Condo Blues: What Type of Sewing Machine Do You Have? Do You Like It?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Type of Sewing Machine Do You Have? Do You Like It?

At 39 years old, my Kenmore sewing machine has seen and sewn it all. My mom bought it in 1972. Mom put many miles on her. Bessie sewed curtains for my childhood bedrooms, countless Halloween costumes, and Barbie clothes. Mom sewed color guard uniforms, flags, and more high school musical costumes than I can count before, during, and after I graduated high school.
Everyone say hi to Bessie!

Why do I call her Bessie? Because when the machine acted up mom yelled, “Come on Bessie!” as she sewed and the machine snapped back in line. Bessie is a safer thing to say around little kid ears (mine) than saying what you really want to say when you are frustrated with things not going your way during a project.

Mom gave me Bessie after she got a new sewing machine. I put many miles on Bessie too. Under my roof, we sewed blankets and toys for Blitzkrieg, Christmas gifts, curtains, slipcovers, reupholstered furniture, and repurposed more things than I can count. Bessie and I designed costumes and historical clothing too. Bessie is Mommy’s Little Moneymaker when it comes to building costumes.

Whenever I thought Bessie was a goner, my repair shop fixed her. I recently took her in. Her current problem is a broken bobbin plate. My guy said a week and $10 later, I will be able to open Santa’s Little Sewing Sweatshop AKA my sewing room for the holiday season.

Nope. The manufacturer discontinued part. My repair person tired a few others. No luck.

It kills me that my workhorse of a sewing machine is permanently out of commission because of a simple bobbin plate.

I need to buy a new sewing machine ASAP or Christmas will not happen this year. I have 35 Christmas gifts to sew and no working sewing machine.

 My cart looks like I am doing Project Runway: North Pole Exploration Challenge. My apologies for the photo quality. I took the picture with my Blackberry.

It worked so well asking you for recommendations when we had to suddenly replace our car, I am going to ask you for recommendations on sewing machines. What kind of sewing machine do you have? Do you like it?

I am not opposed to buying a new or used sewing machine. Both have their pluses and minuses. The same goes with a computerized versus mechanical sewing machine. Although I wonder how well the computerized sewing machines age. Is this an issue if I go with a used computerized sewing machine?

When life gave me too many t shirts I made a t shirt quilt!

Fortunately, most of the basic sewing machines out there do the fancy stitches my Kenmore does with the touch of a button instead of  what was state of the art cam sewing technology in 1972. I use the cam stitches quite a bit so I would like the new sewing machine to do at least some decorative stitching and possibly letters. My Kenmore can do lettering but I never got it or the button holers to work well enough to do nothing more than practice.

I am open to another Kenmore, since mine lasted 39 years. I am also open to another brand. I’m looking at Janome (they made my Kenmore), Bernina (I have a Bernina serger I like), and Viking.

 When I designed and sewed an Ipad cover and stand when I couldn't find one I liked in a store.

I want to do as much research on line before I go into the store to make my purchase. The sales people at my local Stitching Post treat you as if you have leprosy if you have not already bought a sewing machine from them. Every time I try to buy one of their sewing classes the class schedules, “are missing” or “full” when they find out I do not own a Viking. Sometimes I get a song and dance on how complicated their sewing machines are and that they cannot waste class time teaching me how to use the machine. Oh please. Do you think I can design a historically accurate Elizabethan gown based on the Seal of the Goldsmiths, hand draft the patterns,  sew it, bead it, and embroider it (by hand and machine) and NOT be smart enough to figure out how to use a fancy sewing machine on the fly to take a tailoring class?

 I embroidered the collar and cuffs of our shirts too.

I heard Brother sewing machines are more for beginners. Is that true? Do they last? I found a Brother that does embroidery for less than the brands at the top of my list. Do any of you have a Singer or Brother sewing machine?

I designed and sewed a insluated casserole caddy since I already had the dish and couldn't find a carrier for sale either.

