cheap (sometimes only $25 or so), and many older machines were actually better made than current ones, this particularly applies to Singer machines.

I used to have a mini Singer mending machine, back when I was just getting into cosplay, it didn't last through a whole costume, it was a total waste of money. I'd have done better to just handsew until I could save up enough money for a real sewing machine, it would have saved me $30 and a lot of frustration.

Thank you so much for the review.
I have sadly allready perchased the mini sewing mashine, but ah well.
Ill just have to hope this is a good one. I guess i wasnt a very smart buyer.

If it doesnt work out, ill do as you say and search thrift stores and such.

Hime
09-29-2008, 08:15 PM
Are there any "mini" sewing machines and sergers worth purchasing? I think they would be useful for faraway conventions, incase something happens to my costume--because strange accidents can happen! Thank you!

Eidolon Bird
10-01-2008, 07:16 AM
Are there any "mini" sewing machines and sergers worth purchasing? I think they would be useful for faraway conventions, incase something happens to my costume--because strange accidents can happen! Thank you!

Read the first paragraph of this (http://www.cosplay.com/showpost.php?p=2640299&postcount=67) post.

I always bring a small repair kit with me to cons that includes things like needles, thread, scissors and, depending on the costumes, things like fabric glue, a mini hot glue gun, super glue, safety pins and tape. Never had a costume mishap that the emergency kit couldn't take care of.

_Kumi-chan_
10-02-2008, 12:13 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Pfaff Smart 200c.

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
About two and a half months ago (mid-July), $300 on sale. Was technically purchased for me as a "joint" machine; I'm working off my half in sewing for the other person, and it's meant for both our projects (I'm the primary user, though).

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
- how long sewing?
At least ten years machine sewing, probably dabbling a bit before that. I started with hand-sewing doll clothes as a kid, moved on to my mother's '70s model Singer for school projects and costumes in my early teens, and got my own low-end (modern) Singer model when I started doing more costumes and Mom got tired of me using hers all the time. I've owned a couple of cheap Singers and a Brother, all of which acquired serious tension issues after a while, sometimes after a few projects.

- how advanced are your projects?
Intermediate to advanced intermediate. I've got a lot of experience but I've only recently started to branch out beyond straight stitch on the sewing machine because I haven't had a need for anything else. I've been altering nearly every existing pattern I use for several years now, and I make about half my own.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
It has a ton of computerized stitches and a self-threading function, which are nice if not entirely necessary (I may start using more of them later on, though). The things I really like are:
- The cover for the bobbin case (drop in) is clear so I can easily keep an eye on how low I am.
- Can take on anything, pretty much. I haven't done too many heavy-duty projects yet, but I've gone from quilting cotton to linen to upholstry suede without any tension issues. Some of its heavier capabilities were also demonstrated for me at the store (7-8 layers of denim?)
- Quieter than anything else I've owned.
- Can take punishment (has fallen over heavily in the car on several occasions without negative effects).
- Power cord and pedal cord are separate. Less bulky this way.
- Comes with a hard cover case.
- Has a one-touch "bind off" button. Press it and it does three stay-stitches.
- Resets to default setting (needle centered, straight stitch) when the power is turned off and on.
- Guides the fabric on its own, with minimal adjustments.
- Has a speed adjustment feature (doesn't matter if you're lead-footed, pick your setting and that's what it sews at).
- A function I haven't used yet but helped sell me on the machine is that it does one-step buttonholes.

5) what do you not like?
It's heavy, but that's actually something I was looking for in a machine. I also haven't quite figured out how to set the stitch functions without consulting the manual but that's a matter of time. The bobbins are more expensive, and the spool pin is horizontal feed (I prefer vertical).

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Probably not to a beginner, but for anyone who has a few intermediate-level projects under their belt and who plans to continue sewing, it would be an excellent investment.

Zipchan
10-02-2008, 12:40 PM
Generally, no. There's only one mini sewing machine I'd ever consider for making a whole costume or doing anything but mending, and that's the Janome Sew-mini, which retails for around $60.

I wouldn't even recommend the Sew-mini. It has so many issues with tension and weak needles; I don't think it's worth the price (and I got the one I had for $30 when Hancock Fabrics was having a sale... still not worth it. I'm lucky they let me return it!) If it was just my machine, I wouldn't be so belligerent towards the Sew-mini, but a good friend of mine has one as well, and it acts the same way. =\

Bahzi
10-02-2008, 03:21 PM
I wouldn't even recommend the Sew-mini. It has so many issues with tension and weak needles; I don't think it's worth the price (and I got the one I had for $30 when Hancock Fabrics was having a sale... still not worth it. I'm lucky they let me return it!) If it was just my machine, I wouldn't be so belligerent towards the Sew-mini, but a good friend of mine has one as well, and it acts the same way. =\

Well, scratch that then. ^^; A couple ladies who I worked with at Hancock's a couple years ago said it wasn't so bad, but I think they had older models. Thanks for the update, I'll edit my original post accordingly. :)

The_Ninja
10-12-2008, 03:22 PM
I'm wondering if anyone in this thread could give me some advice...

I've been borrowing my mother's 35-year-old New Home machine for all costume-making purposes so far (good machine if a bit temperamental), but she's moving across the country which means I have to get a machine of my own. Right now, I'm looking at a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 116...has anyone had experience with this machine? Is it good? Would you recommend something else instead? (I'm trying to stay in this general price range...I doubt I need any more features than this one has, considering my old machine did everything I needed and it was pretty bare-bones)

Thank you! ^^

Zerofox Kitsune
10-12-2008, 04:02 PM
I have one!

It worked really well when I was testing out the floor model over at the place where they sold it. It sews fantastically, and through three layers of heavy denim no problem. It's got pretty much everything you need, so you're all good to go. The lady there even sewed leather on it like it was nothing!

Just don't be like me and don't check out the parts when they bring you a new one from the back. Mine was missing parts from the bobbin case, and some of the parts in there were worn and scratched. D:

So CHECK EVERYTHING, ask the dealer every question you can think of, test it out, and you'll be fine.

The_Ninja
10-13-2008, 10:17 PM
Awesome! I'm going to go with that model then.

I'm definitely going to be sure to check out all the parts and everything before I take it home - thanks for the advice! ^_^

22Tsuji22
10-25-2008, 06:05 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! It is a Viking
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? 25+years
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)Ummm about 3 years ago?
4) what do you like most about the machine? ....
5) what do you not like? It eats my fabric all the time...but my mom has no problem with it. I think it hates me.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Maybe...

This review might change...my mom is taking it to get cleaned? or something this week. Hopefully then it will like me. I used the sewing machines at school, I loved them. They were easy to thread and everything. Other people had problems with them...but I thought they rocked lol

winter_kira
11-23-2008, 05:16 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! Singer
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? 2 months......
3) How much sewing experience do you have? 2 years.
4) what do you like most about the machine? ....
5) what do you not like? It never threads and the needles break after 1 use.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
No

chibi_kitsune
12-18-2008, 01:46 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!Mine is a Janome, the model is 415

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? close to six or seven years old

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)About six or seven years (when got the sewing machine for Home Ec. I guess I can say maybe intermediate?

4) what do you like most about the machine?I can sew some pretty think fabric together so it's sturdy and it came with a lot of stuff-like a button foot, zipper foot, hem guide, seam ripper, hemmer foot, screwdriver, etc...and has all the basic setting that one may use a lot-it as a setting for a buttonhole stitch

5) what do you not like?It's not as fancy as some of the other machines like the computerized onces out there that can do more stuff and it has some things just made for the Janome, like the ruffle attachment but it can be difficult to find at times

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?Sure, it's a pretty good and sturdy machine I believe, it's the only machine I ever had or used but so far I had no problems with the machine itself. I can't remember how much it cost but it seems to be a good investment.

Lovefromwcu
12-18-2008, 01:45 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!

I own a Brother CE4000


2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?

It is only about 5 months old (I got it after my 1969 Brother finally decided to RIP)


3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

I've been sewing on and off for about 3 years, but I started really getting into it with the purchase of my new machine, and have now gotten to the point that I go for advanced projects, such as Restoraction Era clothing, corsets, frilly dog dresses, lolita gear, etc.


4) what do you like most about the machine?

It does everything pretty much on its own. No maintenance, no bobbin tension adjustment, many stitches are preprogrammed that are necessary in advanced clothing construction (overcasts, buttonholes, zipper, stretch material specialty, etc), extra presser feet were provided, which I use often (overcast, buttonhole, button placement, zipper, quilting, etc), ... I could go on and on


5) what do you not like?

Nothing has happened to make me not like my machine, but I do have one worry in particular: the fact that it does everything on it's own with no maintenance except some air presser cleaning and brushing makes me nervous. It seems like if something does go wrong, it would be harder to access and assess the problem.


6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?

Indeed, as it can be used for basic, intermediate, and advanced projects. It even has stitches close to the quality of a Serger, while still including basic and decorative ones. Also, everything is digitally adjustable in length and width with the press of a button. It really is a cynch to set up, get going, and take care of, and the booklet is very useful for eveything from first time use to the advanced techniques such as shirring, installing buttons and buttonholes, and installing tricky zippers. It has simple error messages in case a problem does happen, and has a detailed explanation of each in the booklet. All in all, it's really worth the price. While it retails between $200 and $300, I got mine at Overstock.com for $103 all-told, including shipping and handling, and a 2 year guarantee. Here's the link:

http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Brother-CE4000-Heavy-duty-Sewing-Machine-Refurbished/3485980/product.html

** I just noticed on the site that the CE5000 is the same price as of right now (probably a special sale). It seems as if it has a few more stitches (mine has 40, this has 50), bu that's it. Still, it's another 10 stitches for the same price**

The_Ninja
12-21-2008, 11:55 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? I got it about three months ago
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I've been sewing for about six years now, but I'm only just starting to make things that aren't super-simple. I don't know.
4) what do you like most about the machine? I LOVE that it's powerful. It eats through four layers of denim like the fabric isn't even there. Yet, at the same time, it's really quiet. It feels very sturdy, which is nice. The guide that comes with it is also easy-to-follow.
5) what do you not like? Nothing
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Definitely.

