I just wanted to let you all know about a fab website called 'Zigzaggers.' If you have not visited the site, you should! As they say, they provide 'the low-down on used sewing machines, from crafty people with first-hand experience sewing on them.' I recently contributed a review of my machine (see the review on the Janome SW-2018E). Melissa of Tiny Happy also recently contributed a review of the machine that she sews her wonderful babies shoes, bags and clothes. I think this website is a great resource for people who want to buy an older, solid machine instead of a new more plastic machine.
If you have an older machine, I am sure Krista would love to hear from you. Go ahead and spread the word to your crafty friends.
Below are some buying tips I also contributed to the site;
As a crafter with an Etsy store I see a lot of topics on the Etsy forums about people wanting to buy a used or first sewing machine. For people starting and not having ever sewed try and borrow a machine if you can – from a friend, family member or some sewing schools rent out simple beginners machines. I remember reading in a blog about a place that rented machines – may be someone can add that link here?
Once you decide you actually like this sewing gig (and who doesn’t) I think you are on the money if you go for something old and reliable. A cheap new machine is often cheap for some quite obvious reasons. I have a tough-as-boots old machine that has been moved all over the country, a little abused at times, and I use it to sew all my clothes that I sell. I have seen the same machine on eBay for about $100.00 (Australian). I agree that eBay is a good place to look around but just be careful. Ask questions and keep asking until you are happy. I have noticed that some machines are ‘trendy’ or ‘hot’ in the sewing world so they command a big price. Just watch eBay for a while and you will see which ones they are.
Once you have an idea of what you like try op/thrift shops or ‘for sale’ pages in the newspaper (we don’t have Craiglist in OZ but the ‘Trading Post’ may be a good option). Also ask at fabric stores or sewing schools – people are often upgrading and don’t always want a spare machine.
My number one rule for buying a machine is keep it simple – don’t go for bells and whistles if you have no intention of using them. Fancy computer chips and gizmos can mean expensive trips to the sewing machine doctor. I like a machine that I can prod around in and not be afraid of reprogramming it into a rocket launcher or hedge trimmer…