My wife and I were sewing machine shopping this last weekend. Now, she
is pretty much a beginner, and about the only thing she wants a
machine for, is alterations, and occasional mending. Her mother does
sew fairly well, so lessons, etc, will probably come from Mom.
We live in a bit of a rural area, and the only dealer in the nearest
town handles the Janome line. For our budget(about $200), the 4612 was
his recommended choice. He touted its reliability, and quality of
construction. I do like the idea of buying from a dealer, if the price
is not outrageous.
So here is the $64 questions:
1. What is a dealer worth? We do have a Sears, and I understand many
of their machines are made by the same company (although I didn't see
one with the metal outside like the 4612). At what dollar point does
it make more sense to "take your chances", and seek out other machines
through the net (Euro-pro, White, etc) where prices may be lower?
2. Does anybody have experience with the Janome 4612, good or bad?
Thanks in advance for any or all answers. Please reply to the group,
as the email address is a sink.
First off, if you only have $200 to spend on a machine, you will get a
far better quality machine buying a reconditioned machine than a new
one. I have had the "wonderful" (NOT!) experience of having a dealer
tout the advantages of a low-end machine (and the one we bought was in
teh $200-300 range) as being durable, etc. -- but then when we had
horrible problems with it, the dealer gave us the "well, it's a cheap
machine, what do you expect?" line. (I won't go back to that dealer
again, that's for sure!)
I would go back and ask that dealer to look at his traded-in machines
and see if you can find one in the price range you want.
Check out the "how to buy a sewing machine FAQ" that is posted here
Alternatively, you can check your local newspaper classifieds, etc., and
watch for someone selling a machine -- oftentimes they are in excellent
condition and you can get one for $50. I find lovely older machines in
thrift shops, too, for $20 and less. I have tested some out thoroughly
and they run wonderfully but maybe only need a new belt due to age, and
they are a great value for the money spent.
Now, to answer your questions:
1. A dealer can offer more support, classes, etc. -- things that Sears
cannot do. If you think you will need help from someone to use your
machine, then go with the dealer. If you think you might want to
upgrade to a better machine in the relatively near future, go with a
dealer, who will undoubtedly have a trade-up program.
If you know how to use a machine, won't need classes, are pretty sure
that you wouldn't need to take advantage of a trade-up program, and
already know what machine you want and know that the machine of your
choice is a good machine that won't turn out to be a lemon, then go for
an online dealer (But for the sake of the local sewing machine dealer,
please don't go take their time up doing research only to buy the
machine online -- that contributes to the death of local dealers).
2. I don't have any experience with that particular machine, but seeing
as though it is a low-end machine, I would be rather suspicious of it
without giving it a thorough run-through at the store before buying.
*If your wife does not need classes, take a look on the Sears site. Many, if
not all of their machines are made by Janome and they have very similar
machines, if not the same, for far less money. I think that you would have
to pay more than 200 for a decent new machine. I know that many people will
say Sears is terrible, blah, blah...but there are also many satisfied
owners. As with everything else, there are people who rave about a brand and
others who hate it. Janome is noted to be an excellent machine and they are
noted to do wonderful buttonholes. I have the Kenmore Elite, which is made
by Janome, and I absolutely love it! It was rated very highly by Consumer
Reports as being a terrific machine at a terrific price. I, too, am not near
anywhere to purchase a new machine except for JoAnn's and Wal*Mart so I
decided to take a plunge and go for theKenmore as it would have cost me far
more than twice as much for a similar machine in another brand. You don't
need to pay a fortune for a machine either. I have a Bernina that cost 700
dollars back in 1996 and it is terrible. I replaced it with the Kenmore for
about the same price which has far more features and sews and does
buttonholes much better. The feet for the Kenmore's are also far cheaper
than Bernina or Viking, for example. Of course, Sears is not the place to
buy a sewing machine if one needs any instructions, etc. The clerk who sold
it to me thought I was nuts asking if they had extra bobbins to purchase. He
said the one came with it, LOL. Good luck.