So I see a lot of people taking a renewed interest in sewing these days. First and foremost to make masks, second as a hobby, and third as a new skill.
But how do we shop right now in this state of retail confusion? I looked over the websites of some of the top sewing machine manufacturers and while they are all taking somewhat different approaches, they are definitely finding ways to sell machines.
Regardless of your location, or your region’s status with regard to COVID19 (Stay-at-home or not), Bernina is offering nation-wide curbside pick up or local delivery via Fedex or UPS. So if you know of a dealer you can trust, you can call and purchase a machine and receive curbside pick-up. Or, you can ask them to have that machine delivered via Fedex or UPS. Now, when it comes to shipping, I’m not sure who picks up the charges for that…likely the customer. But don’t underestimate your negotiating ability during this time. I’m sure a dealer would rather sell a machine than argue over shipping charges. Bernina does have a limited online sales venue on bernina.com , but at the end of the day, that sale just gets delivered to a local dealer where you would pick it up. Far easier to call a dealer directly. There are a limited number of Bernina and Bernette sewing machines available on Amazon (that look to be sold directly by Bernina–not used.)
I found it harder to get information on Babylock because their consumer website does not have any updates with regard to the pandemic. I also left a message on their customer service line, and have not received a return call. However, my local Babylock dealer is taking orders over the phone and doing curbside pick-up. I have to believe that Babylock dealers are left to their own devices with respect to each states’ executive orders, and each dealer is making their own decisions. No Babylock machines appear to be available for purchase on Amazon.
Janome does not have a statement online about coronavirus or whether they have any business changes. So I imagine that each dealer is handling it in their own way. Janome does, however, have a wide variety and price range of machines available for purchase on Amazon. Is it their top of the line? Perhaps not. But the Memorycraft is available on Amazon and that’s a pretty decent machine.
Curbside pick-up is available for all dealerships that are open. Also, singer.com has a wide range of all these brands available for purchase. HOWEVER, they have a huge warning on their website that their delivery response time has slowed, and they are having some inventory issues, which they are trying to manage. This is not unusual. If you have purchased anything online in the past month or so, you know that delivery times are sporadic at best, and frustratingly non-existent at worst. Your best bet would be to contact a dealer who handles these brands, find out what they have in stock and go from there. Singer appears to be the only brand in this category that has some availability on Amazon. However, a reminder that you get what you pay for. You will have no quarantees that a $150 machine will last or will handle the sewing you require. And if you purchase online, who will service? Just some things to think about.
Once again (and I hate to be down on them because I know they have decent embroidery machines) but once again, Brother is a black hole of information for consumer sewing machines. I recognize that they are a large corporation with lots of sales and supplies to manage. They do have a generic note on their corporate site that explains that they are doing their best to manage inventory and their supply chain. What that means to consumers is less clear.Their sewing machines are available in a limited capacity on Amazon. Again, buyer beware, as brands sometimes only offer online the cheapest machines around. If you simply must own a Brother, please find a dealer and ask them how they are selling at this time.
I think it’s safe to conclude that, as always, it is best to contact your local sewing dealership and tell them which machines you are interested in. If it were me, I would put off a very high-end purchase until you are more comfortable going in to test drive the machine. Unless, of course, your local dealer is open, and even then, please try to practice social distancing.
If you are wanting to make masks, some decent machines are available for purchase online, but I would recommend spending at least $500 to get something that will be dependable. The Bernina 215 for $799 is a great machine to purchase online. It is made like a Bernina, with metal parts and sews like a dream. I would call a dealer first to find out if they have one. I bet they would sell it for less than that price, and you could just do a curbside pick-up.
Whatever you decide to do, I am encouraged that so many are interested in sewing again.
Who knew we’d all get back to sewing and growing our food?
Please, please, stay safe, stay healthy, listen to your local officials, and help each other.
On we sew.