Can you recommend a not-too-expensive, heavy duty sewing machine?

I have a Viking sewing machine that has served me well, but it’s very old and it tends to miss stitches and the tension is inconsistent and the plug for the foot pedal is held together with tape because I can no longer buy a replacement. It was rebuilt several years ago, but I fear it’s now on borrowed time.

So, I want to get a new sewing machine. What I need is a basic machine - adjustable stitches, straight and zig-zag - and I’d like the capability to sew several thicknesses of denim. I don’t need fancy stitches or bells and whistles. And since it’s been forever since I bought a machine, I would appreciate any input from fellow sewing-type people.

Recommendations of good machines or manufacturers to avoid are equally welcome. I live in the middle of nowhere, so I’m going to have to travel to civilization to shop - it’d be nice to have a plan when I finally do it. So please, share you experiences and suggestions.


If you didn’t want zig-zag, I’d say to look at a used industrial, since you seem to have been working on sails and related monstrosities.

The Consew 206 and 208 series are venerable old workhorses with walking feet, and for under $500, someone has a new portable version on eBay. I’ve never seen one of these portable - usually these beasts are in an industrial table with the motor underneath like this one.

I don’t really need industrial - I’d love to get a newer version of the machine I have, but I don’t know if Viking has an updated equivalent. I think there is a Viking dealer not too far from here - guess I’ll check it out.

Or I could try to get mine fixed - although I don’t know if it’ll be worth it.

I have a Husquevarna (Viking) machine. It’s a lower-end machine that seems to come out periodically with a new name - mine’s called Lena and I have seen the exact machine in JoAnn Fabric stores with other names that I can’t recall.

Mine is not computerized, which suits me fine. I bought it in 2004-05, can’t remember which year exactly.

I have a Husqvarna Huskystar. I love it. The thing is a little beast. Not computerized. Not even electronic! They don’t make it any more, but the E10 seems to be the closest equivalent. Mine was less than 300 bucks–not cheap for a machine with virtually no features, but based on my experience, it’s a great value.

Can you give us an idea of your budget for this machine? And did you know that sometimes just getting the machine serviced will help? Of course, as old as your machine is, it might not be worth servicing. However, you might want to take your new machine in every couple of years and get it cleaned and lubricated.

I found a picture of my machine online. Is this the sort of machine you are looking for?

It looks like the current similar model is called the Prelude.