I am also considering eventually getting two sewing machines. One for construction similar to my old sewing machine and a second embroidery only machine. Yes? No? Maybe so?

 I got so many compliments on my Buttercup bag I made and gave them as gifts.

What type of sewing machine do you have? What do you recommend? If I go with a used sewing machine, how well do the new sewing machines age?

 I made these bloomers for a Scotch Irish gal to wear on St. Patrick's Day. Hee!

Thanks everyone!

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Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how you'd precisely do this..but do you have the broken bobbin plate? Could you not take it to a place that cuts metal from design and have them cut you a new one out? I wonder if anyone on Etsy does metal designwork and would be able to do that...Just a thought since then you wouldn't have to buy another machine :)

Robj98168 said...

Okay true confessions...

on my sears sewing machine. And it is not because I am inept, I could do it in Jr. High School and on my moms old Necchi sewing machine. ANd no one will teach me (Michaels JoAnns) Unless I buy a new machine.

Kate Kreate Kards and other Kuriosities said...

Awwww, I hate how we are such a throwaway culture now that your only option is to get a new machine. Especially since you have so many memories built into this machine and it has done so much for you in the past. Bessie really just needs a bit of a touchup, not to be put to pasture.

Anyway, a similar thing happened to my grandmother's Bernina a while back. It was a great machine (from the 80s), didn't have many fancy stitches, but I was fine with that. Now I'm using my other grandmother's sewing machine (I was the big craft person on both sides of the family); it is a New Home. All I read is that the new of anything sucks, with the exception of possibly Brother. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Delurking to tell you I LOVE my Brother Innov-is 1200. It is a sewing and embroidery machine. It is a work horse, and I have made it work. I have embroidered 12 items in the past 2 days alone. (Gearing up for the holidays). HTH


Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Kate - I won't throw Bessie away. I'm sure I could sell her on eBay or Craiglist for parts.

Athena said...

Funny thing is I have a lot of sewing machines. I have a Babyloc Quilters Choice; a Pfaff (can't remember model); a Singer (can't remember model) - BUT I always use my 20+ year old Janome New Home. It doesn't have alot of stitches or anything fancy but it is sturdy as can be. I learned on a Babyloc but I love my New Home. And with all those sewing machines I don't have one Serger - what I wouldn't give for a serger...

Mary H said...

Okay, I don't about new machines. I mainly use a 1940's Singer Featherweight. My daughter inherited a Janome (from approx. the 70's) that we both like a lot. I learned to sew on a 1950's Singer and I still wish I had that machine - talk about a workhorse.

Unknown said...

In regards to your Kenmore, I just left my job working for Janome, the maker of your Kenmore. You may be able to contact the Janome support number for needle plates that may be equivalent and order it by phone. if you ever need the support number, I posted it on the youtube page.

One of the world's premier manufactureres of good quality sewing machines, embroidery machines, overlockers, sergers, coverstitch machines and embroidery software.

Contact us through email on Youtube or Monday through Friday 8:30AM -- 5:00PM EST,

I am sure you can find another. If not I would suggest a Janome if you want something that is consistent with less bells and whistles. I have a Brother personally because I like the bells and whistles in an electronic machine. Mine has a film with a laser that helps the memory board know the stitch.






This is an appliance, not a book, clothing or a toy. Go to a dealer. Sears doesnt really support their machines anymore since they are looking to take the direction of the Kenmore brand to a Walmart customer level. If you need any other help, please let me know.

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Fashion Sewing NYC - Thanks for the info. I asked my repair guy if I/he could contact Janome for a replacement plate when the repair guy said his supplier discontinued the part and he said no because my machine is so old. :(

14u2nv said...

i got a bessie exact make and model works awesome been sitting unused for decades new. email me

14u2nv said...

seriously email me and we can work something out...btw just wondered.. are you sure its name wasnt bessie because it weighs A TON...thing is heavy-HEAVY.I wud like to see a human swim with aint happening.

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