Go Back   Cosplay.com > Reviews > Construction Equipment Review

Thread Tools
Unread 08-27-2009, 05:21 PM   #106
Registered User
tsukeru's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 584
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.
tsukeru is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 08-27-2009, 06:44 PM   #107
Devil of Details
Kelley's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,443
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
Kelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-07-2009, 04:54 AM   #108
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 4
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!
Bflickchick is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-08-2009, 08:03 PM   #109
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 2
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.]
oliviapaige is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-21-2009, 11:33 PM   #110
Winged-Kuribohsaid what?!
Inufan078's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 376
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!
Cosplay I'm working on:
Adam Lambert's "Mad Hatter" outfit from "If I Had You" music video.

Train Heartnet from Black Cat
Secret Cosplay

Recent Complete Cosplays
Ikuto Tsukiyomi - Shugo Chara! School uniform with black and white lined blazer version
Jaden Yuki - YGO GX Season 4 version

~Cosplay lists never end... I have so many in my head I fear I will forget them... I have made a journal of all the characters I wish to achieve and keep on adding.~
Inufan078 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-24-2009, 05:27 PM   #111
Registered User
Marika's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 735
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.

Last edited by Marika : 09-24-2009 at 05:31 PM.
Marika is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 09-25-2009, 05:44 PM   #112
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 32
I bought a bernina about a year ago and it's the best machine I've ever used. Totally worth it.
gbright1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 10-01-2009, 10:53 AM   #113
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 10
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.
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 ^^
calgarycosplay is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 11-03-2009, 03:40 PM   #114
Mother of BDCPro
lolishotahunny's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 66
im considering buying this sewing machine http://www.walmart.com/Brother-10-Po...ReviewTitleBar

please any advice? yes? no? should I get it?
what should i get instead?
lolishotahunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 11-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #115
Devil of Details
Kelley's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,443
^ 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.
Kelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 11-04-2009, 11:46 AM   #116
Mother of BDCPro
lolishotahunny's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 66
Originally Posted by OurLadyC View Post
^ 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?
lolishotahunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 11-04-2009, 06:36 PM   #117
Devil of Details
Kelley's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,443
Well, learn about sewing machines. I did so by using Google. :B

Thrift stores, eBay, garage sales - all places to find used machines.
Kelley is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-11-2009, 05:48 AM   #118
Jia Jem
Rock Star Admin
Jia Jem's Avatar
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,053
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:
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.

Last edited by Jia Jem : 12-11-2009 at 01:30 PM.
Jia Jem is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 12-15-2009, 07:35 PM   #119
Registered User
Yaexrae's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 46
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.
Yaexrae is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 02-06-2010, 06:38 PM   #120
Registered User
TheMinion's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 19
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!
TheMinion is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:46 AM.

Copyright 2002-2018 Cosplay.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
All comments and posts in our forums are the opinion of the respective poster.