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Old 22.03.2015, 02:33
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(2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I'm looking to buy a (2nd hand) sewing machine.
I am a complete beginner, but am generally quite crafty and pick up on this type of thing quite easily. I would use it just for simple things, but if I get the hand of it I would like to try making clothes, but nothing too crazy.

I've been told I have to get a Bernina. Now, if I would become good at this, I would consider investing in one, but at this point they are just too expensive and not worth the risk.

I looked on ricardo for second hand, but there's so many, mainly older models, and I have no clue what I should be looking at.

Or should I rather just by a cheap new one, like a Singer and then go for a better one once I've gotten into it.

Thanks for any advice
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Old 22.03.2015, 08:50
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

Singer machines are fine IMO and they last for years. It may be best to start with a model with fewer "bells and whistles" ie a basic one, as I found I very rarely used the extra features.
And a second hand one is worth considering,there's not much that can go wrong on basic models.
Good luck!
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Old 22.03.2015, 11:08
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I used to have a Brother & used it a lot but often had trouble with the tension. The cost of getting it checked & repaired was rediculous.
I now have a Durabase cheap & cheerful (149fr) from the Migros & it is perfectly adequate for every day sewing. No point getting some fancy thing with bells & whistles as you won't use most of the options.
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Old 22.03.2015, 11:16
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I agree with what the others have said. Unless you get into sewing in a big way you're not going to be using all the fancy functions.

A basic second hand machine will be perfect to learn on and do most ( if not all) of the stuff you're ever likely to want to do. There is much less that can go wrong on the simpler machines too. Older models tend to be heavier and more robust than newer ones.

IKEA does a simple basic machine that's not expensive and is perfect for a novice sewer. I got my newest Pfaff machine in sale in the COOP for 49 chf ( down from 300) and it is brilliant.
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Old 22.03.2015, 22:17
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

Thank you for all the advice.
If I go second hand, how do I decide which to by. What features should I look for. There are so many on Ricardo, and with quite a price range.
But first I'll go see what Migros and Coop have to offer at the moment.
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Old 22.03.2015, 23:04
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

Something like this is probably the sort if thing you should be looking for. A few features without being too complicated.

http://www.fr.ricardo.ch/acheter/men...v/an755765412/
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Old 22.03.2015, 23:16
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

For example:
http://www.ricardo.ch/kaufen/haushal...v/an756883190/

or

http://www.ricardo.ch/kaufen/haushal...v/an756861008/

Are these any good? What's the difference?
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Old 22.03.2015, 23:25
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I have to jump in here although I´m not the most experienced. I think the main point about buying any machine of any sort , including vehicles, is the service. I brought an old Singer from the US which I could not get properly serviced here, costing too much to fix before I had to throw it out. I bought a basic Migros brand (probably made by Singer or another big company in Asia). When it broke down (two times) , I took it back for the famous Migros service, which did indeed get it fixed , requiring over a month each time. The third time, the guarantee had expired and the service would have cost more than the original purchase price. Eventually we settled for a 60´s Bernina with straight stitch and zig-zag. This machine you can´t kill if you wanted to.
It´s heavy as hell, but if oil it regularly , it keeps on and on...
My advice ...get an old ( 80´s at the latest) Bernina, Husqvarna, or Pfaff from a sewing machine mechanic.
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Old 23.03.2015, 01:10
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I have a Bernina, bought new (by my Mum and promptly nicked by me) nearly fifty years ago.... despite it now being on its second motor it's an amazing machine. My only regret is that she didn't opt for the next model up which did fully automatic buttonholes.
I'll admit to knowing nothing about the new (cheap) offers out there as I love my Bernina and have relegated the horrendously expensive newer Husqvarna Mum bought to replace the purloined Bernina to the darkness of the garage.

Look for three basic functions; straight stitch, zig-zag, and fully automatic buttonholes (the semi-automatic buttonhole function will drive you crazy if you need to do more than one or two).
Oh, check that 'reverse' is a simple throw of the switch that stays in position until you want to change it.
I've just remembered why I dislike the Husqvarna quite so much. To get reverse you need to hold the 'direction' lever in place, which is slightly tricky when both hands are already occupied elsewhere controlling fabric!
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Old 23.03.2015, 02:25
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I have been sewing for 40 years (started when I was 10). I began on my Mom's 1950s era Pfaff. Inherited it from her and will keep it forever. Weeks before I got married 20+ years ago, I invested in a Bernina. It was a pretty penny even then, but I have literally never had a problem. Then I moved from US to Switzerland and couldn't use the machine. I just bought my second Bernina, much upgraded since my first, as a used demo model. Saved 50%. My advice is this: think about what you will sew...Clothing for kids, or for you? Draperies? Home dec? Simple repair and that's it? Complicated items with buttons, appliqués, zippers, ruching, gathering, etc? If all you are doing is patching and mending, then sure, go for a Singer or a Brother. But if you intend to learn to sew and really grow the skill, I suggest you invest now, in a Bernina or Pfaff that will serve you well. Little things make a big difference. The size of the "throat," backwards stitch ability, easy bobbin loader, a knee lifter, thread razor near the needle, stay-down needle function, a hemming foot attachment, zipper foot attachment...you get the point. Then, if you move back to your country of origin, and can't bring it with you, you can sell it! I looked for 18 months for the perfect used machine, until I finally lucked out with a recent Zurich-wide Bernina promotion that sold all the display models in town. There were 10 people ahead of me in line, and 10 after me when I completed my purchase. I got a fabulous machine for a song. I got a great deal and expect that I will be able to make back most of my investment. I would suggest you call any of the Bernina stores in town and see if they have any of the 300 series models still available. They are a good, solid beginning machine. Invest in the 500 series if price is right, or if you expect to be here longtime and will really put the effort in to learn. Either way, enjoy the adventure! PS. My 12 year old daughter sewed her first-ever project (a cute tunic) on our "new" machine this weekend. She's totally hooked now and wants to learn more. So glad I finally found the right machine at a good price! Best of luck to you!
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  #11  
Old 23.03.2015, 10:10
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I have a very basic Bernina 1008 machine, bought new in the US, that I've been very happy with. I've been sewing basic things for years and it's been fine for that. I assume there's a version of this pretty basic machine for the home market here. I thought the price I paid was not out of line for the quality. My biggest issue with the cheaper machines is the hassle with tension. It seems like you are constantly playing with it and breaking threads in the middle of a job. But maybe that's because I'm still on a pretty basic level and don't have the right "feel" for it. The Berninas have a reputation for machines that have fewer problems with tension.

