Welcome to the Quilting Board!
Did you take the plate off of the sewing machine and thoroughly clean out the dust below it? My el-cheapo Brother machine stopped feeding thread a couple of years ago. It was in desperate need of a cleaning - the dust was packed in so tight it came out looking like a piece of felt! Once cleaned, it worked (and still works) just fine.
I bought it at Walmart about 6 years ago - $89. Great little machine for the money and it has lasted longer than I thought it would.
I've also had several 70's/80's vintage sewing machines come my way since people have learned that I sew. A couple haven't worked, but after cleaning and oiling, work fine.
Last edited by cathyvv; 03-09-2012 at 07:00 PM.
I recently purchased a new Brother SQ9050 from the big box store because my older brother stopped feeding and was jamming and was giving me tension problems. Since I am new to quilting I didn't want to spend alot of money on a new and fancy machine; but wanted something that would not frustrate me every time I tried to use it. I chose this brother because it had a quilting package included (all the quilting feet, and a small extension quilting table). It also had the drop down feed dog feature, auto needle down position, auto needle threader (a must!), drop in bobbin (which is cool because I can see when the bobbin is almost empty). These were just some of the basic features that I wanted, and this machine had them. It was also only around $200. So far at least, I am EXTREMELY pleased with it
Hope you find what you are looking for. Let us know what you end up with, and have fun with it!
I agree with Stitchnripper, I have bought 3 brothers over the last 12 years and they all have been rode hard and all still work. They do take a beating, even though they are all from Wal-Mart and ranged from $70 - $200 each. I am very pleased with my experience with "low-end" machines and wouldn't pay for something more expensive when these work fine. I do buy a newer one when I see a feature I want to have, but still use the piddly "cheap-o" one to this day. I have a hole cut in my table that fits all 3 so it's easy to just swap one out for a different one. My newest one is the SQ-9000 and I wouldn't trade it for the world! I did have to do major cleaning on it tonight as it started acting wonky but that was due to an operator error... not cleaning it out sooner. Oops!
For heavy duty sewing you need to buy a higher end machine from a reputable dealer, the cheaper machines are not meant for such use. The higher end machines have more metal. If you love your brother, I would go with the brother, they are just as good as the janomes and you are already comfortable with the brand, any lower end machines of any brand will give you the same amount of lasting time because of the plastic parts, which is what makes them so lightweight and great for classes and occasional use. Most low end machines are made of more plastic than even 20 years ago. A few weeks ago I used my first machine ever at my MIL which I got almost 20 years ago, which is also a brother and it was incredibly heavy compared to my 2 brothers now. Granted I like my machines a lot more, its no doubt in my mind that my 20 year old brother will outlast both of them.
I was going to chime in here to find a good used machine. Plenty of people upgrade and have a perfectly good, but unused machine due to the fact that they have another 1 (or more) sitting at their house.
I agree with the others to get a good solid used machine. That's what I have decided to do in my quest for a new machine! I feel like you can get a lot better quality for your money by going with a used Viking or Bernina (just as examples). I think of it like buying a car... I can't afford a new Toyota but I'd rather have a good used one for $10,000 over something that costs $10,000 new. That being said, I have not owned a Brother from a big-box store but it does seem that people have great luck with those! Perhaps another one might be worth a shot. Good luck and let us know what you decide on!
Just my two cents...
Another factor might be the cost of the various feet that you have already purchased for your Brother machine. If you junk that machine and change to a different brand, will you be able to use the feet or need to outlay another $150-200 to replace them for the new brand?
Look for a pfaff, kenmore, singer, viking or bernina in a repair shop....ask the repair person...they take them in on trade and ANY machine, 30-50 yrs old is better quality and will last a lifetime...they are usually traded in when someone gets an itch, but the older machines are really better and the repair people fix them up and know which is good and which got a lot of wear.... all better than any new inexpensive machine and often they are in the same price range....
I have a Brother SE-350 and I too had the same problem with the feed dogs. I bought this machine around 7 years ago and use it about every day. I took it to a Viking repair shop and they said they couldn't fix it. I love this machine so I looked online for a Brother tech. I located one less than 75 miles from me and he had cleaned it and fixed the problem for around $150. Well a year and a half later, it happened again so I took it back to the Brother tech and he fixed that problem plus replaced the needle threader (it occasionally acted up), replaced the auto thread cutter blade, replaced the take up spring (it was catching sending a rethread upper thread message, and cleaned it. Total cost was $130. So I am a happy camper to have my favorite machine back.
Last edited by Kath12; 03-11-2012 at 06:42 AM.
Kathy Stewart from IA