VBartilucci
01-14-2009, 06:33 AM
I'm using a refurbed Brother CE-4000 that I bought through Amazon at about half price (90 bucks). I have barely scratched the surface of its power. Save for one experiment with making a buttonholr on some scrap, I haven't tried any of the other feet that came with it. It's got a couple of good stiches I'm using for logo embroidery, and great ones for hemming. Easy to load and simple to use. Quite pleased with it.

Odds are most of the problems I'm having (keeping the fabric folding over for hems, etc) can be solved by those feet. I'll have to look into it.

Traxy
02-11-2009, 08:14 AM
I do cosplay and make lots of renaissance costumes with a lot of gathering. I'm about to be moving and my mom's sewing machine isn't moving with me. I also to some corset work as well so I would need something heavy duty. Is there anything that anyone might suggest?

PockyRevolution
02-21-2009, 07:27 PM
I don't know if anyone has linked to this FAQ before (it's outside of CosCom), but it may help a bit if someone needs to weigh their options http://www.cet.com/~pennys/faq/smfaq.htm

Devkyu
02-22-2009, 12:06 AM
1) What Machine do you own?
-Shark (by Euro-Pro X)

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
-About 3-4 years old.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
-Sewing minor projects since I was about 6 (mostly mending, patching, etc.), simple costumes for about 5 years.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
- It cost about 20 dollars and it's very small.

5) what do you not like?
-It HATES me. It is probably the moodiest sewing machine ever. Sometimes it'll sew perfectly, but other times it will eat your thread, grind the fabric, break two needles in a row, refuse to thread the bobbin, grind to a halt when sewing, and snap thread like mad. And although it can run on battery power, as of late it can only really sew anything if plugged into an outlet. Not to mention it only does a straight stitch.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
-If you want something to practice on, or aren't doing anything relatively complicated, or on a deadline, it's decent, especially for a beginner. It also helps if you don't have one that has mood swings.

Yuko
03-01-2009, 09:53 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Brother LS-2125i

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? 3 years

3) How much sewing experience do you have? I've been sewing off and on since I was about 11, but most of it was by hand or my cousin's (similar) machine until I broke down and bought my own.

4) What do you like most about the machine? It works well for light-medium weight polyester/cotton blend fabrics--the other day, it went through about four plus layers of fleece and stuffing for a hat. The needles are pretty sturdy--in all the stuff I've done with it, as much as it's been moved and abused, it's only ever broken one needle. (These things can survive a 6 hour car trip, no box and needle still in!)

5) What do you not like? Until I figured out how to tightly wind a bobbin with it, it constantly wasted large amounts of thread. It also hates upholstery/coat thread, and sometimes if your tension is off, it tangles horribly. They're kind of a love/hate sort of thing.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you've had experience with the brand, go for it. I'm still going to eventually upgrade to the Singer model that my friend has. And if you're going to try and sew pleather or leather, sorry. You'd have to have a different one. Brothers don't do pleather.

alpha_helix
03-01-2009, 10:10 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! janome 2139N
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? brand new, got it in January
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I've been sewing less than a year, but I do a lot of advanced projects (historical costumes mostly)
4) what do you like most about the machine? For its price range it has a really good motor. It goes through drapery weight fabric with ease. Also has a needle threader and seems to have the ability to unjam itself
5) what do you not like? I haven't found anything I don't like, but since it's new and inexpensive it has a lot of plastic parts, which could be problematic in terms of long term wear
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? I would recommend it to anyone.

adriannrod
03-28-2009, 09:39 PM
I have apparently a Nelco N-250-B-4, and I'm trying to figure out when it was made. It is very old, and very sturdy, and as far as I know, has stood the test of time. My mom picked it up at a yard sale, and I just looked it up online. The model I said it is is the one that matched the picture to my machine the best. It is a hand-me-down, and as I said, is very old... I wonder what sorts of things it can punch through.

I get the impression that maintenance is important, but I don't think this machine has ever been maintained in its lifetime... Hehe.

HouseOfCanney
04-30-2009, 05:36 PM
1) What Machine do you own?
-Singer Quantum 9940

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
-About 3-4 years old.

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
-I've been sewing professionally for 10 years now.

4) what do you like most about the machine?
- It does great rounded buttonholes. But it's nothing compared to my dead Vintage Kenmore

5) what do you not like?
-I loved it at first, but as time passes the pressure on the foot is getting weaker and being computerized it will cost a fortune to get repaired.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
-Although it will so about anything, believe I have, it doesn't hold up to the task for long.

Kelley
05-04-2009, 05:18 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! Singer 15-91.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? It's about 70 years old. I also know of someone who works on a treadle.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I mostly make historical type costumes. Renaissance fair, Victorian, etc.
4) what do you like most about the machine? It's made of metal, not plastic. It might not poop out fancy embroidery, but it will keep doing what it does 70 years after I die.
5) what do you not like? Nothing, really.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Yes. It's not really ideal if you primarily work with stretch fabrics. You can buy a zig-zig, hem-stitch, buttonholer (and it makes FANTASTIC button-holes) attachments, but it's not designed to be the machine's primary function.

If you need a zig-zag machine or one that does "fun" stitches, I would go for the 401/501. I know a lady that has one, and have seen it in use.

I simply can't imagine owning anything else. Except I would have interest in a treadle because of the electricity issue and I would be curious to see if it was any quieter. I don't think I would ever buy a plastic machine unless I was into doing high-production embroidered patches or something, but that's just me. :)

gagaohlala
05-04-2009, 05:59 AM
1) What Machine do you own? A Brother ;D

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it? It was bran new back in October 2008

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) Only recently acutely, I guess I always kinda knew how to do the basic stuff. I make my own patterns, but I don't think the clothing I make is good enough to commission, but I'm getting there.

4) What do you like most about the machine? No problems so far, there are over 51 stitches, and it's never gotten jammed.

5) What do you not like? I wish it could push through like three layers of leather ;D Lolz.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes! It's a great machine for any beginner to intermediate.

Carmelle
06-05-2009, 05:29 PM
Help! I just bought a sewing machine, and i set it up and am learning for the first time. I live with my father, and brother both of which have never used a sewing machine before. So I need you guys! It's a Kenmore, the box says 15758 but i'm not sure because I can't find anything on it online. Anyway, the problem is when I press the foot pedal, all that happens is the bobbin winder spins, and I can't figure out how to switch it to start actually moving the needle when I press my foot down. -.-...

I feel really silly, but I'm scouring the manual trying to understand what to do. It says something about pressing the 'turn wheel' thing on the side in to "engage" the machine, which I do, but nothing happens? I've also tried pressing the bobbin winder onto the locked position and still, all I hear is the sound of it trying to spin somewhere inside, lol.

Sorry, I didn't know where else to ask ; ;!

Kelley
06-05-2009, 06:49 PM
If you've already played with the knob on the side of the wheel (which is usually on the right-hand side... dunno if there are any machines for lefties out there) - then I would suggest bringing it in to a repair shop and asking them - something inside it could be broken or not correctly aligned.

I'm just guessing you got this machine used since you know so little about it ?

Carmelle
06-05-2009, 07:06 PM
Thank you for replying!

It is brand new, but it didn't even come with a bobbin case, (it was supposed to) manufacturer error I guess. I had to go back to the store to get one from them :\... It's my first time with a sewing machine, that's why I know so little.

When I turn the knob manually, the needle goes up and down, it works, but I can't get the foot pedal to move the needle, all it does is spin the bobbin winder.... :mad:

Kelley
06-05-2009, 07:17 PM
There should be a knob inside the wheel you're turning that switches between sewing and bobbin winding.

HOWEVER, some machines do not work like that, and are trickier to explain.


If you could post pictures, I or someone else might be able to figure it out - like a good clear picture front and back and each side. :)

The_Ninja
06-05-2009, 07:24 PM
Have you tried calling the store? Sometimes they can help you. When I got my machine, it was, regrettably, defective, and when I called about it they first walked me through a bunch of steps to try to find the problem, and then told me to bring it in and exchange it...a person there will likely be more familiar with the machine than we will, so they might know better what to do. ^^;

Carmelle
06-05-2009, 07:34 PM
Have you tried calling the store? Sometimes they can help you. When I got my machine, it was, regrettably, defective, and when I called about it they first walked me through a bunch of steps to try to find the problem, and then told me to bring it in and exchange it...a person there will likely be more familiar with the machine than we will, so they might know better what to do. ^^;

Thanks, I appreciate it both of you.

I think it may be defective because I"m pressing the knob inside the turn wheel like you described OurLadyC and, according to the manual it seems to be supposedly changing to sewing, but it's not.

I'll call the store like you suggest. I'm just panicky because as a newbie to sewing I keep wondering if I'm doing something wrong, or if it's really the machines fault. Hah ^^;

Last night, I was so confused trying to learn how to get everything up until I discovered that the bobbin case was missing, so! :crylaugh:

Kelley
06-05-2009, 10:06 PM
If there's a knob inside the turn wheel, you have to twist it to switch. It can be kind of awkward because you have to hold the bigger wheel steady when you do this, because it might "grab" before it's fully turned.

It looks like clockwise (if you stand facing the wheel head-on) is the way mine turns to engage sewing.

I'm not really sure how the newer machines work, as in if something else could be stopping the machine from sewing. I have a 76-year-old machine and love it. : D


It also might be defective as suggested. :(

Carmelle
06-06-2009, 05:23 PM
Thank you for trying to help me! I took it back to the store today, after consulting with my dad who was slightly less clueless than I thought - he had minor sewing machine experience from 30 years ago~ andddd the handwheel was broken :\

There weren't any in stock of that kind to exchange though, so we upgraded. The new one is working like a dream <3!

CrazyKits
06-11-2009, 09:06 PM
This is very helpful! What a coincidence that I clicked on this forum while thinking about getting a sewing machine-and then I find this wonderful sticky! . I was looking at the Brother Ls-2125i that someone here mentioned a couple of pages ago. I am a beginner at sewing and this will be my first time purchasing a machine. You think I should go ahead and go for it? Or should I keep looking? I found a Hello Kitty Janome sewing machine at Target and now I want that one too and the reviews looked good on that one as well.

~I bought the Brother and I like it!!! ^^

rchcc122
06-22-2009, 08:36 PM
Sorry if this was already brought up, but I heard that you need two sewing machines to make a shirt and other clothing pieces.
How accurate is that?

