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Unread 04-25-2012, 07:32 AM   #1
tsasdasd
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"Singer vs Brother" sewing machines

I see too many comments like
"I've had 57 brother machines and I love all of them!!!1!11"
"i chose brothur over singur eny dai period"
"singer isn't what it used to be"
"my singer has been in repair for 15 times ever since I bought it last week!!"
"I bought a $8000 Brother and it's so sturdy! I recommend brother!"

Most of such comments sound like they were written by someone who has no idea what's going on, so I don't trust that the fault is in the machine as opposed to the user. Not to mention 1. nobody likes to tell what exactly the problem is or why do they have such opinion and 2. all of those are from years ago.

So 2012. Is there any big difference(s) between the two brands' newer models? Which does what better, and in what price ranges?
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Unread 04-25-2012, 11:20 AM   #2
LadyMisaGaga
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If you are just starting out (like me) I bought a singer that was $100 at walmart XD but I'm just sewing pretty simple stuff like dress skirts ect. Honestly I love it. It simple and easy to use. Yes the more expensive u get the easier it is but it's great to learn how to use the machine then as u get more skilled invest in a more expensive one!
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Unread 04-25-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
ShinobiXikyu
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For Singer, it REALLY depends what one you get. I use a Singer Merrit from 1987 and it's a fantastic machine. But I tried borrowing one made a few years ago, and "mangle" doesn't begin to describe what it did. OLD Singers (pre-1990) are fantastic machines and are usually good for all your sewing needs.

As for Brother, they're also decent machines, but a bit "lightweight", not as sturdy as an old Singer and more suited for a beginning or casual sewer who won't be doing a giant amount of work on it or not with a lot of thick/heavy fabric. My aunt gave me a Brother LS30 for Christmas two years ago, and though I've read plenty of good reviews, I haven't even taken it out of the box because I love my Singer so much.

If you're looking for more than a machine to learn on, I also recommend Kenmores; I've sewn on an old and a new one and they're great machines, but the price tag is pretty high. (Babylock and Janome are also two good brands, and have several high-end machines, sergers and quilting machines)
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Unread 04-25-2012, 12:37 PM   #4
Talossa
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Old Singers are really, really good, solid machines. The newer models have less sturdy construction (this might be different for their high-end models, but I don't know) and so tend to have more difficulties, particularly with heavy materials and/or long periods of use.

I don't know anything about Brother, so can't speak to that. A lot of people do seem to be satisfied with their machines, though.

If you're just starting out and are working on a budget, you might consider buying a used machine. They're often pretty sturdy (since they tend to have more metal parts) and are usually good for whatever you need to do - and they can usually be had pretty darn cheap.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 01:45 PM   #5
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I've owned three singers the past 6 years.
I bought my first for quilts. It was just a basic machine. I forgot how that one died.
My second, I had to get it replaced because the bobbin became out of sync. I ended up breaking the exchanged one from driving back and forth from my friends house without a case. Really my fault.

My last one I bought around a year ago. Its been perfect until the belt wore down and since its been replaved its been a tad slower. Still amazing though.

I've had no brothers but my friends seem to have hit and misses with them.

I learned on a White, ive been curious on that brand lately
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Unread 04-25-2012, 01:57 PM   #6
Marika
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Going on what others here have said, the old Singers are good and solid. The new low-end ones can be more or less "you get what you pay for". The higher end ones from my understanding can be nice. We've got a woman who comes in to help out on shows at school who swears by her new Singer Industrial. I use a 1940s one at school, so I really can't say anything about the newer ones, and I'm a little biased to that old one. It's absolutely amazing and the teacher picked it up at a rummage sale which makes it even better.

The only Brothers I've ever used were a few years ago, and my personal take on them was that I was glad to have my Kenmore because trying to accomplish anything on the others was like pulling teeth. Tension was always off, they'd jam up at odd intervals, the computerized one died after only a month of use, and they just... weren't so great. My mom's spent more time in the shop than in the house.

