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  1. #1
    pinballwizard's Avatar
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    CHEAP Sewing Machines...Any Good?

    Woot! is selling this Brother Sewing machine for 100 dollars http://home.woot.com/offers/brother-...ef=cnt_dly_img. Thought I could both pass the deal on and ask this learned community if this is a decent machine. I know nothing about them and would assume Brother to be cheaply made. However, This one seems to have "quilting features," as well as a bigger stand, but I don't know if that is valuable to me for what I would use it for. If it can help me sew catenary curves, I would be very interested to know. So HF, here is the deal and the question all wrapped into one, ARE WE LOOKING AT A GREAT DEAL!?
    “All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”

  2. #2
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    IMO, and in the opinion of more than a few sewing machine techies, a refurbished plastic geared machine should be considered to be a throw away disposable. The only thing it's really good for is for filling up landfills.

    It's like buying the bottom of the line car and expecting it to perform like a BMW.

    You're better off putting the $100.00 into a 50 year old solidly built machine that will last another 50 years if you treat it properly.

    Oh, and nothing but practice is going to help you sew catenary curves well! Depending on the depth of the curve, you might want to learn the sewing technique of clipping the curve.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tendertoe's Avatar
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    I have no direct opinion on the machine mentioned but speaking on the topic of refurbed lower-end machines in general, I did get a refurbed Singer Tradition machine from Big Lots 3-4 years ago for $80 (I believe some stores still sell the machine in question. If they don't, you can still pick up a brand new one for under $100).

    It all depends on what you're looking for. If you're looking for a BMW, a sewing machine at this pricepoint won't be it. However, does a bottom of the line car still get you from point A to point B?

    I have made 3 UQs, countless backpacking repairs, treestraps, stuffsacks, hammocks, bugnets, etc. My wife has made a dozen pairs of curtains for our house, multiple pieces of clothing for our family, and countless craft projects with the machine.

    Is it a top of the line machine? No. Does it get the job done? Yes.

    Even if it craps out tomorrow, I still feel like I got my 80 bucks worth out of it.

    Woot's return policy is not great (unless the item is broken you can't return it). I'd give a brick and mortar store a try (or Amazon as their return policy is great) as if you pull the machine out of the box and it feels cheap, you can return it no questions asked.

  4. #4
    pinballwizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Boot View Post
    IMO, and in the opinion of more than a few sewing machine techies, a refurbished plastic geared machine should be considered to be a throw away disposable. The only thing it's really good for is for filling up landfills.

    It's like buying the bottom of the line car and expecting it to perform like a BMW.

    You're better off putting the $100.00 into a 50 year old solidly built machine that will last another 50 years if you treat it properly.

    Oh, and nothing but practice is going to help you sew catenary curves well! Depending on the depth of the curve, you might want to learn the sewing technique of clipping the curve.
    Looking at your stats, which indicates that you made ALL of your gear, I would think your advice is probably sound. I thought that sewing machines might be like cast iron...Age doesn't define quality in a bad way, but in a way that shows it was made right the first time. However, it seems like there are some fancy machines out now that do everything electronically, so I didn't know if this was a good deal or not. Thank you for your input
    “All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”

  5. #5

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    I know nothing about this machine, but I wonder why there are enough of these "refurbished" machines to go on sale at Woot. Is it a machine they had lots of problems with? I also get no returns with google that don't lead to Woot.

    If I was going to by a new $100 machine, it would be all mechanical rather than digital electronics. Just my .02.

  6. #6
    pinballwizard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tendertoe View Post
    Woot's return policy is not great (unless the item is broken you can't return it). I'd give a brick and mortar store a try (or Amazon as their return policy is great) as if you pull the machine out of the box and it feels cheap, you can return it no questions asked.
    THAT'S THE VERY ISSUE!!! I say this to my mother all the time when she looks at TV's and receivers and such. I even got burned, but only with a pair of Teva trail runners that had the narrowest fit, that wouldn't fit comfortably on an elf's foot. I say, "when you buy from Woot, you need to know beforehand that the item is exactly what you are looking for, because if you are wrong, you have no where to go with it. Their return policy refers you to sell it on Craigslist or Ebay."
    “All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”

  7. #7
    Thumbs's Avatar
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    I would second getting a middle aged machine with all metal gears. Kenmore, Singer, White, to name a few. I wouldn't look for anything fancier than a zig-zag machine but no harm if it takes cams. They usually only need bobbin tires and belts and a good clean and oil.

  8. #8

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    I'd avoid the new quilter machines. They use electronics to replace pure mechanical connections so if the controller dies the machine is junk. There is a good supply of older used machines that are all metal or metal and plastic that will do most to everything the outdoor DIY person needs. I would not worry about lighter nylons with any machine.
    YMMV

    HYOH

    Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)

  9. #9
    Senior Member McBlaster's Avatar
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    I recommend Craigslist for a nice older machine at half the price, especially if you've never used one before.

  10. #10
    Bubba's Avatar
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    I've worked on a dozen machines so far, the youngest of which was probably about 30 years old and the oldest being over 100. An all metal machine is usually easy to find for cheap at a thrift store or maybe a family member or friend has one that's collecting dust. They are fairly easy to fix up. I recently bought a machine and table for $15.00 at Value Village and all I needed to do was put a new needle in it, clean off all the old tape that was stuck on the deck and oil it and it runs very well. Older machines are easier and less expensive to service if there is a break down as well. Depending on what you are going to use it for, you don't need a lot of stitches.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

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