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Lightweight Machine for Classes

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dhultsch posted on Tue, Jul 24 2012 10:24 AM

I want to buy a new sewing machine that is light enough to take to quilting classes.  My current machine (a Bernina) weighs too much to haul around without giving myself a hernia.  Does anyone have any suggestions on a good lightweight, reliable make/model that doesn't cost a small fortune?  

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dhultsch

I really like my Baby Lock Audrey. It's under 12 pounds and cute as a button. It has 66 stitches.  You can often find them at a dealer for under $400. I paid $299 for mine on sale. I could have gotten the little Brother at Costco for less money. But the thing that decided me between buying the Brother at Costco for under $200 and this one, was the dealer. I got instructions (don't really  need them for this machine) and someone I can ask questions.


In the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

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Nana replied on Tue, Jul 24 2012 12:03 PM

Have you checked out the Bernette?   It is a small lightweight machine and should be carried at your Bernina dealer.

Vinton, Virginia

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Thea replied on Tue, Jul 24 2012 12:15 PM

I have a little Brother - it is the 270D and is very lightweight - it is also an embroidery machine and has all those things we have gotten used to on our very big expensive machine - scissors and needle down.  I love it for taking to classes and love that it is also am embroidery machine - does only the 4x4 size but that is just great - has a very pretty stitch too - only draw back that I have with it - it is a self threading - you put the spool into this thing(can't remember name) push down and it is supposed to go through and thread itself - sometimes I have trouble with this - but after I do it a few times and get used to it again - I don't have any problems.  I bought it on Ebay for $300.  I have actually bought 3 of them - I gave 2 to my very good g/fs that couldn't afford the expensive embroidery machines - this was my gift to them... they love it and with all the rest it has - it is an inexpensive expensive machine.

 

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Nana:

Have you checked out the Bernette?   It is a small lightweight machine and should be carried at your Bernina dealer.

 

I have a friend who has a Bernette for her travel machine and loves it.  She will be bringing it to the Leavenworth retreat this year.

I would certainly recommend checking it out.  You might be able to find a used one on E-Bay or Amazon...

 Winthrop, WA

 

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MNnancy replied on Tue, Jul 24 2012 11:37 PM

I was advised once to stick to the same family of machines so that you can use bobbins and feet interchangeably.  In that regard, the Bernette as suggested by Nana and Donna is probably a good idea.  I'd love to get one, too.


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Thanks to everyone who has made suggestions!  I'm planning on visiting several dealers this weekend and looking at machines in person.  Sadly, I've discovered that the Bernina Bernette does not use the same presser feet as the 'regular' Berninas.  They use low shank snap-on feet instead.  They still look like very nice machines and I hope my local dealer has one that I can take for a test drive. 

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Donna B replied on Wed, Jul 25 2012 10:27 AM

MNnancy:

I was advised once to stick to the same family of machines so that you can use bobbins and feet interchangeably.  In that regard, the Bernette as suggested by Nana and Donna is probably a good idea.  I'd love to get one, too.

Great thought MNnancy, however the Bernette does not have the same shank as my 200/740 - go figure.  I offered Jan one of my machine feet at our quilty day, but it didn't fit her Bernette. I think the difference was the Bernette has a low shank and the 200 has a long shank. Don't know if it it would be compatible with feet for other Bernina machines, but definitely not the 200 - (I know the 220/740/830/880 all use the same feet as the 200).

So, be sure and check that out before making any decision.  Personally, the similarity in machine dials/function would be the most important.  (I was really bummed that the new 880 uses a different size bobbin than my 200, but the ability to load almost twice as much thread on one bobbin has made up for the inconvenience.)

 Winthrop, WA

 

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Donna B replied on Wed, Jul 25 2012 10:29 AM

dhultsch:
Sadly, I've discovered that the Bernina Bernette does not use the same presser feet as the 'regular' Berninas.

Oops, didn't read your post before I wrote my message about the feet difference.  Good luck in your search and let us know what you decide and why!

 Winthrop, WA

 

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Donna B replied on Wed, Jul 25 2012 10:32 AM

OH, one last thing on the Bernette.  Jan's did not come with a slide on tray to expand the sewing surface.  She has had problems sewing on just the small arm alone.  If they make one, I would try to get one thrown in "to make the sale"...or plan to buy a "Sew Steady" table to fit it.

 Winthrop, WA

 

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I finally bought  my lightweight machine!  After visiting nearly every sewing machine dealership in my area, I ended up with a Janome Jem Platinum 760.  It was more expensive than I was planning on, but it had everything I wanted on it (and then some) and it sews beautifully.  The less expensive machines I tried seemed a lot clunkier and often didn't have some of the things I really wanted (like needle up/down and a good blanket stitch).  The Jem 720 was less expensive, but I decided to splurge on the extra stitches (I've been wanting to try decorative stitching in some of my projects and the saleslady was extremely persuasive...).  

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with a suggestion!   

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Wait a minute, don't we get to see a picture of your new baby???


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Here it is!  I've already sewn several blocks on it and am now doing a foundation pieced project on it.    So far it has done beautifully. 

 

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Sweet!  Is the work surface comfortable or will you be ordering an extended surface for it?


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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The surface is comfortable for the pieced  blocks and small things I've done on it so far.    I would like to buy an extension table for it at some point  because I think I'd prefer a larger surface for some tasks (e.g. freemotion quilting or machine applique on a large block).   Maybe I should start dropping hints to my husband that an extension table for my new machine would make a great birthday gift... 

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