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Thread: Newbie Looking For Beginner Machine

  1. #1
    dallasnewsgirl's Avatar
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    Hi everyone! I'm a brand new quilter and looking to buy a quilting machine.

    I think I've narrowed it down to two - the Janome Gem 3 and the Jem 760.

    It needs to be portable for classes but I don't want to be limited if I'm actually able to grow my skills a little!

    Also, do you have any suggestions on where to buy? My local dealer is quoting me just under $500 for Gem 3 with a quilting table thingy and a few feet, but I've found it online from acesewvac.com for $299.95 with a quilt kit included. Though I'm not sure that comes with the quilting table thingy.

    Would you suggest going with local dealer for support? Or online?

    Thanks so much for your help!

  2. #2
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Hello frrom West Virginia.

    Glad you could join us. I have a Janome, altho neither of the models you quoted, and love it. I think your best bet is to go with your local shop. This way you are helping to keep them in business and you have the support you need anytime you need it and tehy probably give free classes as long as you buy from them.
    I would be sure you get a walking foot, 1/4" foot and a regular foot. As far as the extended table, I have one and sew with it all the time. Makes for a larger surface on which you have your fabric and that way fabric is not being pulled down and away from the needle and get distorted.
    Make sure you read/research all you can and read the small print, ask questions, and see if it comes with a carrying case. Go on the Janome site, e-bay, some of the sewing machine sites, and check descriptions of what these folks are selling with theirs. There is a thread on here of a gal sellling her Janome 6600 for around $1300. This ia a good price even with shipping. That's a machine several of us have and I haven't heard any complaints yet about it.
    No hurry to getting the machine you really want. HAve fun and we look forward to seeing your work posted here.

  3. #3
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    Personally, I would go with a dealer, even if it's more expensive. That way you can get personalized service and whatever help you need. They may even offer classes on that particular machine, I know the one I use, does. It's hard to get the same off the net. My 2 cents worth.

  4. #4
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I bought my first quilting machine at Tuesday Morning for 129 dollars.
    It is a Brother and it came with a table and a walking foot.
    It has been a good machine but it lacks the needle down feature that is so important. But It has been well worth the price since I can still sew when my much more expensive computerized machine is in the shop.
    I recommend a cheap basic beginner machine to find out just what you need in a more expensive machine.
    I am now interested in getting an embroidery machine that you can use for machine quilting large blocks. They are just so expensive.
    My computer machine was bought at Joanns but for serviceing I take it to the shop here in Phx that specializes in H. Viking machines. They are great and have shown me things I did not know about my machine. So it dosnt matter where you buy the machine, it matters where you service it.
    My next machine will be a used one from this shop.

  5. #5
    Hunnib's Avatar
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    Looks like you have received some good advice already. I would suggest getting a machine from a dealer too. I wouldn't want to think of the headaches involved in shipping something that heavy back for repairs, plus your local dealer is invaluable when it comes to support with your machine and classes, etc. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  6. #6
    dallasnewsgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the tips.

    Any feedback re: the Janome Gem 3 and the Jem 760?


  7. #7
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    I've been considering different brands and models for my first sewing machine, too.

    There seem to be several reviews for the Janome Jem 760 - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

    but none for the Janome Gem 3 (or even the Janome Jem 3).

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Do you know how to operate a basic sewing machine? Are you good at self-teaching? If so, then I will differ from the others and suggest you might want to buy online. At the very least, I would take a copy of the online listing with you to the dealership to see if they would drop the price for you; negotiate a little!

    On the other hand, if you've never used a sewing machine before or are not comfortable with self-teaching, the local dealership should provide free lessons and support for a new machine. Be sure to ask about the classes and determine that the classes will be available at a time you can use them.

    I'm not sure what the quilting table thingy is. Is it a piece that attaches to the machine? Or a table that you can set your sewing machine into? Check on the independent prices for these things to see if the package is a reasonable deal or not. In terms of a quilting table, this youtube video shows how to create an inexpensive table that works better for quilting than anything you could purchase for under $1,000:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g14govA4pIM

    I'm not familiar with the two machines you listed. As someone else mentioned, the needle down feature is really helpful for quilting.

    I worked in a sewing machine dealership part-time years ago. IMO, the biggest reason to buy from a dealership is the lessons on how to use your machine. These are more valuable for the higher-end computerized machines that are loaded with features you want to learn how to use. For a simpler machine, and someone who can self-teach from the manual, lessons aren't as necessary.

    Edit: I just looked up the two models at ace. For your purposes, I would think the 760 would be a better buy if the price is right. It weighs about the same as the 3 but is more of a full-featured machine and it has the needle-down feature. From the pictures, it looks to me as if the harp size (area under the arm, important so your quilt fits when you are free-motion quilting) is much closer to that of a home machine. Since most of your sewing time will be spent at home rather than in classes, I think you would be much happier with the 760. Ace probably has a good price for the machine but may not be able to advertise it because of manufacturer restrictions; that's usually why they make you call for pricing.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    By "quilting table thingy" do you by any chance mean the extension table? This is the piece that clamps on to the machine to change it from a free arm to a larger flat surface. If so, I see on the Ace website that this is included with their Gem 3 machine (listed under Features as removable extension table).

  10. #10
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the board from southern California.
    As others have said, I would go to the dealer cause then you can get classes on the machine and help when you are having issues. It is really important to learn how to fully use the machine you get.

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