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Time for a new machine?

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Beth posted on Sat, Nov 19 2011 12:57 PM

Hello everyone~   I'm pretty new to this site, though I've been quilting for several years.  I'm sure the question I'm about to ask has been asked before (i.e. feel free to direct me elsewhere if there is an older discussion with the answers I'm looking for)!

My 22 year old Singer just broke.  No idea what's wrong, though I'm sure I could have it fixed.  But after 22 years, I'm thinking I deserve a new machine - one bought with quilting in mind , which the current one definitely wasn't.  (And if I'm spending money, I'd rather buy a new machine than repair such an old one.)

What brands do you recommend?

What features should I be looking for?

  • I don't attempt any actual quilting on my current machine, just piecing.  (Though with a newer, more appropriate machine, I might try it on smaller items)
  • Very occasionally I do machine applique.
  • My budget is very modest - $200 - $300 range.
  • My sewing cabinet is even older than my machine, and it probably isn't in the budget to get a newer one

Any suggestions you have will get me looking in the right direction, so thanks!

Beth

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Suggested by Robin

Nana, sounds like something I would do ..LOL  Barbara

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EAT!! SLEEP !! QUILT!!

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Robin replied on Sun, Nov 20 2011 6:57 AM

I have my second Janome.  I too bought my first one used but it is still running.  One of the things I like about the Janome brought is they are built for wear and tear with all metal parts on the inside.   Prior to that I had a kenmore from Sears that took a lot of abuse from a 16 year old learning to sew.    I would definitely look at used machines and realize the more bells and whistles the higher the price.    Happy shopping.

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Joy replied on Sun, Nov 20 2011 10:47 AM

Beth, this time of year is a great time to buy a sewing machine. Most quilt shops have half off sales right now and offer lay-a-way programs. I would look for a machine that offers the stitches to do applique and has the needle up/down. The later I think is one of the most important features to have when piecing or appliqueing. My first sewing machine geared for quilting was a Pfaff. I really enjoyed it but outgrew it. Since then I have really researched sewing machines. My next one will be a Baby Lock. It is half the price of the Pfaff, Husky, and Bernina but offers the same warranty and more features.  They definitely offer the most bang for your buck and have fantastic warranties.

Most all dealers will give you a free class to show you how to use your new machine. If they don't offer, make sure you ask!

Joy

Mooresville, NC

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Beth: I went through the same thing you are going through about a year ago. My Husky of 16 years finally conked out (I thought) and frankly, I was a bit disappointed in its performance overall over the years. Previous to that, I had a Singer that wouldn't sew a straight stitch if you paid it to. It kept wandering and I felt like it needed a wheel alignment or something. Anyway...

....l researched and researched and here's what I found:

1) Any machine will perform about the same if you are only willing to spend $300 for it. Sorry, but you get what you pay for. Lesser priced machines have a smaller harp, the area between the needle and the motor, so it's more difficult to machine quilt on them. They all perform about the same in stitch availability, and frankly, not very well. However, I quilt about 8 hours a day, so if you're more of an 8 hour a week person, perhaps this will suit your needs.

2) NOT ONE of the sewing machines made today are manufactured in the United States, which I personally found appalling. So I guess that point is mute (or moo as Joey would say).

3) Good luck with your findings. Personally, after all my test driving and visiting of quilt shops, found the Brother machine basically the soundest one out there. My friend has a lower end model Brother purchased from Wal-Mart and I took it for a test drive this fall when I went to visit her out in Arizona, and that basics of it performed as well as my Laura Ashley made by Brother. However, and again, you get what you pay for and if a basic stitch just to piece quilts is all you need, then it will be fine for you. 

Hope this helps. 

Colette

 

 

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Beth replied on Sun, Nov 20 2011 12:52 PM

Thanks everyone for your input.  Lots to think about and consider.  I appreciate the nudges in the right direction!

Beth

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Geiiny - I still use the Elna w/cams.  Best workhorse!!

Beth from Illinois

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Ginny replied on Sun, Nov 20 2011 5:48 PM

Well, I never got that machine, it went to my daughter.  By the time it was available I was on to a White workhorse.  Which I used for many years, but then I needed somethig with a jig jag during the time I was making clothes for my kids- the stretch and sew era-  that is when I got myPfaff.  Now I am up to my new Babylock symphony.  P.S. my daughter sewed the elna into the ground.   Ginny

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Sharon replied on Sun, Nov 20 2011 7:56 PM

Welcome Beth, I too had a lower dollar amount to spend on a new machine a year and a half ago. I have a Brother SE400 entry level embroidery machine. They are priced a little higher than that now but you can get the same machine without the embroidery module and it will be new and in your price range. I was concerned about it being a low end machine but it has worked beautifully for me. It came from sewingmachinespluss.com. They met the same price as Walmart sold it for, free shipping and no taxes. It was delivered in a few days. If you find out when the service man comes to your local dealer, you can take it in for repair or service the day before and probably pick it up the following day if there is nothing major wrong with it. My sister in law has the same machine without the embroidery module she purchased several years ago and it works perfectly.

Brother has a highly rated "Project Runway" sewing machine that Consumer Research rated as a best buy last year. It was sold at Walmart. My DIL has this one and loves it.

Good luck  

Toledo, OH

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Robin replied on Mon, Nov 21 2011 5:34 PM

Beth,

I just got my Joann's flyer and they have several singers on sell this weekend.  I don't know anything about a Singer but I thought I'd let you know.

 

Robin

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