What sewing machine should I get?


9 Years
Nov 9, 2010
north of eternity
Hi All, does anybody have experience with this particular sewing machine? http://www.sewingmachinesuperstore....dvance-sew-affordable-25-stitch-free-arm.html (Brother 25-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine XL-2600i)

I'm looking for something lightweight, portable and inexpensive, mostly just for light projects but still able to handle quilt layers (stitching the outside edge of 3 layers). I'd rather not spend more than $120.
The majority of the reviews on this one were positive. A few reviews said it could not handle quilting/layers as it's advertised to do, but the majority of reviews that mentioned quilting said it did just fine for them. Swayed by all the good reviews I actually went online to buy it tonight at walmart for $80 because they have site to store delivery, but they're out of stock now. It's in stock at other places for a little more $.

Any thoughts?
Whatever you do, DO NOT BUY a sewing machine from Walmart. The ones they sell are 3rd quality. My mom made that mistake...again, and the thing didnt even finish a dress for a 6 yr old before it was broken. I personally prefer the Janome machines. If you buy them from a specialty shop they often come with several free servicings for the first year, and our local shop will sit down with you and go over all the functions of the machine so you know what your doing with it. LOL But that is just my opinion...except the walmart comment.

What we learned while shopping for a machine was that the specialty shops get the first quality machines, stores like Joannes get the second quality and Walmart gets the third quality machines.

Before you buy, research the specific one you want very well, for any problems. You will be surprised at how bad some of them are.
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I only quilt by hand, but I piece by machine and use the nifty Brother 6000i that the MissPrissy and the BYC staff gifted to me a couple of years ago. It does very well for that task and I do sew binding on through the three layers of the quilt--it works fine for that, too. Can't say how it does on actual quilting, can't get the hang of that on a machine. It's more than you wanted to spend, but not that much. I like it--I had an old Kenmore but never learned to use it because it always "ran away" with me. This one was so darn easy to use, I finally learned to sew on a machine. Walmart does sell it, I believe, and you can get it through Amazon. I've never used anything else so can't say what is better, but been using it for two years and have made several quilts with it. No complaints. Excellent reviews on Amazon you can read, too. Great machine for the $$$.

http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Affordable-60-Stitch-Computerized-Free-Arm/dp/B000JQM1DE (Right now $152 on Amazon.com)
Disclaimer: I don't quilt so can't comment on that.

My first machine a little over 2 years ago was a WM-sold Brother LX-3125 $75 14-stitch mechanical that still runs ... and survived all my trial-and-error on just what a machine can and cannot sew through. My second machine is a Hancock-sold Brother CS-770 that I still use regularly when I need a freearm. My third machine is a WM-sold Brother (see a pattern yet?) CE-5500 PRW that will go through 8 layers of canvas with a topstitch needle, but it has too much get-up-n-go to use on delicate fabrics. (I also have a Brother PE-770 embroidery-only machine for when decorative stitches just aren't flamboyant enough.) A lot of people are down on the Brother brand, but I have bought two from WM and one from Hancock, and am happy with all 3 even though I have "outgrown" the original one.

Over the summer, two non-Brother machines followed me home from visiting my parents: a 1973 Kenmore 1219 that my mom originally bought me for my 10th birthday that had been "hiding" in her pole barn for the past dozen or so years. This machine really feels like it was made of cast iron (weighed more than I did when I got it!) and still "runs away" no matter how lightly I press the foot pedal. It was the lowest-price ("bottom-of-the-line") model for that year, according to my mom who sold Kenmores for Sears for over a decade. The other machine to follow me home is a 1973 Kenmore 1803 cam-ster that my dad's wife found at a garage sale, in a good condition cabinet even, for only $10. She was going to learn to sew on it, but ended up only using it as an end table ... so as threatened the previous summer I confiscated/liberated it and I LOVE this machine!!! Same age as the "anchor" (and me, for that matter) but sews 1000% better and is still quiet and smooth. The 1803 was the top-of-the-line for that year.


My Kenmore 1803 ... isn't she purty? I still can't believe the luck of my dad's wife finding it for only $10.

Back to your question: if you aren't inclined to go garage saling/thrifting for an older TOL from decades past, I'd recommend the Brother CE5500 PRW (I got mine for $135 from WM) or CS-770 (Hancock $160) as both are actually lighter weight than my little LX-3125 ($75 from WM) although both are a little larger.
I'm a Husqvarna sewing machine fan myself. I sew on a Designer SE Limited Edition, however Husqvarna Viking has several really wonderful machines for all budgets!

Just make sure if you're buying online that the return process is easy, if you need to return it. Some will have you ship or take to an authorized repair person, and then there are so many headaches with that.

The Brother machine pictured didn't really look like a sturdy machine for sewing through multiple layers, but I've never sewn on a brother, and looks can be deceiving. I'd find a local dealer and see if you can play around on a few before committing.
Thanks so much, everybody, for your suggestions, great info, and links! I really appreciate it. After studying over the thread it sounds like either the Brother 6000i or Brother CE-5500 PRW (8 layers of canvas? wow!) would fit me pretty good. I do like the old singers and am not opposed to buying used, it's easier for me to buy online.

I first learned on the ancient Singers 40 years ago, but usually sew by hand, nothing fancy. Over the next coming months I want to make my kids and grandbabies some simple quilts and can't get them all done in time by hand. (I have an unfinished patchwork quilt that just needs the rest of the binding sewn on, yet there it sits, staring at me, because my fingers are on strike
(with DD asking mamma is my quilt done yet??).

The CE-5500 is out of stock at walmart, but the 6000i is in stock. The reason I'd choose walmart is for their site to store delivery...that way it doesn't get tossed over a high fence when delivered to home.

You guys have received some really nice gifts, and made some great finds!
Will you let us know how that machine works out for you? I read through this thread and found it to be very informative!

I was gifted with a Brother SQ-9000 for Christmas (a big surprise from my Mom) and I'll be using it for the first time soon. I haven't used a sewing machine in years.
I have a Kenmore from 1971, wish I could say it was inexpensive, it was over 600.00 for that machine new.It looks very similar to your Kenmore 1803. But, I have used it at least once a week, every year since then. It has been slide off the table, by the dog running through the sewing room and survived other amazing injuries. It is the first thing I unpack whenever I move. I love the older machines, I think it is funny when people ask me if it is even running when I sew, as it is so quiet compared to the newer machines. Give me a lawn sale find any day.

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