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or what about

Any experts out there? My parents have really kindly offered to get me a new sewing machine for my 30th and to get it six months early so that I can use it in the summer holidays! I’m really excited but don’t know what to go for! The above are the top of the budget but cheaper than this don’t look robust enough - our household has managed to trash two inherited machines in recent years :( I’d love to find a hard case somewhere - do they exist or only if your machine comes with one originally? In my dreams, I’d love to do embroidery one day but would love this to last until I win the lottery…

What would you do?

Claire xx

I am not an expert on sewing machines so no advice, sorry.  I do have a machine with a hard case, I bought it from a colleague I was working with at the time for £5, twenty years ago.  It is a very basic singer machine.  I think that machines with hard cases are hard to come by these days you may have to buy one separately.

I have a janome 110 and I really like it, its got the metal machinery of an older machine (Janome made New Home, among other machines). Feels very solid (though weighs a ton!) and because its so mechanical-aside from the little light, nothing is electric-I feel confident taking it apart to oil and clean. It was about £100. The downside is that its very simple, with only a few stitches (straight, zigzag and - just about-buttonhole), nothing fancy like embroidery or needle threaders.

TBH my feeling is that until/unless you know enough to want something specific, the more basic, and robust, and take-apartable the machine the better. True of sewing machines, cameras, anything really…

My seven year old is getting very into sewing and I’m considering buying a second machine, because, like all kids, it is when she sees me sewing that she wants to as well…I’d buy another 110 if I saw one but failing that I’m looking at older machines.

Edith - 09 July 2012 10:43 PM

TBH my feeling is that until/unless you know enough to want something specific, the more basic, and robust, and take-apartable the machine the better. True of sewing machines, cameras, anything really…

Completely agree, the more basic the better, and I would definitely look to avoid electrical menus, etc personally. I have a janome, had it over 12 years and it is still great, and my mum has a new home (made by janome) that’s over 30 years old and still very happy! Mine does have a fair selection of stitches (24) but I barely use anything except straight and zigzag. Possible the only other thing I’d look for is an automatic buttonhole as I’m not great at buttonholes, but I just practice first each time. My mum taught me (and her mum was a professional dressmaker) that the most important thing in a machine is a good straight stitch, so I would say, if you can, go somewhere like John Lewis and try them out or at least get them to demonstrate. With hard cases, I’ve never seen them separate (think they are made to fit specific machines) but worth asking in a shop, or could you make a wooden one?

Mummy to 4 little pixies: Seren (feb 08), Merri (may 09), Nerys (june 11) & Lyra (April 13) My sister’s amazing bead shop

I’ve had 2 machines, a Jones that was about 50 years old, but electric and a New Home.  They were both second had and very solid.  I used to get them serviced by a guy in Swindon when I lived there.  He advised me never to buy a plastic machine unless I was going professional (in which case I should buy a professional machine and they aren’t normally plastic).  He said they are plastic inside and often break.

I would get something old.  Something that does zigzag, straight stitch, has a stretch stitch function and does button holes.  I think you can do free still embroidery with any machine, you just need a special foot.  Ebay has some great machines from people who recondition.  Or you could get one and budget some of the money for a good service.

I do love taking mine apart and cleaning it, oiling and make it all clean.  Couldn’t do that with a newer one, I’d be too scared!

I don’t think the Husqvarna or the Janome I’ve linked to have electrical menus? Both are quite basic machines from higher end manufacturers - I would really like to have a new machine with a warranty and a manual - the older ones we’ve inherited have been tricky to decipher and need a lot of repairing, which I can’t afford to do. I want to make toys, clothes and gifty things, I’d like something solid and reliable and both of the top two machines I found look like they meet that criteria - I do want a good brand and although I buy most things secondhand, it would be nice to have a new machine as it’s a special present - my parents want to buy me a ‘thing’, not spend half their budget getting a thing serviced, if you see what I mean!

Would anyone go for Husqvarna over Janome?

My Mum is also thinking about buying me a sewing machine for my birthday… think she is fed up of me borrowing hers all the time. She was asking me for advice but was thinking a Janome from John Lewis. I love her bernina minimatic, and it has a hard case, but its hers and I really do need to stop borrowing it. I also just want a new reliable machine that I can take of the box and get on sewing with and if theres a problem I can just take it back to John Lewis and I know there will be no problem…sometimes I just need the simplest option…hope you find what you are looking for fairycakes, let me know what you go for an have fun with your sewing over the summer.

Of those two I would choose the janome. Partly because I know and trust the brand and know how sturdy they are and partly because based on the descriptions the janome tells you exactly what it has, and that includes useful bits like a front loading bobbin (some you have to load from the top, or even bottom- a pain if you run out of bobbin thread mid sewing) and auto button hole rather than just manual 4 step button hole. It’s difficult isn’t it, such a big purchase but until you can actually try them you won’t know for sure.

Mummy to 4 little pixies: Seren (feb 08), Merri (may 09), Nerys (june 11) & Lyra (April 13) My sister’s amazing bead shop

Thank you smile Yes I’m thinking of the Janome because it’s the model my mum has and it’s got her back into sewing after 25 years! I’ve tried to take apart and clean the Brother machine I’ve had on long-term loan from dh’s grandma, but it’s just not something I can manage with the children helping so I think a new machine will be a good option. I just thought I’d ask about the Husqvarna as I’d heard they are wonderful but I won’t bother as no-one here seems to recommend them!


I had Janome J3 since December last year (2019). As a novice, well, semi-novice - I once made long drapey curtains for a stately home - but that’s a whole other story.
I found this machine pretty simple to use, the bobbin housing is a bit fiddly. The components for which are a quality solid metal. I have used this machine a handful of times, mostly for repairs and stitching various labels into the kid’s clothes.

In the middle of last month however, I noticed it started making a loud rattling sound when used. Nothing seemed amiss. The bobbin housing with all the surrounding bits were removed. Still the noise persisted when the foot was pressed. There was no lint in the foot plate, the feed dogs were moving freely, the needle was correctly inserted. There just wasn’t an apparent reason.

I called the Janome Customer Care on 0161 666 6011 and spoke to a tech there. She tried to be helpful but she seemed to know no more than I did and went through the same steps as me. She asked for a video of the threading running thorough the machine to check it was correct.
I know the threading is correct as the manual directs one to the correct threading method.

She also asked me to remove the foot plate using the provided screwdriver. The screwdriver is a generic one sent and too narrow for the screws in the footplate: about a 1/3 of the width of the actual screws, flimsy AND way to tall to get to the screws anyway, as the motor housing above the plate is in its way. An absolute Impossibility.

Her only remaining options were to send a video to see if the threading is correct or call the seller.
This was a step too far and the inadequate support from Janome who do not provide a servicing option at all - they instead ask you to go back to the seller who you’re guaranteed with for two years.

Read my quilting machines guide if you’re going to start this hobby wink

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