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Sewing machine quandry...

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Tanya posted on Sat, Dec 17 2011 8:28 AM

I recently had both of my singer sewing machines die on me...I love to quilt and play with the fabric. Now all i can do is look at the fabric. I have been searching for a new machine but have no clue what I should go for. I want something easy to use, multiple stitches, lettering and can easily handle multiple layers. Both of the machines that just died are Singers. the one the motor just quit, the other i was told had gears shear off and it would be cheaper to replace than to fix.

I need people to give real opinions on singer, brother, janome, juki, baby lock and any other machines. I am going stir crazy with out a machine!

HELP!!!

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I have the Janome 6600 and I absolutely love it.  I think the basic difference between it and the 6500 is the 6500 does not have a built in walking foot.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Mimi replied on Wed, Dec 28 2011 6:16 PM

I haven't tried the pfaff quilters expressions 4.0 so I really wouldn't want to make any comments about it.  I do know that when I was looking for a newer machine I did look at the pfaff but for some reason I preferred the Janome and the Berninas scared me.  I was not as experienced with quilting then and was using my mother's featherweight to piece.  I still use it for paper piecing projects.  Such a beautiful stitch!  Anyway back to the Janomes... The only difference that I can see between the 6600 and the 7700 is the body being metal or not, the extra motor to wind bobbins and the 9 inch / 11 inch throat opening for quilting.  There are a lot of extras I just don't use or don't know how to use.  I'm going to have to take a course like Barbara and Pat L. to learn all my 250 stitches and alphabets.  Maybe when I retire or go to a retreat where someone else can educate me I'll have more to share.  Right now I think the best advise you have gotten is to be sure your dealer is close by and reliable.  My dealer is two hours from my house but is available on the phone when I need her.  Good luck in your decision.

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I currently have a little workhorse called EuroPro Shark.  It only does straight and zig zag, but it has very little plastic on the inside.  I sew alot of jean frayed edge quilts for older children in need with local charities.  It sews through the denim layers with no problems.

 

I also have a White machine made for quilting.  I do NOT like this machine.

I have seen several places where people rate sewing machines.  For an inexpensive machine, a lot of people recommend Brother machines.  For the more expensive machines, Berina tops the lists.

Hope this helps some.

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Nana replied on Wed, Dec 28 2011 6:40 PM

hughey

I have a Bernina and a Janome.   As much as I love my Janome it doesn't compare to the Bernina.   Berninas are awesome machines and sew like a dream.   I just wish you could get the big throat space without having to go all the way up to the 800 series.

Vinton, Virginia

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Mimi replied on Wed, Dec 28 2011 7:05 PM

Nana,

I agree with you 200% about the Berninas.  I was too new a quilter to really appreciate their wonderful technology.  I think if I could afford one now I would buy an 800 series.  But times change and life goes on.

 

 

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Nana:
Berninas are awesome machines and sew like a dream.   I just wish you could get the big throat space without having to go all the way up to the 800 series.

I have a Bernina 930 that I bought in 1984 and a Janome 6600 that I bought a few months ago.  I love my Bernina and would never part with it.  After all these years, it still sews like a dream.  I wanted more throat space, automatic thread cutter, accu feed, and some more stitches as well as the needle down feature and knee lift that I was already used to and couldn't live without.  The Janome 6600 was just what I needed and the fact that it is heavy duty like the Bernina made it the logical choice for my needs.  

I couldn't justify the price of the 800 series Berninas since I'm not interested in the embroidery function.

 

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Annie replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 9:05 AM

Thanks all for all your advice.  I am off to sew on the three machines I'm interested in.  And I am taking your advice of bringing my own thread and fabric pieces to test drive each.  

Thanks again,

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abcd replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 9:55 AM

Annie and Dtka (as in "the Bears" Ditka?)  :D  WAIT - you should look for a machine the way you look at buying CAR (and, No, I am NOT talking about how much the MPG is!) 

Do a few phone calls to sewing machine REPAIR places, and find out WHICH machines are always in the repair shop, and for WHAT reason.  When "Tom the Tow Truck Guy" towed my car for the umpteenth time (for FREE, I might add, because I had given him "so much business") he told me to call around the tow companies and find out which cars were NOT picked up, to help me the next time I was thinking about buying a new car.  (so sad when you get to know a tow truck guy by his first name - but I digress.,...)

I was told (years ago) about how when the SINGER company created the "Drop In Bobbin" it really messed things up, as that was the ONE major thing that was always going wrong with them.

Yes, MOST machines are made in Japan with plastic parts - the Bernina is still made in Switzerland with all metal parts (I have 2 Berninas).  But you have to think about Japanese technology - the best cameras out there are Nikon and Canon - both Japanese (the BEST one is a Leica, which is German, and it is over a couple of thousand $, but again, I digress....)

