March's "Sewing Maching Wisdom" Survey Winners

Our March Member Survey question "What do you look for in a sewing machine?" prompted the largest response we have recieved so far!

Here are the responses from the three winners picked at random from all the responses we received:

Regina Hobbs includes testing machines out as one of her criteria:
I listen to the machines - I like the steady hum of an even sounding motor, not one that's labored or sounding like it's in high gear; I listen to conversations and comments of others who own the machines I'm interested in; I look at the stitches for evenness; I try multi stitches to see how easy it is to adjust tension or not; I look at the price and what goes with the edition I want to buy versus one above and one below that model if it applies; I look for free classes offered to teach me how to use the machine; I look for local dealers. I want the most machine for my money for my usage.

Leslie Kendrick emphasizes getting the machine with the right number of features for your needs:
The first thing to do is to find a reputable quilt shop and dealer  who offers sales and service that will help you learn through lessons or just support to use the machine and be there if you have any problem with it.  Good service is very valuable.  Get to know the staff and be sure the shop is one you can enjoy and depend on for help and support.  Discount stores do not give a sewer the support and quality they need. 

Then decide what kind of sewing you will be doing - quilting, embroidery, clothing, etc.  Next shop several brands to investigate their features and pick those that will best help you accomplish your sewing goal. It always helps to have a sewing friend to go to for advice.  I think it is best to be careful to not "overbuy"  by getting advanced features that one will not use.  If one develops a desire for other features, it may be best to wait and trade up later, especially if shopping with a set budget. Getting a machine that is complicated to use will discourage a beginner.  

Last, take your new machine home and read the manual and sew.    This has worked for me. 

Gail Maloney in Canton, Michigan shares her personal shopping experience:
Two years ago, after taking a twenty year hiatus from sewing and becoming an empty nester, I decided to take up my former favorite hobby, sewing!    Believe me, a lot had changed in the sewing and quilting industry while I was raising a family.  I decided to shop around for a new sewing/embroidery machine.  My first research was done on the Internet.  There are plenty of websites proclaiming or disclaiming the virtures of all the latest sewing machines.  Overall, their number one recommendation was buy from the best dealer.   

After taking copious notes, I attended a Sewing Convention held in my community.   That way I could see numerous machines and talk to the local store owners to see what they had to offer in terms of sewing support, instruction, and maintenance.  I also talked to their customers to hear what they had to say about their sewing machines and the dealer.  Satisfied customers are key to making a wise choice when it comes to making a sewing machine purchase.  

I am happy to say that my research paid off.  I don't know which makes me happier; the new friends I have made at my sewing machine shop or my great new machine!  If your sewing machine shop owner loves their job and shares all the latest techniques and technology, you will love your new machine.  


COMMENTS TRANSFERRED FROM ORIGINAL POST: wrote re: March's "Sewing Maching Wisdom" Survey Winners
on Saturday, 17 April 2010, 4:09 PM

In response to Leslie's post I find her advice excellent if you live in the appropriate areas but, saying something and being able to do it are sometimes two very  different things.   Yes, it would be wonderful to browse many quilt shops and get to know the staff prior to choosing your machine.   However, that's not always an option.   First of all, if you live in a rural area your choices as to availability can be limited.   We are fortunate in having three excellent quilt shops, all with lovely staff, within a reasonable distance from my home but, none sell Baby Lock.  When I finally decided to make the big leap I had the choice of driving 110 miles round trip one way or 132 miles the opposite.   The only one having the machine I wanted was, of course, the furthest distance.   They do not respond quickly to mailings and rarely ever return phone calls.  And, now I find out I'm stuck with her since that's where I purchased my machine.   So, sometimes you just have to choose and hope for the best.   It' not feasible to just "hop" over to her shop when I have a need such as instructions so when I'm having difficulty I just muddle through.   So, I would add to her advice that sometimes, if you love the shop and how they run it, how they treat their customers and if they offer enough classes you're interested in it might just be a good idea to purchase whatever machine they're selling because after all, that's what they're using to produce all the lovely things you see hanging on the walls. wrote re: March's "Sewing Maching Wisdom" Survey Winners
on Saturday, 17 April 2010, 8:10 PM

I too came out of the working box and retired, finding a new hobby - quilting.  Our local quilt shop sold a well known machine.  I relied on the owner to help me with my new wonder.  She was always willing to help, but just didn't have enuf time.  Also I got two cleanings when I bought my machine and on the second cleaning she would show me how to oil & clean my machine. So far I have gotton one cleaning and now she has left town and moved 40 miles away.  I received one lesson period and one cleaning which I had to take my machine to her twice to get the cleaning.  I recently bought a well known serger of a different brand and this lady is an on-go lets get going person.  She actually has a serger club that meets once a month with a new project each month.  She is almost on call 24/7 and always pleasant.  Also, according to her I never mess can always be fixed. Bless her wrote re: March's "Sewing Maching Wisdom" Survey Winners
on Monday, 19 April 2010, 8:41 AM

Yes Leo, it is difficult when you live in a rural area as I am all too familiar with.  I live 60 miles from the nearest quit shop and 90 from the next, neither of which sell any machines.  I must go nearly 200 miles to find a shop that also deals in sewing machines.  So I fully understand your point of view.  But I wanted a machine that would allow me to quilt smaller quilts with the embroidary designs, and I chose not to settle for just anything.  And the search and effort has paid off.  I have a machine that I am very happy with.  I guess in my case the fact that I had to drive so many miles to do any quilt shopping or classes is just a part of taking part in my favorite pastime.        

JUDY wrote re: March's "Sewing Maching Wisdom" Survey Winners
on Thursday, 22 April 2010, 11:25 PM

I like a quiet machine, one that is easy to switch stitches and can fill the bobbin without much trouble, has a self thread cutter (mine doesn't) a large sewing table for quilting.I love my machine I got for Christmas I just wish it had a better light on it.

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