Question by D: Which sewing machine to hem pants and other basics?
Hi. I just want to hem some pants for myself (jeans, cords, kakis, etc.) and for the kids (pant hems, and patches), and other simple items. What kind of features do I really need? Will a $ 75 machine from Sears do the job?
Answer by Karen L
You don’t need any ‘features’ for what you want to do. You only need straight stitch and zigzag. Zigzag is especially useful for mending, and just about any machine made in the last 50 years will have it. The cheap new machines aren’t as good as an older machine for heavy fabrics like denim, and the price should be similar. I strongly recommend going to a sewing machine repair/dealer place, and checking out their used machines. They’ll be in good running order, and the store won’t sell anything they aren’t confident of.
If you’re inclined at all to DIY or have someone like that at home, you could look for a machine at a thrift store or garage sale, or even on freecycle as I did. If it will turn over easily by hand, if when plugged in it doesn’t make any horrible noises, it should be fairly easy to get it running well yourself. Get one with a manual if at all possible. I have just recently gotten 2 machines for free that weren’t running when I got them and a couple of hours basic maintenance with very few tools and a little sewing machine oil got both of them running nicely, and all I ever did with a sewing machine until a month ago was sew with it. There’s quite a bit of info available on the net, including basic maintenance procedures and manuals for just about every machine ever made. The older machines are all metal, they last forever if treated reasonably well, and are simple to fix, as a rule. The newer ones have plastic parts which break.
A basic tune-up and clean might cost you $ 80 or so at a repair place.
I probably told you more than you wanted to know! Excuse me, please. I just got my second free machine running and I’m feeling very good about it.
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