Best sewing machine under $200?

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My Thoughts - Sears has a New Kenmore Drop-in Bobbin, Model 18221 with 21 stitches for under $200- That would be the one I would get for myself and recommend to others. When you purchase older machines and need parts, so often now those parts are obsolete and no longer available.

Posted at 10:44am May 31, 2010 EDT

I bought my plastic $199 Pfaff Hobby in 2004; it got me through fashion school and my first three years of business. After all this, I thought it was time to take it to a repair shop to have it tuned up or whatever - it needed some cleaning and some oil, but it required no repair. Still using it, and it's been an amazing machine for $200.

I bought the Pfaff after taking a lovely old pink Atlas metal machine in to have fixed up for fashion school. The guy said it would cost a few hundred bucks to get it up and running - all for a machine that would do nothing but a straight stitch and weigh eighty pounds.

Posted at 10:49am May 31, 2010 EDT

I love my brother, and I believe it was $180. I eventually want a nicer one, but I have a really nice serger, so it evens out. The bother I have had for over a year and it works great!

This is the one I have:

Its on sale even cheaper right now!

Posted at 11:05am May 31, 2010 EDT

*brother, lol! Where is my coffee? :D

Posted at 11:05am May 31, 2010 EDT

CarolMai says

May I recommend buying used?
I have an old 1950s all metal WHITE brand machine. Just the basics. It is old and reliable and easy to use! I bought it used over 25 years ago... never had to take it in for repairs.

Posted at 11:11am May 31, 2010 EDT

Thanks so much everybody :) I know my mom had some sort of computerized machine from JC Penny that is at least 20 years old and it was really just needed some repairs. I've been begging her to let me have it since she never sews anyways but nope :(

The Brother CS6000I was actually what I was looking at, ZenAndCoffee

I am too afraid to try a garage sale or a flea market since I have no clue what would be wrong seeing as I'm not too experienced in buying. Plus, in all my time going to yard sales and such, I've never seen a machine. And I haven't seen any shops to buy new machines around here. Our Joanns is really crappy...there used to be a nice one in the town I used to live in but I don't want to drive 45 mins to check it out. You can't even test the machines at my local one.

I'll also take a look at your suggestion, UniquelyYoursbyCil.

Posted at 11:52am May 31, 2010 EDT

wildhare says

I see you're getting the same advice that I was going to offer -- go to a full service sewing machine shop (not a fabric store with a few new machines in the back) and check out older reconditioned models. Best machine I ever had was a 1978 Singer (that brand now made outside of the US and mainly plastic). 15+ years old and you'll more likely get all medal and something with a motor strong enough to handle denim and sew faster than a snail's pace. And after you've spent half your budget on such a machine, you can go shopping for fabric and notions!

Posted at 12:00pm May 31, 2010 EDT

I wonder where any sewing machine shops are in my area. Do you have any names of stores or would they usually be locally owned?

Posted at 12:05pm May 31, 2010 EDT

I have sewed since I was a child and tried lots and lots of machines. The Brother machines don't have adjustable foot pressure, which is a must if you want to be able to sew thick and thin materials. Berninas are good, but they cost as much as an industrial machine!!! Kenmore - I never liked how it handles the fabric. It feels klunky. Singer - I used to be a fan of singer, but they are hard to find at a good price. The very best machine I have ever had is one that I bought just a couple of years ago. It is a Janome, it has adjustable foot pressure and the inside is made with metal parts, so it is nice an strong. It sews like a dream and is very simple to use, and the best thing for me is that it even threads the needle! And, I forgot to mention, it cost me less than $100.00 when I bought it!
I would recommend that you go to and read the reviews on the machines that they sell. I have bought both sewing and knitting machines from these people, and if you talk to John, he can help you find the best machine for your needs. After you decide which machine to buy, you might want to search for that brand on ebay. I know sell machines on ebay for a better price than on their website.
So, you don't need to get an old machine. There are still new machines that are made with metal parts, that don't cost an arm and a leg.
Good luck.

Posted at 12:18pm May 31, 2010 EDT