The time has come. I have been sewing since spring 2010. I bought a new, fairly low-end machine when I started because I wasn’t sure if I would end up sticking with this sewing thing. It is a beginner’s Brother and has certainly done its job! I thought my sewing machine would end up in the same closet as my inline skates and resistance bands.
But I have found a hobby that has stuck. Big time. I think about sewing all the time. I touch fabric on people’s clothing (with permission, of course). Even if I am not actively sewing, I am making plans. My totally incredible serger has highlighted the weaknesses of my machine. I would like something fairly comparable to my Janome serger.
My latest plan is to sew jeans. The Husband has led the way to this, I must say. He is
obsessed keenly interested in raw Japanese denim jeans. His buddy, MarShaw, is likely to blame as he introduced my husband to these jeans. The best denim is supposed to come from Japan. It is stitched up into jeans which the purchaser then wears WITHOUT WASHING for months so they crease naturally. When you finally wash them the creases and whiskering are set into the fabric.
Anyway, I would like to stitch up my own jeans to get the proper length, rise and to use fun coloured denim. To do that I really need a machine that is a little more heavy duty. My machine has been great but I know that it complains when I sew heavy fabrics. And the stitches are okay but not as gorgeous and consistent as I know is available. I will likely get a bonus from work in March *$$* and I want to spend it on a machine that can take me to the next level of sewing.
(Photos from Amazon.ca) A couple of machines that I am researching. I won’t buy from Amazon, just looking at reviews and pricing. BTW the price difference on machines in this range are about $200-$300 from Canada to US.
Here is where you can help. What do you sew with? What would you buy if you could purchase another machine? How much should I spend for a home use machine that will handle denim and other heavy fabrics?
For fun, here is a video from Roy Denim. He uses a multitude of machines to sew his custom jeans. Very cool.
I’ve had a lower-end Brother model for years and just upgraded to a Janome DC 2013, which is very similar (same features, same stitches, same price range, etc.) to the DC 3050 you’re looking at. I love my new Janome–the thicker fabrics and bulky seams that used to give my Brother fits don’t even phase the Janome. Of course, I haven’t tried sewing jeans yet so I don’t know how it would handle that. I also really like that the DC 2013 came with a walking foot, which is great since I’ve been sewing with knits lately.
I really am leaning toward the Janome, or one of them. Thanks for your input!
I can try some machines at a store here. Where I bought my serger.
A new machine is always fun! I wouldn’t go with a Singer since their quality has dropped in the last 20 years, which really makes me sad…. Another recommendation is to look at machines that have bobbin cases and not drop in bobbins. It is much easier to adjust the tension and if you ever want to sew with elastic thread it makes it much easier. Good luck!
Huh! The drop in bobbin is always sold as a great feature. I never thought of the down side.
Singer wasn’t my first choice. Thanks for the reassurance.
I bought my Viking Lily 355 from Kijiji. The woman had receipts of servicing and all the books and attachments. I can’t afford anything in the $1000 + value, so this was a great find.
PS , I figured out how to comment on your blog …I just leave my blogspot address off and it prints.
It’s great if you get it from a conscientious person. Most on Kijiji here seem to be “found in grandma’s garage”. I’m not willing to take the risk.
Wish I got a loved hand me down from a relative…
Thanks for commenting. Sorry it is so difficult! Nice to hear from you!
I have a Janome DXL603. It handles well and the only issue I can complain about is that it creates little nests after a backstitch. It’s so annoying. It continues to do so after a tune-up so maybe it’s user error? But other than that I do love my Janome. But if money was no object I’d want a solid machine. Maybe a vintage Bernina.
Good luck with your research. Have you looked at patternreview.com for their sewing machine reviews? Those can be helpful as well.
I have looked at pattern review. You just have to know what you are looking for.
Bernina would be incredible. My bonus isn’t that good!
I love my Janome serger. Maybe that’s the brand for me. Thanks for commenting!
I don’t mean to send you down a totally different direction, but I had exacly the same situation, I got an entry level Janome (a 2318 Magnolia) and only felt capable of sewing jeans after I bought a vintage machine. Mine is a Singer featherweight, but lots of vintage machines would have much more piercing power than a modern plastic machines and they can be found for a good price too! For jeans you will only need a straight stitch and your serger, so a vintage machine works perfectly. Something to consider!
When you have a chance to buy one do you just test the stitching to be sure it works? I’m nervous about getting a machine and getting a dud. Though I guess most of the old ones are work horses.
I have a lead on an old Singer. We’ll see.
Thanks for your comment!
OK, I don’t have any helpful thoughts and suggestions, as all the machines I currently use are older than I am, but can I just say that I am totally happy that the serger has treated you well? I feel much less guilty about my enabling! 😉
I love my serger! I do need to try even more features on it but it has served me very well.
You are fortunate to have sewists in the family. I wish I had access to older machines. I am browsing kijiji but I’m so nervous about getting a machine from an unknown source. Though I currently have a lead on an old Singer.
Hope you’ve been keeping warm. It has been the coldest winter in years here!
So exciting when you can add a new – to you at least – machine. It is like buying a car, you look at all the models, features and prices, pick the one that fits and you like then drive off the lot just singing – mine! Mine! Mine! I recommend you take fabric samples in lots of weights and thickness and hit the dealers to test, test, test. A dealer will give lessons and lots of support. They will also make sure you are happy for those possible future sales. If you get a lemon, and we all know they happen, they will do what they can for you. A good dealer is worth their weight in gold.
