Sewing Machine Recommendations? [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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03-18-2010, 16:18
I'm contemplating an investment into a sewing machine for 1:6 figure stuff. Anybody have any recommendations on a good machine to use, or what to look for in a machine? I haven't worked a sewing machine since home economics class in the 7th grade (which was back when the first G.I. Joe series was airing for the first time), and all I know is that I'm staring at a $100+ investment on something I know nothing about, and that's at least one Soldier Story figure worth ;).


03-18-2010, 21:37
I was just talking to a patient of mine who is a seamstress and teaches sewing classes about this very same thing, and she recommended an entry level BabyLock. She also said that you might even get free lessons from the place you buy it. Here's their site:
Baby Lock Home - Welcome to the Baby Lock Web Site (

Im looking at getting one too, maybe around Christmas.

03-23-2010, 05:58
I've had a number of sewing machines through the years--and I will say that you often get what you pay for. I'm currently using a Husqvarna Viking sewing machine and it has been a steady workhorse for more than 4 years with absolutely no trouble or hassle. I won't pretend that they are cheap (they aren't) but they require very little maintenance, sew wonderfully (you name the fabric you can do it) and hold up to a lot of cursing (*I'm not always that patient when I screw up*).
I'm not sure where you're located but try looking at Jo-Anne Fabrics & similar fabric & craft stores. Sometimes they have dealers (who deal with multiple brands of machines) That would probably be the best place (unless you have a sewing center nearby) as you can usually try out hte different machines & see if there's one that will do what you need. (The caveat to that is don't feel you have to get one of the all singing/all dancing electronic machines--you can still get an awesome machine without that)

(Something else I will suggest is that whatever kind of machine you get --try to get one that has a drop in bobbin. IMO Those are easiest to load & replace & will save you hassle in the long run)

Some examples of the kind of stuff I sew (it's not military tho). Not the best examples but you get the idea...

6 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! (

(the one below is NSFW doll boobies are on display)

In any case best of luck with the sewing machine hunt (and don't forget to check the circulars/flyers from the different stores as once in a while they have coupons or sales on machines)

Michigan Dawg
03-30-2010, 14:36
I took a little bit different tack and just decided to buy a very basic entry-level machine with just a handful of features. My wife has a great sewing machine that I can "graduate" to at some point if necessary but I thought it would be a good idea to make any initial errors I was destined to make on my own machine before I ruined hers. Turns out that sewing was so easy (at least for the fairly simple things I'm interested in) that I don't think I'll need anything more than what I have now. I found on ebay a whole bunch of Kenmore machines that Sears was selling for $29 (SRP $100). Although brand new, they had been returned to the store for missing minor parts (mine was missing a felt pad on the thread spool post on top of the machine). Anyway, my $29 machine seems to be all I'll need in the foreseeable future and from all indications is doing a fine job.

Here's a photo of the seat I sewed for my Luftwaffe deck chair...

04-10-2010, 15:39
Just a word of warning. Most of the less expensive machines made after the 1960s have plastic gears that will not handle heavy fabrics well. So if you are looking to sew leather or denim, I would suggest you try to get a refurbished vintage machine on eBay. A lot of these will only do straight stitch and zig-zag but unless you are into quilting or embroidery, you really donít need much more than that.

I would recommend any of the older electric Singers like one of the Slant-o-matics (400 and 500 series), the 221 Featherweight (which are really expensive b/c collectors and quilters like them), the 15-91 or 15-90, and the 301. You can also get Japanese-made dressmaker machines that are clones of the Singer 15-91 models for much less and they are just as durable. Most of these models (except the 221) can be won on eBay for around $100-200 with shipping. Just be sure the seller has a return policy and the machine comes with all the parts.

If you are just going to be sewing cotton muslin and twill, polyester, rayon and other lighter fabrics, you can get a basic new machine for about $100-300. You can sometimes even get a deal for less on eBay, like Michigan Dawg. The problem is that these kinds of machines will not last for years and years and they might have more maintenance problems depending on which brand you get. I would agree that the Baby Lock might be a good choice as I have heard that they have fewer maintenance problems. They also have a machine called the Denim Pro that sews heavier fabrics, but I donít know how well it actually works. If you go with a newer model that costs more than $100, I would definitely find a local sewing or fabric store and look around and ask questions.

Like corsetkitten said, you get what you pay for. A new machine that is going to sew any kind of fabric, have few maintenance problems, and last for years and years is going to cost a lot of money. Personally, I did all the research last year and decided to get a vintage Singer 403. Itís a heavy machine, but it handles denim with unbelievable ease. I got it for about $100 and I have loved it so far.

04-12-2010, 11:03
Singer Serger. A friend of my wife's has one. Cool but pricey.

- Ivan.