Your Personal Best Buy: Part 1

Whether you’re looking for an entry level machine for basic sewing and alterations, or a combination sewing and embroidery machine for more accomplished multi-project sewers, my goal is to help you find both a good price and the best machine for your needs.

Call us at (562) 498-6684, or stop by the store and we’ll help you find your Personal Best machine choice.

Let’s start with Basic Level sewing machines. We’ll explore four types of machines with an explanation of how and why each one of these models has made my Best Buy rating.

Janome My Style 100

Janome My Style 100

The Janome My Style 100 model is a classic example of a solid chassis machine. Looking at the pictures below you’ll see two inside views of two different machines. The one on the left has all the parts encased in a plastic housing while the picture on the right shows the metal encasement of all parts in the My Style 100. This fundamental difference is what makes the 100 a machine you can rely on to handle a broad range of fabric from light to heavy, single knit to denim, and range from one to six or more thicknesses of material as you sew.

Plastic vs. Metal Chassis

The plastic encased machine will not be able to transition easily from light and medium fabrics, and basically will not sew heavy denim or handle heavier applications. The torque caused by the increase in both pressure foot pressure and the feed-to-hook operation prevents the stitch from forming without changing the timing of the hook or the feed dogs to complete the formation of the stitch. This causes binding or mistiming to occur resulting in the machine simply not sewing. These machines are generally very inexpensive and, in my opinion, should not be sold as working sewing machines. In the industry these are called Closet Machines because they end up in a closet, and the customer’s frustration prevents them from trying to sew. Obviously, we don’t want this to happen!

As good as the My Style 100 is, it should be noted that it is a very basic machine by today’s standards. It has straight stitch, zig-zag, and overlock stitches for garment or quilt construction. It will do a four-step button hole, has blind stitch capability, and offers a darning stitch as well as a stretch stitch for stretchy fabrics. I have actually put the My Style machines in some sewing classrooms as they are an easy machine to learn to use and they have a high tolerance to hold up even if misused by the student. They have a retail price of $299, and our Best Buy sale puts them at $249* with free hands-on classes and a one year free service warranty.


Janome DC1050

The next step up in entry level is the fully electronic Janome 1050 DC motor-driven machine with needle up/needle down capability. What I love about this machine is its ease of use especially for the new sewer or for the off-again, on-again user who sews in cycles. Its 40-stitch format offers the best sewing stitch designs for the garment maker moving a step above basics as well as stitch-in-the-ditch, and designs for the quilter. The price point of $299*, reflecting a one hundred dollar discount on this machine, makes the 1050 a beginner-plus sewing tool that can be added to with Janome’s higher end quality sewing attachments.


Bernina 215 Simply Red

I would call this the best basic machine for the serious entry level sewer or for a person who wants high-end quality for specific sewing tasks. At a sale price of $799* (a savings of $200, valid May 16 – June 15, 2015) the Bernina 215 Simply Red is truly a custom-fit, Swiss engineered machine with basic stitch functions like straight stitch, zig-zag, overlock, blind hem, stretch, darning, and a few decorative functions. It’s just very well made to go beyond the first two machines I’ve mentioned above at sewing anything from tricot to leather goods. If Bernina is the fine wine of the sewing machine world, the 215 would be the table wine for this company. The amazing CB hook, tried and true, is the heart of the perfect stitch that this machine is capable of performing whether a true top-stitch or a perfect button hole; it’s hard to beat stainless steel quality, perfect tensions, and a bullet proof demeanor towards basic sewing projects.


Bernina B330

This is Bernina’s most popular classroom machine and probably our most popularly sold Bernina model. With 40 built-in stitches, added lettering capability, and an auto functioning buttonhole, you can’t get a better entry level sewing product on the market today. This is the right tool for the serious home sewer. A creative writer needs a laptop and a good word processing program; the flute player who wants to produce the right sound needs an instrument worthy of the effort they take in learning how to play; so it is with the B330 Bernina. Perfect stitch quality, totally adjustable in any stitch configuration, and automatic machine memory to put you immediately back to where it was you were when you first created that perfect stitch.

Next time we’ll review the next level of machines, suitable for those who want a bit of room to grow.

* NOTE: prices mentioned in this article are valid as of May, 2015.

Part 2: read here
Part 3: read here
Part 4: read here