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Thread: New machine recommendations?

  1. #1
    Member ssgirly's Avatar
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    New machine recommendations?

    I bought a Brother XR-9000 for $150 about 2 years ago because I wanted to teach myself to sew. A few months ago I got bitten by the quilting bug... bad. This week, my machine started giving me some problems. Right now it's not functioning at all. The top thread keeps getting tangled under the feed dogs near the bobbin, jamming the needle. It has gotten me thinking that I probably ought to think about getting a new machine. I'm interested in recommendations, if anyone has them. I am looking to spend not more than $1500. I would like something with a bigger throat, and maybe even a stitch regulator (or do those come sold separately, and are they worth the extra money?) Also, if anyone has any ideas about what I need to do to fix my current machine, that would rock too. I'm hoping its an easy fix and not something I need to bring somewhere to fix...

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    There's tons of answers to the "new machine" question right here in the archives. Try as many as you can test drive. What features are you looking for? You can get a new Brother 1500 with a 9x5 inch harp for less than $550 on Amazon, which is the best price I've seen for a new quilting machine. If you want something bigger, you can find it for $1500, if that's truly your budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by ssgirly View Post
    I bought a Brother XR-9000 for $150 about 2 years ago because I wanted to teach myself to sew. A few months ago I got bitten by the quilting bug... bad. This week, my machine started giving me some problems. Right now it's not functioning at all. The top thread keeps getting tangled under the feed dogs near the bobbin, jamming the needle. It has gotten me thinking that I probably ought to think about getting a new machine. I'm interested in recommendations, if anyone has them. I am looking to spend not more than $1500. I would like something with a bigger throat, and maybe even a stitch regulator (or do those come sold separately, and are they worth the extra money?) Also, if anyone has any ideas about what I need to do to fix my current machine, that would rock too. I'm hoping its an easy fix and not something I need to bring somewhere to fix...

    Thanks for the help.

  3. #3
    Super Member OHSue's Avatar
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    I've never met a Janome owner who didn't love their machine, but I don't think they have a stitch regulator. I got a used 6600 as a second machine but now my other gathers dust. I liked this model because of the built in even feed, much easier to use instead of using the attatchment on my other machine. I think you an get a new 6600 with your budget.

  4. #4
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    You can probably find the Janome 6500 for under that price. If you look hard enough you might find the Janome 660 for right at that price. They both have larger harp areas. Unless you have considerably more than $1500 you're not going to find any machine that has a stitch regulator for free motion quilting. The Bernina is the only one that has that.

  5. #5
    Super Member MacThayer's Avatar
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    Please do look through the archives. One of the things I would recommend, if you have a budget of $1500, is a used model of a really good quilting machine. I bought a barely used Janome MC9700, for $800 off Craig's list, and it was a steal, not a deal! (List price on a new Janome MC9700 is $2,499!) And it's flawless, love it, love it, love it! But there are lots of other models that hold up excellently over the years that you should be able to get second hand for a reasonable price: Bernina, Babylock, Viking and others. Everyone has their favorite. That's why I suggested the archives.

    Beware of inexpensive Brother machines. It seems there are two kinds of Brother machines. There are the expensive ones that are made of metal, and are awesome machines, and I'd buy one of those in a heartbeat. Then there are the inexpensive ones sold mostly in big box stores. They are inexpensive because they are made of plastic, built in third world nations, and not meant to last. I had one that died in 8 months. The repairs would have cost more than the machine originally cost me. I'm not knocking Brother. You have to do what you have to do to survive in today's marketplace. Even Janome has a cheap knock-off. Just be aware of quality issues. The Brother model you have is a lightweight, not meant to be a quilting machine. But gee, if you could get it fixed and working inexpensively enough, it'd work just great for piece work! And you'd have a back up machine. Perhaps you couldn't quilt on it, meaning quilt the "sandwich" (top, batting, backing), but you could still do piece work. I was without any machine for 4 months and almost went nuts! I'd have given everything to do piecework.

    You can take your machine to a Brother dealer who does repairs and ask for a quote on repairs. Yes, it will cost you something to have them look at it, but you don't have to pay for repairs/cleaning unless you give the go-ahead. Just a thought.

    Dealerships are also excellent places to look for second hand machines. They'll sell a new machine, and take an older one in as a trade in. They'll completely clean and repair the second hand machine before they sell it to you, and some places will offer a warranty of some sort. I didn't buy from a dealer, but I did "buy" a 5 year warranty from my local Janome dealer. For a set price, they will do all of the cleaning, repairs, and I had one-on-one classes to learn how to use my machine, plus I can attend all of the "in house" classes for free, and I get an automatic 10% off any purchases for the next 5 years, until the warranty runs out, or I renew it. I figured it out, and this warranty actually costs less than what it would cost me to have my machine routinely cleaned over the next 5 years, and the one-on-one classes were awesome, and I've been to several "in house" classes for free, good stuff too. So that was the Janome dealer here, but there are deals to be had at most sewing machine dealerships. Just make sure they have their own repair service.

    I guess that's all I have to offer. Best of luck to you!
    MacThayer

  6. #6
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    I suggest visiting dealers in your area and comparing Janome, Bernina, and Viking. Get the most machine you can get within your budget.

  7. #7
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I have two brothers. My first I bought 15 years ago from walmart for 150. The second this past january for 200 only because I wanted more stitches. There is nothing wrong with brother machines I was on a budget and it still runs as good as the day I bought it. Just a few trouble shooting questions....what thread were you using? I found brothers are very picky about thread....you have to use the same in the bobbin as the top and they seem to have less problems when you match the thread to the material. Use cotton with cotton and so on. I would also change your needle sometimes they dont look bent but are. Last clean your feed dogs, remove the plate and make sure they move. Good luck on your current search my next purchase is a HQ sweet sixteen sit down machine. I understnd wanting a bigger throat it makes all the difference but really for piecing I haven't seen where the price of the machine really matters. If I had your budget I would look at Bernina. Have a fabulous day!!
    *Rachel*

  8. #8
    Member ssgirly's Avatar
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    MacThayer- Thanks so much. Yes, I know what you mean about the inexpensive machines. Never in my wildest imagination did I think I would get into quilting! And this machine would be perfect for piecing... I know of a store about an hour from me... perhaps I will head there and check things out. I never thought about buying a used machine, but it seems like that is what EVERYONE is saying. So glad I asked.

  9. #9
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Me personally I would just toss the brother and get a newer inexpensive one for piecing and classes, they are so cheap that they are easily affordable, for the 1500 me personally I would look for a used babylock espire or quest plus because you can find one in that price range or even a brother qc1000, the newer versions would cost you around 1800 a new serenade(replaced quest) might still be in your budget, it is based of of a pfaff model with babylocks name on it, they are the IDT built in walking foot, If you get the espire or qc-1000 you can use your feet from your old machine. I have the espire and love mine very much, it has almost a 9 inch harp, but is very heavy(metal machine) I also hear extremely good things about the juki f600 and I would look at those, think they cost about 800 and have the strongest motors out there so I hear, that even surpass some more expensive machines

  10. #10
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Before taking your machine in though you should give it a good cleaning, change the needle, and rethread just to make sure its not just something simple like lint and fabric caught in the feed dogs causing problems. For brothers it can also be putting the bobbin case in wrong that causes jaming, the needle, plate bobbin plate, and bobbin case all have to be put back together in a specific order. if you don't your bobbin case won't spin right and will become jammed everytime. I wasted an hour in a FMQ class because I put it back together without looking at my manual and it kep jamming, so i took it apart again, look at my manual and followed their instruction and sewed like a dream after that.

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