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If you are brushing up on some rusty skills, you may find your old sewing machine pitifully outdated.

But be prepared for sticker-shock when you price a new one. If you go for a top=of-the-line computerized machine, you may spend from $1,700 to $3,000. These machines have features serious hobbyists might want and those with home sewing businesses need."With computerized sewing machines there are no tension problems, no jams, no oiling," said Pam Ireland, manager of a sewing store. "They sew faster, quieter and fancier."

Some of the computerized machines will monogram letters or numbers with just a push of a few buttons. They can be programmed to repeat exact sizes of buttonholes again and again. Some of them have a stitch that makes it possible to produce what looks like fine French handsewing.

A lot of hobbyists, especially those used to old straight-stitch machines, may be intimidated by computerized machines with digital readings and a legion of buttons.

"They might first voice those fears until they use it," said Jean Beibers, owner of another sewing center. "But the general public is ready for this kind of machine." With a few instructions, anyone can learn, the retailers say.