I bought a Bernina 830 33 years ago!  (YES - the ORIGINAL 830) and you want to know WHY the NEW one is also called the 830?  BECAUSE THE 830 WAS THE BEST SELLING MACHINE OF ALL TIME!!!!      let me repeat:  ALL TIME - next to SINGERS, and VIKINGS, and PFAFFS - And I will NEVER let it go!

I love my new 730 e, too, but let me tell you:  the thing that sold me on it was the person in the store, and they are great people for my machine!  However, I still have "buyer's remorse" because: It really was an IMPULSE buy, AND I am currently holding a part time job, and lost my FULL TIME job I had at that time, and to get that machine, I cashed in my $6,000 401K.  That was 4 years ago.  ALthough I LOVE my machine, and I am doing every bit of embroidery, sewing, and quilting job I can on it (also using my old 830 at the same time) I am hurting $ wise, and still think maybe I should sell it.  I can STILL get close to $6000 for it, too - but I digress - AGAIN........

Make a list of FEATURES you think would REALLY help, and not just what you WANT for your sewing habits.  Go to many dealers, and call around to take out the machines that have some kind of feature go wrong with them.  Then check your pocket book, and go..... just a small FYI- when I was teaching in the late 70s and 80s, I was used as a Home-Ec teacher as a fill in for one semester, because I can sew.  The home ec sewing machines that our school district used for many years (and still do, as a matter of fact) are really base-line, electronic Berninas!  :D  Nothing ever went (goes) wrong with them.... but they are pricey! Good luck!

P.S. There is no better sewer in the world than my 81 year old Mother. She can free-hand embroidery, even, and sews all kinds of things that can make Project Runway green with envy!  Her secret?  A 1948 PFAFF.  That only will straight stitch and zig-zag.....  So......

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gini replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 12:14 PM

my viking has a drop in bobbin and i love that feature.  it hasn't messed up yet

gini in north idaho

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abcd replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 12:43 PM

It was the SINGER machine that was so messed up for so many years.  But about a drop in bobbin - I sewed on a Viking as a demo machine to sell when I was working at Cloth world so many years ago, and there were so many times when I had to fill the bobbin when I also had fabric under the needle, and I had to take the whole thing out.  I just didn't care for that, although the Viking is a beautiful machine!  That is just my quirky thing.  If I didn't have my Bernina 730, today I would buy a different machine just because of the price, and I don't want any sales person "appealing" to my so-called "intellect" - ;D  (yes, I am making fun of myself and how easily I get talked into something!)

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gini replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 12:50 PM

bella, it isn't a big deal to change the bobbin.   you have to stop the thread anyway when you change  a bobbin.   i just swivel the fabric to the side or flip it up over the machine.  i got this machine because everything on it was so much  easier to reach than any other machine.   now, there are machines that i think are comparable.  she is starting to get cranky and i am not looking forward to shopping for a new one.

gini in north idaho

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abcd replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 12:58 PM

I know, Gini, but that is just (one of) my quirks.  I was also doing demos, and I just get cranky myself when it isn't smooth.  Now the NEW Bernina 830 (which, to me, is a War Horse), has the biggest bobbin there is!  I mean, it looks like it came off an 18 wheeler!  But no thanks!  I also sewed in a factory for down coats, and used the industrial machines.  I don't want a huge machine that is so "industrial" unless I am in my OWN industry.  I just like the smaller machines, and the front load bobbin.  That's all.  To each his own...(Kinda like liking a front end loading washing machine, I guess....)  :D

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Carol replied on Thu, Dec 29 2011 10:47 PM

Bella:

I bought a Bernina 830 33 years ago!  (YES - the ORIGINAL 830) and you want to know WHY the NEW one is also called the 830?  BECAUSE THE 830 WAS THE BEST SELLING MACHINE OF ALL TIME!!!!      let me repeat:  ALL TIME - next to SINGERS, and VIKINGS, and PFAFFS - And I will NEVER let it go!

 You sound like me!  I bought my original 830 about 27 years ago, and I feel exactly the same way about mine!  I also bought another one (pre-owned so not so pricey) It's the 153, Alex Anderson Quilting edition, and I like it, too, with all the newer features, but the 830 is my favorite workhorse.  I also use older Singers, and FW  is fun to use, too.

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Annie replied on Fri, Dec 30 2011 11:32 AM

Bella:
Make a list of FEATURES you think would REALLY help, and not just what you WANT for your sewing habits. 

 

Bella,

After a few hours of test driving some machines yesterday, I decided on a Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0  I was considering the Janome 7700, I really liked that a lot, but when I had to change out the presser foot, I realized how awkward it felt to me and hide it strained my arthritic wrists.  That was the deal breaker.  I just set up my Pfaff and hope it lives up to my expectations.

 

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Nana replied on Fri, Dec 30 2011 11:35 AM

Annie

I bet you have fun with your new baby.

Vinton, Virginia

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