I added the Bernina to the container we were shipping from Seattle, since weight was not an issue. It's a sturdy, heavy machine that I've had no trouble with although transporting it will be a bit of a bear if it does need servicing, since we live without a car here. We bought a converter once we moved, to deal with the voltage issue. The converter was pretty expensive, CHF 70, I think. Anyway, for anyone not yet here who is wondering whether or not to ship their machine from North America, it is possible. At some point I suppose I'll invest in a Bernina here.
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Old 23.03.2015, 10:34
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

My other half went through this process in the last couple of years - she started off with a new Ikea sewing machine, which whilst noisy worked absolutely fine and only cost CHF 90.

She has just upgraded to a Bernina now that she's sure she wants to keep sewing more.
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Old 23.03.2015, 10:38
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

I would avoid buy a second hand machine unless you can service it yourself. And old one may have been left lying around unused for years...

Instead, for a beginner, I would go with the suggestion above and buy a basic Ikea one and then get the essential skills organised, before deciding whether to invest in a really good one...
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Old 23.03.2015, 10:44
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

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I would avoid buy a second hand machine unless you can service it yourself. And old one may have been left lying around unused for years...

Instead, for a beginner, I would go with the suggestion above and buy a basic Ikea one and then get the essential skills organised, before deciding whether to invest in a really good one...
On the contrary, as a beginner (well, not really tbh) I'm planning to buy a new Bernina because I'm not that good so I can work even with a mediocre one.
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Old 23.03.2015, 11:16
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

To Anjela's list of features I would also add an overlocking stitch. Never used the hemming foot on my machine mind you so sometimes what one person finds essential, another doesn't.

The thing I love best about my Janome (present for my 21 st birthday so had it many many years) is the thread cutter near the foot. Never need to scrabble for scissors again.

Oh and I prefer the 4 step buttonhole - the end result for me always sat flatter than the fully automatic on my mother's bernina.
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Old 23.03.2015, 11:24
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

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To Anjela's list of features I would also add an overlocking stitch. Never used the hemming foot on my machine mind you so sometimes what one person finds essential, another doesn't.

The thing I love best about my Janome (present for my 21 st birthday so had it many many years) is the thread cutter near the foot. Never need to scrabble for scissors again.

Oh and I prefer the 4 step buttonhole - the end result for me always sat flatter than the fully automatic on my mother's bernina.
I used the hemming foot on mine once and was very disappointed by the results.

Totally agree about the buttonhole. I don't like the automatic buttonhole on my mother's machine and always use the 4 step method, much better results.

I've actually got three sewing machines and two overlocking machines and use them all at various times for various reasons.
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Old 25.03.2015, 11:12
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

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I'm looking to buy a (2nd hand) sewing machine.
I am a complete beginner, but am generally quite crafty and pick up on this type of thing quite easily. I would use it just for simple things, but if I get the hand of it I would like to try making clothes, but nothing too crazy.

I've been told I have to get a Bernina. Now, if I would become good at this, I would consider investing in one, but at this point they are just too expensive and not worth the risk.

I looked on ricardo for second hand, but there's so many, mainly older models, and I have no clue what I should be looking at.

Or should I rather just by a cheap new one, like a Singer and then go for a better one once I've gotten into it.

Thanks for any advice

Two years ago, I was looking for a sewing machine as well. After reading lots of articles and posts, I decided to buy the electric one singer 7465 (brand new) from ricardo.ch. I wanted an electric one with some special caracteristics because for me it was an investment and as a beginner I didn't want to complicate my life. If you are a crafty person then I suggest you to buy something more than basic. In case you choose a machine which is hard to use, you will be soon disappointed and you will not use it as much you want. Thats my two cents.

Last edited by mariaan; 25.03.2015 at 11:14. Reason: grammatical correction
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Old 26.03.2015, 18:24
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Re: (2nd hand) sewing machine-advice

There is a Toyota sewing machine currently on offer at the COOP for 139 chf ( instead of 279) which is probably ideal for the OP's current needs.
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