As a complete beginner, and someone who's hand stitching leaves a lot to be desired, what sewing machine is recommended by all you experienced milliners out there?

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Hello,

Rose is my 1st name.  They started calling me "Ma Rose" for whatever reason and it stuck. Its not my last name.

Ruth O'Connor,

It has a lot to do with the type of hats you want to make.  They've given you good answers.  I mostly make fabric hats (Using buckram as a foundation) 98% is sewn by hand, I block my own buckram using hat blocks.  Its according to the type of fabric hat I'm making, sometimes I sew the millinery wire by hand to the hat if the buckram design won't be destroyed by using the sewing machine. I use an upholstery needle and regular garment sewing thread to sew by hand.  If sewing on the sewing machine, I use a Pearls & Piping foot, a heavy needle (to penetrate) & zig zag the millinery wire onto the buck because I use 2 ply buck and 2 pieces.  I need a sturdy form because of the embellishments. See Gold Hat & Hat Blocks

I also make straw hats using ready made Parasisal Hoods and Capelines.  I use hat blocks and millinery wire and my domestic (Janome) sewing machine for the larger hats.  The Fascinators, I sew the millinery wire on by hand. See Purple & Black Hats

And I've used the Flat Pattern Method to make hats using a store bought pattern or one that I've drafted and I can use my domestic sewing machine to do this. See Black and White Hat.

I also use an antique Straw Braid Sewing Machine for making Straw Braid hats.  See Beige Hat.  Happy Hatting.

Here is a machine that helps me out when a flat bed machine cannot do it.  I use this machine mostly for leather but do use it occasionally for hats.  It is a straight stitch only but a walking foot to ease the fabric. 

Is a small sewing machine suitable for embroidery on a hat? I hope the problems with the size will not be

Yes Kenneth it should be ok as long as you have a free arm Some hatters in US are making great embroidered styles with embroidery on crown and flowing through onto felt brim 

I have started from the scratch and today I can do decent projects. You need to start from the basics like how a sewing machine work and how to use a sewing machine. Once you know it, move on and start with simple projects and then to complicated ones. 

Hi, I’m looking for a domestic sewing machine for millinery and general straight sewing. I saw this post and thought BINGO!!! The Bernina brand seems to be the way to go .....Can you please suggest a reputable  dealer in Victoria. I’m in Beaconsfield near Berwick. I have been looking for a while at some of the latest machines in various outlets. Has left me overwhelmed. 

Hi, I am also a begginer and just purchased Janome 5018. That is what been advised from the sewing machines trader. It looks a bit difficult, but is exacly what I wanted. Very heavy body and Japanese quality. Suitable for heavy duty fabrics. Now it is my term to gain sewing skills. 

You have to clarify your question if you need to sew thin fabric or thick fabric. For thick fabric the best available sewing machines are;

1.    Janome HD 3000

2.    Brother ST371HD

3.    Toyota Super Jeans J34

To check out complete review of these sewing machines along with their pros and cons, you can visit this resource. This is most useful resource if you want to buy durable and quality machine in less cost.

Thanks Alex for the info 

Singer 4432 would be a great machine for you as for beginner. It is versatile and can be used even with leather fabrics, so there is a room for experiments. There is almost nothing complicated about this machine, so go ahead and try it.

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