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Thread: Bernina or other brand sewing machine thoughts..

  1. #1
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    Bernina or other brand sewing machine thoughts..

    can anyone tell me what brand of machine you use ( for beginner to semi newish quilter ), and why? I am thinking of getting one for a holiday gift for my daughter, mainly a simple bernina if we can find one here in our small town .. I dont know much about them, other than everyone I have talked to here at the quilt store says they like that brand.. Anyone have any thoughts on one for just regular quilting - nothing like sergers, ect..

  2. #2
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    About five years ago, I was the recipient of just such a gift. My MIL who is an avid quilter, and my husband conspired to buy me a basic sewing machine to get me started quilting. They selected a Viking Emerald 118. There is a 116 that had slightly less features, but my MIL picked the 118 for me because it had the needle down function and she knew I intended to machine quilt with it. So it wasn't quite a basic model, but just above the basic. It has been a great workhorse of a machine, has been easy for me to use, and has been very little trouble. Of the few troubles I had, most were user error and a quick consult of the manual fixed them. I have had no mechanical trouble with it, and have only done basic maintenance (i.e. had her in for a clean and tune up).

    I have to be honest, I have not ever sewed on a Bernina or Janome, which seem to be two of the most popular brands, so I have no comparison to offer. I just know I have a great machine that cost under $400 and has been a perfect machine for me to get my feet dirty with. I have often looked at other, fancier machines, but don't see the need to upgrade any time in the near future. My little Viking does everything I need it to.

    Good luck with your research and what a lucky daughter!!!
    Sheila N.

    When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000 step process."

  3. #3
    Super Member sewmuchmore's Avatar
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    If you can find a singer 301 I think you will be happy with it. Now it is not fancy but it has a nice stitch to it. You should be able to find one for 50.00 to 75.00. I have a Bernina and love it. I also have a 301 and use it as much as the Bernina. I think it is what you can afford. If you want a Bernina Ask here on the board, to see if anyone has one to sell. Or try ebay. Good luck !!!

  4. #4
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    I have never met a sewing teacher that didn't swear by the Berninas. That being said these are usually the most expensive machines and all the accessories are much more expensive. Your gift should reflect her perticular needs. Is she just doing lap size or children's quilts or does she want to make larger items? In that instance she will want a machine with a larer harp. I'd have an extensive talk with her about her needs. I wouldn't surprise her unless the dealer will take it back and exchange it for the one she really wants and neds.

  5. #5
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    She will be doing just regular piecing, and such.. I will look into the brand you have, and see what our store might carry.. Walmart here carries Brothers, but from what I have heard, the basic ones are pieces of junk according to many who have bought them ..
    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Mimm View Post
    About five years ago, I was the recipient of just such a gift. My MIL who is an avid quilter, and my husband conspired to buy me a basic sewing machine to get me started quilting. They selected a Viking Emerald 118. There is a 116 that had slightly less features, but my MIL picked the 118 for me because it had the needle down function and she knew I intended to machine quilt with it. So it wasn't quite a basic model, but just above the basic. It has been a great workhorse of a machine, has been easy for me to use, and has been very little trouble. Of the few troubles I had, most were user error and a quick consult of the manual fixed them. I have had no mechanical trouble with it, and have only done basic maintenance (i.e. had her in for a clean and tune up).

    I have to be honest, I have not ever sewed on a Bernina or Janome, which seem to be two of the most popular brands, so I have no comparison to offer. I just know I have a great machine that cost under $400 and has been a perfect machine for me to get my feet dirty with. I have often looked at other, fancier machines, but don't see the need to upgrade any time in the near future. My little Viking does everything I need it to.

    Good luck with your research and what a lucky daughter!!!

  6. #6
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    I will see if the store here sells that brand as well. We are pretty limited here in our valley as we have one quilt store that is pretty much going down the tubes because of bad business practices, and lack of customers anymore.. We live 2 to 3 hours away from any other large town ( Boise, Idaho one direction, or Washington state, the other direction ).. I think buying on ebay would cost the moon in shipping costs wouldnt it? Will keep checking out ideas that I am getting here.. You all are such a God given blessing for those of us who dont know alot about this type of stuff.. thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by sewmuchmore View Post
    If you can find a singer 301 I think you will be happy with it. Now it is not fancy but it has a nice stitch to it. You should be able to find one for 50.00 to 75.00. I have a Bernina and love it. I also have a 301 and use it as much as the Bernina. I think it is what you can afford. If you want a Bernina Ask here on the board, to see if anyone has one to sell. Or try ebay. Good luck !!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member IAmCatOwned's Avatar
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    I bought a Brother Pacesetter 1000. It was great for piecing, but horrible for quilting. I've known several other people who have said the same about lower cost machines - they piece ok, but quilting messes up the tension.

    When I was searching for a replacement machine (I was tired of putting money into having tension fixed), I had to choose machines that had local dealers. So, while Huskvarna and Pfaff are good machines, they were out. Consumer Reports rates Bernina really well and local quilters really like the Janome line. So, I finally came down to choosing between Bernina and Janome. Bernina won because of a special financing deal, but other than the BSR (Stitch Regulator), I would have probably been just as happy with the Janome. Janome Gem is really popular for machines to take to classes as well.

    Finally, closeness of the dealer may not be an issue for you. I had to see the brother dealer lots of times. I take the Bernina master classes, but I can figure most things on this machine myself, while I couldn't figure out the bobbin case on the brother.
    Current piecing: Zig Zag quilt & LOTL (HSTs done, assembling units)
    Hand piecing project: Apple core (TOP IS DONE!!!! Yay!)

  8. #8
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    If you don't have many machines to chose from in your area that would tell me if it is Bernina buy a Bernina. There are a lot of good machines out there that will do the job for you at not a great cost. Have fun shopping.
    Sewbeadit
    Montesano, Washington

  9. #9
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    I have tried quite a few machines, from my mom's old White from the 50's to New Home, Janome, and Juki. I now have two Berninas and a Juki. I found my Janome and every White that I have tried to be finicky about thread. They didn't like you to use fine bobbin threads and use something else on top, particularly when doing free motion quilting. Also, they didn't like to sew over heavy things like top stitching over the bulk of a seam in heavy denim. I had a sear's machine that I got in the 80's (which I was told was made by New home,) that you could do just about anything with. But by far my favorites are my Berninas. I have a 180 and have used it on silks in a wedding dress to just about everything else to include indoor outdoor fabric for patio furniture. I liked my 180 so much and was doing so much free motion quilting and thread work that I bought a 440 with a stitch regulator. The 180 has a different bobbin mechanism than the 440, and has a prettier stitch for top stitching and garment making on a variety of fabrics. I now just keep the 440 set up for free motion thread work. I don't think I would go away from Bernina's at this point since when I am in sewing mode they get an awful lot of use between cleanings and just keep going and going and going.

  10. #10
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    I have a (previously loved) Bernina 430 that was decently priced, a Singer 301 and a FW (and a 66 treadle). I love and use the 3 portables, but if I had to pick just one it would be the Bernina- it is the most flexible of my machines, even if it is the heaviest to lug around.

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