Kelley
06-22-2009, 09:01 PM
@CrazyKits, I'm very happy with my 76 year old Singer 15-91. :B It needed some love to be fixed up to running order - but now that it's in perfect order, I wouldn't take anything else.

It was the first sewing machine I've ever bought - previously used my mother's. I got it because I wanted a metal one, not one with plastic gears. :/

This machine should last pretty much forever - and it can sew just about anything, including leather.

I only wish I could (easily) hook a treadle up to it for special times of need.


@rchcc122, COMPLETELY inaccurate ? You don't NEED an overlock machine unless you're working with easy-to-ravel knits.

There are ways to make a blind hem on a regular machine and by hand. Even my ancient machine has blind hem / button hole / etc attachments that can be bought for it - most modern machines simply come with this built in.

I see absolutely no need to own two machines in order to make a shirt or any other basic garment.

Unless a person for some reason bought an overlock machine with absolutely no clue what they were buying and then realised they needed a "regular" machine to perform the usual basic functions.

A "regular" machine is really all you need for most basic and advanced garments.

"Industrial" machines are overkill - if you have an extra couple hundred-thousand dollars to spend on a blind-hemmer - sure, it might help, but it's by no means necessary or all THAT helpful for a hobbyist.

Tatsu-chan
06-25-2009, 06:59 PM
Ok so I didn't see anything about it but what is peoples opinions of the singer stylist?
both the machine and the serger.

Akemi Idane
08-16-2009, 03:14 PM
My machine is a Brother Pacesetter, and I must say, I love the thing. It's always worked really well for both myself and my mom (Toa costume for my brother, anyone?). I've never had any problems with breakage, and the platform for the fabric is HUGE, so I really love that.

The only way it could be better was if I got a ruffler foot. xD

Aqua's Rhapsody
08-21-2009, 11:52 AM
By the grace of god, my mother is a seamstress and has 8+ sewing machines and sergers. There is only one sewing machine though that I use for practically everything.

1) Viking Husqvarna 1100.

2) It is about 20 years old.

3) I've actually only been sewing for about 2 years, but it is a pretty advanced sewing machine.

4) I love pretty much everything. There are so many options, it knows when to stop winding the bobbin, an alarm goes off if the presser foot is up, you can select different settings for different types of fabrics, need I go on?

5) The only problem I have with it is that when thread gets caught in it, the stitching will mess up. Of course, it is expected that a 20 year old sewing machine will need to be cleaned out every once in a while, so it really isn't the fault of the machine lol

6) I would definitely recommend the use of this sewing machine to anyone, whether they are beginners or advanced. As far as actually PURCHASING it though, you might want to look for a cheaper machine if the only sewing that you do is for cosplay. I have no idea how much these sell for now, but when my mom bought this brand new 20 years ago, it was about $2,200... So unless you have a career involving sewing, this might not be the best machine for you.

tsukeru
08-27-2009, 05:21 PM
I am trying to save for a really nice (and good) sewing machine that will not break within a few months of using it for cosplay. I sew heavily just about daily so I need something that can last. I had never used a computerized machine either. Can anyone suggest a sewing machine that can handle heavily abuse, multiple layers and works wonders for cosplay? I know I may have to spend a pretty penny or two for it; but I have been wanting a better machine for a few years now. I thought this would be a great place to ask.

Kelley
08-27-2009, 06:44 PM
What kind of fabrics do you need to work with ?

What does the machine need to be capable of ?

I love my Singer 15-91, which I got for $20 and had fixed up for about... $70 (it was a while ago - I'm not counting the cleaning price since you can do that yourself pretty easily - I was just lazy) ?

It's 76 years old and just recently I used it to go through... an overcoat weight wool, a suit weight wool, and a cotton-linen at the same time. I've also tried it out on buckskin, and it was fine.

It also goes up to 30 stitches per inch, and it's little motor is as good as the modern professional ones from a sewing class I took.

It uses the same bobbins and needles made and used today (not much has changed).


It's button attachment is FANTASTIC.


However, I wouldn't recommend it for use with stretch fabrics - there IS a zig-zag attachment, but if you need to do a lot of stretch, you're better off with a machine that does it by moving the needle (the Singer 401 and 501 do that).

It's still fantastic after 76 years. I don't know how much use it got, though.


If you want a new "computerised" machine, I can't really offer any advice, sorry (I'm sure someone else can). : D

Bflickchick
09-07-2009, 04:54 AM
Thanks for this great thread. I have no sewing experience but want to buy a machine and learn. At almost 39 years of age I have decided to become a Cosplayer!

oliviapaige
09-08-2009, 08:03 PM
I do most of my sewing on a treadle sewing machine at my grandmother's. I have a machine of my own, but it just doesn't have the same feel as that old treadle with a belt held together with a single staple. [I kid you not.]

Inufan078
09-21-2009, 11:33 PM
Does anyone have any experience with a Brother CS-5000H machine? It has 77 stitch functions and I was thinking about purchasing it since it's inexpensive... but if it's no good... I would like to know, please reply!

Marika
09-24-2009, 05:27 PM
Personally, I own two machines, but I've had experience with a few different ones, all for heavier workloads in my college's Costume Shop. I'll only list the one I use the most though.

The older of the two that I own is a Kenmore (Model #385.15108200) that I got maybe 6 years ago as a gift. For being a cheaper machine (around $150ish when I got it), it hasn't given me any problems at all, even when I was using it to sew through several layers of upholstery vinyl. It's incredibly easy to thread and has a front loading bobbin which I love. It's been through four moves, has been dropped, knocked over, and even survived being in the trunk when I was rear-ended a while back, and it runs just fine. The tension's never given me problems and I haven't had to have it serviced yet. The only thing I don't like about it is that if I'm running it on a folding table or a flimsier surface, it'll rattle the table like there's no tomorrow. It's easy to use even for someone who's never touched a machine before. ...I just wish I could find where I put the buttonhole foot when I moved this last time.

The newer of the two is a Singer Ultralock Serger 14SH654 which was about $129-ish when I bought it in 2004. It's currently buried somewhere in the room and as you can probably tell from my enthusiasm, I bought it but rarely use it. It's not that I don't like it, I do, but the tension NEVER stays set, it's always coming unthreaded, and it's incredibly temperamental. Maybe it's just that I lack the patience to sit and play with it every time I want to use it but I'm sure it could be a good machine if it would just keep tension. I don't enjoy taking the tweezers it came with to re-thread it every time it screws up and a thread breaks/comes unthreaded. Kind of a headache.

The one that sees the most use in the shop, and the one that I'd take home with me if I could is the Bernina 1008. That thing has got to be the quietest machine I've ever seen and it runs beautifully. It's simple and friendly enough for beginners to use (we start the Craft of Costume I class on it and work up to the other machines) and can handle just about anything thrown at it with ease. Like my Kenmore, the threading is a 4-step process and the bobbin's a front-loader. We've used it on everything from sewing ring-tape onto yards of scrim to vinyls and upholstery fabrics without so much as a hitch. The only thing I hate about it is the price tag! $700+ for a sewing machine for someone who's looking for something to help with a hobby is a little much, and that's what Bernina considers "affordable". ...yeah, maybe for someone who makes a living at the machine, but definitely not the casual cosplayer.

My sister has the Brother that I'd used prior to getting my Kenmore. In a word, she HATES it. Tension is always off, it's always in need of servicing, and the bobbin setup is constantly getting jammed. This machine is why I will NOT buy one that has a top-loading bobbin and why I won't touch the New Home in the shop. I'd sooner try to sew circles with an Industrial than deal with top-loaders again.

gbright1
09-25-2009, 05:44 PM
I bought a bernina about a year ago and it's the best machine I've ever used. Totally worth it.

calgarycosplay
10-01-2009, 10:53 AM
*mytwocents*
I don't have a day job. Professional seamstress.
So I'm sewing for four hours every day, with all sorts of materials.
I got an awsome sewing machine, if you are looking for a computerized entry level machine PLEASE look into this one.
The JANOME 4030QDC
Its a tough little bantha that can sew layers'n'layers of fabric. Leather, monster-fur, plastic, no problem. I have had it for a year and havent had so much as a thread jam. It comes with everything, the quilt tray, a million other accesories etc. I have tried several different brands of sewing machine but my little janome makes me the happiest ^^

lolishotahunny
11-03-2009, 03:40 PM
im considering buying this sewing machine http://www.walmart.com/Brother-10-Portable-Sewing-Machine/ip/4764724#ShortReviewTitleBar

please any advice? yes? no? should I get it?
what should i get instead?

Kelley
11-03-2009, 06:37 PM
^ You can get an astronomically better vintage or antique machine for the same price or less.

What you're looking at is a disposable machine. It's not going to do anything really well and it's not going to last very long.

lolishotahunny
11-04-2009, 11:46 AM
^ You can get an astronomically better vintage or antique machine for the same price or less.

What you're looking at is a disposable machine. It's not going to do anything really well and it's not going to last very long.

Yeah i was beginning to think that. My friend's mother has an old Brother model and its a monster @_@
I wish I could steal it Dx
Im not sure where I could find the old vintage ones that I could trust.
Im weary about buying used things because i cant be sure HOW used they are. ^^;;
any suggestions?

