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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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It's hard to recommend a brand in a particular price range.  You should go to dealers in your area and see what they offer at your price point.  Tell them what you want to use the machine for and then test drive them.  They may have a very nice used machine that was traded in that would fit your needs.

It is important to have a dealer that will give you classes on machine operation and stand behind it with service.

 

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Carey replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 2:22 PM

Okay you will want to look into also if you do embroidery or not with it. I have heard good things of bernina and janome. Most important is to find a dealer near you with excellent service that you get along well with :). The other most popular advice given is to just try out the machines at all your local quilt stores etc and see which ones you like the best.

If I was in the market for a new one I would buy one with a larger throat space makes it easier to turn your quilt for actual quilting.  I am not sure which models in your price range have larger throats though. Your budget is definitely better than mine 0 lol.

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gini replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 2:36 PM

beth, i think most of the companies have good products.   buy as much machine as you can afford and having the dealer close by is a must.     as for features, compare all the leading machines and see which will work best for you.   the needle up/down positioner, would be hard to do without.  i also like the needle threader and thread cutter.    i like the touch screen to change my settings.  

gini in north idaho

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Ginny replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 5:15 PM

Oh, I am right there with you on all of that Gini especially since I got my new Babylock Symphony.  The other thing I have gotten used to right off the bat is the bobbin sensor that lets you know you are going to run out of bobbin thread.  It is a life saver.  I am no longer sewing down the whole side of the quilt with no thread.  ..Ginny

 

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gini replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 5:20 PM

ginny, i remember the days when my bobbin sensor worked,  now it only works part time.

gini in north idaho

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Hi Ginny,

I love my Symphony, I am amaze with the auto lift. I am making a Grandmother;s Garden and each turn is a breeze.  I love being spoiled!

Judylee

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Beth you have gotten some excellent advice here.  Buy the "most" machine you can for the money you have to spend.  A refurbished trade-in is an good way to go if you can find one.  Definitely need a good dealer to work with.  I love my Janome 6600P but I paid around $1500 for it.

Marge (AKA Dimples)

Griffin, GA

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Ginny replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 5:40 PM

Yes Judylee, I love the autolift too, since I was just showed that when I went in for a lesson on Monday.   Spoiled?  I don't know about that.  I think we deserved each and every new and suprising thing this machine can do.  I started sewing with my Grandmother's treadle machine Way back when I was very young and she had graduated to an electic machine for her professional dressmaking.  Then when she lost her vision, I got that machine after my Mom used it for a few years and graduated herself up to an Elna with cams.  Ginny 

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Ginny replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 5:47 PM

You know Gini, I had to take mine in for service last week because it wasn't sensing..They said it would take 10-14 days. When I expressed dismay at that because I have 3 quilts going for Christmas, they got it done right away and I went to get it Monday.  I think it got clogged with fibers as I am working on 2 large flannel quilts.  They told me to get a vacuum attachment and to use that to keep it clean.....Ginny

 

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Nana replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 6:57 PM

Ok where is that bobbin sensor when you need it.....I just sewed 7 blocks without thread.....aaarrrggghhh.

Vinton, Virginia

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gini replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 7:12 PM

Nana:
Ok where is that bobbin sensor when you need it.....I just sewed 7 blocks without thread.....

 

obviously,  she's twiddling her thumbs

gini in north idaho

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Carey replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 8:21 PM

Lucky ladies I don't have a bobbin sensor or touch screen. I do have the needle threader and cutter. If you know a dealer sells stuff online somewhere you can go there and see if they have used ones that way. Ask around at the dealers some might even use ebay or something similar.

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Nana replied on Sat, Nov 19 2011 8:37 PM

Carey

I don't have a bobbin sensor either.  That's why I sewed all those blocks without thread....ROFLOL

Vinton, Virginia

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