Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Hate My Sewing Machine

Perhaps hate is too strong of a word. I strongly dislike my sewing machine, and I need some advice.

My first machine was a mechanical Kenmore, circa 1987. It had basic stitches and worked perfectly well, but it weighed about 25 pounds. As I have no sewing room, that meant hefting the thing out of a closet, downstairs, and onto the dining room table every time I wanted to sew, and then doing the reverse in order eat at the table. To spare my back, I sold the Kenmore at a yard sale and set out to buy a new lightweight model.

In great anticipation of doing some serious sewing, I purchased a small Brother CE-4000 sewing machine that weighed only eleven pounds. I wanted a computerized beginner's machine with a few decorative stitches, and after reading several reviews I figured that this machine was the one:

Big mistake. I have named it HAL CE 4000.

After working on the girl's dress in sewing class for the last two weeks I figured that I would finish it at home so I can move on to another project in class. I'm having a tough time with my machine. There were some early issues with the bobbin, even though this model features a drop-in bobbin. However, the problem that really toasted my bread was the fact that I had to re-thread the needle no fewer that SIX times in one hour! The fabric is plain 100% cotton, and I believe the thread is a cotton-poly blend. The tension on the machine was perfect, so that couldn't have been the problem. After a while I slowed down WAY down and crept along in the hope that the thread would not slip out of the needle, but suddenly it would, with no warning. I found it strange that the thread did not break -- it would just slip out the needle and I'd have to thread it again.

We are using Bernina machines in my sewing class. We are sewing on the very basic Bernina 1008, a mechanical machine.  Once I thread it and load the bobbin, I'm off and running. The same was true of my good ol' Kenmore (though the bobbin tended to tangle frequently in that one). And when I take my foot off of the Bernina's pedal, the machine actually stops, unlike HAL, who stops only when his computerized brain tells him that he has completed the full stitch. Long story short, I don't like my new sewing machine.

I would like some advice, please. If anyone can recommend a make and model of sewing machine that is suitable for a beginner but still has some room for growth, I'd certainly appreciate it if you would leave a comment. Horror stories are welcome too, so I'll know which models to avoid!


  1. Omg, sister, you need to get yourself the Singer Confidence. I almost cried the first time I used it, it was so easy to use. It's got auto tension and has 30 decorative stitches. It practically sews all by itself. I got it on sale at Joann's for $180.

  2. Thanks Kristin; I'll definitely check it out!

  3. i only have my grandma's old singer, prob from the 70s or 80s. you can check out reviews like on to see what people are saying.

  4. Oh dear. I went through a few hand-me-downs from
    Mom, which made me form a new language worthy of the saltiest sailor. I actually permanetly lost important parts of these machines due to throwing across the room style fits of rage.

    Then my awesome Hubby got me a machine for Christmas. It is a plain ole Singer 2639 from Target, no bells and whistles, but plenty of the basic stuff, lots of stitches, buttonholes, etc. No computers.

    I keep the manual right with it at all times, but after 2 years, I hardly ever need to open it. A good manual is the key to successful sewing. having it always within reach saved my sanity over and over! Good Luck! And screw computers. (Says the girl who has never used her buttonholer or zipperfoot) I could if I wanted to, with my trusty manual.

  5. I have no good advice...but I think it's hilarious that you've named it HAL.


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