A New Baby…

Okay, so we are having an actual new baby in a couple months…


But friends, my sewing machine is dying!! It will no longer zig-zag stitch [which is pretty important, if you ask me] and so the button-holer isn’t button-holing either. The machine I’m currently sewing on will definitely cost more to repair than it’s worth. So I need a new baby!!


Maybe it couldn’t handle sewing through my finger?? [yes, that really happened… the above broken needle is evidence… the other half was in my finger] Thankfully, it’s still [mostly] straight-stitching, so I can still get by with that and my serger for a little bit.


While I would absolutely adore a Bernina or a Pfaff, I wasn’t planning to purchase a new machine anytime soon, so the key word here is affordable. [AKA as cheap as I can get away with, without buying a piece of junk] And then I can save up for a nicer machine in the future.


So, do you have an affordable machine that you love? Recommendations for a workhorse that doesn’t cost much but can handle daily garment sewing? I’m not a quilter [though someday that would be awesome] and I don’t need fancy features. I just need something that will work hard and not have lots of problems.

I’m all ears – give me your best recommendations, please!!

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  1. I honestly can not say enough good things about my Janome. I have the Magnolia 7318. It is basic yet has all the fun features – button hole and a bunch of fancy stitches- way more than I will ever use! :) I think mine was about 199$- but it was a gift. They have a lot of models around that price point too. The reviews are really good for Janome as well.

  2. I have a basic Kenmore that my parents bought me ten years ago as a college graduation gift. It’s been used and abused and the only time it’s given me trouble was when I tried to sew through stick-on velcro and the adhesive gunked it up. I thought the adhesive was just for placement and that you were supposed to sew through it. I was wrong. Whoops! My model isn’t available any more, but I’d recommend the brand.

  3. I’d recommend searching your local craigslist for vintage machines. They’re rougher & tougher and usually affordable. I’m a big fan of the old Berninas (730,830, 930, 932) but also have a Pfaff 30 (straight stitch only, or Pfaff 15 or 130) or Singer 301 or 220 is good to look for. Good luck!

  4. Heavy duty singer. Real workhorse. Sews through multiple layers of denim and zig zags knits like a jot knife thru butter! AND it’s under $150! Oh my goodness that baby looks like he/she is ready to come now!!

  5. I also have an ancient Kenmore. Not digital and fancy (sigh), but still going strong after 25+ years. Besides that, I recommend checking eBay, Craigslist, and maybe PatternReview for used machines. Sometimes people upgrade or clean out the garage and offer up good quality brands that would be much more expensive otherwise.

  6. Vintage Bernina. 830s and 930s are the favorites but the 10-series are great, too. My new baby is a 1010 and it’s glorious to sew on.

    My previous (first) machine was a Janome. It’s a great machine, very reliable, but kind of slow and lightweight. That’s why I finally decided to upgrade.

  7. I have a Brother bought from a local dealer (NOT from a shelf at walmart) and a la-la-love it. For half the price of a Viking, I got all the features I wanted from it.

  8. I frequently see a sewing machine or 2 at our hospice thrift store. I never see them at GoodWill. IF you have a church or hospice thrift shop, you might call them and ask if they have any. If you can’t afford a new one right away, ask if they have a waiting list for sewing machines. They aren’t the latest models, but some are in really good shape.

    Estate sales can be a good source of a good machine too. There are companies that put a lot of the estate sales together and man them and they will usually put one on a waiting list and then let you know.

  9. I have a brother SE-400. I was a brand new-never-sewed-even-a-button-before sewer when I bought it. I wanted a machine that would grow and I knew I wanted to be able to do embroidery. :)

    It can almost always be found on sale for about $350. But I’m not sure what your *affordable* price point is. ….

    But I LOVE it. It was easy to use and like I said, it will grow with me as a sewer. :) So….

  10. I never thought I’d say it, but a brother would prob be in the affordable range, they have been on really good sales lately. My MIL got hers right before Christmas $150 & it had a lot of nice stitches on it like my Janome mem craft 6600.
    The store I got my Janome at also sells brothers. So that must say something. I haven’t gotten to sew on one though. But I have also seen some great priced Janome. Have you looked on overstock.com?

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