That wonderful machine does not fit the budget? Ask about trade-ins. You can get a more robust machine for less money. One more caution, pick carefully. Most of us do not have the luxury of buying whatever comes down the pike. The machine you buy is now going to be an investment in your future joy. You will progress and grow in your skills and capabilities with the next machine. You will add different feet as you go and they are a commitment to a brand. As you add to your stable, and you will, you want all those accessories to fit the next addition.
A long post I know, but a good dealer and care in choosing the machine are what I am saying. Test, test, test. An good luck
Thanks so much! I was thinking about testing different fabrics on different machines at a dealers. It is a big investment and I jus don’t want to regret my choice.
Thanks again for your comment.
my husband bought me a higher-end computerized Pfaff 20 years ago and it’s still going strong. I’ve sewed on it almost daily during those 20 years–including 2 wedding gowns, countless brides maid dresses, probably 50 baby and regular quilts. I sewed for my girls and now for myself–lots of knits and it’s a dream on knits. I love, love the built-in walking foot. I have had a computerized Kenmore for 5 years that I use when home in the States. It regularly sold for $700 and I got it on sale four $300 on Sears.com and it has served me very well. But it’s not my Pfaff for sure. Frankly, I’ve never know anyone happy with a Singer, though.
Thank you! I certainly won’t be sewing heavy fabrics all the time. It has to do multi duty.
Singer is a no go except for vintage machines, I’m guessing.
Appreciate your comment!
My 2 cents and it will be long sorry in advance- I bought an industrial machine designed for sewing mid to heavy weight materials. I sew a huge variety of stuff including some very heavy weight stuff like denim. When you are topstitching the waistbands and such there is a lot of thickness , you have to watch for the stitches shortening-this makes me crazy. My industrial chews thru this stuff with such precision and ease it is insane. You can also put thick thread in them top and bobbin with no worries. Lots of home machines cannot handle the thicker threads in the bobbins. You don’t have to have the thicker bobbin thread but that is what rtw jeans do. I also have a TOL of the line Elna 760 it is the same as the janome 8900 lots of bucks but I love this machine-alot of money though. It has a great accufeed (walking foot sort of)with 2 different sized feet. This machine does do a pretty bang up job of handling stuff but still, the industrial machine rules.I bought the elna for other purposes. My Industrial machine was $1300. You can buy industrials cheaper and find them used based on where you live. Juki and brother also make semi industrials JUki 2010(around $900 and brother 1500($600?)if you don’t wish to go the full industrial route. they are straight stitch only and people say they handle thick stuff well. There are a lot of people on sewing pattern review that have the juke 2010. Some people also swear by the old singers like the 201 I believe too and possibly some vintage kenmores? You will need to go to sewing places in person with old pairs of jeans and sew over the hems ,sew over the belt loops and see what the machines do. Bring a jeans needle as who knows what the store will have in them. Look for the stitches to shorten as you go over the huge humps, people use work arounds like a hump jumper etc , I have read some intriguing things about the muvit foot on the brother sewing machines-i think it is just on the more expensive machines but I am not sure. But people sure do seem to love it. Sewing pattern review is a good place to look true enough but lots of people say oh my machine handles thick fabrics but not to discredit them but I have tried some of those machines and no, they do not sew beautiful consistent stitches on super thick seams.I too am obsessed with jeans. Also the Cone mills in the US makes great denim as well , I have used it.ROy gets his denim made there. Check out http://www.taylortailor.com he makes his own jeans.. He also uses an industrial machine and says why he switched in his blog. He also is great at answering questions. He also sells Cone Mills denim ,rivets etc. You can also get tons of swatches from premiumdenimoutlet.com Us and Japanese denim. To wrap up this long entry, you can certainly make a home machine work with some work arounds etc it just depends on how easy and how often you wish to make jeans I guess. I cannot reiterate enough though that you will need to bring old pairs of jeans to the test machines and see for yourself if the machine will give you the results you desire. But if you really are looking for a separate machine to sew jeans and other thick fabrics than I say either the semi industrials or industrial is the way to go. Home machines are not made for this sort of frequent heavy use.
Thank you for taking the time to type all that! I think I’ll be making jeans occasionally, not a lot. Great idea to take old jeans and sew through the waistband and loops.
So much to think about. With the amount I sew a high end home machine may do the trick. Or semi-industrial. I’ll be in California in May. Maybe I can look for used in the LA or Palm Springs area…
Thanks again! All these comments are so helpful!
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There is a great one man brand in New Zealand called Ande Whall that you should check out. I’m pretty sure I have seen either a video or pictures of his set up. He does all his stuff with single needle.
I know you have probably already purchased your new machine and this is very late in commenting (but hey, I just ran into your blog today so I deserve a break on that…) but you can’t beat a Bernina in my book. I have my mom’s 1964 Bernina and it still sews beautifully. This past year I got a new Bernina and wow…. I am in heaven. Amazing machine that I expect to last as long as my mom’s original Bernina.
Happy sewing. And running…. I sew and I run, and I throw pottery and read and spoil grandkids…. it’s a full life.
Thanks for commenting! I did purchase a Janome. I love it but Bernina is the top machine for many. I wanted to spend around $750CND. Not sure you could get a Bernina for that.
Sewing is just part of my life. That’s what makes it fun!