A friend of mine got one as a gift about a year ago and actually returned it for a Singer because she didn't like the way the Brother handled. Her boyfriend bought it for her without knowing anything about the different brands, because it had a variety of stitch functions. She said it was too loud, rattled her dining room table, always seemed to be slightly off in the stitch quality, and the tension never stayed consistent. She owned it for about a month and a half, and it saw pretty decent use until it would mess up and she'd get frustrated and have to walk away. The Singer she has now is still a little loud, but she likes it far better because she can get through a project without having to readjust tension or weigh down the table to use it.

Then again, I know others who have them now and swear by them. It's purely a matter of opinion and preference. Some people just end up with a bad model. If you want my personal opinion (aka. what I'd do if it were me choosing between the two), I'd probably go for the Singer, if just because past experiences have me shying away from Brother entirely. Without those past experiences, I'd probably just grab whichever looked more useful to me, had better reviews from experienced users, and was in my budget.

Look around, shop around, read reviews from other places and not just Coscom. If you know people personally who have them, see if you can use theirs to get a feel for the different machines. Check out how the bobbin goes in! There are top loading and side-loading ones, and some prefer one over the other, so you'll want to see which suits you best. If you're just starting out, you don't have to jump on the bells and whistles. A simple machine that's easy to thread and does a nice range of stitches is never a bad thing.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 07:22 PM   #7
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In the 1980's the Singer corporation sold out to a big conglomerate and manufacturing was phased out in the US. They are now produced exclusively in China.
The higher end machines are still made to a reasonably high standard, but the lower end machines (all the models Walmart carries) are, frankly, produced at such a low quality level as to be disposable.

Brother machines don't have quite as wide a disparity among their own models, but their low end machines can be short lived as well.

I'll put this in terms of cars, which people tend to have better idea of the service & longevity factors.
Key:
$- cheap
$$- affordable
$$$- plan your purchase carefully
$$$$- only if you are rolling in dough


Singer before 1980American = $- $$$ Ford F150 trucks: affordable work horse then, affordable work horse now, worth maintaining an old one, but not something you'd use for a fancy occasion
Singer today I don't know anymore = $-$$ Ford Fiesta made in Mexico, fine in the short term, not as tough as the previous generation but more bells and whistles
Brother = I don't know, possibly Japanese $-$$$ pretty comparable to the Singer as Chevy is to Ford
Janome= Japanese $$- $$$$ Toyota: reliable, long lasting, great service record, if a bit mundane
Pfaff= German $$-$$$$ Volkswagon: reliable, speedy, has some nice bells and whistles along with good longevity, but maintenance can be pricey
Viking/ Husqvarna= Swedish $$$-$$$$ Volvo: solid, reliable, has nice bells and whistles but maintenance comes at a premium price.
Bernina= German $$$-$$$$$$$ Mercedez-Benz: luxurious, reliable, last long enough to pass down to the next generation, high maintenance cost.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 07:32 PM   #8
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I'll second Marika in saying: sew on as many machines as you can. If all you've ever driven is a 1979 Pinto, you really can't grasp just how a Corvette drives. You may find speed and good cornering is what you need most. You may find slow & fewer amenities but able to tow a heavy load are better suited to you.

I had an Acura Legend for a couple years (a very nice hand me down from my MIL). I hated it! it was too small, too light, and too low for my personal taste. Most people couldn't comprehend my dislike of such a nice car, but that was just the issue, it was a car, where I prefer trucks. Becoming a parent forced me to move into SUV's, but I'm far happier being able to drive over stuff than speed around corners quickly. My taste in sewing machines runs the same, I prefer a simple work horse to a light speedy thing.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
Mehdia
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Before I got into sewing heavier stuff, I used Brother machines. I loved most of them. I had one that did some really wonky stuff with the bobbin, it liked to bunch up a lot, other than that, I had no problems with them.

