Sewing machine recommendations

Okay, there isn't an off-topic category, so I'm putting it under Parenting, because it's the category I'm choosing.

A while ago (4 months?), I was making my daughter a bottle bag to take to daycare, and the horizontal needle drive gear shattered in my 1970 White sewing machine.  I had just finished making the strap, so I attached it by hand, and life was good, but the sewing machine is toast.  I've looked a variety of places and can't find the part I need, so I'm looking for a replacement.

So I'm getting a small windfall on Friday, and I'm finally in the market to buy a replacement.  Does anyone have a recommendation for either manufacturer or model?

I had a White I picked up at a junk shop, growing up my mom had a Kenmore, and my one sister has an old Singer.  I know White got bought out by Singer, but I really don't know enough about the sewing machine marketplace to know which brands are worthwhile and which I should run from.

My budget is tentatively $250, but I could probably push it up to $300.

Any suggestions?

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  • I just got one that was on sale rather than doing a bunch of research. I think it was a White (it's been a few years). But if I had done research, I would have wanted an article like this one:

    If I recall correctly, my mom prefers her old Singer to her Brother, but the Brother was really low end. Mostly she uses a long arm machine now for quilting, but I don't know what brand it is.

    Reply Like 2
    • Alia Gee
    • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
    • Pink_Keyboard
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I got a "student" Singer 15 years ago for $300 and I love it because it's easy to thread. 

    I have an old Singer from 1979 that I got refurbished at a local repair shop for i think $40? They also repair vacuums. I don't use it, but i enjoy having a spare. (And actually I might need a second machine for a costume making "party" this Friday night) 

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  • TheTabby I love that your White lasted so long! A good sewing machine is definitely worth the investment and holds its own weight in gold. :)

    adriana01 and Alia Gee both mentioned it, but Singer was the household name I grew up with (and then smuggled to college with me). 

    Good luck on your search!

    Also, sorry about the difficult category search for this one - we've been considering a "Leisure" category to catch these sort of things.

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online:
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 5 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I checked consumer reports, and they didn't have a rating of machines, sorry. We purchased a lower end singer a few years back, no problems so far. It sees light use. 

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  • I used to work at a sewing shop that sold Machines!

    Modern Singer and low-end Brother machines are pretty much solid plastic these days. They can't be serviced or re-timed. They're a total waste of your money.

    The higher-priced Brother embroidery machines are made in the same factory as the BabyLock ones, but the BabyLock ones seem to hold their value better.

    Look at BabyLock's entry line of machines (Molly, Anna, etc), or the Viking Emerald 116 & 118 machines. Janome also has decent entry level Machines.

    I would definitely recommend spending $300 or more to get an entry-level machine that actually has a metal frame and internal parts.  If you're spending less than $250, I'd say there's a high likelihood the machine won't last. Unfortunately, they don't make things like they used to. :(

    Reply Like 3
  • I love the older machines, but I don't do fancy or creative arts, so they serve me well.  The older machines were made out of real metal, and they were built to last. I have a Piedmont, a store branded sewing machine made by White (it's shape and pastel peach colour are dead giveaways as to the 1950s era it was made/sold in). I found it being hauled out to a dumpster by an apartment manager one day.  My best free find.  My other two machines are: my grandmother's 1960 Spartan (made by Singer), and my pride and joy, a Singer Featherweight made in the 1930s that I found on Ebay and got for a song due to the seller misspelling Featherweight as wieght, so no one bid against me. Score!


    Reply Like 1
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online:
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Here's what we got. Don't know about the insides. Been happy with light use and simple projects. 

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  • I'm using Brother CS6000i and found it very comfortable. Price is below 150$ but worthy.

    More details you can check here

    Reply Like 1
  • Magenta Rain said:
    I'm using Brother CS6000i and found it very comfortable. Price is below 150$ but worthy.
    More details you can check here

     Same as mine. 
    I use it for making simplistic quilts, fixing clothes and occasionally making projects from Burda. Also my husband use it to fix his camping gear. Quite easy to operate.
    Basic Janomes are good also, but as for modern plastic Singers, I've been warned, that they're not that great. In general, plastic aren't necessarily a bad thing in their own right. There are different types, and different grades, and it depends on what was used. 

    Reply Like 1
  • If you've got the time and access to thrift shops, you may be able to find a really good used one that could be repaired, or is just plain cheap and just needs a little oil that will last better than a brand new machine, especially for the money. I have a Bernina that is one of the best machines made that was given to me by my grandmother before she passed away, and I will cherish that machine for a long time. It was checked over by one of the top Benina repair guys in the country, and he said it's the best machine made.

    Many times you can find older machines at thrift shops because the shop doesn't really know what they have.
    Good luck, and glad you're sewing and crafting! That's a wonderful thing to show your daughter.

    Reply Like 1
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