Kelley
11-04-2009, 06:36 PM
Well, learn about sewing machines. I did so by using Google. :B


Thrift stores, eBay, garage sales - all places to find used machines. :)

Jia Jem
12-11-2009, 05:48 AM
Let me just preface this review with the fact that I am typing this review solely because I can't work on my costume right now because looking at this machine is making me want to cry. So I have come to this review section to a) vent my frustrations and b) look at reviews for purchasing my own machine.
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Brother LS2125i (coincidentally, the one lolishotahunny was considering above.)
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I am borrowing this from a "friend", who isn't much of a friend because no real friend would let a friend touch this piece of crap. The machine is probably a year old - I found it listed on Walmart for about $80. That is the root of the problem right there. Cheap new machines are great for doing basic repairs, but no cosplayer should be tempted to go this cheap. In the spirit of graciousness, I will say that I am lucky to have a machine to use at all right now. Seriously, I am extremely grateful to borrow a machine. She probably didn't even realize it was so bad because she never used it herself - she was truly doing me a great favor and for that I am very happy. I don't mean to diminish her kindness and generosity, her intentions were pure. But really, it was like a cruel mirage. I could have been spared feeling elated to borrow a machine and then the huge let down that it isn't a sewing machine at all - it is a machine that creates crushed expectations and broken dreams. (And no costumes.)
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I'd consider myself an advanced intermediate sewer. I've been sewing for cosplay since 2003, but sewed basic stuff before that. Some more complicated works:
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2025522/
http://www.cosplay.com/photo/945554/
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It is a very calming shade of white. But staring at its soothing exterior can't calm my rage when I look up at it after sewing a puckered seam and say WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU.
5) what do you not like?
That it is not my machine, so that I can theraputically obliterate it. In all seriousness though, it can't sew through more than 4 layers of fabric without the needle breaking. And yes, I'm using the right needles for the fabric, but just to be sure, I experimented with different sized needles with the same results. Thank goodness I am just sewing cotton because I think this thing would combust if 2 pieces of vinyl (or knits, or sheers, or spandex) were put anywhere on it.
There is no speed control, even when the pedal is held down part way it is very sporadic. I am having to go around curves by hand-turning the wheel. And most irritating - very limited stitch width and stitch length control. I mean, how hard is it to have 2 knobs to control stitch width and stitch length, so you can create your own combinations? This is is very basic. But apparently Brother thought even this was too complicated for this beginner's sewing machine, so there is ONE knob where you can choose 4 straight stitch lengths, and then 3 (only 3!) widths of zig zag stitches BUT YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE STITCH LENGTH on the zig zag stitches. There is a buttonhole stitch, so there is ONE satin-stitch-esque option. Just hope you don't need to applique with anything wider than a freaking buttonhole stitch.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Only if that cosplayer needed an $80 paperweight. ZING! But really, I know that this is a basic beginner's machine, and priced accordingly. I'd say it's okay if you're not sure sewing is for you and you don't want to waste a lot of money on something you'll never use again, but even then, I can't recommend it. You'd be guaranteed to hate sewing forever. I know that there are many reliable cheap new sewing machines out there. This is not one of them. However, I noticed that this machine got a few favorable reviews here. To the people out there who can use this machine, I tip my hat to you. You are more patient than I.
Over the years, I have sewn on dozens of machines - industrial machines, high end quilt machines, ancient 1960s hunks of metal machines, cheap machines, and everywhere in between. I have sewn on some wonderful inexpensive machines that haven't caused nearly the amount of headache this machine has caused me. If you are a beginning sewer, please - I beg you, from someone with experience - find something else. Sewing can be enjoyable, I promise.

Yaexrae
12-15-2009, 07:35 PM
I've been using a Husqvarna machine for about 7 or 8 years now and it's been a very dependable little machine. During the first couple years I would only use it for 2-3 projects per year, but since I've started cosplaying, it's definitely been more abused and hasn't shown any drop in performance.

I think the thickest thing I've sewn with it is several layers of denim, and it plugged through those without a problem. I've occasionally had problems where the bobbin has snarled up on me, but I think that was mostly my fault by having wonky tension settings and stuff.

It's not computerized, but it definitely has plenty of stitch options and works well for my needs. I would definitely recommend it to others as a good machine, but I have no idea how much it would cost since I received mine as a gift.

TheMinion
02-06-2010, 06:38 PM
I've decided to start making my own costumes from now on, so I am looking to buy my first sewing machine. I've done a lot of research on the internet, including on this forum, and I think I have found the right sewing machine, but I would like the opinions of actual cosplayers first.
The sewing machine I am considering is the Janome Threadbanger TB12
It's a solid metal sewing machine like the durable sewing machines of old, and it seems to have all of the needed features, and then some. It's currently $200, and from what I've seen, has great reviews all over.
Any opinions? Anyone seen or used one of these before?
Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

twilightang3l
03-08-2010, 05:07 AM
I have the Janome DC2010.
I did some research before buying it.
Some of the reasons why I love it:
1. made from/by Japan
2. has metal parts so makes less noise ( I was definitely looking for this because I didn't want to disturb my bf in the other room while he was working. I also like to sew at night sometimes.)
3. The Bobbin does not jam 95% of the time (compared to my cheap Brother sewing machine which jammed like every 10 min). It even sews flux leather without getting stuck (but I still recommend getting the special foot if you sew a lot of flux leather just for a smoother glide).
4. Has a lot of features like auto thread cut and quick buttons which will make your life so much easier.
I've used this sewing machine to make plush and cosplay clothes.

I loved it so much that I just recently purchased a Janome 634D MyLock Overlock Serger Sewing Machine online from an "Authorized Dealer" so that I can get a more professional finish on my garments. It's arriving this Monday :). It is the same price as my current sewing machine. I choose this one because it has a heavy duty cutting blade. In case I want to start making my own jeans in the near future (You can never have enough jeans).

Janome has a website with a listing of most of their Machines:
http://www.janome.com/index.cfm/Machines
The prices are not listed but you can check for that on ebay or amazon.

KuraKaze
03-30-2010, 08:54 AM
I have a Kenmore, Model E 16782 or whatever X__X I don't know where they print the model... thats the number on the box in bold anyway.

This is my 4th machine. I own 3 and have used 6 or more different ones.

My reason for buying this one is pretty silly... because the colour of the dials and tabs are PINK~ XD Yes, I specifically bought this machine because I liked the white and pink colour scheme.

Although, I did use another kenmore machine in the past and had no problems, so I thought this shouldn't be a problem either. And it DID have all the specifications I wanted: top loader, 20ish stitch or so. So it wasn't completely just cosmetics... I got lucky that I found a colour I wanted with the specs I wanted.

Most common stitches that it will be used for is just straight and zigzag anyway, so I'm not too worried about all the fancy embroidery expensive machines. Especially since they have the semi-automized function where the needle always go back to up position. I prefer the needle stopping immediately when I stop my foot, but I find the fancy computerized ones to have a very slight lag that makes a difference in my sewing. I have to anticipate and stop sewing a second before I actually stop sewing... it was very disconcerting.

My older machine is a brother (I think, can't remember right now) that was on sale for 100$ or so, and only has straight and zigzag stitch. Had no major problems with it, but it wasn't as smooth as my current one. Does tend to tangle or pull with certain types of fabrics.

Another thing I do: Buy machines from places that allow you to return them within a set time (a month usually). Test the machine out, make something with it. Decide if you like it or not. Return it if you don't like it. (I have bought and returned 2 machines this way, because it just didn't feel right.)

You should shop around and find the machine just for you! I <3 my machine, her name is Kurin XD Different people have different preferences for what kind of machine they like. Kurin is usually nice to me (does gets her PMS once in a while), and is not too loud.

Another thing is that I find top loading machines much easier to load than bobbin than front or side loading machines... and I just stick to top loading machines now. However, I've had people tell me that front/side loading machines tends to tangle less... but since I don't have major problems with my top loader (and I have been sewing since 8 or 9 years ago, using 90% top loading machines) I shall stick to it~ Tried and true for me~ I waste a lot more time trying to thread the bobbin correctly on front/side loading machines that it's just not worth it... I know I used to be good at it (my first machine which I used for a year was side loader) but somehow I completely forgot how to thread it after I switched to top loader...

BM2 Love Angel
04-17-2010, 02:56 AM
That is indeed very interesting information.

I opened a thread about starting to sew (http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=206117) and Kiichigo (http://www.cosplay.com/member/122085/) recommended me to come here.

I am going to start looking for a machine based on the information I found here. :bigtu:

SyriMoon
05-31-2010, 10:20 PM
I have a Brother 2512 or something along those lines. it's 3 years old, and get ild to moderate excercise.

I love how simple the parts and manuevers are. I HATE the bobbin. If I accidently knock the bobbin casing out, I then have fouyr moving, sliding parts to try an fit back together, and only two hands to do it with. The peddle is also jerky. I'm use to it now, so I know how to force it to do mah bidding, but when someone else gives it a whirl, it's like a 14 year old who's trying to drive stick.

I want a Janome. I was lucky enough in high school to snag the only brand new Janome in the class, and I looooved it.

page of wands
06-01-2010, 07:33 AM
Hmmm, interesting to hear you compare the Brother and Janome, as those are the brands I am currently trying to decide between!! :confused: I'm leaning towards Janome since it sounds more reliable than the Brother machines...and everyone keeps mentioning about Brother's bobbin problems, etc (same with newer model Singer reviews). Anyone have one of the following machines that you've had experience with??I tried searching and didn't see anything about these specifically in here.

Singer 2250
Janome 1117s
Janome 419s
Brother XL-2120
Brother BM-2600


Also, just curious if anyone has ever used a voltage converter with any of their sewing machines? I am currently living overseas in Hong Kong, but plan to move around a lot after this year to places with different voltage. Argggg, I'm so desperate to start sewing but so many things to consider with such a pricy purchase!! :eeek:

kkoganei1328
07-22-2010, 02:09 AM
1) Pfaff 2170
2) I purchased this in 2008 december, but it was purchased used from a dealer

3) I've overlocked sleeve cuffs when I was in first grade, and all my sewing experience comes from that simple over lock work I did for my mom. But truly sewing, about 10 years, cosplay only. and made one coat that I gave to a friend, and I like complicated things like Trinity Blood designs.

4) what do you like most about the machine? just look here:
http://www.pfaff.com/global/4960.html and I love EVERYTHING about this machine. My most favorite aspect, is the embroidery feature, where I get to hook my laptop up to the machine and transfer embroidery files to the machine, and the computer touch screen on the sewing machine and the stylus, as well as me being able to walk away from an embroidery project, without worry and only come back to change thread colors, or change the bobbin, which has an automatic low bobbin thread detection, and you can go back on the stitch numbers so the embroidery wont have gaps.

