How to Choose the Best Kenmore Sewing Machine

Filed in Business Idea by on February 1, 2023 0 Comments

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Kenmore Sewing Machine: There are a lot of sewing machine choices out there, from fancy, expensive computerized machines that can embroider large designs to basic garage sale machines with little more than forward and reverse. Where should the budget-conscious beginner begin and what features are probably too much?

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Get the Background

Necchi was an Italian company that began in 1919 shortly after the end of World War I. Their 20th Century sewing machines are still popular among sewing enthusiasts, but by the 1980s production of domestic Necchi sewing machines ceased in Italy and all domestic “Necchi” sewing machines made since were produced in Asian factories. There is a significant difference between the Italian-made and Asian-made machines. Necchi in Pavia Italy also made industrial sewing machines. On the 100th anniversary of the Necchi sewing machine, 2019, Janome and Toyota own the rights to the Necchi trademark name and produce models they call NECCHI.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

If you have a Necchi sewing machine, made for home use, that is missing its instructions, you might be wondering how to thread it. Threading a Necchi is similar to threading other popular types of sewing machines, but there are so many models that no one set of instructions will work for all. There are several guides for the thread, as well as a double-needle option, which requires a slightly different process. You may also need to know how to load the bobbin into the special case and chamber below the machine.

Consider first the reasons you want a sewing machine. Do you want to sew drapery? Make crafts? Make clothing? Do mending or alterations? Do embroidery or quilting?

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Be honest with yourself: how much time will you actually spend at your sewing machine?

Consider the above factors when comparing machines. Sewing machine types and quality range from very basic machines meant for only occasional mending to very high-end machines meant for sewing multiple layers of upholstery material and even to machines that will embroider anything you can imagine. The costs will range from around $150 USD to $15000 USD and up.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Shop around online first. Get a good idea of what is available for what price. If you go to your local shop, you are much more likely to be “encouraged” to purchase something more expensive than what you need, not because you need the machine, but because the salesperson needs the commission.

Get an idea about what you’ll get for your money in various price ranges.

  • 0-$200 USD: “Disposable” machines with plastic cams (parts) that are hard to find/replace. Common brands in this price range are “Brother”, Some very low end “Singer” and “Kenmore” brands and some less well known brand names such as Riccar thrown in for good measure. If you’re purchasing the machine at a department store such as Kmart or Walmart, this is likely what you are getting.
  • $200-$600: Average machines which will do well for the occasional seamstress, but will not hold up well long term if you are doing a lot of sewing. (i.e. more than once a week) Good name brands in this price range are Singer, Bernina, White, Janome etc. These machines can occasionally be found in higher-end department stores such as Sears or JCPenney.

    Kenmore Sewing Machine

  • $700 to $2000: Machines in this price range tend to last longer because they are made from better materials and are engineered better. They also have much better availability of replacement parts for repair. Most good brands will have machines in this price range as well as in the average price range. Mid-range to higher-end Baby Locks, Bernina, Viking Husqvarna, Janome, Juki, Pfaff and a few higher end Singers can be found in this range. Machines in this range are generally not available in department stores and must be purchased either from a sewing shop or online.
  • $2000 and up: Machines used by tailors, seamstresses, upholsterers and others who use their machines on an almost daily basis. Machines over $2000 USD tend to be specialty machines such long arm quilting machines, upholstery machines, and embroidery machines. Many sewing shops will rent you time on these machines for a very reasonable fee, saving you the time and expense of purchasing your own (and the space to store them).

    Kenmore Sewing Machine

  • The serger, or overlock, machine is another type of specialty sewing machine. It sews with multiple needles and multiple threads to create stitches better suited to stretchy fabrics, such as those used for t-shirts and swimsuits. It is probably not what you want for general purpose sewing. If a serger is the kind of machine you want, they also range from about $200 on up into the low thousands of dollars.
  • Narrow down your preferred machines to two or three.

Visit your local sewing shop and ask for a demonstration of each of those machines. You may have to visit different shops for different brands.

Compare your budget to the price machine you want, and decide on any compromises or adjustments you will need to make if they don’t quite match. Will you purchase a used machine? Will you save up for a little longer? Will you chose a slightly lower quality machine?

Kenmore Sewing Machine

Price shop online again and check eBay prices. Often, you can get a fantastic deal on a very lightly used machine if you’ve done your homework beforehand.
Consider whether the personal instruction at the shop is worth the extra $200-500 dollars you’ll pay at the shop. If you already know how to sew and you can get a copy of the manual, you may not need to talk to anyone about it to use the machine.

Buy your machine, take the time to learn how to use it, and enjoy.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

More tips

  • To avoid buying a poor make, (unless you are doing only a minimal amount of sewing)you will need to see online user ratings such as those found in Consumer Reports.

  • Well known and respected brands tend to be expensive, but are still good value for money. These include Baby Lock, Bernina, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Sears – Kenmore, Pfaff ,Janome, Juki and Singer.

    Kenmore Sewing Machine

  • What to do after the purchase.