Now I use a Singer that's a pretty heavy duty machine. I bought it when Hancock Fabrics had one of their truckload sales on the machines back in 2008. Ever since I got that machine, I haven't had a single problem with it. It sews everything from chiffon to leather with no problems. I don't ever have my bobbin bunch up, it runs smooth, does nice button holes, has a decent variety of stitches, and that thing could just about stand up to a Mack Truck. My brother and I joke that poor Chinese babies made shoes in it for a dollar a day (sorry, it's a horrible joke, I know...) because it looks so industrial. He also calls it my sweatshop machine.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #10
Yunalicia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penlowe View Post
In the 1980's the Singer corporation sold out to a big conglomerate and manufacturing was phased out in the US. They are now produced exclusively in China.
The higher end machines are still made to a reasonably high standard, but the lower end machines (all the models Walmart carries) are, frankly, produced at such a low quality level as to be disposable.

Brother machines don't have quite as wide a disparity among their own models, but their low end machines can be short lived as well.

I'll put this in terms of cars, which people tend to have better idea of the service & longevity factors.
Key:
$- cheap
$$- affordable
$$$- plan your purchase carefully
$$$$- only if you are rolling in dough


Singer before 1980American = $- $$$ Ford F150 trucks: affordable work horse then, affordable work horse now, worth maintaining an old one, but not something you'd use for a fancy occasion
Singer today I don't know anymore = $-$$ Ford Fiesta made in Mexico, fine in the short term, not as tough as the previous generation but more bells and whistles
Brother = I don't know, possibly Japanese $-$$$ pretty comparable to the Singer as Chevy is to Ford
Janome= Japanese $$- $$$$ Toyota: reliable, long lasting, great service record, if a bit mundane
Pfaff= German $$-$$$$ Volkswagon: reliable, speedy, has some nice bells and whistles along with good longevity, but maintenance can be pricey
Viking/ Husqvarna= Swedish $$$-$$$$ Volvo: solid, reliable, has nice bells and whistles but maintenance comes at a premium price.
Bernina= German $$$-$$$$$$$ Mercedez-Benz: luxurious, reliable, last long enough to pass down to the next generation, high maintenance cost.

Exactly all of this. I personally have Kenmore's (both sewing machine and serger) and I love them. I have never had a problem with my sewing machine and I have had it 9-10 years. My serger I bring in for tune-ups all the time but that's because I run it into the ground like it's an industrial. But because of the warranty, Sears Home Central fixes it perfectly every time.

Just and FYI, Pfaff was bought by Husquvarna. Then they were both own by the company that currently owns Singer. So either the Singer's will get better or the other two will get worse :\

As for the original questions. Most people buy sewing machines at Wal-Mart so that means Singer or Brother. Never by a machine at Wal-Mart. Go to a real sewing store. Brands purposely make low end items Wal-Mart can sell for cheap to make them seem competitive.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 08:32 PM   #11
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To add to what has been said, what are your personal needs? These should help direct you toward an appropriate machine.

1. What is your budget and what do you want your machine to do?
2. Do you want a cheaper machine to learn and perfect the basics, then upgrade in a few years?
3. Do you want something a bit more rugged that will outlast the others?
4. Do you want a fancy-pants machine with dozens of stitches, digital stuff, and will outlast the others?
5. Have you worked with any machines in the past that you really liked or did not like?

Basically any of the "economy class" machines [$50-200ish], the ones commonly on OMFG blowout sales, will serve a beginner's needs and you can get a handful of years out of them with regular use, perhaps with some annoyances such as rattling, jerky operation etc. but do not expect it to be the same as a higher-end machine nor with it be a legacy item you could use 10+ years or possibly pass down to an enthusiastic cousin or child. Sewing machines are like anything else, you definitely get what you pay for in the long-run. If you are looking for a machines you can grow with, aim for something at least mid-range regardless of brand. Worry about finding a machine that suits your needs first.

Concerning people prattling on about "ye old days" when machines were better: there are some legitimate facts behind these statements. To save money, companies have slowly been incorporating more plastic components. We all know plastic can crack, discolor, get brittle, and eventually break with age which is why machines with more metal components are going to be a better choice if you want a machine that lasts.