5) This machine is expensive, and high maintenance. Not for beginners, I purchased this used for $3000, new it originally has a 7000 price tag, and its not even the best machine this company has anymore, which is the Creative vision, with a 10,000 price tag. I have yet to unlock its full potential because I lack the digitizing software ($2499 original retail price) that will really make this machine do what its suppose to do, digitize your designs and embrioder them. (SOMEDAY!!!!! I can turn JPEGS into designs)

6) I would recommend this to a more experienced and serious sewer. I dont really NEED all the bells and whistles, but it is nice to have it. I'm going to up my sewing projects now that I have this. Gotta justify buying this machine.

supergeekgirl
07-23-2010, 11:29 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer Confidence 7467
2) When did you purchase it/how old is it?
My mom bought it for me brand new at a pre-Christmas sale in 2009.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've been sewing seriously since 2001 (making costumes), and I sewed before that but nothing worthwhile. My first machine was my grandma's 50 lbs. vintage Singer which I hated with a passion because A. it was lacking a free arm, and B. it had some serious tension issues that we had to fix every month or so by taking it apart and adjusting everything.
From 2004-2009, I used a Kenmore Mini Ultra 639S, which was actually a great machine for $80. It was basic, yes, and slow, yes, but it was my little gem.
Some projects done on the Kenmore: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/634505/ http://www.cosplay.com/costume/57761/ http://www.cosplay.com/costume/229733/ http://www.cosplay.com/costume/276549/
http://www.cosplay.com/costume/286904/ (including the top hat)
These are projects done on my new Singer:
http://www.cosplay.com/costume/289311/
http://www.cosplay.com/costume/296900/
That final project was what really necessitated having a new machine because my Kenmore's little motor locked on the vinyl and ESPECIALLY the nylon webbing on the first project I did with the new Singer.
4) What do you like most about the machine?
I have a huge variety of stitches (60 or 70), and it does automatic buttonholes. Oh, and it does an overlock stitch that's slow and takes a lot of thread but A HELL OF A LOT CHEAPER THAN AN OVERLOCK MACHINE. The Singer Confidence has sewn through ANYTHING I put through it, including cardboard, vinyl, nylon webbing, and sheets of plastic. :love: With a walking foot (you can buy them in the quilting section), I can quilt all of those awesome fabrics too! Oh, and the zipper foot that came with it is better than any I've used.
5) What do you not like?
Wee-eell... I still go back to the Kenmore for a few things. The Singer Confidence doesn't do so well with tiny pieces of fabric. They tend to get caught in the feed dogs, so I take little intricate pieces to the kenmore (I did that on several pieces of that sneaking suit). Also, it has trouble sewing too close to the edge with simple stitches. With the overlock and zig-zag stitches it does just fine.
One big problem is a weird glitch that defaults my stitch length settings if I turn it off and turn it back on despite the fact that the selector is still set. That's obnoxious, but I've gotten used to it.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
I recommend it all the time! It's an inexpensive machine and often goes on sale. Plus it's a must-have for military costumers who use a lot of stupid, thick materials (like nylon and neoprene). Buy a walking foot for it if you want to do a lot of quilting.

stardust462
07-23-2010, 01:45 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! I own a Singer 30-Stitch Electronic Sewing Machine, 7422

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? July 2008, so it is two years old now. I had to buy my own machine when I moved out of my parents' house and no longer had access to my mom's equipment. I paid about $200 for it (and unfortunately got what I paid for).

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I've known how to sew since I was little, but didn't really get into it until a few years ago. I'd say I'm intermediate-advanced with my projects.

4) what do you like most about the machine? Lots of cool decorative stitches, easy to thread.

5) what do you not like? Where should I start? The stitch length and widths are hard to control. When I first started using it and needed to do a basting stitch, the stitch would still be small, even though I had the stitch length all the way up. Then about six months later it finally started doing long stitch lengths. The bobbin jams a lot and it likes to eat lightweight and stretchy fabrics. It doesn't handle thickness very well. Maybe I'm just used to better working machines, because my mom has professional equipment at her house (she makes home decor for a living) and I grew up using that. There is seriously a huge difference between working on my Singer and her Janome. I hope to get a new machine early next year, but I will keep my Singer for the decorative stitching.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? No, not really. Maybe for a beginner, but I find it very frustrating to work with.

SorcererSupreme
07-27-2010, 02:04 AM
1) What Machine do you own?

I have a Brother LS-2020. Just so you know, I don't think this model is being produced anymore...

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?

I must have bought it 4 or 5 years ago.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)

I have been sewing for ten years now. Sadly, it has been an on-and-off hobby of mine, since space and time affected my costuming. I make my costumes out of various material, so while my sewing skills are solid for 'normal' fabrics, I have no real experience working with odd fabrics; like fake fur or spandex.

4) what do you like most about the machine?

It is a pretty easy machine to work with. There aren't too many settings, and loading the thread is fairly easy as well. The machine is also fairly easy to disassemble and clean; as I found out due to a thread tangling mishap.

5) what do you not like?

The machine I have does NOT work with stretchy materials of any kind. for whatever reason, it won't feed through the machine like it is supposed to.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?

A beginner or someone making loads of clothing that uses 'normal' woven fabrics?~ Yes.

Someone sewing projects that require knit, pleather, or any other highly pliable fabric?~ certainly not.

HeartHetalia
07-27-2010, 11:22 PM
1) What Machine do you own?
I have a Brother XL-3200
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
It's pretty old I guess. I think my parents got it as a gift a long time ago and I just stole it when I took up sewing cause it wasn't doing anything but sitting in the laudry room collecting dust. Plus, why buy a new sewing machine when this one's free?
3) How much sewing experience do you have?
I don't really know. Been sewing for about two years now. Not many would guess it with how "skilled" some of my stuff comes off as. I just really know how to shine crap.
I can do basics and make some rather basic outfits (That look like hard work). But I'll always challenge myself. Done some pretty "advanced" stuff and that was pretty easy. Maybe an Advanced Intermediate?
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It gets the job done. Not too fancy and GREAT for starters. I came in with zero experience with a machine and had my first constructed piece about a month later (it didn't fit, but that's seam allowance problems, not the machine.) It has some good stitches that work for cheapo serging for those who don't want a serger (or can't afford it like me!) and it's easy to work with. Plus, it holds up well with layers. I still give it props for going through all those layers to sew my Russia coat.
5) what do you not like?
This could just be the age of it or something I'm not getting, but I HATE that I have to pull the fabric through. It's not a hard pull but enough to leave my thumbs hurting from the side of my nail digging in after taking in a shirt. I see some sewing machines out there where you don't even have to touch the fabric, just press the pedal and it zooms right through. I'd like that.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Meh, it's good to get the job done and great for beginners but I personally want a better one anyway. If you're just starting, it's perfect. If not, don't waste your money. Get a better one. Plus, it's so old, and with all the new technology out there, you can find SOO many better sewing machines. Do they even sell this model anymore? lol

stolen_valkyrie
08-01-2010, 09:03 PM
Hey all:

I just inherited my mom's ancient Kenmore from the 70's... it's having issues, and I'm wondering if it's worth trying to get fixed or if I should just replace it? She bought it way back when, used it for about 3 years, and then stored it... so it hasn't been touched in 30+ years, and I don't think she ever had it serviced.

Another one we're looking into is the Brother CE5000 Project Runway edition - I saw some good reviews in here, but are there any other thoughts? I'm looking for something inexpensive that will still do thick fabrics.

If it is better to get the Kenmore fixed up, how much should I expect to pay? What should I look for in a shop?

Thanks!

Eiyoko
08-19-2010, 03:11 PM
I used to use my mom's old machine when I went off to college; she used to make costumes for the local theatre and didn't need it anymore, but she got me one for my birthday just this past July 8D I'll review both of them, I suppose.

1) Singer 5808C
2) I have no clue how old this thing is. My mother's had it for at least ten or more years.
3) I've been sewing since roughly summer of 2009. I got some tips from my mother and learned how to make a shirt and put on bias tape for Pence; (http://www.cosplay.com/costume/202743/) then I made Eald'narche (http://www.cosplay.com/costume/276598/) pretty much all by myself, details and all. I still consider myself a beginner but I might be in the intermediate category by now XD
4) PROS: Plenty of stitching options, very easy to thread, generally cooperative. If you need to switch threads it's very easy to do, a HUGE relief for the bobbin since all you have to do is slide a door open to get to where you place it.
5) CONS: It took a while for me to get the hang of it, but that's probably because I was new at sewing. There's no light on it either, which is a killer if you're working in a poorly-lit room like mine. It's also somewhat heavy.
6) RECOMMENDED? Absolutely. It's old, but it's also a great machine and gets the job done wonderfully while also being easy to use :3

1) Brother LX-3125
2) My mother bought it for me on my birthday, July 2010
3) See above. :3
4) PROS: It's lightweight, has a light on it so I can see (my bedroom isn't very well lit so that's a HUGE plus for me), and it's easy to get the hang of.
5) CONS: The bobbin took me a while to figure out how to install properly, and it can be moody sometimes. Every so often the thread will get caught in the inside of the machine so I have to unscrew it and get it out.
6) RECOMMENDED? Yes; it's not too shabby at all.

maskedrose
08-21-2010, 11:22 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Kenmore 52 and Singer 403a, and a Brother... I don't know got it four years ago new it's junk
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
About four or five years ago? Salvation Army for 5 and 15 dollars. They're from the 50s 60s.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
Um.. 8ish years.. some of my projects are 5 mins, some are 20 hours.. really depends on my mood.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
The singer is gear to gear - no belts. It is super quiet and slant shank so I have a good view of the needle. It does lock up if not used much though - bringing it to the shop. Whoever had it before me neglected it. My kenmore 52 although I like the Singer much more - the Kenmore has been very reliable and I hardly take care of it. I think I oil it once a year.
5) what do you not like?
How heavy the damn machines are.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
YES YES YES. Do not buy a new machine unless it is industrial. Stick with anything before the mid 60s and you are good :) Look around craigslist, thriftstores.. garage sales etc. Sometimes you can get a good machine that doesn't even need any repairs!

burning112d
11-18-2010, 02:37 PM
Hello Cosplayers!

I've decided to break down and finally buy a sewing machine. I'm usually a prop maker and a modifier but I need to buy a sewing machine. I recently hand sewn a lelouche costume and it took me too bloody long and it wasn't the quality it should've been.

What do you wonderful people recommend for a cheap, starter sewing machine?

I mostly work with light clothing, nothing heavy like denim, I think a future costume may involve spandex though. Oh and I often use satin (which is horrible to work with by hand).

Let me know what you guys think, thanks!