    • Learn how to set up and use the machine. This is important even for those with experience. Chances are the new machine requires different setup procedures.
    • Perform maintenance just to get familiar with the procedure.
    • Purchase/assemble all accessories necessary for the following tests.
      • Adequate lighting.
      • Scissors, seam ripper
      • Needles appropriate for your fabric weights. A needle threader is optional but useful.
      • Presser feet or other accessories for your stitch type
      • At least 2 thread colors which are not the same color as your fabric swatches. If you are testing many fabric weights, you will need to match thread weights to your fabric weight.
      • Fabric samples – large enough to sew seams, buttonhole and otherwise test all your stitches. Collect samples in different fabric weights and materials-silk, cotton, wool, microfiber and stretch fabrics are representative these days.

        Kenmore Sewing Machine

    • Load a bobbin with thread. Using a contrast color for the top thread.
    • Test the stitches on different weight fabrics.
    • Adjust thread tension both top and bottom for your fabric sample and stitch. Do you plan on sewing silk? Light weight silk is a real challenge. What about denim?
    • You must test the buttonhole feature. If you cannot get this to come out correctly, either get help or return the machine.
    • Experiment with other options, such as the more decorative stitches or the specialized feet (bias tape, ruching, etc..)
    • At this point, the machine has passed the basic test or needs to be returned.

    Kenmore Sewing Machine

  • If you are a beginner or will use the machine for occasional use, these are the most important factors to consider.

    • Sewing lessons-if you purchase from a dedicated shop, you can learn the basics and understand your sewing preferences before you buy a machine. It will also help you decide if you want to sew and expand your sewing skills past the entry level machine.
    • Number of stitches-straight stitch, basic zigzag plus variations on the zigzag, the button stitches, double stitches (requires 2 needles, used to reinforce seams, the invisible hemming stitch). Beyond this, all other stitches are not essential. Around 30 stitches, the most useful stitch types are present and the rest are decorative.
    • Sleeve arm-usually you remove a section of the sewing platform to create a slimmer platform that will allow you to sew rounded sleeve sections. Most machines have this feature.

      Kenmore Sewing Machine

    • Types of seams- The stitches above will produce the very basic flat seams including many of the reinforced seams. However, the heaviest duty flat seams, such as the type found on jean legs require multiple passes. For speed, you’ll need a higher end machine or a serger. Other seams include ruching or ruffles which is achieved by pulling on stretch fabric as you sew. It is possible to sew pleats using a special foot but controlling the pleating is a bit problematic with your basic machine. Pinning the pleats in place by hand before sewing is more accurate. The pleating foot is very difficult to find since these produce high maintenance items.
    • Type of fabric-if you plan to sew denim or other very heavy weight fabrics, such as dense curtains, you need to move beyond the most entry level machines. Trying to sew denim with light weight machines will snap the needles.

      Kenmore Sewing Machine

    • If you do have a machine that cannot handle denim, then you may be able to do a short seam by sewing at the slowest speed, possibly turning the wheel by hand when you reach a seam with more than two layers of fabric. Modern sewing machines are not built for leather. There are special leathers which are light enough to be sewn-consult a leather expert.
    • Built-in sewing light-usually not present on basic machines but good lighting is always necessary.
    • Machine weight-the lighter the better. Look for a convenient handle. Occasional users will store this machine and bring it out every time for use. For advanced users, this type of machine is typically used as a portable machine.
    • Control for stitch speed-for beginners, the slowest and fastest speeds must match the skill level.

      Kenmore Sewing Machine

    • Duty cycle-this isn’t listed for most machines and you’ll need a specialist who understands the various models. At the entry-level, this is only important if you plan extensive sewing sessions. Overheating can be avoided with breaks.
    • Hardshell cover for the machine-most basic machines come with the most rudimentary softcover or none at all but this keeps dust out, reducing maintenance or protects the machine if you plan to travel with it.
    • Accessories-these can add to the cost significantly. They can also be hard to find if they are not standardized parts (most are very standardized).
    • Must have accessories include the sewing feet that match your stitches; Straight, zigzag, rolled seam, bias tape, buttonhole, and more if you have a machine with decorative stitches. Highly valued accessories included a reasonable number of bobbins, machine oil, seam rippers, needle threaders, fabric chalk, starter pack of assorted needles, screw drivers, even scissors and thread.

      Kenmore Sewing Machine

    • Cost-there is no need to spend very much money at this level.
    • Machine accuracy – stitch speed, evenness, stitch width and length control, tension control for threads, precision and accuracy of presser feet will determine the quality of your final product. Machines at this level do vary considerably and comparison shopping pays.
    • Electronic vs. mechanical controls- at this level, the best machines in each category are competitive
    • Machine reliability-compared to higher end machines, these pretty much plastic machines can’t compare but remain a good investment for the occasional sewer.
    • Maintenance-some machines require weekly cleaning and oiling (or maintenance for every use)

    Kenmore Sewing Machine

  • Don’t let the number and variety of stitches persuade you to purchase a more expensive machine. If you don’t use them, they may as well not be on the machine, so consider whether or not you’ll use them with the type of sewing that you do. You can do a lot of sewing with a simple forward, reverse, and perhaps a zig-zag stitch.
  • Lower end machines, while sufficient for occasional mending, should probably be avoided by anyone hoping to sew more than once per month. Expect them to wear out. Expect to call for service and be told that parts are not available, that the model is discontinued, or some such.

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