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Sunday, September 5, 2010

How to Find Money for a Good Sewing Machine

UPDATE! Both Singer sewing machines, along with an old, but beautiful Federal have left my house for good. After seeing a video on "free motion" embroidery, I decided I wanted a machine with drop feed dogs. After selling all my portables, I opted for the Singer Curvy 8770....and a darning foot. Amazing what a darning foot can do!
You've decided to start upcycling your old clothes, and need a sewing machine. In true "green" fashion, you begin to hunt garage sales for that lucky bargain. After briefly testing a machine, you waltz on home, ready to make one-of-a kind clothing. The machine sews several projects to your liking, and the pride from your
      thriftiness makes you stand a bit taller.

Photo Credit: eHow
The problem arises when your "bargain" becomes an aggravating monster. Thinking I had all day to prepare my state fair project, I casually took my time. About 3/4 the way through......Uhg, blarg, blat, ARRRGGG!!! Jam, break needle, break thread, jam etc.

The HULK inside of me began to rage. Hoisting the machine through the window seamed the only answer. Long story short, I ended up sewing the rest of it by hand in the passenger seat of the car on the way to the fair. (Fourth place - my fault for  procrastinating.)

Jamming is a common problem in used machines, especially mechanical ones. With a repair price tag of $65 dollars, or more,  garage sale bargains can escalate into huge money pits. 

A couple of years of this nonsense made me realize fixing second-hand machines cost more than purchasing a good electronic one. However, the fact remained, in a slumped economy, a sewing machine didn't seem like a do-able purchase. Not sure about you, but $299 is a LOT of money to pay for a sewing machine, no matter how cool it is. With patience, and a bit of ingenuity, my computerized machine slowly came into my reach. (Insert heavenly light shining down with chorus of angels here. )

How to Buy A Sewing Machine (with limited funds.)
1. Comparison shop. Know what you actually need, and avoid overbuying.
     (Yes, I fell in love with a specific machine, and could have paid way less for one that fits my needs.)
2. Know the amount you need to raise, and have a garage sale. (No garage? Borrow a friend's, rent a cheap booth at your local flea market, or hold a virtual sale on Craigslist.)

3. What items in your house can you trade for a new machine? Think Cash In The Attic !

4.  Ask your friends and family to donate items to your sale, with the promise you will make them something ultra fabulous after you get your machine. (People are more willing to donate items than cash.)
5. If you don't quite raise enough money, keep checking the internet for discounts. There's always someone out there who bought an expensive machine and never used it. Be ready with the cash to pounce on it!

Here are some places to find used, or discounted machines: Craigslist; Ebay; local fabric shop bulletin boards, and newspaper. Look for new machines at & Amazon.
Local: Check the machine to make sure it has the bobbin casing, cords, and ALL functions sew correctly. Buying a machine from a major internet retailer is usually protected, but many are refurbished.
Refurbished has a wide variety of meanings ranging from a damaged box to being thrown out the window by HULK. Be an aware buyer and look at everything in the description.

Until next time.......
Stitch On!