EasilyAmewsed
11-18-2010, 03:21 PM
Janome Gem Gold might be a good starter machine, or up the line to the Threadbangers models. Best way if you have the time and a machine dealer in your area is to just visit them and see if you can test drive some of their mid to lower range machines. They often have second hand machines that are trade ins too..the good thing is they'll have been serviced.

Kama
11-19-2010, 06:36 PM
I have a Janome Heart Truth which is awesome, but it might not be a beginner machine. I've heard amazing things about the Hello Kitty Janome (http://www.overstock.com/Crafts-Sewing/Hello-Kitty-Janome-Sewing-Machine/4584360/product.html) machine. It's basic, but it has very few issues. You can also buy it without Hello Kitty on it, just look for the model number and they make a plain one.

Honestly, I wouldn't buy a cheap Brother machine. I had two when I was first starting out and just wanted something inexpensive. They both broke ridiculously easy and were so hard to use. Second hand is a good idea to cut down on costs, if you check dealers and things like craigslist. Just make sure you can try it out before you buy so you know it works!

Brsis
11-20-2010, 05:13 AM
If you get a good machine, it will last you a lifetime and do EVERYTHING - so I think a really decent old second hand machine is better than a new, cheap machine. Personally, I swear by the old Singers (The ones from the '50s are particularly good) - if you can get one VERY cheap it's worthwhile getting someone to service it, but overall that should still work out less. I think the 201K I'm getting for Christmas cost 20 including shipping off Ebay, and although it works fine I'm going to shell out the extra 40 or so to have someone come and service it, and this thing is a god-among-sewing-machines. I couldn't buy one this smooth and reliable new, period.

burning112d
11-22-2010, 03:47 PM
Okay so I found a used Singer 8280A with all the accessories for 40 dollars. Is this a good deal?

Brsis
11-22-2010, 05:07 PM
It's certainly cheap - Google the model name and see what you can find out. There are lots of forums for Singer enthusiasts and they get quite loquacious on the subject of their machines.

Kama
11-22-2010, 06:30 PM
Okay so I found a used Singer 8280A with all the accessories for 40 dollars. Is this a good deal?

It got pretty so-so reviews all around. Do some research of your own on it. If you have a repair shop, call and see what they know about that model. This isn't to say it will be bad for you, but I know when you're a beginner that having a broken sewing machine is even worse because you don't have any idea what might be wrong. You can also read what features it has and how the bobbin loads or other things you might have a preference on.

Most of all, find out why they are getting rid of it and if you can try it out. $40 isn't a lot of money, but you don't want to throw it away on a machine they are selling because it doesn't work right.

B.O.M.
11-29-2010, 09:56 PM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please! I've got a Singer 503A in a cabinet that was my mom's. It was made in 1961 and makes the prettiest button holes. My mom almost didn't give it to because of that. I also have a Brother SE270D Embroidery Machine. My teenagers have their own portable machines (Janome, but I can't remember the model right now).
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it? The Singer 503A was made in 1961; the Brother SE270D was purchased in 2005.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are) I'm in my 40s and my mom taught me to sew when I was very young (she was taught to sew when she was 3 or 4). When I was about 11, I took a sewing class at a local Singer Sewing Center and later during HomeEc, I made 8 outfits when the rest of the class was still on their 1st or 2nd. I took a fairly long break from sewing though & played with stained glass. Since returning to sewing, I've made hakama & haori for a Bleach costume, a lined captains jacket (also from Bleach), jodhpurs & military style jacket for APH, a silk mini dress for Suessical, and a corset & skirt for Lulu (Final Fantasy X). The Lulu costume is still in the works. And I still have my best resource - my mom - to call on.
4) what do you like most about the machine? The 503A I like because it's like an old friend. It sews beautifully (and still has all the original attachments BTW). I bought the Brother to play with machine embroidery. I like it, but wish I had waited for a different machine. I also use the machines my mom has (she currently has 2 regular machines, 1 serger and one that is connected to a quilt rack for machine quilting).
5) what do you not like? It's harder to do close work like sleeves since the 503A is set in the cabinet.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? If one could find one in excellent condition, yes.

Kawaii Pocky
06-20-2011, 01:51 AM
I was wondering what kind of sewing machine any one could help recommend for me? I need to buy a new one because the one I had broke and is a piece of crap and I hate it and want to blow it up. No joke. lol

It was brand new, I think it was the very basic Singer but the bobbin thread always broke (I know it can also be due to cheap thread, but I usually got the better thread, not the extremely cheap stuff that tends to break every 5 seconds, that started to annoy me after a while lol), and every time I put a needle in they broke all the time and I never buy cheapie needles. It wasn't like that in the beginning, it worked quite well, then about a couple months after I used it it started crapping out and I know it wasn't me. I had my aunt who's a sewn since she was married, atleast 20 if not more years, helped me calibrate it and every thing.

I've done a lot of research but just not sure exactly what to get, I loved my aunts old Kenmore tank. It did have it's weird little quirks, having to do this and that a specific way but me and my aunt used to do all sorts of projects so I learned how to use it.

But I need my own since I don't live at home any more.

I'm looking for a good basic beginners sewing machine, some thing cheap but not crappy. Since especially I don't sew that much but I'd like to start sewing again so I can teach myself how to sew things since I would like to start making more of my own costumes. Any thing that any one has used themselves and can vouch for would be great. Thanks.

mdelgiorno17
06-22-2011, 11:21 PM
I was wondering what kind of sewing machine any one could help recommend for me? I need to buy a new one because the one I had broke and is a piece of crap and I hate it and want to blow it up. No joke. lol

It was brand new, I think it was the very basic Singer but the bobbin thread always broke (I know it can also be due to cheap thread, but I usually got the better thread, not the extremely cheap stuff that tends to break every 5 seconds, that started to annoy me after a while lol), and every time I put a needle in they broke all the time and I never buy cheapie needles. It wasn't like that in the beginning, it worked quite well, then about a couple months after I used it it started crapping out and I know it wasn't me. I had my aunt who's a sewn since she was married, atleast 20 if not more years, helped me calibrate it and every thing.

I've done a lot of research but just not sure exactly what to get, I loved my aunts old Kenmore tank. It did have it's weird little quirks, having to do this and that a specific way but me and my aunt used to do all sorts of projects so I learned how to use it.

But I need my own since I don't live at home any more.

I'm looking for a good basic beginners sewing machine, some thing cheap but not crappy. Since especially I don't sew that much but I'd like to start sewing again so I can teach myself how to sew things since I would like to start making more of my own costumes. Any thing that any one has used themselves and can vouch for would be great. Thanks.

I adore the Pfaff Synchromatic 1209 that I purchased for $16 at Goodwill. It came with some really useful snap-on feet, extra bobbins, and a cover. The feet and bobbins live inside the machine in a "secret" tray that slides out, and the snap-on feet are great and really easy to use. It sews straight and zig-zag stitches and has buttons for some utility stitches (elastic, overlock, blindstitch, etc) that can be combined to make a few more different stitches. The reverse function is really easy to use; you don't have to hold it as you sew or change your stitch length (reverse and stitch length on my Kenmore 84 are on the same lever thingy). My only real issue with it is that it doesn't sew through heavier materials/really bulky layers as easily as my Kenmore model 84 and Singer 99 do.

The Kenmore model 1941 that I picked up for a friend who showed an interest in sewing and ended up giving away to a lady in need of a cheap machine was AWESOME! I was so excited to find it (rather clean and in a case, too) for $13. Like my Pfaff, it converts from a flat bed to a free-arm machine; however, the flat-bed portion of this machine is metal, not plastic, and you can lift away a top portion to change your bobbin without having to remove the whole bed. It also has straight, zig-zag, and utility stitches. I found the reverse lever kind of annoying, because you have to hold it down while you sew. The other problem I had with it is that it is a super-high shank machine; I did find a nice set of vintage Kenmore super high shank attachments for $15 plus shipping though, so decently priced attachments can be purchased if you don't mind doing a little searching. If the Kenmore's reverse button had been a "set it and leave it" sort of deal like my Pfaff's reverse and if it had come with a set of attachments, I might have given away my beloved Pfaff instead of this machine! The Pfaff, despite being a really nice machine, felt and looked kind of cheap when I set it next to the lovely Kenmore 1941!

I love my other machines, but I can't really recommend any of them simply because they don't have all the same features and flexibility that I've come to love. My Kenmore 84 does a lot of stitches, but you have to insert a plastic cam to get it to do anything other than a straight or zig-zag stitch. It's also set into a table and doesn't convert into a free-arm machine. My Singer 99 is quiet and sews beautiful straight stitches despite having lived in the dank, dark basement level of an antique store for ages. It's got a little rust and some flaking paint, and it had to be re-wired, but it's still going! However, those beautiful straight stitches are all it sews, and it does not have a reverse.

Kawaii Pocky
06-23-2011, 02:05 AM
I adore the Pfaff Synchromatic 1209 that I purchased for $16 at Goodwill. It came with some really useful snap-on feet, extra bobbins, and a cover. The feet and bobbins live inside the machine in a "secret" tray that slides out, and the snap-on feet are great and really easy to use. It sews straight and zig-zag stitches and has buttons for some utility stitches (elastic, overlock, blindstitch, etc) that can be combined to make a few more different stitches. The reverse function is really easy to use; you don't have to hold it as you sew or change your stitch length (reverse and stitch length on my Kenmore 84 are on the same lever thingy). My only real issue with it is that it doesn't sew through heavier materials/really bulky layers as easily as my Kenmore model 84 and Singer 99 do.

The Kenmore model 1941 that I picked up for a friend who showed an interest in sewing and ended up giving away to a lady in need of a cheap machine was AWESOME! I was so excited to find it (rather clean and in a case, too) for $13. Like my Pfaff, it converts from a flat bed to a free-arm machine; however, the flat-bed portion of this machine is metal, not plastic, and you can lift away a top portion to change your bobbin without having to remove the whole bed. It also has straight, zig-zag, and utility stitches. I found the reverse lever kind of annoying, because you have to hold it down while you sew. The other problem I had with it is that it is a super-high shank machine; I did find a nice set of vintage Kenmore super high shank attachments for $15 plus shipping though, so decently priced attachments can be purchased if you don't mind doing a little searching. If the Kenmore's reverse button had been a "set it and leave it" sort of deal like my Pfaff's reverse and if it had come with a set of attachments, I might have given away my beloved Pfaff instead of this machine! The Pfaff, despite being a really nice machine, felt and looked kind of cheap when I set it next to the lovely Kenmore 1941!

