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Thread: New sewing machine

  1. #1
    Senior Member QuiltMania's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Southeast Michigan
    I am dutifully saving my pennies so that I can buy a new sewing machine, my first new machine ever. The one that I am currently using has straight and zigzag stitch, forward and back so I don't really know what features I should look for in a new machine.

    So here is my question -- what features, stitches or feet could you not live without? Also if you could let me know what kind of machine you have that would be helpful too. I know for sure that I have Husqvuarna, Janome and Bernina dealers close to me, and a Pfaff dealer about an hour away so those are the brands that I am probably sticking with. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Blog Entries
    I have two Berninas, one mechanical one, and one computer one, so I would obviously lean towards these. But I would advise you to visit all three dealers, ask loads of questions, and ask to test drive the models that you are aiming for. I would hate to do without my knee lift, you would need a walking foot and quarter inch foot for quilting. I think most modern machines have a needle down facility, and I wouldn't want to be without that either. Also ask about second hand models that are lightly used - one of those might get you a model above what you could otherwise afford. Best of luck.

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Rather than having us provide you with a list of the things we use our machines for, please take some time to identify the things you would like to do with your new machine. The features we may think are important for us may not be as important to you and your sewing needs/desires. Some examples.

    If applique work is something you would like to do? Then some of the nice decorative stitches would be useful. These could also be useful for certain styles of scrap quilting.

    Would you like to embroider? Then a machine with that capability could be in your future. Some machines are available, where the embroidery attachments can be added at a later date, too.

    Would you be doing any Free Motion Quilting? Then perhaps a Bernina with the built-in Stitch Regulator may be desired.

    Most newer machines by the manufacturers you listed have all the various feet available. The Pfaff, for instance, has a built in dual feed system.

    It would be very difficult to go wrong with a machine from any of the manufacturers you listed. It all just boils down to the features you desire and how you like the machine.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Athens Ga
    Good for you , Quiltmania!! Not much help here, only have a small singer!

  5. #5
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    N61 6.1839', W149 52.0138'
    I have two berninas as well. One is about 30 years old, an 830. It's a never fail machine and the stitch quality is awesome. I also have a newer model, about 10 years old, and it, too is wonderful. It has a different selection of stitches and I use them quite a bit.

    I have seen 830s on ebay for around $400. Cleaning my old bernina is one thing I really like about it. Almost all the moving parts are accessible and can be oiled. That's pretty important, as where I live they charge somewhere around $100 for a machine cleaning and keep your machine for as long as 2 weeks!!! Consequently, they don't go in as often as they should. I can't afford that!!

    Good luck!


  6. #6
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I too, have two Berninas, also two Singers and a Baby Lock. Of them all, I have to say I prefer the Berninas hands down. I have an old 730 Record and a computerized 1090 made in the early 90's. That one has needle up/down, both have the knee lifts and both make extremely awesome stitches. The Baby Lock gives me extra specialty stitches and the convenience of a couple of one step buttonholes, and the newer of the two Singers is light enough to take to class. The older Singer I'm still working on, bought it used for $20 in a table.

    The other posters have given you some great ideas, but it does come down to what's important to you. Don't settle if you don't have to. Having an authorized dealer nearby, and one that has great customer service and classes to help you learn on your new machine are important, too. Test drive as many as you can

    Sadly, the Berninas on Ebay these days are running much more expensive than they should be. Interest has driven the prices up horribly. You might have better luck on craigslist.com and of course local estate sales, etc. Best of luck to you! Keep us posted on your decision.

    Happy quilting!

  7. #7
    Senior Member hulahoop1's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Boise, ID
    Blog Entries
    I am on my third Bernina, an Aurora 430, with a stitch regulator. I use it for just about everything from clothes to quilting, but was really too small to put on a machine quilt frame.

    I have a Singer Featherweight that I use to piece my quilts as it has only a straight stitch.

    I have my great grandmother's Singer treadle machine that, even tho it's operational, is more of a conversation piece.

    I just purchased a Janome 1600P and put it on my machine quilt frame. It sews 1600 stitches per minute, has a 9-inch throat, needle threader, needle up/down position, and thread cutter. These were my requirements when looking for a short-arm to put on my frame.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    North Texas
    I have a Husqvarna Designer 1. When I bought it, I was not into quilting and it was easier for me to use than the Bernina. I was into garment sewing and embroidery. Now, I am more into quilting.

    I would not like to be without the needle up/down feature or the sensor foot pivot. I can free motion on the D1, but it does not have the stitch regulator that is available with Bernina. The stitch regulator comes built in with the Bernina 830 and as an attachment with the 440QE. I would really like that feature. And I like the top loading bobbin, but Bernina 830 looks easy to load. Nor could I do without the needle threader.

    I don't use all the special stitches available. I have used some of them on children's clothes and a few on quilts.

    Were I in the market for a new machine I would probably want the Bernina 830, but it is very expensive. I especially like the 12 inch space to the right of the needle. That makes a large space of quilting, free motion and thread painting. Wish I could afford it in addition to my D1.

    Do test drive every one you might be interested in purchasing. Go back several times to try them out. After all, this is a big purchase and you want to be happy. I worked in a Viking Gallery and many customers bought without comparison shopping and were not happy with their purchase. Some returned the machine and upgraded or just got their money back. The ones that were the happiest with their new machines were the ones who did the most test driving. Don't let the sales persons hinder you from testing.

    Good luck and have lots of fun doing the test driving.

  9. #9
    Super Member sewjoyce's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    I also have two Berninas and I love both of them. I would highly recommend the Aurora 440QE. It has the BSR (stitch regulator) to do free motion, several decorative stitches, etc. I would recommend the quilting foot and the 1/4" foot. If you do a lot of SID, they have a special foot for that. And if you want to spend the extra, you can get the embroidery module to go with it!!

  10. #10
    Super Member lass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    North Carolina
    I have a Viking with the larger throat for quilting. After trying out the janome and the babylock I bought the Viking last year. They all do about the same, but the viking has two sources of light - one on either side of the needle. I have problems with shadows because of an eye condition. this has enable me to sew really easily. I use it every day when I am at home. It is a work horse.

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