One thing I want to mention about shopping is to check out a local privately-owned sewing shop before hitting Craigslist, Sears etc. Most sewing shops are set up to let you "test drive" the floor models [whereas you can only look at machines in many chain stores]. They will also know their products well and can give you honest recommendations based on your needs. Additionally, they may take trade-ins which is a great way to get a good, freshly tuned-up sewing machine for a fraction of the price. With Craigslist or garage sales, there is no guarantee you are even getting a working machine with all its innards. These privately owned shops also can throw in bonuses like a free machine case, free sewing lessons, and a free tune-up or the like. Joanns and Hancock Fabrics also have an area with some machines set up for "test drives" too but I do not know what kinds of bonuses they throw in if you buy from them. Chain stores like are okay if you know what you want already or are doing comparison shopping.

What machines do I personally back? I like buying things that last until I decide to upgrade. When I was looking for a new sewing machine back in the early 2000's, I felt no brand loyalty and was considering Husqvarna, Pfaff, and Kenmore as I had worked with them before. I ended up with a heavy duty White sewing machine and White serger on trade-in. 10 years later both are still running like new and are a delight to work with, neither have required repairs etc. I also have a mid-1970's Singer machine that I call "Tank" because it is as heavy/solid as it is impressive.

Whatever you decide upon, definitely "test drive" it to see if it is worth your investment. One of the nice things about Web 2.0 is that it is so easy to communicate with people around the world these days. Finding reviews on both old and new machines has never been easier so take advantage of what the internet has to offer in addition to any other advice you receive from the stores.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 08:55 PM   #12
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I pretty much go wit what I can work wit. I had a brother for the longest time but recently I had to get a new sewing machine and now I got a singer.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 10:45 PM   #13
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I have a singer and I love it. Now, my parents didn't buy it for me at Wal-Mart, they went right to a fabric/quilting store that was also a Singer dealer. And they didn't buy a cheap machine either- they told the guy who runs the place that I liked to mess with heavy fabric like brocade and such. He suggested the same model that is used in schools, where students aren't exactly known for being gentle with the equipment. It costs more, but it can handle heavy fabric, and I'm pretty sure it will be able to handle garment weight leather once I get the right presser foot.

With sewing machines in general, you get what you pay for. I have a friend who is looking to buy one of her own, and I suggested that she take a bus ride out to the Singer Store instead of going to Wal-Mart- a Wal-Mart machine is cheap and it will cost more in the long run due to repair and replacement.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #14
ShinobiXikyu
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^Exactly. Old Singers, and high-end modern ones sold from dealers, are very worth it. The lower-end Singers you buy in big box stores, I hear nothing but "PIECE OF CRAP".

...also, you could check out this amazing thing if you have almost 10 grand to spare... http://www.husqvarnaviking.com/us/De...nd_deLuxe.html (...yah. That machine is just DAYUM amazing.)
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There is a vibe here that says "We're in this together! Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way." <3
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Unread 04-26-2012, 01:15 AM   #15
Mehdia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amanita View Post
I have a singer and I love it. Now, my parents didn't buy it for me at Wal-Mart, they went right to a fabric/quilting store that was also a Singer dealer. And they didn't buy a cheap machine either- they told the guy who runs the place that I liked to mess with heavy fabric like brocade and such. He suggested the same model that is used in schools, where students aren't exactly known for being gentle with the equipment. It costs more, but it can handle heavy fabric, and I'm pretty sure it will be able to handle garment weight leather once I get the right presser foot.

With sewing machines in general, you get what you pay for. I have a friend who is looking to buy one of her own, and I suggested that she take a bus ride out to the Singer Store instead of going to Wal-Mart- a Wal-Mart machine is cheap and it will cost more in the long run due to repair and replacement.
That's the same type of machine I have. It holds up pretty well. The one I got was considered the "teacher's model" and that thing has held up to all the insanity I've thrown at it for the last four years. It also was covered by a lifetime warranty^^ And like stated above, it's a lot more metal than just plastic pieces, so it's tougher. There's still plastic parts, but I know there's a good deal of metal inside it too.
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