I love my other machines, but I can't really recommend any of them simply because they don't have all the same features and flexibility that I've come to love. My Kenmore 84 does a lot of stitches, but you have to insert a plastic cam to get it to do anything other than a straight or zig-zag stitch. It's also set into a table and doesn't convert into a free-arm machine. My Singer 99 is quiet and sews beautiful straight stitches despite having lived in the dank, dark basement level of an antique store for ages. It's got a little rust and some flaking paint, and it had to be re-wired, but it's still going! However, those beautiful straight stitches are all it sews, and it does not have a reverse.

I'll look into those. But yeah, the sewing machienes I used had the thing where you set it to reverse and my singer had a lever that you held.

I've been told to look at garage sales and I definately have looked online (i.e. ebay) but just not exactly sure where or what to get since until I know what I'm doing I don't really want any thing fancy. Just some thing that can sew through thick material. My Singer (not sure if it was the machine or the needles) couldn't handle pvc even though I bought a needle set that had needles for specific types of fabrics and it still broke.

I never even thought of going to a good will or some thing like it to look! I definately will check out good will since I want to go there to look for shoes for cosplay.

Thanks. ^_^

tarinalove
06-23-2011, 06:39 PM
Anyone want to recommend a good Husqvarna viking sewing machine or Pfaff or Bernina?

Preferably in the 200-400$ range?

My sewing:
Fashion+costumes
Materials mainly used: light to medium weight. SOMETIMES heavy (ie: jean, but that's mainly to fix a hole)
knits, jersey, lycra/spandex (Would LOVE a machine that can work through spandex!<3), cotton, cotton blends, wool, etc.

Experience sewing: Intermediate-advanced (well not truly advanced yet!)
Wanting to learn embroidery. So something with embroidery but high stitching would be awesome.

Stitches I use often; zig zag and straight, button holes. Would like to play around with tighter stitches for hems.
Front load bobbin is a Must for me. I prefer a machine with minimal repairs and upkeep. (Not that I mind cleaning, but who wants a machine that needs repairs and needs to go into the shop all the time?) Prefer to work on my machine at home; ie: Repair at home. User Friendly. Good needle work and can handle a variety of fabrics of course. Oh and a zipper foot!

Please link me a website, brand and model number. :) Thanks<3

Addygalebrindel
07-17-2012, 06:45 PM
1) What Machine do you own?: Singer Curvy
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?: Bought new in 2009
3) How much sewing experience do you have? Roughly 25 years
4) what do you like most about the machine? Its really well round in what it can do.
5) what do you not like? haven't had a complaint yet with it
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? Yes

I know most people dont seem to care for modern Singer machines but I bought one a couple years ago and it has been well worth it.
It has twenty different stitches on it, automatic threader and really holds up especially well considering what I've put it through. I use my machine anywhere from twenty to thirty hours a week, have since I got it. Never once have I had an issue with tension going out any other complications.
I've done everything from costumes, standard cloths, purses, plush dolls, upholstery and king size quilts. Very versatile, very durable.

Lady Marie
10-31-2012, 07:31 AM
I'm looking for at least a sewing machine that can sew though Jeans (The thickest fabric I can think off) and lasts long for the money. Since It's going to be my first one.

TJWasHere
11-27-2012, 05:58 PM
i just thought i would add my opinion here ^^
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
i had a singer pixie plus and currently sew on a singer anniversay 160
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
the pixie plus was a gift.i had it for about a year(before it pretty much broke). the 160 is only about a month old now, but i might as well give you my opinion of it thus far.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
i have been sewing since i was about 10, which was roughly 5 years ago. i have only recently begun to make my own cosplays even though i have been interested in cosplay for quite a while.please see question 5 for the reasoning behind this.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
the pixie was tiny and didnt take up too much space on my dining room floor where i left it. the 160 has a great automatic threader, a nice amount of stitch options, has no problem(as far as i know at this time) sewing through different types of fabric, and generally looks beautiful.
5) what do you not like?
that pixie machine might have become the death of me if i had kept it any longer. the thread broke constantly, it got jammed every 5 minutes, had problems with almost every fabric imaginable, and had only 1 speed(which was way to fast for me).its basicallly the reason why my gallerry on here is completly empty. i have yet to find a problem with the 160, but since i have only had it for about a month i really wouldnt know.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
i wouldnt recommend the pixie to anyone.i had too many problems with it. i quite enjoy the 160 though.it is a pretty good machine for the price(its only about 200 bucks)

KOTSProps
03-07-2013, 07:55 AM
1) I'm currently using my mother's, a White 1666. I can't even find any decent info on these things.
2) It's not really mine, and I kind of hate the thing.
3) Personally: Novice. My long-time girlfriend is a better tailor than I am, but she tends to get cranky and rush things. She's also going back to college out of town, so she won't be around at the most convenient times to sew our cosplay pieces...so I best start improving...Cosplay means being a jack of all trades, and a master of none. :P

4) Not much, I hardly use it, and my girlfriend prefers her mother's machine across town. It has a few extra stitch patterns (mostly common ones, I've personally only used straight and zigzag...really the only two I absolutely need).

5) It tends to jam frequently, on all of us, so it's not my fail skills at fault.




Looking to buy: Two, actually. I've heard a LOT of good things about the old Singer 201s (my great grandmother had a treadle-operated one, actually...if I had known what it was 15 years ago when she died, I wouldn't be tracking one down!). I'm looking to sew large amounts of heavy material over the next few months and from what I understand a 201 shouldn't have any problems dealing with leather if it's been properly maintained. While online isn't the best place to look, I found one 200 miles away.

Second, I'm looking at a Brother SE400 for embroidery/applique and anything a 201 can't do on its own. Think crazy patterns like Final Fantasy XI's White Mage class sets, or the front of Zelda's dress. Embroidery because I'm very picky about how I think things should be done. The 4"x4" hoop area is a bit restricting but I'm sure I can work past that somehow.

EDIT: I managed to find a vintage 1954 Singer 15-90/91, and the best part is that my boss has it in her house. Apparently she bought what she thought was just a desk at Goodwill, only to find out the reason the desk was so damn heavy was because it was actually a sewing cabinet, machine included. So I'm probably going to snag this over a 201. They're pretty similar in performance, and I hear the 15s are more forgiving.

EDIT2: Singer 15 acquired, but it's in the shop for the next week or so for rewiring and general maintenance. At 60 years old the wiring (and insulation) is probably frayed/cracked and potentially hazardous. For the $60 price tag, I think I can afford up to $125 to let someone who knows what they're doing work on it that risk screwing up an antique by trying to do it myself.

Indefatigable
04-10-2013, 08:16 PM
1) What Machine do you own? I have a Bernina 730 "Record".

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it? My grandmother bought it in the early '70s and I ended up with it after she passed away last year. In other words, it's been in the family longer than I have.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? I'm a noob. :3 I have many half-finished projects and few finished ones. Friends and relatives give me advice and tips, and I go to all the costuming panels at cons. I'm very close to finishing a bodice that I thought was going to be difficult, and I'm super proud of it. So yeah, noob.

4) What do you like most about the machine? It's solid and reliable, and doesn't throw a hissy every time I ask it to sew over an existing seam or through several layers of cloth and interfacing. (Unlike my poopy old early-2000s Kenmore.) It may have sat untouched in its case for ten or fifteen years before I took it out and used it, and it doesn't seem to think that any time has passed. (Confession: I haven't had it tuned up yet!) It's also remarkably quiet. Oh, and instead of a foot pedal, it has a sort of knee lever. I find it way easier to finely control the speed with that rather than a foot pedal.

5) What do you not like? Ummmmm. It has no power switch? :P I have to unplug it to turn it off.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer? In a heartbeat, if you can find one. I think I've seen the same model in sewing machine stores for $300-$400 CAD. I've heard of people getting them second-hand from the owner for $200. Of course, remember that if you buy any used machine, you may need to factor in the cost of a tuneup on top of the purchase price. (If you buy it from a shop, ask if that's already been done.) Oh, Switzerland. First the chocolate and the cheese, then the watches, and now this. Is there anything you can't do?

Khorrupt
05-27-2013, 04:09 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer 3116.
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I bought it four years ago, although I only started using it this year, so I suppose you could say it's a slightly older model (don't quote me on that -- I don't know what's 'new' as far as sewing machines go) but it's basically brand new as far as usage goes.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
Almost none! I make anything and everything basically just winging it, but I've made dresses, shirts, capes, skirts, cuffs, headbands, coats, etc.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
I like that it's really easy to switch the type of stitching. I've only ever used one other sewing machine before, and that was at the community art centre, where I only needed the basic stitch type, but I've heard that on other machines, switching the type of stitch is a really aggravating matter, and this one just has a dial.
5) what do you not like?
It jams, constantly. I thought initially, well, it's probably me since I'm not an experienced seamstress, but alas, it's not! I searched it and a lot of reviewers say that they've been sewing for a long time and it still jams up on them. It's also very loud and clunky and shakes a bit while you're sewing (also thought it was me, but it's not because everyone has the problem, allegedly.) There's an automatic needle threader, but it's garbage -- doesn't work.
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Not really. Even the one I used at the community art centre was better than mine, and I'm sure there's ones that don't scare you about what you're doing while you're doing it! -.-"

Catherinecat
05-29-2013, 08:42 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer Prelude (Cheap one from Walmart)
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
I bought it 4 years ago.
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
Intermediate. I can sew a lot of different pieces, and use a variety of fabrics. I make all my costumes from scratch, and have worked with fur, vinyl, jeans, as well as the regular light-weight material.
4) what do you like most about the machine?
It has a variety of stitches to choose from with a dial, and is very easy to thread. Very nice for regular sewing (light-medium weight fabric)
Most of the time I've had trouble, it was cuz I was using all-purpose thread on insanely thick fabric (making fur ears or working with marine vinyl, both needed the heavy duty thread) I have a bit of a preference for Singer as well, because I found a local Singer store where I can pick up presser feet. Fabricland does not sell feet, and I wanted one for doing rolled hems for my yukata.
5) what do you not like?
Sometimes, it would act moody, and wouldn't work for whatever reason. Usually this happened when I was already stressed out of course......
And it doesn't like making button holes. Not sure if the problem is me or the machine, but even following the instructions step-by-step, it always jams up and takes forever to fix it. Then it refuses to even sew in a straight line for a while. I'm not looking forward to the day I actually need a hole......
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
For a beginner cosplayer? Sure. It's cheap (under $100), and works well with normal fabric. Lasted me years, and I sew at least one full costume a year. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who regularly needs heavy-duty fabric. My marine vinyl outfit was extremely annoying, and sewing fur was a nightmare. But even then, as long as you know what the fabric needs: Right tension, new needle in the right size, and right type of thread (Anything jean-size or thicker NEEDS heavy duty thread or it WILL NOT WORK)
But don't use it for long-pile fur. Its not big enough to fit the thickness of the fur between the foot and the teeth. I ended up hand-sewing some parts of the fursuit head together after sending it through the sewing machine.

kendraduck09
07-02-2013, 01:33 PM
1) What machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
Singer 2932

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it?
It was a Christmas present and it's almost 4 years old

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I took a class in school and a few a Joann's. Most of what I know I taught myself or looked at tutorials online. I can sew from patterns and make them look nice, but I'd still like to learn how to draft my own patterns. In total I've been sewing for around 5 years.

