The Sewing Place

My first sewing machine

Merfreak

My first sewing machine
« on: April 19, 2017, 22:06:18 PM »
I hope it's okay for me to post and I hope this is the right forum for what I'm about to ask. If not then I apologize.

I'm new to sewing on machines and am looking to buy my first sewing machine and am unsure of which one to pick. I was looking at two Elna's, first one being eXplore 240 and the second one is 3210 Jeans. Does anyone have any experience with this brand or models? I think it's supposed to be a pretty good brand, but I'm not 100% sure. Feel free to give me any suggestions for other brands and models.  :D

I want something that's not too expensive, good for a beginner (easy to learn and use) and one I will be able to continue using once I get more experienced as well. I'll be sewing probably at least once a week or so and different materials like silk, cotton, a couple of layers of jeans, so the machine should be strong and sturdy (metal parts), but I obviously don't need any super heavy-duty industrial machines or anything like that. This will just be for my own hobby and joy. :D Also, what should I pay attention to when buying a new machine? Like what would important features and accessories be that I would have to look out for?

Thank you for any recommendations and help. :)

Lilian

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 22:31:33 PM »
Hi Merfreak,

I own an elna so I may be biased but I love mine,  The 3210 jeans looks like a good machine, I only briefly tested one, but i find them quite sturdy and up to some hard work.  My elna has a very high extra lift to the foot and also the foot has a little button to press when you are stitching heavy seams such as jeans that keeps the level accurate.  Mine is the 6200.  But I think the 'jeans' would be the same standard, not too expensive at around £500.  It was to replace a sightly older Frister+Rossmann, which I still have and also love.

I know that Janome are said to be very good but I have had no experience with them.

You will probably get more replies about other machines.

Good luck with whatever you choose and happy stitching.  :vintage:
Willing but not always able :)


Lowena

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 22:50:05 PM »
I've only ever had Brother machines. I've stuck with them because they have always done everything I have needed them to.
However, I think that unless you make the mistake of going for a very cheap, lightweight machine ( of whatever make but especially own brands) all the major brands are good value for money.
Everyone has their favourite brand so prepare to be overwhelmed  :D
Oh, and welcome to the forum  :toast:
Triumph of hope over experience :D

BrendaP

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 23:06:21 PM »
Elna and Jamome are the same company (the guarantee registration for my Elna cover stitcher went to Janome sewing machines). 

From a quick look on the web the Explore 240 seems to be a bit under £200, the 3210 Jeans a bit under £300 which suggests to me that the 3210 will be the better of the two.  It has all the utility stitches (triple zig-zag, overcast and blind hem being amongst the most useful) which means that if it is study enough it should last you for a long time.

Ideally you should go to a proper bricks and mortar shop rather than online.  Set your maximum budget, but try out the different machines to see how they feel.  Also take along some fabric to test.  Something very light and flimsy but also something quite heavy - a leg from an old pair of jeans would be ideal.  If it will stitch across a double thickness of the felled seam (total of six layers of fabric) it should be man enough to cope with most things.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 23:33:15 PM by BrendaP »
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Lilian

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 23:10:29 PM »
Hello again, just a thought about the new machines.  A good thing to avoid is the lightweight ones.  They are not sturdy and won't take the test of time, they could also move about as you sew, due to the lightness.  A good machine will have a metal chassis, which gives stability and weight.  A tv programme I watched a while back showed how flimsy some of them were, and the chassis was plastic!  The new Singers I wouldn't touch with a barge pole!  Janome was very highly praised and showed the metal chassis, as with any decent make.
Willing but not always able :)


Lilian

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2017, 23:13:32 PM »
Elna and Jamome are the same company (the guarantee registration for my Elna cover stitcher went to Janome sewing machines). 

I didn't know that, thanks Brenda! :D
Willing but not always able :)


Lyn-J

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 23:20:22 PM »
 <3 Berninas <3 I have 6!
Welcome Merfreak,
What BrendaP and the others said is sound advice.
Definitely go to a dealer, not online.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 23:34:56 PM by Lyn-J »
Lynne

BrendaP

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2017, 23:31:12 PM »
My Elna 444 is a re-badged Janome 1000 CPX - or is the Janome 1000 a rebadged Elna 444?
Juki and Bernina are the same company too although Juki tend to do more industrial machines.

From what I've read Bernina /Juki seem to be the current top brands with Janome/Elna and Pfaff not far behind.  A lot of people love their Brothers, but I'd be wary of the lower end of their range - certainly the Brother overlocker I tested sounded very rough compared to the Bernina which I bought.