4) What do you like most about the machine?
Uhh... it's portable? I brought it with me on a long road trip so I could sew while visiting family and it was fine. And for a basic machine it does have a nice variety of stitches. It's also easy to thread.

5) What do you not like?
I actually had to return the first one I got. When I set it up and began sewing... it was stuck in reverse. The reverse lever was loose and no matter what it would not sew forward. We took it back to Joann and they exchanged it for a new one. For the most part it worked fine, but three years later... now it's stuck in reverse and won't sew forward. When I took it to a sewing machine repair store they said it was jammed and would cost $100 to fix. In my opinion it's not worth fixing so I'm just going to buy a new one.

The thread gets jammed A LOT. And when it does it's pretty bad. The main problem is the bobbin thread gets ripped up and leaves all these strings hanging. (I don't know how to explain it but trust me when I say it has given me so many headaches from fixing it.)

It doesn't sew through thick fabric or many layers of fabric very well. I had a new pack of needles and managed to break three of them in one sitting because it couldn't sew through the fabric. I did everything I was supposed to and they STILL broke!

The buttonhole maker is such a pain to use. I had to sew 12 buttonholes onto a jacket... but if you include the ones I had to rip out it was more like 20. Not kidding. And they're hard to rip out too. It was after I finished the buttonholes that my machine jammed like I explained above. Plus even though the variety of stitches are nice, I just now figured out how to do (some) of them. The instructions are kind of vague.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you're a beginner sewer like I was, this machine would be okay. Just don't count on it lasting for many years. In general though, I would not recommend this machine. I've just had too many problems with it and I was so frustrated with it. I'd like to get a Babylock machine someday, but my next machine will probably be a Brother.

Skyzhema
09-05-2013, 03:23 PM
1) What machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I own a Brother LS-2220.

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it?
It was a gift from my grandmother this past summer. I have no earthly idea how old it is, Grandma says over 20 years, possibly over 30, yet dad says she bought it a few years ago, used it once and never again.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I've been sewing since... 2005-ish? But I've only learned how to use a machine in the past 2 months. I do mostly beginner/intermediate things, but I'm good with zippers too.

4) What do you like most about the machine?
It was free! I also love the versatility of it-it can do buttons, 14 stitches/21 stitch functions (no idea what that means though) and winds bobbins too. The last part is especially useful!

5) What do you not like?
The bobbin thing is hard to load, and because I haven't taken it to a repairman yet the tension is still slightly out of whack.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
Yes. It's actually fairly light, easy to use and efficient. I can maneuver cosplay gear into it and it has no problem with various fabrics or functions. It's actually pretty awesome.

packingabox
09-11-2013, 12:44 AM
1) What machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
I bought a Janome Mini from Amazon, for about $50. I don't think it had a model number.

2) When did you purchase it/how old is it?
I purchased it about the end of last year, new.

3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
I am EXTREMELY new at sewing, so a very basic, unexpensive machine was all I was looking for. I ended up unwittingly choosing a project that required a LOT of applique.

4) What do you like most about the machine?
It was cheap. Plus, it's basic (and slow) enough for someone like me to get comfortable with it. The directions are really easy to follow as well. ^^ This machine has the basic stitch and zigzag stitch, in several sizes. Also, being in the military, having a smaller machine is helpful for when I have to move.

5) What do you not like?
This machine is very sensitive to cheap thread. It is also quite loud, and several reviews commented about how slowly it went for them. I also noticed that when sewing several layers of cotton together, it tended to get testy-getting louder, and going slower. I haven't tried sewing anything heavy duty, nor do I plan to in the near future. If you plan on sewing anything like leather, PVC, or a thick jean material, this might not be the best choice. Also, the backstitch is a bit difficult to use. There were also reviews complaining about the lack of light over the needle.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
If you're new like me, completely. I definitely feel as though this machine will last me a while, and it's definitely worth the $50. For someone more experienced, this would probably serve as a good backup or travel machine. It's light, and efficient enough for small-medium projects. I had to sew a 6 foot cape, and this made the process soo much faster.

Sibbers
11-10-2013, 07:54 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
A Brother NS10

2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
About 3-4 years ago

3) How much sewing experience do you have?
6 years

- how advanced are your projects?
Intermediate to advanced

4) what do you like most about the machine?
Does button holes automatically and never failed while it was sewing one. Has a button to start and stop sewing which had now become part of my muscle memory and I don't actually use the presser foot for it. Has a number of stitches, not as much as other machines, but covers pretty much everything you need. Easy to thread.

5) what do you not like?
Sometimes the bobbin can jam, but that's usually because I have done something wrong, or tried to force the machine to do something. One time I tried to drop the feed dogs to sew on a button, and the machine just flipped out and i had to spend half an hour fixing it. I recently acquired a Lemair machine from the 70s which can do that just fine XD.

6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?
The machine is very beginner friendly but can still perform alot of advanced functions, Its a good machine that will stick with your as your skill increases. Would definitely recommend

Zhiana
12-29-2013, 11:01 PM
Name of Product: Brother NS50 Sewing Machine
Where Purchased: n/a (I was generously given one to trial at home for free)
Product Description:
Pros: 135 different built in stitches, mongramme/lettering capabilities, built in speed control, can combine 35 different stitches to create your own, can alter the width of zigzag stitches, computerised, built in accessory tray with included accessories (bobbins etc), included hard travel case.
Cons: Can be a little confusing at first, but very good once you get used to it.
Overall Rating: 10

Full review available here (http://www.geekbomb.net/2013/12/30/cosplayers-rejoice-the-brother-ns50-sewing-machine-is-here/)

Ororo Monroe
01-17-2014, 10:23 AM
1) What Machine do you own? Include the maker and model number please!
2) when did you purchase it/how old is it?
3) How much sewing experience do you have? (how long sewing, how advanced your projects are)
4) what do you like most about the machine?
5) what do you not like?
6) Would you recommend your machine to a fellow cosplayer?



1) I have a Janome 4612 Travel Mate
2) I'd say it's about 10 years old.
3) Other then making a dress in HomeEc back when it was still called HomeEc, I'm entirely self-taught. As such I've tried things that probably shouldn't be tried. I've sewn silk, satin, lace, leather, canvas, pelts, natural and artificial fabrics on this machine. Some work better then others. The heavyweight canvas no more then two thicknesses. The pelts where a problem even with paper to cheat it through. I'd suggest not using this machine to sew heavyweight canvas, but fashion leather or similar would be okay. It can sew most fabrics you'd find in a Joann's.
4) I like that I can set up most anywhere with a power supply and can take my machine with me to con. (This is also why my roommates and husband hate the machine.) It is a basic machine with a few bells and whistles. With the stretch stitch options, it is ideal IMO for a first time cosplayer. I've used it to teach first time cosplayers how to make costumes.
5) Currently, I'm unable to use my machine as it needs a new motor. (I've used it hard, in ways it probably shouldn't have been used. I'm not surprised it needs major word now.) I can't replace the motor with a generic because the type is specific to the machine. The part will cost $80. The shop where I bought the machine is no longer in business. (I hope the little old lady that ran it is retired, but I have a felling she worked right up to the end. She was a really nice gal and her love of sewing showed.)
I am now left with finding somewhere I can get my machine fixed and face a bill that will equal the price of a low end machine or convince my husband to let me have a new high end machine slightly more butch then me Travelmate, if I can find a retailer.
6) I have recommended this machine in the past and the type of shop I bought it in. My only warning is that this machine can't do everything, but it can do a lot. I'd also like to suggest reading The Hags sticky General Information of Buying a Sewing Machine ,as I made many of those same mistakes with the purchase of my first machine.

BizarreKitten
03-29-2014, 01:43 AM
I was offered an old White sewing machine, a 671 I think, for $75 at my local fabric store. I didn't have any problems with it during the hour they let me play around with it, though I have very little actual experience with sewing machines. what do you think?

Edit: Forgot to add info on the machine itself. It does both a straight and a zigzag stick with variable stitch length. And as best as I can tell based on online research, it was made sometime between the 50s and the 70s, but definitely post-WWII, as it was made in Japan.

lemuries
03-29-2014, 05:51 AM
I think that's one of the old heavy, dependable machines they recommend as something that should last you forever. It's no frills but most cosplay construction doesn't require the bells and whistles.

Personally, I haven't used one (I started out on a 80's singer and moved to a 90's pfaff), but maybe there's someone in our community that has.

Star Schnauzer
04-04-2014, 07:32 PM
I think that's one of the old heavy, dependable machines they recommend as something that should last you forever. It's no frills but most cosplay construction doesn't require the bells and whistles.

Personally, I haven't used one (I started out on a 80's singer and moved to a 90's pfaff), but maybe there's someone in our community that has.


I have a Universal Super ML, it has to be at least 60 years old. Built like a tank, sews one stitch great. My only problem I can see is where to find new needles.

NekoHaydee
05-24-2014, 07:44 PM
all of the threads do not exist...