As Lilian says modern Singers are nothing like the quality of the old Singers.  Viking Husqvarna used to be good but I'm not sure about the modern ones.  As I said before, you really should try several machines before making the final decision.
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Didi

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 03:25:00 AM »
I have used Brother machines in the past and still have a brother embroidery machine and overlocker my current machine is a Husqvarna Viking which I love but I have my mums old frister rossman which is a real workhorse.
I would go with what others have said and avoid the more light weight machines and if you can go to a dealer, however having said that I never have I have always bought online or inherited machines ! I always go online with a list of what I want from a machine and come up with a short list then narrow it down from there by looking at various reviews. In terms of "extras" I wouldn't be without my needle threader or scissor button but they are defiantly just "nice to haves"

Merfreak

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 08:18:21 AM »
Wow so many replies, I did not expect that thank you all so much, you are very helpful!  :)

From what I've read (from those instruction booklets you get with the machine - I downloaded it from the website) both of them have the basic stitches, adjustable stitch length and width, buttonhole foot, zipper foot and blind hem attachments, adjustable pressure and extra lift of the foot, which feels like everything I would need to at least get started. They're both supposed to have the ability to do a double stitch, however I have no idea where a second spool of thread would go on the 3210 one, as there is only space for one as far as I know on the top portion of the machine. I saw this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTrUeC73ih8 and it's so pretty and nice and amazing and I'm crazy so I guarantee you, I will do this one day  :D

3210 seems like a beast, judging from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-UeWCJ5M84
But I really dislike the way it looks... I wish I could find a video or something demonstrating sewing thicker fabrics or more layers of a fabric on the 240 one, because I really love everything about it. I don't think it should have a problem with a couple of layers of denim or? I'm not sure if I could test the machines, I guess I'll take some denim with me next time and ask, shouldn't hurt to ask. I just have to pretend to know what I'm doing.  :D

They both have plastic outsides, but they seem quite heavy (240 is around 8 kg, 3210 is around 11 kg based on information from amazon) so my guess is they have to have a lot of metal inside. I could be wrong. I remember we had an all metal machine and it was so heavy I could barely lift it up a little from the floor, I couldn't even put it on the table (it was mostly stored and only used occasionally, I did sew a bit with it but that was years ago). But yeah I plan on getting it from the specialized store.

I did look at some other Elnas in the same price range and couldn't find anything available that would be purely mechanical. They all have some screens and displays and I just want buttons. I don't need a screen to tell me which stitch I'm using I can easily check that myself.  :D I know some computerized and electronic ones can be more powerful and work great, but I don't know, I just don't feel that comfortable with all touch screens and fancy stuff that could get broken some day and would take 10 professionals to fix it (okay I'm exaggerating lol, but you get the point).

UttaRetch

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 08:39:04 AM »
I can't speak for your two possibles, but mine is the Brother Inno-vis 10A.  It's the perfect little machine for a beginner and has three key features that makes it a winner in my books: a start/stop button (no need to use the supplied foot pedal); speed limiter (one stitch at a time to rocket speed); and the backstitch button.

If at all possible, try before you buy, and if you are near a John Lewis with a sewing department go there just to have a go on a sewing machine.  There will be no obligation and you will at least have got the feel for a machine. 
What goes around comes around.

DementedFairy

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 08:58:27 AM »
I'm not pitching in with machine brand opinions, I have as I said, only ever been able to buy bottom of the line machines, but I would point out that when it comes to clothes, once you're looking at denim 'a couple of layers' won't be adequate.  Yes, each seam joins two layers, but think about [for instance] the hem of a pair of jeans- at eg inside leg seam, when you turn the hem up, you will actually have multiple layers of fabric, and that's wgere most machines can struggle.  That's why it was suggested further down that you take the cut off leg of a pair of jeans and use it as a tester...
C'est moi!

b15erk

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 09:10:53 AM »
Have you thought of an older, pre-loved machine.  Lots of shops sell them, and some will even give a warranty.  You will probably get a better machine for a cheaper price.

As you get more experienced you will have your own likes and dislikes, but some of us end up with several machines because each has it's own merits. Plugging for the Vintage option here:) Perfect for beautiful buttonholes!

Jessie
Jessie, who is very happy to be here!!  :),  but who has far too many sewing machines to be healthy, and a fabric stash which is becoming embarrassing.


Sewingsue

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 09:15:30 AM »
<3 Berninas <3 I have 6!
Welcome Merfreak,
What BrendaP and the others said is sound advice.
Definitely go to a dealer, not online.
Apologies for side-tracking the thread, but, 6 Berninas???
Bernina Aurora 440QE, Brother BC-2500, Singer 99K (1938), Silver Viscount 620D overlocker.

Merfreak

Re: My first sewing machine
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 09:32:37 AM »
@UttaRech No John Lewis here I'm afraid.  :[ But I will definitely pick some fabrics as I go to the shop next time and see if I can try them out.

@DementedFairy Yes I'm aware of that, but I thought a couple meant up to like 3 - 4 and not strictly 2... Could be my poor english but i guess a few would be a better word, but I consider a few in numbers like 6 or so, which is a lot o.o

@b15erk Well I do have an old machine my grandmother used but it's old old. My dad showed it to me a couple of days ago and it's all metal, but I'm not sure if it even has a zig-zag stitch, I didn't pay too much attention to that. I would prefer something lighter and portable as I do plan on going to some classes (patternmaking, not sure if I need a machine for that) and would like to take the machine with me.

I'm looking at Elna explore 340 now. It's supposed to be in between the 240 one and 3210. Honestly, they all seem good to me, at this point I'm just looking at which one looks the prettiest and can sew through layers of denim.  :D

And yes I'll go to the dealer, not buying it online. :)